Posts Tagged ‘Camp Sports’

The Importance of Fitness at Camp

Monday, May 30th, 2016

AC9U0214

There are quite a few things that have seen rapid growth over the last several years, including Justin Bieber’s popularity,  SnapChat and Disney’s Frozen. However, there is something that is taking over America’s youth at a frightening speed, and it’s not as light and fluffy as Elsa or The Biebs; it’s childhood obesity. Childhood obesity has seen a dramatic increase over the last 30 years, and more and more children are struggling with health issues because of their weight. Excessive weight gain in kids and teenagers can be blamed on hormones or genetics, but a major reason kids are overweight is because they are sitting in front of TV screens and laptops instead of getting outside to play. At Camp Weequahic, kids spend all day on the go, and many have seen a dramatic change in their weight and overall health because of it.

 

Many campers spend their days out on the water. Swimming, water skiing and water aerobics are just a few of the ways that campers stay busy and moving throughout the summer. A lot of the favorite waterfront activities require using muscles that kids aren’t used to using, and helps them tone muscles and lose weight, without even knowing they’re working on it. These activities are great for kids who don’t naturally gravitate towards traditional sports and fitness activities, and for those who have a natural attraction to the water.

 

For those who do love sports, Camp Weequahic has plenty of options. Natural born runners will love participating in running and triathlon sports, kids who like being part of a team will feel right at home playing flag football, soccer, lacrosse and softball. Regardless of which sport they try, they will be surrounded by counselors who have a heart for the sport, who are focused on fitness, and can motivate and inspire campers to make healthy choices.

 

Tennis is another camp favorite, and burns more calories than cycling, skating or aerobics! It is a sport that requires speed, flexibility and agility, and is a fun and easy way to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

 

And when campers aren’t participating in organized sports or activities, counselors put together games that combine team building, socialization and physical activity. Campers are always on the move, working up a sweat and burning calories, and it’s all disguised as good ol’ fashioned fun.

 

The food served at camp is both delicious and nutritious, and is carefully planned to fit in with the camper’s high activity levels. Salad bars, soups, healthy sandwiches, fresh veggies, and vegetarian options give kids the opportunity to eat foods that taste great, and help them achieve their fitness goals.

 

Kids who spend a summer at camp come home with a few more things than they left with. They come home with more friends, a deeper appreciation for their own health and wellness, and the confidence to make healthy choice and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

5 wakeboard tips and tricks to stay in practice all year round

Monday, December 14th, 2015

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 11.12.54 AMSummer camp means getting out on the lake, and getting out on the lake means: wakeboarding!

Wakeboarding is a favorite for many campers, providing tons of adrenaline and fun in a super safe environment. (After all, the worst that can happen is you fall in the lake… and campers are constantly doing that on purpose anyway!)

The only tricky part about wakeboarding is remembering everything you learned the year before. Like any seasonal activity, staying in practice year-round is pretty difficult. (Unless you live somewhere with warm winters and happen to have a boat and lake at your disposal, that is!)

So how can you practice at home so you’re in top form when it’s your turn to hit the lake?

We’ve gathered some of the best ways to stay on top of your wakeboarding game. Get ready to impress your camp friends when they see how many tricks you can do!

Note: as with any sport or fitness activity, always wear safety equipment, stay within your limits, and only practice with a qualified instructor to keep everything safe and fun.

1. Practice your board skills with snowboarding or skateboarding

The hardest part of wakeboarding can be simply balancing on the board. Luckily, snowboarding and skateboarding both build similar skills, so if you can get out on the slopes or make it down to the local skate park, you can practice your balance all year round!

The best part is that both sports are super fun in their own right — and they’ll make sure you have killer board handling skills by the time summer camp rolls around.

You can also consider using a balance board, which gives some of the same advantages as a skateboard without requiring you to leave your room or the gym. You could even watch Netflix while you practice!

2. Improve your balance by adding exercises to your routine

If you already have a stretching or workout routine that you follow at least once a week, consider adding some balance-focussed exercises to the mix! Exercises that improve your balance are surprisingly simple: practice balancing on one leg for 30+ seconds, then build up to hopping on one foot, and doing one-legged squats and lunges.

Pro tip: closing your eyes makes these exercises twice as hard, but will have huge rewards when you get on the board.

3. Study up on YouTube

When it comes to learning specific tricks, YouTube is your best friend. Instructors all over the world have videos you can watch for free that break down each trick into step-by-step challenges, and you can play them over and over until you’ve got a handle on the mechanics of the trick.

4. Trampoline time!

Yup, wakeboarding is your excuse to play around on the school trampoline!

A trampoline is surprisingly effective at simulating the wakeboarding experience, and gives you a chance to practice a tricky move over… and over… and over again, until you’re absolutely sure you’re ready to give it a shot on the lake.

Plus, jumping on a trampoline is just plain fun!

5. Daydream

Success comes to those who expect it, and summer camp activities are no different. If you’re excited about another fun season of wakeboarding, go ahead and let yourself get stoked about it!

Visualize yourself doing the tricks you enjoy, and practice them mentally while doing less exciting activities (like sorting your clothes, for example). How did it feel to grind that steep wake? How did it feel to land that spin?

Summer is always right around the corner, and it’ll be time to get out on the lake again before you know it. Can’t wait to see you there — be ready for some serious watersport fun!

Building a Positive Attitude

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Gratitude Month (1)We talk a lot about choosing our attitude at Camp Weequahic. It is one of our three building block values and something that comes up daily for both our campers and staff members. Our attitude remains the only thing we have complete control of and it has an enormous impact on both ourselves and those around us.

In fact, a positive attitude is at the heart of the Happiness Advantage.

This is a phrase coined by Shawn Achor, a researcher and teacher in the world of positive psychology. Dr. Achor’s findings basically say that when you employ a more positive outlook, you are subsequently more intelligent, creative, resilient, and better a lots of things from studies to sales.

In other words, by choosing a positive attitude, you give yourself the best opportunity to be happier and more productive. But, sometimes choosing that attitude is difficult, especially if we are surrounded by those who do not think as we do.

So, how do we become more positive? Dr. Achor suggests doing the following over 21 consecutive days:

  • Pick three new things you are grateful for from that day and share them with a loved one
  • Write in a journal about one really positive experience you’ve enjoyed over the past 24 hours
  • Take a few moments each day to relax and think calmly about your breath
  • This reminds your brain that it can overcome obstacles
  • Practice one act of random or conscious kindness. Send someone a ‘thank you’ email or text for something specific. Help out at a shelter. Do anything as long as it is an expression of kindness

These are all practices that we enjoy at Camp Weequahic. We talk about the best things from your day before going to bed, we write letters home about the great stuff we’ve enjoyed, we take a moment at campfire each Friday night to simply ‘be’, we are on the receiving and giving ends of making people laugh each day. And, while no one would call it ‘exercise’, we certainly burn our calories….

It’s easy to remain positive at camp because everyone around you is focused on the same things and supportive of this idea. It may be a bit harder at school when competition can get in the way. So, take a moment each day and practice. (And, if you need to, just remember camp is a few shorts months away!)

I Never Thought I would…

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

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.

The Weequahic Football League

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Watch out NFL…. The WFL is right behind you in popularity and about to take over! As football fever reaches the highest pitch with the upcoming Super Bowl, we are reminded of all the fun we have at Camp Weequahic while playing flag football.

Much like our very popular Weequahic Basketball League, campers are divided into teams of equal ability, gender and age groups. Boys and many girls love flying around the fields running, catching, avoiding and ‘tackling’ (pulling the flags) for at least one period a day. Our coaches are collegiate athletes who love to develop drills, plays, and practices that increase our campers’ understanding and enjoyment of the game each time they arrive at the field.

Campers who have never played the game are just as likely to love being a part of the flag football program. Whether they are learning the basics and practicing their new found skills in the flag football ‘class’ activity, competing with the SEC Dragons or the Big Ten Demons of the WFL, or representing Weequahic on our Wayne County Flag Football team, the campers do their best and have a blast.

What is the Wayne County team, you ask? It is just another one of our many competitive and completely volunteer teams that plays against 26 other camps in Wayne County, PA. Campers of any ability are welcome We compete across all ages and the kids love to play!

We hope you’ll come out to play with us this summer!

Eye on the Bullseye

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

As long as there has been summer camp, archery has been a part of it.  Although the amount of available activities at summer camp has grown immensely since the early days of camp, archery still remains popular.  It’s a classic outdoor sport that doesn’t require the stamina or athletic prowess of, say, soccer, but a good eye, good aim, and precision when firing.   There is a certain amount of satisfaction in being able to see yourself move closer to achieving a goal.  It’s not always apparent that your swim stroke has gotten better since the beginning of the summer, or that your baseball pitch has improved over the past couple of weeks.  Although your counselors and friends may compliment you and tell you that you’re better than you used to be, there isn’t really anything tangible for you to immediately be able to tell for yourself.  With archery, however, there is a target with a bull’s-eye on it.  It’s not at all unusual for campers to begin the summer not even being able to hit the target and then, as the summer moves along, hit and then inch closer and closer to the bull’s-eye.  The closer they get to that bull’s-eye, the more arrows campers want to shoot.

It seems like a small goal, and it is really.  However, it’s still an exercise in goal setting.  Hitting the bull’s-eye requires focus, and being focused requires you to survey your surroundings, determine where you need to aim, and then focus on the details as you attempt to hit your target.  Being successful at archery requires this same effort from everyone.  Campers have no advantage if they run faster, jump higher, or throw harder.  Every camper enters the archery range on a level playing field with the same potential for hitting a bull’s-eye.  Some get lucky, some work hard.  Either way, archery promises a path to success for anyone who is willing to set a goal, take aim, and work hard.  Perhaps that is why after decades of being a summer camp staple, archery remains one of the most popular activities.

Camp through the Eyes of an Athletic Director

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Hi, I’m the camp Athletic Director!

I love my role at camp because in the course of a day, I come into contact with virtually everyone at camp at some point.  I started out at camp as a sports head.  I loved keeping my individual area organized—working with the campers and my staff and maintaining my facilities—so well that I wanted to be more involved.  So I started helping out with inter and intra-camp leagues as well as leading any evening or special activities that involved not just my program area, but virtually anything that had to with sports.  That’s how I eventually became the one responsible for keeping my camp’s entire sports program running smoothly.

My day begins early—sometimes as early as 6:00 a.m.  I’m responsible for seeing off all of the teams heading out to play inter-camp league games.  I make sure we stay on schedule by insuring all of the coaches and their teams make it onto the bus or to the field on time.   If a team is scheduled to be out of camp during any meals, I run by the kitchen to make sure their breakfasts or lunches are ready and, if they haven’t been already, transported to the bus.  I also double check to make sure teams have all necessary sporting equipment, rosters, and, medical forms.  On those rare days when the weather is less than perfect, I also communicate with other camp Athletic Directors about the status of scheduled matches.  It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes games have to be rescheduled.

During the day, I make my rounds to all of sporting areas. I review lesson plans and make sure instruction is adhering to them. I enjoy watching each and every group for a bit.  It’s fun to see the progress of the campers over time.  While I’m there, I’ll check in with the Area Head and Specialists to see if there are any issues that might be impacting the activity that I haven’t directly observed myself.  It’s also a good time for me to give staff members a pep talk by applauding what I think is working and offering some pointers for improving some things.  I might also take some time to schedule league matches with other camps or oversee intra-league play.  At some point each day, I’ll also check-in with coaches to get scores and report updated records for all of the athletic teams to the directors.  During that time, I’ll also communicate any maintenance and facility issues or equipment needs to directors or program director.

In the evenings, I’ll usually help out in whatever way I can with the camp’s special activities.  While sometimes this actually involves something directly related to athletics, the majority of the time, it does not.  A lot of times, I find myself judging contests or dressed in some crazy costume doing something goofy on stage during one of the camp’s shows.  It’s all part of working at a summer camp, and those are some of my favorite moments.  I’m usually pretty exhausted by the time my head hits the pillow at night, but I can’t wait until the next morning so that I wake up and do it all over again!  That’s why I love working at camp!

Building Courage at Camp

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

We were thrilled to recently host a Weequahic Northeast Reunion. Seeing our campers and their families during the year is certainly a treat for us. It was also a great reminder of Courage, one the Weequahic Core Values, we teach. Let me explain….

At camp, we define courage not as the absence of fear but rather as acting even though the fear is present. Our campers practice this often by climbing further up the rock wall than they thought they could, learning to waterski for the first time, getting up on stage in the play, or being on a team they’ve never tried before.

It’s not just on the fields of play where courage is developed but in the bunks as well. Most of our campers arrive without knowing anyone at camp. It takes guts to go into a bunk of all new campers and build friendships. Thankfully, by the end of three or six weeks, these friendships are not only built but cemented into place!

Back to the reunion… many of our campers return the reunion without having seen their camp friends for some time. “Will they remember me? Who will be there that I know? These are questions we all struggle with at times, especially when we are young.

Thankfully, with camp friends, this brief moment of anxiousness was overcome by an outpouring of courage and mirth – campers jumped and hugged and laughed there way around the bowling alley, even those who started nervous of how the day would go.

Weequahic campers hold the value of courage highly. They understand it is a muscle needed to be used and trained in order to be strong and available when truly needed. Thankfully, we have so many wonderful ways in which to practice at camp. Whether in the bunks, on the fields, in the lake, or Activity Center, Weequahic campers are courageous!

Going Gaga for Ga-Ga

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Something you might not know about summer camp:  It breeds passionate athletes in many different sports, even ones that are little known outside of summer camp, such as ga-ga.  Although it’s not well known in America (but becoming more so everyday!), hoards of campers dream all winter about getting back into the ga-ga pit.  Many camps even have ga-ga tournaments!  Camp challenge weeks even have ga-ga challenges.  There is no doubt that campers are going gaga for ga-ga!

So what is this ga-ga?  It’s a little like dodgeball in a circular enclosed space.  Many camps feature ga-ga pits , but the game can be played virtually anywhere there are four walls or barriers.  As in dodgeball, when players are hit with the ball, they are out.  They may, however, use the walls of the ga-ga court to clear the ball.  As players are struck by the ball, they are eliminated, and leave the pit.  The last boy (or girl) standing wins.  Two primary ways that ga-ga differs from dodgeball is that ga-ga strikes must be at or below the knees and players bounce rather than throw the ball.   Also unlike dodgeball, players may either bounce the ball at other players or against the walls of the pit.  Some camps have adopted rules of play unique to their campers’ style of ga-ga play, while others prefer to stick to the official rules…What?  There are official rules?  Yep.  In fact, there is even an International Championship Tournament held annually in Europe.  More than 30 countries , including the U.S., winner of multiple championship titles, participate.

No one quite knows how ga-ga originated or where it comes from, but rumor has it that the game gets its name from the sound the ball makes during the opening play.  It’s bounced twice in the air and  the players say “ga” on each bounce.  On the third bounce, the ball is in play (some rules call for three bounces with the ball officially in play on the fourth bounce).  So warm up your ga-ga hands and start stretching.  We’ll see you in the pit!

Going Gaga for Ga-Ga

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Something you might not know about summer camp:  It breeds passionate athletes in many different sports, even ones that are little known outside of summer camp, such as ga-ga.  Although it’s not well known in America (but becoming more so everyday!), hoards of campers dream all winter about getting back into the ga-ga pit.  Many camps even have ga-ga tournaments!  Camp challenge weeks even have ga-ga challenges.  There is no doubt that campers are going gaga for ga-ga!

So what is this ga-ga?  It’s a little like dodgeball in a circular enclosed space.  Many camps feature ga-ga pits , but the game can be played virtually anywhere there are four walls or barriers.  As in dodgeball, when players are hit with the ball, they are out.  They may, however, use the walls of the ga-ga court to clear the ball.  As players are struck by the ball, they are eliminated, and leave the pit.  The last boy (or girl) standing wins.  Two primary ways that ga-ga differs from dodgeball is that ga-ga strikes must be at or below the knees and players bounce rather than throw the ball.   Also unlike dodgeball, players may either bounce the ball at other players or against the walls of the pit.  Some camps have adopted rules of play unique to their campers’ style of ga-ga play, while others prefer to stick to the official rules…What?  There are official rules?  Yep.  In fact, there is even an International Championship Tournament held annually in Europe.  More than 30 countries , including the U.S., winner of multiple championship titles, participate.

No one quite knows how ga-ga originated or where it comes from, but rumor has it that the game gets its name from the sound the ball makes during the opening play.  It’s bounced twice in the air and  the players say “ga” on each bounce.  On the third bounce, the ball is in play (some rules call for three bounces with the ball officially in play on the fourth bounce).  So warm up your ga-ga hands and start stretching.  We’ll see you in the pit!