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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: camp, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 17 of 17
1. Three Memorable Visits to United Cerebral Palsy After School Programs

I was invited to visit three separate After School Programs this week for United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida. This generous organization serves over 1,800 children and adults in South Florida with Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, autism, spina bifida, prematurity, hearing, intellectual disabilities and speech delays with a variety of programs such as occupational, speech and music therapy, skills courses, respite care, counseling, after care and much more.

I discovered that most authors decline invitations to visit organizations that serve those with special needs. I suppose it is because they feel their books are not geared toward that type of audience. I was happy to visit these children knowing  they would simply enjoy listening to my cartoon voices, looking at the colorful pictures and dancing to the music. Some may not understand the story I am telling, but that’s not what enrichment is all about.

All the participants enjoy my world map and were proud to use the pointer to show others where their favorite places are in the world.

We learn about the animals of the Costa Rican rainforest.

The kids cheer when I tell them the book is recorded on CD with music and sound effects, and of course they want to know all about the story.

What I realized this week while spending time with the program participants is that they teach us how to live in the moment and be truly happy from the inside out. Dancing is the best!!!

And they sure like to give great hugs!

Teacher, Mr. Albert wanted to get in on the hug action too! LOL!

Ah, learning about the magic of watercolor pencils!

The teachers and assistants who work in the UCP After School Programs are equally as inspiring as the children. Their energy, dedication and love for what they do are truly remarkable. I wish to thank Allyson Nanny for inviting me and Site Directors Pat McGee and Lakeya Hariott as well as all the other wonderful staff members.

For more information about UCP programs, be sure to visit the United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida website.

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2. 2013 Community Upstander award goes to...

“THE ANTI-BULLYING NOVELIST,” ELAINE WOLF, WINS 2013 COMMUNITY UPSTANDER AWARD



  Acclaimed novelist Elaine Wolf has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Community Upstander Award for her books and her anti-bullying mission. Known as “the anti-bullying novelist,” Wolf writes about what really goes on behind the closed gates and doors of our camps and schools––where, she says, means girls (and boys) practice bullying as if it were a sport.


“Wolf writes with insight and authority about an issue that society cannot afford to ignore.”

—Kirkus Reviews

Camp (Sky Pony Press) was chosen as Book of the Month by the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (New York), which is presenting the Community Upstander Award on May 1st. Camp was given “a perfect 10” by the Voice of Youth Advocates and named a first place winner by the Forward National Literature Award Committee. It appears on “Publishers Weekly Bullying Resources: A Selected Listing.” Reviewers call Camp  “a mesmerizing book” and “a must-read for adolescents and the adults who care about them.”

_______________________________________________________________


Reviewers say Danny’s Mom (Arcade Publishing) is “a must-read for all parents and teachers.” The Advocate calls Danny’s Mom “an excellent and essential read for mothers, adults who work in schools, and the LGBT community” and features the novel in “Books for Young LGBT Folks and Anyone Who Wants to Understand Them.” A reviewer for The Denver Post adds: "You think only students have to deal with backstabbing and bullying in high school? Think again. Wolf's heroine, a high school guidance counselor, fights back."




________________________________________________________________
Camp and Danny’s Mom have given Elaine Wolf a literal bully pulpit––a platform from which to carry on the anti-bullying conversation until our camps and schools are safer for everyone.


Elaine Wolf is an award-winning writer and the author of Camp and Danny's Mom. She is a former middle school and high school teacher and district language arts chairperson. The world she writes of is one she is passionate about and knows well. She lives with her husband in Northampton, Massachusetts.



1 Comments on 2013 Community Upstander award goes to..., last added: 4/11/2013
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3. The Little Woods - Review


Publication date: 10 July 2012 by Schwartz & Wade
ISBN 10/13: 0375869433 | 9780375869433

Category: Young Adult Fiction
Format: Hardcover, ebook
Keywords: Camp, Murder, Mystery


Kimberly's synopsis:

Calista Wood arrives at St. Bede's Academy half way through the year. She's been granted a free ride, but there's more than school on her mind. Ten years ago, her sister and another girl mysteriously vanished outside this school. Now Calista is back, searching for answers to her sister's disappearance.

Kimberly's review:

I'm sorry to say I didn't care for this book. While the opening chapter hooked me in, I felt pretty lost through the beginning half of the novel. Callie enters the boarding school with hope that this prestigious school will help her get into a better college. Within the first few chapters, many different characters are introduced, none of them very memorable.

I liked Callie's spunk and the dialogue was fast and fun at times. But for all of that, when confronted with her peers, Callie didn't feel complete to me. The story starts moving about half way when a body is found in the woods behind the school. It's not her sister's, but it starts a chain reaction that leads Callie to investigate everyone around her.

Her boyfriend Alex, is bland. The other boy she's interested in, Jack, is a little richer, but the relationship is so lukewarm for so much of the book, it's hard to see him as a romantic lead by the time it does come around. Everyone else, including Queen Bee Helen and the mean girl groupies, were really hard to visualize.

I had a real problem with a lot of the relationships in the book. None of them seemed healthy, and by the end when everything is revealed, it's so distasteful, I imagine this prep school is run by Jersey Shore grads. For me, all of that took away from the overall mystery of the sister's disappearance. I really wanted to like this book, but the mystery left me flat and the school politics were cold.


You can find the author at www.mccormicktempleman.com.

Find more reviews by Kimberly at The Windy Pages.

8 Comments on The Little Woods - Review, last added: 9/8/2012
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4. More Summer Reading

Lest you think from our Back to School post that we’re completely over summer, we thought we’d highlight a few books that will get you through the rest of the dog days.  There are still several more weeks left until it cools down, and these great reads will help you hang on to the summer days:

I’M A SHARK by Bob Shea
Even sharks can be afraid… (watch the adorable video)

DUDE: FUN WITH DUDE AND BETTY by Lisa Pliscou, illustrated by Tom Dunne
Dick and Jane…surfer style!

JUNONIA by Kevin Henkes
10-year-old Alice Rice grows up during her family’s annual summer vacation in Florida.

JEREMY BENDER VS. THE CUPCAKE CADETS by Eric Luper
Check out this hilarious video of Eric Luper interviewing Eric Luper.

WITHERING TIGHTS by Louise Rennison
A summer performing arts camp?  Boys, snogging, and bad acting guaranteed!  Recommend to your fans of “Glee” or Georgia Nicholson.

FINS ARE FOREVER by Tera Lynn Childs
Mermaids are the next vampires…or werewolves…or angels…!  This sequel to

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5. Amazing Sleepover


I loved seeing my kids walk off to camp each day ready for adventure, fun, & friends. They were so sad when it ended. If only school could be this fun! Summer is slipping by too quickly.

No, this is not our new home, we had the amazing opportunity to go on a sleepover at the Monterey Bay Aquarium last weekend. Many of the animals, especially the octopus, are more active at night & the lack of crowds was so great. We were surprised to see the fish sleeping in a vertical position in the kelp garden. It was an eery sight. We got to sleep in front of the huge Outer Bay tank filled with hammerhead sharks, tuna, rays, & sardines. Bubbles shoot up the glass at night to keep the animals from slamming into the glass. The ethereal effect is mesmerizing and relaxing. Of course, no one got any sleep that night, but it was worth it.

The jellies are my absolute favorite animals at the aquarium. I could watch them for hours if I had the chance.

I love my new camera!!! I would never have gotten this shot without it. It looks like Kiyon is holding the wave at bay.

If only he could have held the flu bug back this effectively. He came down with the flu during the sleepover, poor guy. We ended up taking him to the ER when his fever spiked Sunday evening. His dad & little brother kept him entertained by practicing the moon walk while we waited for the doctor. I think he was hoping to be admitted to the hospital just to get away from the nonstop Michael Jackson songs his brother was belting out. We have instituted new rules to save our sanity and it seems to be working for now.

3 Comments on Amazing Sleepover, last added: 8/7/2009
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6. Five Random Thoughts


1.  I truly appreciate my campground this time of year.  Not because it's empty  . . .

 

but because I can get out and walk it every day.  Cookie by my side, I try to power walk up and down the hills 5 times a week.  And every single time I see something new that's beautiful or interesting.  Then there are the leisurely hiking days, when we try to catch eagles, geese, beavers and loons at play. 


2.   I received a wonderful rejection notice yesterday.   It was full of positive comments that had me smiling.  The rest were exceedingly helpful.   If I have to get rejections, these are the kind to get! 


3.  Hubby is taking me to lunch today to celebrate the end of the season!  He's so sweet . . .


4.  Hubby and I are also in the process of arranging our 25th anniversary trip for March.  This will be the first time in 20 years that we've had a whole week away, alone, together . . . that is not work related.   We've been offered the awesome deal of a family member's  timeshare week and have been pouring over all the awesome places we could go.  We're looking for romance factor . . . not too busy . . . on the ocean . . . Oh, it's so much fun to choose!!   I think we've narrowed it down to Aruba or St. Maarten.


5. I started re-reading my sci-fi middle grade last night.  This time around, I'm logging into a spreadsheet a brief description of each chapter and what each character is doing within that chapter.  This way, I can see it all at a glance and try to figure out what to do with the second half of that plot.   I'm also considering cutting a character . . . but . . . hmmmm . . .  maybe I need to take a walk to figure that out.

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7. So bad it’s good?

I must have been among the last 30 people in the U.S. to see Avatar, but recently, I did. Without re-opening the whole can of worms on this movie, it struck me as the strangest combination I’ve ever seen of wondrous, amazing stuff and utter dreck in the same movie.

And it got me thinking about movies that are “so bad they’re good.” This is almost a sub-genre, the stuff cult hits are made of, and it seems that most of the candidates are spec fic. I’m sure everyone would have his or her own list, but some of the old campy sci-fi or horror classics — Mars Needs Women, Barbarella, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Deathrace 2000, Sssssss, Island of Terror — would make a number of them.

But I have never heard anyone say a book was “so bad it’s good.” Books are just good… or not. Why do you think that is? What’s the difference between movies and books in this regard?

Or have you ever read a book that was so bad it was good, and if so, what was it?

— Joni, who wonders if books are taken too seriously to ever be campy


Filed under: Joni Sensel Tagged: camp, movies

9 Comments on So bad it’s good?, last added: 3/4/2010
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8. Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown

Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

A fourth book in the spectacularly funny Lunch Lady series, this book returns with the same formula of humor and action.  In this book, Lunch Lady is working at a summer camp that the Breakfast Bunch kids just happen to be attending.  This is not going to be the relaxing summer they all expected!  A swamp monster is on the loose at camp, coming out only at night.  Now Lunch Lady and the kids have to once again join forces to find out who is behind the attacks.

The puns here are just as funny as in all of the previous books.  They are guaranteed to have readers groaning and then sharing them aloud with friends.  The art is just as simple and fun too, sticking to the limited color palette that marks this clearly as a Lunch Lady book. 

A winning addition to a very popular series, every library should have this series for young graphic novel fans.  Appropriate for ages 7-10.

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9. Love and Pollywogs from Camp Calamity, by Mary Hershey


Effie Maloney is dying to go to camp! Ever since her big sister Maxey had come home from her end of 4th grade experience at Camp Wickitawa, Effie has been excited. She can’t imagine anything better than a week away from home, her sister and her family with her 2 best friends Nit (short for Trinity) and Aurora at camp! She is super happy that the Principal of her school is letting one of her bffs Aurora go to camp with them, since Aurora doesn’t even go to St. Dom’s anymore!

Effie has been planning and planning, but there are a couple of things that she definitely is not ready for.  The first is that big sister Maxey will be at camp with her. Sure she will be working in the kitchen, but still…Effie really wanted this to be her year at camp. Secondly, she is stunned when she finds she doesn’t even want to get off the bus! All the planning, all of the reading of the camp handbook, all of the anticipation seems to have evaporated.

Effie is beside herself. Here she is at Camp Wickitawa with Aurora and Nit and Effie can tell that there is something terribly wrong. She feels like she can’t breathe and she’s cold all over. She is trying to be excited, but she’s finding it incredibly difficult. Add the fact that everyone else seems to be finding their place with ease, and Effie is feeling more like an outcast than ever! She’s not liking the food, she’s not connecting with her friends, she’s the only 4th grader who can’t swim, and the only thing that she seems to be good at is walking her bunkmates to the biffy in the middle of the night.

Effie’s CIT Cricket says that soon she’ll be so busy that her mind will be off of feeling badly. Effie’s not sure she believes Cricket, but since her mom is away from home at a well deserved retreat, there’s not much she can do about it but try.

The funny thing is, things do get a bit better without Effie even noticing.First, there is Chica who lives at the camp and decides that Effie is going to be her friend. Next, there is the cute boy Swat who works in the kitchen and always remembers that she likes to drink iced tea. Then there is the fact that her friends are rallying behind her when they realize that she is uncomfortable. There is nothing like having 2 best friends!

This is the third book featuring Effie Maloney, but readers will have no problem picking it up if they have not read the first two (Effie Maloney: My Big Sister is So Bossy She Says You Can’t Read This Book and 10 Lucky Things That Have Happened to Me Since I Nearly Got Hit by Lightning). Effie is a super likable, if somewhat worry filled, character who readers will root for. This installment sees her getting a little deeper in her judging of other people as well as her understanding of herself.

Mary Hershey writes with a truly hilarious voice that had me laughing out loud several times during my read (starting with one of the funniest first lines I have come across in a long time)! Effie and her friends are heartfelt and believable, and most readers will see themselves somewhere in these pages.

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10. Batman, Star Wars and catching frogs

We believe that a lot of movies - particularly the more violent ones - are not for little kids. Just a personal feeling that they are not really appropriate - ie. the ratings. Today, Mo came home talking about how he was playing at recess with the boys and they were playing Batman and Star Wars and he had no idea what they were. He played along for awhile, but the jig was soon up. Then, once again - he played by himself. Let me preface this and say - he JUST turned five.

Are we hampering his social development by making him the 'different' kid on the playground? Is his childhood going to be like mine? Amazing at home and terrible in the school yard? What are we to do? We read Roahl Dahl books (dark indeed), do not filter information about death and sickness, but explain it when asked. He watches the news with us, and we tell him the truth. He knows where his food comes from and where babies come from... and yet I feel like maybe, maybe we SHOULD let him watch these movies.

Then, this past weekend, we were at a beautiful wedding at Camp Wanakita. My Tent Sisters were there - fellow wild women of the woods (one was getting married), and my friends little guy - well - he is JUST LIKE mine. They played non-stop, in the sand, in the creek, in the trees. Not one mention of movies or superheroes, they talked bird calls and cool rocks. Too bad he lives all the way in Nelson, BC. They performed their made-up songs on the stage and ran themselves ragged at the party. SO neat to see, Mo has great friends - better than great friends, but this connection is was a rare jewel.



So, I guess, there has to be some sort of happy medium - but where is it exactly? In the meantime, well walk in the woods and enjoy some wholesome time - and let him just be a kid. Soon enough he will start arguing to watch things we don't agree with.

1 Comments on Batman, Star Wars and catching frogs, last added: 10/13/2010
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11. Camps Covered Secrets by K.G. Whitaker

5stars Thirteen year-old Jessie lives in an emotionally abusive home with an all but absent father and a stepmother who goes out of her way to make life a living hell for Jessie.  With twin stepsiblings thrown into the mix, this is a modern day Cinderella with a twist.  There is no prince this time.  [...]

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12. Summer


Sorry to be such a bad blogger. It's hard to do everything in the summer when the kids are home. I'm trying to soak up every last minute of relaxing with my family while it lasts. School starts soon. I always dread it, but I do love the regular work hours it brings.

This is a photo of my kids going off to camp. I just love watching them go off to their day of fun and friends. I wish I had taken this photo every year they've gone. It'd be fun to see the growth, which has been beyond reason this year. My oldest is wearing size 12 shoes. How can that be? He was super tiny when he was born. Maybe even smaller than the shoe. How does a tiny peanut get so big so fast? It flies, my friends. Enjoy every single moment with your kids and don't blink! They'll be big before you know it.

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13. I Spy With My Little Eye, Something That Rhymes with Vaughnfest

I don't suppose that this sort of thing is limited to librarians, but certainly members of my profession would take an interest in the prizes. DK Publishing is riding the publicity machine via a contest. Whaddaya win?
GRAND PRIZE
One grand prize winner will receive 100 Eyewitness books* of their choosing!
(*based on availability)

RUNNERS-UP
Five Runners-Up will receive a set of the four new Eyewitness titles, plus a set of the eight re-launched backlist titles!

THIRD PLACE
25 Third Place winners will receive a set of the four new Eyewitness titles!
Eyewitness has its charms. Nobody in their right mind would ever use it as a reliable reference text, but for those kids who bat their long lashes at you and plead for something ANYTHING on one topic or another, they tend to do very well. Go wild, pretty kitties.

3 Comments on I Spy With My Little Eye, Something That Rhymes with Vaughnfest, last added: 5/28/2007
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14. Chiggers


I love the camp story almost as much as the boarding school story, so imagine my delight when this gem of a graphic novel showed up at work.

Abby is the first girl to show up at camp. She cannot wait to see her friend Rose, who is a cabin assistant this year. Their age difference has never been an issue before, but now, things seem different. Add on the fact that Deni, the girl who claimed the bunk below Abby, does nothing but talk and complain all the time. After listening to Deni all day, Abby is worried that she will never get any sleep. But Deni doesn't talk all night ... she scratches! What is going on?

Before long, Deni goes home and Abby has a new bunk mate named Shasta. Shasta is cool and pretty and she actually likes all of the things that Abby does. The thing is, that none of Abby's other friends like Shasta. Abby is wondering...do they like her? Afterall, she and Shasta are kind of similar.

Hope Larson has penned a graphic novel that rings so true on themes of frienship, identity, first crushes, summertime freedom and the idea of loyalty. The black and white artwork perfectly compliments the story, and readers will be falling in love with Abby before they know it! Chiggers should be in the luggage of every girl heading off for camp this July!

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15. Dachau, Germany

bens-place.jpg

Dachau, Germany

Coordinates: 48 15 N 11 26 E

Population: 40,570 (2007 est.)

The old village and sixteenth-century palace here attest to the fact that Dachau, located just north of Munich on the Amper River in Upper Bavaria, has been inhabited for centuries. In spite of such history however, it will forever be remembered as the site of the first Nazi concentration camp. When it was established in March 1933, the former munitions factory held just under 5,000 prisoners but in a little more than a decade, the population had swelled to more than 14 times that number. American forces liberated Dachau on April 29, 1945. Visitors who enter what remains of the walled camp today will find the foundations of numerous barracks, the crematorium, gas chambers, a museum in the main building, and numerous memorials scattered around the grounds.


Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.

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16. Everything You Need to Know About Summer Camp - Interview With Beth Schaefer and Michael Knauf of French Woods Summer Camp

Smart Poodle loves kids, and kids love to go to summer camp. Parents always have so many questions about camp, and there’s no better place to get the answers than from the experts at one of America’s best-loved summer camps – French Woods. Today we are interviewing Camp Staff Director Beth Schaefer and her husband, Marketing Director Michael Knauf, also head of the Video, Computer, and Visual Arts Departments. 

French Woods is an extraordinary performing arts camp for kids ages 7 to 17. It is located in beautiful Hancock , NY, with an office in Coral Springs, FL.

frenchwoods_arial

A bird’s-eye view of the sprawling acreage of French Woods Camp

Many parents are apprehensive about sending their children to sleep-away camp. What advice do you have for them?

(Beth) Leaving home for the first time can be difficult. Whether you are seven and heading away to summer camp or if you are eighteen and heading off to college. Personally, having grown up at my Dad’s summer camp and never truly learning to be on my own, I was terrified to leave home for school and put off truly heading out on my own until I was over twenty one! I would want my own child to have the confidence to learn that self-reliance at in a safe environment like a summer camp. The earlier you start, the easier it can be!

(Michael) The biggest problems we have with kids making the adjustment to being away from home, comes from the parents, not the children. To make it easiest for your child, talk to the camp staff for advice before they come to camp, and work with them to help your child have a successful experience. The kids have a support network built into camp, the parents do not — don’t let the fact that you miss your child make it harder on them to make the adjustment.

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Camp Staff Director, Beth Schaefer, enjoying horseback riding

What is important for parents to consider when choosing a camp?

(Beth) Families look at different things when choosing a program. Some look for a traditional or religious camp, while others look for specialty programs. Many specialty camps are fairly pinpointed in nature, offering only one type of program. Make certain that the program your child is looking at offers enough diversity to keep your child’s interest during the duration of their stay while focusing on the lessons you wish to teach.

(Michael) Consider your child’s interests first. If they hate sports, sending them to a baseball camp may not be good for them. One camp can be very different than the next in the programs offered, the general atmosphere, and the amount of flexibility they offer each child. Some kids will do very well in a traditional program, some will do better in a specialty program, and some will do best in a program like French Woods, which offers individual choice. I highly recommend visiting the camp while it is in session, to get a feel for the place.

Is there a way for parents to accurately check out a camp’s reputation so they can feel comfortable that their kids are in good hands?

(Beth) The primary camping association is the American Camping Association. This nation wide organization requires camps to adhere to strict standards of procedures, policies and practices. Visit the camp while in session and speak to the director. Perhaps the most valuable tool, however, is to speak to a family who has been to the camp and discuss their experience.

(Michael)

You can also use internet opinion sites like epinions.com or campratingz.com, but like everything on the internet, these sites are often abused… if you ignore the best and worst ratings, you’ll likely get a pretty fair impression.

What do you do to appease homesick campers?

(Beth)At French Woods, we know that every child experiences home sickness in their own way and we try to give them the special attention they need to be successful during their summer at camp.

(Michael) As a basic philosophy, we think that it’s much better for a child to make it through the summer, rather than to give up after a little difficulty. To support that we will do anything required to help a child through homesickness. It is important to realize that it is very normal and happens to nearly every child to some degree or another. We find that the best response to homesickness is to give the child extra attention and to keep them busy, something that we can do very well at French Woods because of our high counselor-to-camper ratio and our wide range of activities.

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When camp is not in session, husband and wife team, Michael and Beth travel the globe recruiting camp staff members (Lima, Peru)

When should I start thinking about registering for French Woods?

(Beth)The best time to register for camp is prior to September 15th so that you can benefit from our early registration discounts. Our middle two sessions begin to close around January and the first and fourth follow suit shortly thereafter.

(Michael) You should start thinking about camp in general for your child when you think they would benefit from it, for some children that’s as early as 7 years old, for some it’s later. The benefits of camp include developing individuality and independence.

How many campers do you have at French Woods?

(Beth) Depends on the session – session one is deliberately kept small at about 250 campers. Sessions two through four run at up to 650 campers.

(Michael) That makes French Woods a large camp, but there are benefits to size, among them a very rich program offering and a great diversity of campers and staff.

bunk1

Spacious cabins at French Woods


How many counselors do you have?

(Beth) Our full staff will run at over 400 and each cabin is made up of 10-12 campers with a minimum of 3 counselors.

(Michael) French Woods is unique in that almost all of our counselors are qualified to teach in a specialty area, so the cabin counselors may be musicians, or coaches, or artists. We find that this encourages kids to try new activities that they might not otherwise be exposed to. It also allows us to attract terrific staff, because they also are at camp to do the things they love, their enthusiasm spills over to the kids, too.

Where do the staff members come from?

(Beth) We have staff from all over the world. We look for college students who are studying within their area of specialty and for teachers and professionals who function as senior teachers and counselors.

(Michael) Last summer we had counselors and campers from more than 46 countries.

What types of concentrations do you offer for campers?

(Beth) While French Woods is known for our arts programs in theater, music, dance, circus and visual arts, our individual choice program also offers magic, waterfront, sports, horseback riding and skate park. Every child at camp is welcome to participate in all areas of program regardless of their primary concentration.

(Michael) Our program is unique; each camper works with our staff to design their own individual program, made up from the more than 90 activities we offer. Kids that are serious about dance, can take dance classes all day long, kids that are mad for theater can spend all their time doing theater. We have kids that focus on one area of activity, and kids that dabble in a wide variety of different activities; it all depends on the child. We even allow the parents to have input on the process, and to suggest activities that we should encourage the child to try.


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“We love camp! The camaraderie among the kids is awesome!” says Michael

Can you describe for us what putting on a full theater production at camp entails from audition to performance?

(Beth) Because children do not audition to be accepted to French Woods, they go through a placement process when they arrive at camp. Within theater, the kids do a basic audition for every show they are eligible for by age in a mass audition for the directors. They can sing something as simple as Happy Birthday or come with a prepared audition piece - we provide the accompanist. Dancers, musicians and kids interested in circus will go through a low pressure placement too.

Later in the day individual theater directors will ask kids they need to see again to return for a “call back” where they might sing or act from the show they are directing. That evening, the theater director meet cast all the shows. We make sure that each child is cast in the best roll available to them. Every child who auditions for a musical is cast in a show.

Shows rehearse for two to three hours each day for two and a half weeks. Musicals have rehearsals with full pit orchestras and the sets, costumes and props are prepared for each show. During our final weekend of each session, we invite parents and friends to come visit so they can see the final performances in each of our five theaters in repertory style. What the kids produce is incredible. Every summer I am impressed by the talent of the kids at camp.

(Michael) The theater department is supported by the music department, which provides orchestras for the musical theater productions – also made up of campers and staff, the costume department, the tech theater sound and lighting departments, the dance department (for choreography) the props department, and the stagecraft department, for sets. Campers are involved in every area and the support from every area helps the productions really come together and feel professional. There’s also opportunities for kids who don’t want to be on stage: to design costumes, to run sound and lighting boards, to move set pieces, or to play music for the shows.

That sounds like a lot of fun! It sounds like you have many talented campers and counselors. Do you have campers who return year after year?

(Beth) Of course! We also have kids who find us late in their teens who many times stay on as counselors.

chicago

French Woods production of the musical, Chicago

It must be sad when they are too old to return as campers.

(Michael) It is, but a surprising number stay in touch, and seeing kids build on the foundations they start at French Woods is very rewarding… this year, Beth and I have seen 8 or 10 current and former campers on Broadway, and that doesn’t mention the ones that go on to be fashion designers, or rock stars, or teachers, or writers…

What is your favorite part of being in camp yourself?

(Beth) The joy. Whether that it is the moment the kids see their friends who they haven’t seen since last summer, the thunderous applause of opening night, or watching a child discover that they are truly good at something, camp is about kids finding their joy; Helping kids do that is why we do what we do.

(Michael) Seeing the way the kids support one another. The camaraderie is awesome.

Beth and Michael, thank you for all this great insight. You have made summer camp sound like such an enriching experience for our children, and you have helped to ease parents apprehension. I wish I were a kid again!

To learn more about French Woods Camp, click here. Or call 845-887-5600.

A great place to start is by watching the video. The website is spectacular, and once you read about the extensive activites available to please every camper, you’ll understand why so many children return again and again, year after year.

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17. Camp Can't

Oh, I love it when one of my books is mentioned in one of the big magazines. This article at SLJ features books about summer camp, including our very own Claudia Cristina Cortez in Camp Can't.

I never went to camp as a girl. (I did--nerd alert!--go to gifted and talented day camp, which I'm guessing is not at all like sleepaway camp...) But I always loved reading about other kids' camp experiences. Camp seemed like this cool place where anything could happen. My husband, however, was not a fan of his sleepaway camp, so it will be interesting to see whether we send our little boy. Luckily, we have a few years to think about it.

The photo shoot for the Camp Can't cover was fun. The designer really had get creative to come up with a concept that would show the reader that Claudia was at camp and having kind of a hard time. Since the Claudia covers each use one photograph, it was difficult to figure out a photo that would communicate that simply. I love what the designer came up with--to me, it shows that Claudia's roughing it, and her hiking shoes prove that she's working hard. We also struggled with the title, but I love the end result--in this book, Claudia struggles with a lot of difficulties, like bullies, annoying little kids, problems with her friends, and trying hard to pass the swimming test. For a while, it really does seem like she "can't" get it right.

Did you go to camp? Love it, hate it? Should I send my kid, if he wants to go?

More soon!
Beth

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