Friendship bracelets and summer camp go together like… well, summer camp and friendship bracelets!
Saying goodbye is always bittersweet. Colorful handmade bracelets and anklets keep the campfire vibes alive through the winter months — the more sun-faded, the better.
So far as supplies go you only need three things to get started:
colorful embroidery floss
beads (optional: for flair)
There are dozens of different styles when it comes to friendship bracelets. Here are a few of the tried-and-true classics that every summer camper should learn!
The Classic Braid
The classic braid is the go-to standard of friendship bracelets. If you can braid hair, you already basically know how to make one. If you don’t… well, read on!
Start by cutting three pieces of embroidery floss. How long? Well, measure around your wrist, and add an inch or two for beginning and closing knots. Consider using more than one color to give the bracelet some personality!
Tie the three pieces together at one end and begin braiding the floss. You can pin the end down with a clothespin if that helps keep you steady. As for how to braid, just follow the steps in the image below and repeat until you reach the end of the floss:
Once you reach the bottom, just tie the loose ends with any knot that strikes your fancy.
Now the only task left is finding a friend and helping each other tie them around your wrists! See you next year — pinkie promise.
The Fishtail is similar to the Classic Braid, but with a few twists that make it a little trickier to pull off. The final result is a little chunkier than the Classic Braid, adding some variety to your styles if you happen to be wearing more than a few. (If you’re a lifelong camper, we’re sure you are.)
But don’t worry; if you can tie a fishtail braid in your hair, tying a Fishtail bracelet should be no problem!
To begin, select about a dozen different colors of embroidery floss and cut them to length, just as with the Braid above. Tie them all together at one end, and braid following his pattern until you get to the end:
Tie the end and slip in a few beads if you’re feeling inspired — case closed!
If you can master the Classic Braid and Fishtail, get ready for your final challenge: the Knotted Bracelet! It’s a little trickier than the others, so be sure to pay close attention; especially for the beginning and end, when you’re measuring out the “clasp” part of the bracelet.
Calling all athletes. If sports where you walk off the field sweaty, sore and completely exhausted are your thing, lacrosse should be at the top of your “Sports To Try” list. Lacrosse is a very physical, fast paced game that involves a lot of running, hand eye coordination and agility. It is a team sport, in which players equipped with long sticks with mesh nets at the end compete to throw, catch and pass a little rubber ball to their teammates, with the ultimate goal being to launch it into the opposing teams goal.
Camp Weequahic offers campers the opportunity to suit up and give lacrosse a try. This sport, just like all of the sports at camp, are organized, taught and supervised by trained coaches and professionals of the sport. Safety is always the number one concern, and campers are required to wear all necessary safety equipment including a helmet, mouthpiece and gloves. Players are educated on the rules and techniques associated with the game, and are watched carefully to ensure everyone has fun and injuries are avoided.
Lacrosse games are played on one of many athletic fields across camp, and provide beautiful scenery for players and spectators alike. One of the cool things about playing lacrosse at camp is that you will be able to compete with other teams from other camps. This is exciting for those athletes who are naturally competitive and get excited about some friendly competition. Lacrosse is not just for campers who consider themselves all around athletes. It is a great sport for beginners too, and there is no safer place to try something new than America’s Finest Summer Camps. Lacrosse involves a lot of running and cardio work, which is great for weight loss and keeping your heart and lungs healthy. It also builds muscle and stamina.
Sports at Camp Weequahic are designed for every camper, whether a trained athlete or a rookie. Camp Weeequahic keeps sports fun, and encourages friendly competition while keeping the old saying in mind, “it’s all about having fun.”
For campers going back to a middle or high school with a lacrosse team, they can use this summer to perfect their skills, learn the game, and fall in love with the sport before school tryouts.
Lacrosse is an action packed game and is a great way to meet new friends, stay healthy and add to your quickly growing list of “new things I want to try at camp.”
Although most campers leave camp an excited, talkative and outgoing ball of energy, not all of them come to camp that way. Camp has a magical way of taking a quiet and introverted child and encouraging them to find their voice and speak up for themselves. Children who came to camp as followers can emerge as outspoken leaders. Every camper is different and comes with their own unique personality, but each camper will spend the summer learning to communicate with other adults and their peers, a vital skill that children need to learn as they navigate through their formative years.
Campers are always encouraged to work through their issues and problems in a healthy and productive manner, and learn various conflict management techniques. They are taught how to speak up for themselves and make sure their opinions and ideas are heard. They learn how to feel confident asking for help, and learn to be their own advocate.
Learning to find their voice is one of the best things a young person can do for their confidence and self esteem. Learning to say no without feeling guilty and feeling confident about contributing to a conversation are valuable life skills. Learning these skills could mean the difference between a student caving into peer pressure and one who can speak their mind. In a world where kids face challenges every single day regarding whether they will be a leader or a follower, a student who spent the summer at Camp Weequahic will have the experience necessary to speak up for what is right, even if they’re the only one speaking.
Campers who learn to speak up for themselves also learn to speak up for others. In a society where bullying is so prominent, the world needs more young people who are able to say what they think, stand up for what is right, and know how to do so in a way that is healthy and productive. A camper who spent the summer finding their voice may use it to help another friend, student or sibling who hasn’t found theirs yet.
Instilling confidence in the youth of country is something that will change the world, and when campers truly find their voice and learn how to express their ideas in a constructive way, they feel confident enough to truly make a difference.
The leaves are falling, the days are shorter, and there is definitely a nip in the air. That can only mean one thing – the time has come to think about a wonderful holiday gift for the kids or the grandkids. This can also be the time for an “ah ha” moment. The perfect holiday gift just might be a magical sleepaway camp experience for your loved one.
If you are like most people, you want your gift to stand out from all the others. You want it to be unique. And you want it to be memorable. These days, many youngsters have an excessive number of toys, and they probably own all the latest electronics, too. In your heart, you know that in the long run people relate best to the experiences they’ve had and the friends that they’ve made, and not so much the material things they have acquired.
Sending a youngster to camp can offer a supremely enriching experience. Under the guidance of a caring staff, youngsters participate in team activities like roller hockey and gaga, and they can improve their ability in individual sports like tennis, golf and gymnastics. Campers dance to a hip hop beat, try their hand at magic and experience the thrill of rocketry. For the adventurous – and for those who never knew they had it in them – there are zip lines, mountain biking and camping in the wilderness. Children can become American Red Cross swimmers and learn kayaking, water skiing and tubing in a spring-fed lake.
At Camp Weequahic, campers benefit from a strong 60-year tradition of providing a caring environment for a three or six-week camping experience. Campers are encouraged to try new activities, sharpen their skills and build friendships that can last a lifetime. Summer camp allows a child to reap the joys of spending time in a naturally beautiful environment and builds self-esteem for a job well done. Camp also provides the opportunity to learn essential lifeskills like cooperation, teamwork and problem-solving that will serve them well at home, in school and eventually in the workplace.
Can any other gift really compare?
If you would like to learn more about giving the gift of Camp this holiday season, email our office at email@example.com
It seems that just yesterday the blog subject at hand was the anticipation of the campers’ arrival at camp. As usual, though, we blinked and now it’s August. Another summer is coming to a close over the next couple of weeks. This is the time of year when campers and staff alike begin reflecting over their summer. They mentally check off their bucket lists for this summer and already begin composing new ones for next summer. They begin making those final efforts to do those camp things they love most at least one more time. They take stock of those special moments—the ones that will forever define the summer of 2014. At the end of the day, there are always a million reasons why this summer was better than any other. Something was always bigger or better or even brand new. Your circle of friends has always grown just a little bit larger. You finally had the chance to go on that camp trip or participate in that camp activity to which you’ve been looking forward to for years. Even though the summer never seems long enough, it’s always mind-blowing to realize just how much was accomplished in such a short span of time. Perhaps it’s the sheer volume of activities that take place at sleepaway camp that makes every summer seem like the best summer ever.
When one weighs the summer as a whole, the good memories are prevalent and the word “amazing” comes to mind far more than the words “didn’t love it.” Upon considering everything that you accomplished, it’s impossible to be disappointed, even if you can’t check all your pre-summer goals off your list. At camp, especially at the end of the summer, it’s much easier to focus on everything you’ve done more than everything you’ve not.. The feeling of accomplishment is inevitably satisfying in a way that reminds you just why you come to camp anyway. There’s no other place in the world where you have the opportunity to accomplish so much in such a short period of time. Sure, you also come to relax, enjoy the rural setting, and spend time with your camp friends. But you also come with an agenda—specifically, a camp agenda of things that cannot be accomplished anywhere – or with anyone – else. These lists are often lengthy and filled with many more aspirations than can reasonably be achieved during a single summer. But the comforting thought that almost everyone brings home from camp is that there’s always next summer…and the promise of another best summer ever.
For most campers, when the summer of 2014 draws to a close, there is always next summer to which they can look forward. For the oldest campers, however, farewell this summer means farewell forever to their years as campers. Even though a significant number of former campers choose to return to summer camp as staff members later, the experiences they gained as campers are unique to those years. Although it is difficult to say goodbye at the conclusion of their final summer, it is also a time when older campers reflect upon their camp years and truly take inventory of what camp has meant to them and will continue to mean as they proceed in life.
Older campers come away from camp having attained life skills that give them adistinct advantage as they move through their high school years and college becomes a focus. There is, for instance, respect for tradition. College campuses, like resident camps, are built on traditions that help define them. Former campers understand the importance of their role in these traditions by creating experiences that are both memorable and worthwhile.
Former campers know how to show spirit and to live in the moment as well. At camp, campers are sensitive to the fact that their time at camp each summer is limited and they embrace each minute. Having already learned to comprehend that their camp years are limited to a specific timeline in their lives, former campers arrive on college campuses already understanding that their college years are much the same.
There is also an emphasis on total involvement at camp. Summer camp is about creating an environment in which campers feel encouraged to try new things and to push their level of comfort each summer. In the safety of a setting that emphasizes inclusion, campers learn to understand that diversity is key to success. It takes many types of people and talents coming together to make camp the beloved place that it is in the hearts of the campers. With such an understanding, campers tend to get to know and befriend individuals who they might not otherwise have taken the time to get to know in a setting that does not facilitate similar ideals. Having been submerged in such a culture for several summers, campers are well equipped for the transition from home to college life after several summers at camp. They also tend to be somewhat open- minded when it comes to new things and experiences.
Older campers come away from camp as leaders. Whether they have led fellow campers in an activity or helped mentor and lead younger campers in their later camp years, leadership is another quality that is rigorously promoted and embraced at sleepaway camp.
Campers also learn everyday life skills at sleepaway camp as they spend several weeks away from home each summer and make decisions for themselves. Making healthy eating decisions, for instance, is an important skill that children learn at camp. Campers also learn how to juggle multiple commitments at once, such as having a role in a camp show while simultaneously playing on a sports team. They co-habitate daily with several other campers and learn how to maximize their living space.
Clearly, those campers who will say goodbye to camp at the conclusion of the summer are bringing away far more than fun memories of a place where they spent their childhood summers. They’re bringing away experiences that translate into life far beyond camp.
We focus a lot on how much happens at camp over the course of the summer, but the amount of activity that takes place in just 5 minutes on any given day is mind blowing to anyone who is not familiar with camp. Five minutes at summer camp is like a symphony: many individual components come together at the same time to create a single, enjoyable experience. In addition, each component is unique, yet critical, to the overall piece. In just five minutes at camp…
A soccer team may score a goal to win a championship game while play rehearsal takes place on the stage and, at the waterfront, swim instruction is happening. In arts & crafts, campers are busy putting the finishing touches on projects as a batter on the softball team steps onto first base and a volleyball is spiked over the net. A group of campers is learning how to sail on the lake as a group of paddle boarders make their way across the water. A camper does her first giant swing on the parallel bars in gymnastics just as another reaches the top of the climbing wall while yet another makes his way across the high ropes course. It’s a 3 on 3 tournament on the basketball courts and a group of campers are learning how to improve their tennis serve just as a camper finds the back of the net at lacrosse. A team captain just called a time out at roller hockey and the finishing touches are being put onto some hip hop choreography in dance. A group of mountain bikers pass a group of runners and two teams are facing off in flag football. It’s the bottom of the 9th on the baseball field and the game is tied while the final two players in an intense game of gaga face off as their fellow campers cheer them on. The aroma of chocolate chip cookies wafts from the cooking studios and campers in photography take nature shots as a small group of campers fishes nearby.
And it’s not just the action that takes place in any given five minutes at camp that creates the rhythm of summer, it’s the interaction. As all of these activities are happening, campers and staff members are talking, laughing, learning and cheering. In the same five minutes at camp, friendships are formed and new skills learned. Traditions begin and are repeated. Campers try something new for the first time as well as accomplish them for the first time after a summer of trying. In five minutes at camp, campers gain life skills by becoming more confident and more self-reliant. In just five minutes at camp, memories are made. Like a conductor, memories bring all of those activities together to create the image of summer camp that campers replay for a lifetime.
It’s hard to believe that another summer is almost half over. It seems like just yesterday that campers were arriving, excited for another summer. Time passes so quickly at summer camp that it’s sometimes impossible to not miss some things. But there are certain things that, no matter how busy, chaotic, or crazy things get at camp, remind us of camp and are a big part of what it’s all about.
1. Campfires—Every camp’s campfire has a unique significance to it. Campfire traditions, songs, and activities vary from camp to camp but one theme is consistent from camp to camp: the campfire has a sacred relevance and, as such, is a very special event at camp. So special, in fact, that the campfire is symbolic of summer camp itself. The fire embodies camp life, and the smell of burning embers raises an immediate reminder of sylvanian settings in which camps are located.
2. S’mores—What’s a campfire without s’mores? Anyone and everyone who has ever been to camp craves the gooey delight ofsmelted chocolate and marshmallows between two graham crackers. S’mores are so distinct to camp that biting into one instantly harkens memories of camp.
3. Sing Alongs—Sure, karaoke is a popular activity for get togethers. But there is nothing more harmonious than an entire camp—counselors too!—singing their camp’s favorite tunes together. Camp sing alongs are more than just time spent together singing songs, however. They’re a way of bringing everyone together to celebrate the place that has brought them all together.
4. Bunks/Cabins—As the saying goes, ‘If only walls could talk…’ And, oh, the stories so many summer camp bunks/cabins could tell. Bunks/Cabins are more than just places where campers and their counselors sleep at night. Bunks/Cabins are facilities in which campers become families. They are also places in which the vast size of sleepaway camps shrink to an intimate setting in which friendships are nurtured and memories are made. Each bunk/cabin family is unique, with its own jokes, songs, traditions, etc.
5. Arts & Crafts—According to the American Camp Association, Arts & Crafts is one of the five most popular activities at camp, and for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to spend a portion of each day in an area stocked with beads, lanyard, glitter, paint, glue, markers, scissors, and just about any other craft supply one can dream up? The possibilities are endless in Arts & Crafts. The relaxing atmosphere gives campers opportunity to decompress and reflect while still being social. Arts & Crafts is an activity that allows campers to spend time with their friends.
6. Bugle Calls/Bells—There has to be some way to move campers through their program day at camp. Whether it’s bugles or bells, campers know instantly what each unique sound is telling them to do from waking up in the morning to turning out the lights at night, and everything in between.
7. Camp Shows—Those who are not familiar with camp may wonder what makes camp shows different from other types of shows. Anyone who has ever been involved in a production that goes from auditions to performance complete with full sets and makeup in a week or less knows that this is precisely what makes camp shows a camp entity all unto their own.
8. Crazy Wardrobe Choices—We mean C-R-A-Z-Y—as in more is definitely more when it comes to showing spirit or “dressing up” for a special camp occasions. In fact, camp is probably the only place at which one is complimented for arriving at a function wearing body paint and/or temporary tattoos, bright colors, a tutu, crazy sunglasses or hats, a wig (or two) and mismatched socks.
A recent blog shared some of the most popular counselor ‘I never thought I would…’ thoughts. Counselors aren’t the only ones from whom this phrase is commonly heard as the introduction of wonder throughout the summer. It’s heard just as often from campers. Here are some of the most popular perspectives of camper exclamations that begin with, ‘I never thought I would…’
Learn to play the guitar
I’ve never played an instrument before in my life! But my camp’s guitar instructor is amazing. He really loves music and he knows how to teach us chords in a way that is really easy to remember. Sometimes I wish I could spend all day at guitar. But then I think of all of the other stuff that I would miss. Instead, I asked my parents if I can take guitar lessons when I get home in the last letter I wrote to them.
FINALLY get my back handspring!
I’ve been working on my back handspring at camp since last summer. This year, I finally got it! I started a couple of summers ago on the tumbling track with my bunk counselor, who was also a Gymnastics specialist. She knew one of my goals was to learn how to do a back handspring, so she worked with me on the tumbling track, which is a really long trampoline. By the end of the summer, I could do a back handspring pretty well on the tumbling track, but I couldn’t do one on the floor without being spotted. I don’t take gymnastics during the winter, so this summer, when our camp’s gymnastics coach asked me if I was ready to learn how to do a back handspring on the floor, I was nervous. We did a couple on the tumbling track, then he/she spotted me while I did them on a mat. By the end of my next gymnastics activity period, I was doing back handsprings on the floor—by MYSELF! The best part of all is the camp photographer got a picture of it. I can’t wait until my mom sees it!
Become friends with my bunk mates so quickly
This is my first summer at camp, and I was SO nervous because I didn’t know anyone. I met my new bunk mates as soon as I got off the bus. It felt like we already knew each other. We’re already BFFs. We do EVERYTHING together! Our counselors taught us how to make friendship bracelets. Then we all made one and traded them with each other.
Swim in a lake
Before coming to camp, I’d only swam in pools. I was super nervous about swimming in the lake, especially since we had to take a swim test in it. I was so scared to jump in the first time. Then my friends and counselors convinced me to get in. The lake at camp is really just like a giant swimming pool. It was especially fun to jump off the water trampoline while holding hands with my camp friends for the first time after passing my swim test.
Make my own pasta
I love spaghetti. When I found out we were making our own pasta in Cooking, I was SO excited! We had to roll the dough a lot, but it was so much fun to see how pasta is made. Fresh pasta is so much better than the pasta you get in a box. I’m going to ask my parents if I can make homemade pasta when I get home after camp.
Be in a show
I’ve always wanted to be in one of my school plays, but have never tried out because I didn’t know if I could get up in front of lots of people. After being in my camp show this summer, I’m totally going to try out for one of the school plays next year. Being in the camp show was so much fun! It was a lot of work. We had to practice a lot. But my counselors worked with me every day to help me memorize my lines. When it was finally time to perform my part in front of the whole camp, I was ready and so excited to get on stage and show everyone what I could do that I didn’t even think about being nervous!
Score a soccer goal
I’ve been trying and trying and trying to score a soccer goal ever since I made my club team at home. This year, I told my soccer instructors at camp that I wanted to be able to tell my club coach that I’d scored a goal when the fall season starts. They gave me lots of tips during our instructional periods. I got to play forward on my division’s team, and I scored the first goal of my first intercamp game!
Act so crazy on purpose
At school, I’m really conscious about how excited I get about things. I’m always wondering what my classmates will think. Camp is completely different! At camp, it’s so easy to just go crazy because all of my camp friends do too. I love being able to be myself without wondering what all of my friends are thinking.
School is FINALLY over! The weather is warm. It’s summer. But as a camper, you know that it’s never REALLY summer until you get to camp, and in just one more week, you’ll be there. The closer arrival day gets, the more you replay what you know is about to happen in your head. There are little signs every year that mark that day to which you’ve been counting down for several LOOOONNNNGGG months. But it’s most definitely summer when you know this is about to happen…
Your parents will take you to a meeting place for a bus or plane ride to camp, or maybe they’re driving you to camp themselves. The trip to camp will seem 10X longer than it actually is because you just want to get there.
Your mom will most definitely cry when she says goodbye and assures you she’ll see you on Visiting Day. You’re so excited you can hardly stand it, but maybe you’ll cry a little too just so that she doesn’t feel bad.
As soon as you pull into camp, you’ll start looking for your camp friends. Maybe they’ll spot you first. No matter who finds whom, you’ll run and hug. After hugs all around with your friends, you’ll also hug your favorite returning counselors and staff members.
You’ll meet your bunk mates (if you don’t already know them) and your new counselors, who are every bit as excited as you that you’re finally at camp!
You’ll go into your new cabin with your friends and realize that you really ARE at camp. Another summer has begun! Bring on the FUN!
You’ll spend the rest of the day cheering, singing and laughing with your friends. This is just day 1, and the entire summer is ahead of you. But it’s definitely summer because all of this happened, just as you knew it would.