Fun Friday: Paint with Nature!

Painting with items found in nature is a great way for kids to get in touch with their natural surroundings, while engaging in a sensory painting experience.  We paint with nature all the time at Everwood Day Camp. We go on “nature walks” to collect our items and come back to paint on different canvases.

You can find a lot of great natural painting ideas at Hands On As We Grow and Kids Craft Room !  Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Natural Items that can be used for painting:

  • Pine needles
  • Leaves
  • Small sticks
  • Pinecones 
  • Blades of grass
  • Flower petals (preferably found on the ground and not pulled from their roots!)

Once your natural items have been collected, you can use them in lieu of the everyday paintbrush.  You will still need the paint, but now you can use the items you collected to “paint” onto your chosen canvas (paper, construction paper, an actual canvas, etc.).  For example, you can combine some pine needles together to create a natural “paintbrush,” or you can use a pine cone to roll paint onto your canvas. Natural items lend themselves nicely to stamping opportunities, as well!  This is a great way to show off creativity and resourcefulness. We can’t wait to see your natural masterpieces!

 

Fun Friday! DIY INDOOR CAMPFIRE!

Creating your own indoor campfire can be a fun, low key activity for a rainy day or just a fun way to use inside time. Whether it’s partnered with learning activities, a movie night, or just plain old fun, an indoor campfire can be exciting to build together and provides the perfect quiet moment for your family to share, connect, and relax together. Here’s how you can turn any space in your house into an indoor campfire.

What You’ll Need: 

Logs: Real logs/sticks, Brown paper bags rolled up, toilet paper or paper towel rolls, tan building blocks, stones around the “fire” if interested!

Fire: string lights, orange/red/yellow tissue paper, colored felt or fabric (even a t-shirt will work), fake candles (or real candle used safely)

Tarp or old blanket underneath for easy cleanup

BONUS: Feel free to create your own “tent” out of pillow fort materials or pitch a real tent inside!

Campfire Activities:

Make a campfire treat! (See below)

Sing your favorite camp songs! Some of our favorites are:  The Moose Song, Pizza, Oh a Milkshake, Bumble Bee, Boom Chicka Boom

Tell a story! Make up one or read some books!

Play some board games or watch a movie together by the fire’s light.

Have a campfire dance party!

Fun Campfire snacks to make:

Chocolate fondue: https://www.melskitchencafe.com/perfect-chocolate-fondue/ (great way to use up random snacks and things, super easy, you can use any chocolate chips you may find lying around your house and any kind of whole milk or cream will work for this recipe! Stays warm and melted for a while, even when taken off heat) Dip marshmallow and graham crackers for a good way to do “indoor s’mores” as well!

Popcorn on the stove: In a large pot, line the bottom with oil and sprinkle popcorn kernels. Turn on heat. Once kernels start popping, shake pop continuously until the popping mostly stops. After popped, pour into a bowl and add your favorite seasonings!

Indoor S’mores:  You don’t need a real fire to enjoy this ooey gooey treat!

Indoor campfires are a great way to bring the Camp spirit into your home.  Take a look at this video of our Head Counselor, Sarah Faulkner and Division Leader, Angie Weldon leading a group of camp professionals in an indoor campfire just a few weeks ago!

 CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO

 

An exciting announcement about our Founder, Scott Brody!

Kids jumping with towels

We’ve got some exciting news to share!  Everwood Day Camp’s Founder, Scott Brody was just elected to serve as the Chairman of the Board of the American Camp Association! This is a major honor for Scott, and an opportunity to help children from across the nation to thrive and succeed in a rapidly changing world.   The American Camp Association, accredits high quality camp programs like ours, and supports the training of camp staff  so that all can benefit from the learning and growth that occurs at Camp. Scott’s hard work and dedication to children and to supporting his fellow camp professionals has resulted in this incredible honor and opportunity to serve, and we couldn’t be prouder of our founder, friend and mentor.

From their announcement:

Scott is an educator and thought leader in the areas of 21st-century learning, workforce development, and child development. He is the founder of Everwood Day Camp in Sharon, Massachusetts, and the owner and director of Camps Kenwood & Evergreen. Scott is also a strategic partner of IDEAS Education in Beijing, China. Scott has been an Executive Board member of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning in Washington, DC, and leads P21’s work in “Beyond School” education. Scott has led multiple briefings for the US Congress on the ways in which high quality camp experiences promote college and career readiness and speaks globally on these issues on behalf of the camp profession. Scott is the government affairs chair of both the American Camp Association and the Massachusetts Camp Association and is a member of ACA’s CARE Committee. Scott is a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Jewish Camp and the American Camp Association where is also a past Board Vice President. He is also the author of an award-winning article for Camping Magazine entitled “Teaching the Skills that Children Need to Succeed.” Scott is an honors graduate of UC Berkeley and received a juris doctor from Boston College Law School in 1990.

Click on the image above to see the full announcement!

Please join us in celebrating our friend Scott’s incredible achievement, and for his continued work on behalf of young people all over the world! 

Announcing Everwood’s New Swim Program

Here at Everwood Day Camp we fully embrace the idea of growth mindset, and that there are always ways we can learn, grow and improve. With that in mind we are so excited to share with you some updates to our swim instruction curriculum and programming for the Summer of 2018. In partnership with the incredibly knowledgable and talented Andy Broido of Swimconsultant.com we have created a child centered swim program that will keep your swimmer moving forward and developing a love of the water! Some of you may recognize Andy’s work as she has closely consulted with the beloved Little Flippers Swim School as well as PODS in Providence…. Here a little more about what to expect…

Our Goal:
Our goal for our swim program is to teach water safety and instill in all students a true love for the water.  In fact we want our campers to love it so much they could live in the water.  To achieve this our goal is that all swimmers feel safe, balanced, comfortable, and happy in the water. This is how swimming and a love of water becomes a skill for life!

The Curriculum:
Our new and updated curriculum has been developed over many years of teaching experience and have proven effective in teaching children to swim. The curriculum focuses on learning breath control, bouyancy and balance in the water.  All our instructors will follow our progressions and lesson plans to insure consistent, effective classes.  Classes will incorporate lots of fun games, songs, and unique equipment to motivate every child

Recognition and Awards: Campers and their parents will receive continued feedback on their progress through our new ribbon rewards.  As campers achieves a new goal/skill they will receive a ribbon recognizing this achievement.  Collect them and watch your child’s confidence and pride soar.

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Staff Training: Just a few weeks ago we had the opportunity to bring all of ourswim instructors to the Little FlippersSwim school facility in Winchester, to learn from Andy and other Little Flippers leadership team members.  Staff were in the the water practicing with each other and are ready for a summer in our beautiful lake with our campers!  

Please feel free to reach out with any questions about the swim program.  You can Direct questions to the following Everwood Leadership Team members:

Megan Martinsen, Main Campus Waterfront Director

Meredith Bertoni, Main Campus Head Lifeguard

Tom Doering: Upper Campus Waterfront Director

Kristen Kelly:  Upper Campus Head Lifeguard

Summer Camp for Kids- Now More Than Ever- By Andy Pritikin

Lower camp on Wibit with life vests

We hear it all the time- “What’s with these young people? They can’t focus, can’t communicate, they’re entitled, self-centered, constantly staring at their screens!” Well folks, this is the generation we have fostered. Technology snuck up on us, we gave them all participation trophies, and now we have to work alongside of them for the rest of our lives. But, today’s parents are generally better at understanding what is lacking in their children’s development and are prioritizing differently for the children we are raising now.

For the past 150 years, our educational system has focused on “the 3 R’s”, hard skills, memorizing dates, formulas and vocab words, while in the 21st Century, the world suddenly changed. All of a sudden, millions of jobs have become antiquated and disappeared. To paraphrase the Global Markets Institute, as automation became cost-effective, the bulk of the workforce has shifted from ‘doing’ the work (HARD SKILLS) to organizing, coordinating and supervising the increasingly complex resources behind it (SOFT SKILLS). While there are currently an estimated 7.4 million unemployed workers, there are 5.6 million job openings. That’s a huge SKILLS gap, and according to employers, it’s not the hard skills that’s the problem, it’s the lack of soft skills of the entering workforce.

According to the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (p21.org), which is comprised of Fortune 500 business leaders and progressive educators, the top skills sought by today’s employers are:

  1. Oral Communication (great texters and tweeters, but not great face-to-face)
  2. Teamwork & Collaboration (great on their own, not so much when working with others)
  3. Professionalism & Work Ethic (personal satisfaction reigns supreme- YOLO!)
  4. Written Communication (most of today’s teachers have literally given up)
  5. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving (Parents micro-manage their children to the point in which they can’t do things for themselves)

Add to this picture that 30% of students entering 4-year college programs DROP OUT after their first year, and only 56% graduate within SIX years. Why is this? Besides financial burdens, see the big five p21 skills above that our kids are lacking, especially #5 when Mommy or Daddy aren’t around to fix their problems!

So where can we help young people find these skills? Schools are focused on standardized tests, Families run their children from obligation to obligation, plus homework, and the allure of xBox, YouTube, Instagram and the DVR. Where can children experience a “Step Back in Time” to a more care-free environment like we experienced as kids, unencumbered by technology, where people interact by actually speaking to one another, face to face, outside amongst nature, in a supportive environment that fosters the development of skills that employers are looking for in the 21st Century, away from their over-loving and ever-hovering parents? At SUMMER CAMP!

Summer Camps have existed for over 100 years, but have become more important for the development of children than EVER before. Children work together in groups, led by energized staff who lead by example, forced to communicate and compromise with one another, conquering their fears, pushing beyond perceived limits, making and keeping friendships, and learning an abundance of new skills (hard and soft).

The American Camp Association estimates that 11 million children attend Summer Camp annually, which leaves another 30 million who do not. Why is this? What holds back the uninitiated parent from enrolling their children to Camp? After growing a successful program in an area with no prior culture of Camp, I present to you my top three excuses:

  1. “Too much money.” Of course, this is a perceived belief, as there are camps in all price ranges, and if the camp experience was valued as much as “camp people” attest (priceless), these families could stay at a smaller hotel at Disney, or make other choices to give their children a summer camp experience. Many adults say that they learned more about life at Camp than they did at College, at a fraction of the price!
  2. “I just want my kids to relax during the summer.” As they should, and boredom (without screens) is an important component of growth. After a couple of days immersed in a quality Camp program though, children find it very relaxing and enjoyable. They can play video games, stare at their phones and sleep late in the time they will still have at home.
  3. “I want to spend time with my children.” That’s wonderful, but will you be providing meaningful opportunities that teach your children important character and life skills this summer, or just entertaining them? Camp can do both!

At Summer Camp, children take advantage of the unique “out of school learning environment” that is able to teach the vital life skills that traditional schools can not- Skills that allow children to grow into happy, successful, contributing members of society. In a world today that often seems to de-value virtues like kindness and acceptance, Camps create a culture that makes it cool to be kind. As parents, we do our best to provide a strong foundation for our children in our homes, like nutrient-rich soil for our little seedlings. Summer Camp provides an environment for our little flowers to flourish and bloom, outside in the fresh air and sunshine of the summer!

 

Andy Pritikin - Founder - Everwood Day CampAndy Pritikin is the owner/director of Liberty Lake Day Camp in Bordentown, NJ, founding partner of Everwood Day Camp in Sharon, MA, and President of the American Camp Association NY/NJ. andy@libertylakedaycamp.com