What part of ‘la junta’ don’t you understand?

Hey, Camp Fans!

We love being the convenient stop before the camp session begins here at Everything Summer Camp–the recommended camp outfitter for roughly 250 summer camps across the country. And proud of our relationship with each of them, we love singing their praises on our Blog. That’s why today we’re shining our camp spotlight on the much-deserving Camp La Junta Boys Camp.
Sharpen your coordination skills at Camp La Junta!Tucked away on 200 acres between the scenic rolling landscape of Texas Hill Country and the pristine Guadalupe riverfront, Camp La Junta sits among wide open spaces. The beautiful, spacious campground is naturally shaded thanks to the ubiquitous cypress and oak trees.
Camp La Junta is a piece of heaven in Texas.
Never a dull moment, at La Junta, they keep their campers pretty busy throughout the summer sessions with awesome activities such as Horseback Riding, Archery, Mountain Biking, Riflery, Canoeing, Swimming, Scuba Diving, Athletics, Go-Cart Racing, Arts & Crafts, Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Football, Tennis, Fishing, Sailing, Kayaking, and even more!

The campers’ cabins may look rustic on the outside, but inside, they are roomy and remodeled as of 1990, offering comfort throughout the nights. TThis kid gives Camp La Junta a wet thumbs up!hey each provide a full bathroom with hot water available for the twelve campers as well as a cabin leader and leader-in-training.

Aside from their 19 wood paneled cabins, the campground is complemented with a conveniently laid out campus including the Old West Dining Hall, their all-weather recreation hall that provides air conditioning when it’s too hot out, an open air theater where campfires are had as well as Sunday services and awards ceremonies, horse stables, a covered activity pavilion of 6000 square feet, open fields, and much, much more.

Much more than just what you see on the surface, though, Camp La Junta provides its campers with the encouragement and opportunities to build lifelong confidence and shoot for their aspirations. Check out Camp La Junta for your camping experience and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Take some fun, healthy risks this summer and explore Camp La Junta.

 

Always be Closing…

Hey, Camp Parents!A wealth of knowledge lies within the pages of this excellent guidebook.

Today’s post concludes our July Tips and Advice series about Opening Day, Visiting Day, and Closing Day at summer camp. Using the endlessly helpful wisdom that Chris Thurber and Jon Malinowski put down in ‘The Summer Camp Handbook’, today I’m sharing tips on achieving a successful Closing Day. Check out these four great tips about things to do on the last day of camp:

Punctuality
First and foremost, know when Closing Day is! Unfortunately, there have been parents who have gotten confused about which day is Closing Day. Mark the date and mark it well. Also, punctuality is a big deal. It’s best not to give a single specific time that you’ll be there, but more of a window (from 9:30 – 10:30). You don’t want to be much later and have your kid worry, nor do you want to arrive too early and not be able to find your kid because they’re off running around, finishing some last-minute job.

Tasks
Plan to spend a little time at camp on Closing Day. You’ll have administrative chores like closing accounts, signing out, talking with the cabin leader, possibly checking with the medical staff, and combing through the lost-and-found. Most important, many kids want to share their positive experiences, give their parents a tour of camp, and introduce new friends. Yet, some kids just want to get in the car and go (even though they had a great time).

What to expect
Kids’ reactions to being reunited with their parents are tough to predict. All kids are different but most fall into categories of four typical reactions: 1) Most kids want to tell you anything and everything that happened at camp. 2.) Some kids are quiet, feeling a little sad to leave camp and want to leave quickly to get it over with. 3.) Still, other kids tear up at the close of camp and prefer to linger a while. 4.) And our last category likes to pick out the most dramatic thing that happened at camp and maybe exaggerate stories a tad. The main point is that you should be ready to play the day by ear since you won’t know what to expect.

Debriefing
Regardless of how your child acts on Closing Day, it’s always good to get an experienced adult perspective. The cabin leader is the best place to startGet your money's worth and really dig deep to find out how your kid's camp experience was!. These conversations can be insightful, but you may have to probe to get the information you want. Most cabin leaders tend to smile a lot and tell parents that the session went well. Part of their job is to have a positive attitude. Nevertheless, all cabin leaders mentally evaluate the kids with whom they work. How could they not have some opinions based on a week or more of living with your child? Ask some questions like these to get the answers you want:

•    What did you enjoy most about the session?
•    What were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
•    How did my child interact with the other kids? What kind of strengths and weaknesses did you pick up on?
•    Which activities did my child like best?
•    Were there any discipline problems with my child? How were they handled?
•    Was my child polite?
•    Is there anything to work on with my child before next year at camp?

Make Closing Day a warm, relaxed reunion and continue getting the most of your child’s summer camp experience right down to the very end. Have fun bringing your kid back home and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Get your own copy of The Summer Camp Handbook for a wealth of information about sending your kid to camp the right way!

Hot…Dogs?

Hey, Frank Fans!

Tomorrow is National Hot Dog Day. Standing tall alongside hamburgers, hot dogs are one of the most iconic of fun, summertime foods. From the privacy of your own backyard to the crowded stadium park at the ol’ ballgame—hot dogs are enjoyable everywhere! Wieners, Franks, Foot Longs, Dogs—no matter what you call them, they’re delicious! But they sure have collected a lot of names throughout the years.

Pork sausages (the hotdogs’ predecessor) were first made in Frankfurt, Germany which is what led to the name Frankfurters and, of course, ‘Franks’ for short. Foot Longs are pretty self explanatory and ‘Wiener’, in German, translates to ‘little sausage’. So how did the incredibly common name of Hot Dogs come about?

Well, as it does today, sausage came in all different shapes. The thin, long ones were noted for their likeness to the shape of dachshund dogs and so they adopted the name dachshund sausages for a very long time. Following the rise of Frankfurter popularity in the United States around the 1850s, butchers from Germany found a new home in America and introduced these dachshund dogs. Getcher hot dog on today!They were a big hit for street vendors as well as a fan favorite at baseball games. Our story takes place at a New York baseball game in 1901. Introducing a sports cartoonist named Tad Dorgan who, from his press box seats, overheard the vendors yelling out to the crowd, ‘Get your hot dachshund sausages here!’

Tad went home that night with the idea to depict the scene of the vendors among the crowd. He drew up the scene, but when he was writing the vendor’s word bubble, he realized he had no idea how to spell ‘dachshund’, so he just wrote ‘hot dogs’ down and coined the term overnight! Unfortunately the comic has never resurfaced.

Get prepared to celebrate Hot Dog Day tomorrow with hot dog bars so you can make your dogs up Chicago style, bacon-wrapped with blue cheese, with chili, or anything else you can think of. Happy Hot Dog Day and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

He’s a Starman

Hey, Summer Campers!

Today’s Blog post goes out in loving memory of the Starman whom the world said goodbye to after he lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. Legendary rock staThe legendary rock star who brought us music we'd never heard of before!r, David Bowie brought innovation and originality to his music, giving the world something that nobody had ever heard before. Launching himself into super stardom at a young age, believe it or not, he got his start at summer camp!

Indeed, his first recorded rock performance took pace at his scout camp on the Isle of Wight in August of 1958 under the same organization as a previously posted pop star who was a former camper with Corf Scout Camp: Paul McCartney. A fellow camper and longterm friend to David, George Underwood has an excellent recall of the performance back when they were just 11.

They played old classics like ‘Gamblin’ Man’, ‘Putting on the Style’, ‘16 Tons’, ‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett’, and more—George playing bass and David on ukulele . “We put a washboard bass in the back of the van, and David’s ukulele, and between us we managed to conjure up a couple of songs around the campfire,” George is quoted in the 2011 book ‘David Bowie: Starman’. David played the uke

“And that was our first public performance,” George goes on to say. “Neither of us had any claim to virtuosity–but we wanted to sing.” Following his dreams, David paved his own career path to pop stardom from his passion. Quite an influential singer, his voice is appreciatedThe Starman himself at summer camp. for its versatility and distinctive ability to soar wildly high and yet drop to a crooner’s rich quality in his lowest register.

Along with the guitar, the extremely talented David Bowie also played the keyboard, harmonica, saxophone, stylophone, viola, cello, koto, thumb piano, and drums. Forever remembered in the hearts of his fans the world over, David Bowie began his musical performances at summer camp. What will you begin? As always, thanks for reading, Campers!

- John

So! How did Camp Go?!

Hey, Camp Fans!

How was camp? At Everything Summer Camp, we REALLY want to know! That’s why we’re asking you to write us…AGAIN! We saw such a great response to our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest last summer that we felt compelled to do it again this year! We can’t wait to hear all your stories this year!We want to know how your camp experience went!

If you weren’t a participant last year, join in on the fun this time around! Whether you tell us about the one thing that was the most fun or talk about all the great people you met, we’d love to hear about your camp experience!

Please include your first name and your last name’s initial, what camp you visited, and how long you’ve been going to camp. You only need 150 words to qualify, however, we’re looking for submissions closer to 250. In these submissions, we encourage you to talk about YOUR camp and why you think it’s the best.

Figuring out what to write about is the hardest part.Not sure What to Write?                         l Well, you could tell us about the things you learned at camp like how to shoot an arrow or which way is north. You could share stories about all the friends you made while you were there. You could describe how it felt to be away from home. You could exercise your creative muscle and talk about the beautiful landscapes and natural surroundings you saw at camp. Or just give us something like a journal entry that chronicles a day in the life.

To Enter                                                                                                                          l You’ll need to submit your written story about your summer camp experience using the entry form found here. There’s no entry fee. If you’re under 18 years of age you’ll need the permission of a parent or guardian to enter the Contest.

Speaking of Parents                                                                                                          l We’d love to hear from you as well! Don’t hesitate to submit something yourself if you’d like to share your experience in sending your kid to camp. How did it go? Have you noticed any changes in your child since they got back? How did you fare with being away? How will you be better prepared for next year? Tell us anything you want. We’ll listen!
How'd camp go for you?Everybody who submits gets a $15 gift certificate to Everything Summer Camp!
Seven random winners will be chosen. Our first randomized winner will receive a $100 gift card for our website. We’ll then randomly pick two more winners to receive $50 gift cards to our site. After that, four random winners will get our $25 gift cards. Everyone else who submits will get the $15 gift cards.  Let us know what a blast camp was for you!

So tell us how camp went and share your stories right here on the Blog! Check out the entry form for further details and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Just Visiting

Hey, Visitors!

Welcome back to our Tips and Advice series in July for drop-offs, visits, and pick-ups. Borrowing from Chris Thurber and Jon Malinowski—authors of ‘The Summer Camp Handbook’—today’s post offers invaluable wisdom about visiting your kid at camp. All Fun---right this way at summer camp on Visiting Day!camps are different. Some have Visiting Days and others don’t. Your kid’s camp stay may only last a week in which case there’s likely no Visiting Day between the drop-off and pick-up.

If there is a Visiting Day, you should make every effort to go. If you simply can’t, try to work out another arrangement. Although it’s not as fun as seeing one’s own parents, kids do enjoy going out with their friends and their friends’ family on a Visiting Day. Set it up by phone, email, or fax to give permission for someone else to take your kid out of camp. You’ll want to make arrangements in advance so your camper is well-aware and comfortable with the plan.

But assuming that you can attend Visiting Day, here are some good things to keep in mind on Visiting Day:

Only Visit on Visiting Day
More so than phone calls, in-person visits are an immediate form of contact that can provoke homesickness in your child and spark envy among new friends. Unscheduled visits are disruptive to campers’ developing sense of independence. If you have any doubts about the appropriateness of your visit, be sure to call the camp first and speak with the director.

Be on Time
Stick to what you promised on opening day. Your son or daughter will be counting on it.
Be sure to visit during a designated visit time with camp permission, for sure!
Take a Tour
Your child would love to show you around camp. Keep any critical comments to yourself—this is your child’s time to shine, not defend the fun time they’re having.

Keep an Open Mind
You’ll wonder about certain aspects of camp. Ask gently for an explanation before passing judgment. Offer genuine praise for all of your child’s accomplishments.

Prepare for Strong Feelings
Visiting Day can be a wonderfully emotional time, but it’s often hard for kids to say goodbye. Resist the temptation to offer your child a ride home. Instead, be understanding and encouraging. You’ll see them again soon.

Share Sad News Early and in Person
Telling your child about the death of a pet or sharing any other bad news is best done in person, not in a letter or a phone call (when you’re not there to provide comfort). Break any bad news to your child early on Visiting Day to give you both time to talk about it.

To get even more great information about these six elements of Visiting Day, pick up your own copy of ‘The Summer Camp Handbook’. Have fun come Visiting Day and make sure you tune in next Monday for tips about Closing Day at summer camp. And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Get your own copy of The Summer Camp Handbook for a wealth of information about sending your kid to camp the right way!

Closeouts Blowouts!

Hey, Smart Shoppers!

Here at Everything Summer Camp, we’re always putting out some pretty sweet deals! If we’re not having some holiday sale or a summer camp sweepstakes type deal, you’re still sure to discover quality products whose prices have taken dives in our Closeouts Department. As the summer camp season starts winding down, it gives way to a slew of marked-down products.Enjoy Shopping our Closeouts Department!Supply is limited on some items. Most of you probably aren’t buying for camp anymore this year, but this is a great chance to get a jump on next camp season or pick up a few items that could be useful for school like rain jackets and backpacks.

We’ve added over 60 new items to our Closeouts Department. These are items that have either been discontinued or products that we are overstocked on. We may have overestimated a product’s popularity or simply bought too much. Neither the quality nor the style of these products plays a role in its placement in Closeouts.

Items in our Closeouts Department are on sale for 25%-70% off. Let’s take a look at some of the new additions:Are you a smiley camper?

25% Off
Pick up the Girls Arcadia and Boys Watertight Rain Jackets from Columbia. We also have Emoji Pillows discounted as well as Insect Repellent from Repel and Cutter.

34% Off
Get the Wenzel Moose Sleeping Bag for a steal! You can also find this deal on the Camelbak Eddy Water Bottles. And try on the Columbia EvaPOURation Rain Jacket for 34% off its regular price too!

50% OffKeep warm in the chilly nights of summer.
Pay half price for several of our Color War items along with some Apparel items like T-shirts, Sweatshirts, Sweatpants, and other articles. Find Fleece Blankets half off as well!

60% Off
Our price on Autographable T-Shirts is taking a huge dive along with our basic, solid-color Pillowcases. Also, get our Light My Fire Pack-Up Bottle for a more-than-reasonable price!Drink up in this innovative water bottle

70% Off
We know, we know…we got carried away. 70% OFF?!! No we’re not kidding. Get Tote + Able Canteens for almost free! You can also get our Camp Fire Collection Necklaces & Charms for way cheap—and don’t forget about a number of our camp trunk decoration Decals.

NOTE:  Since this isn’t really a sale so much as it is an announcement that new items have been added to our Closeouts, there isn’t any start or end date to the absurd discounts on these products. But don’t dally! These items are expected to go quick!

I didn’t even get around to mentioning ALL of the items that we’ve put in our Closeouts so you should really just browse the Department yourself! Enjoy shopping our Closeouts Department and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Take a walk on the Birch Trail

Hey, Camp Fans!

The recommended camp outfitter for roughly 250 summer camps, we here at Everything Summer Camp are proud to work with every single one of them! And we love singing the praises of the many camps with whom we’ve developed a working relationship too. That’s why today I’m shining our camp spotlight on the magnificent Birch Trail Camp for Girls.
b-i-r-c-h-t-r-a-i-lSituated along the eastern shore of Lake Pokegama among 430 acres of beautifully wooded northwestern Wisconsin, Birch Trail boasts one of the country’s leading wilderness trip programs. Birch Trail campers enjoy their summers under lush, tall trees, exploring the land and discovering all the animals that live there including the resident bald eagles!
Get your hands dirty with the creative process at Birch Trail Camp
Birch Trail Camp offers a plethora of incredible activities such as Archery, Ropes Course, Outdoor Cooking, Climbing, Horseback Riding, Wilderness Trips, Fishing, Field Hockey, Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, Tennis, Golf, Yoga, Painting, Nature Crafts, Photography, Chorus, Drama, Jazz Dance, everything you could want to do on 4700 feet of lake front, and so much more!

Your girls are in good hands at Birch Trail Camp with a camper-to-staff ratio of 2.5 to 1. Accommodating, campers live in cabins complete with electric, bunk beds, shelves, as well as a table and chairs. And wash-houses are located nearby the cabins that offer hot water and showers.

Must ash Bash at Birch Trail Camp for Girls!More than just a beautiful, natural setting, Birch Trail maintains beautiful, rustic buildings across their campgrounds like the main lodge, large craft shop, main office and trip-supply house, a theater, health center, and more! But camp is about much more than fun, rustic facilities and a charming environment. Camp is about feeding young people’s confidence and independence.

Feed your daughter’s personal growth and check out Birch Trail Camp for your daughter. Just click here to visit their website. Be sure to check out their cute video posted below and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Make Opening Day A-Okay!

Hey, Camp Parents!

The camp season is upon us and Opening Day is a BIG day for campers, parents, and staff alike. This post is the first of three throughout July that will focus on the important parts of navigating opening day, visiting day, and closing day at camp. Summer camp experts Chris Thurber and Jon Malinowski break down the six most important elements of a successful Opening Day in their comprehensive guidebook, ‘The Summer Camp Handbook’:

Make a Travel Plan
You’ll want to add an additional hour or two to your travel time when headed to camp. You might need to stop along the way for a toothbrush, pillow, or any other items that you suddenly realize were left at home. Plan a relaxed trip. Stop for lunch if camp opens in the afternoon. If camp registration starts in the morning and you live far from camp, it might be wisest to make the trip the day before and spend the night nearby. A positive attitude is key on this trip as it sets the tone for your kid’s entire camp experience!

Complete Registration
Registration is a way for the camp to ensure that everyone who is scheduled to arrive has made it to camp. Punctuality is important for camp registration; early arrivals inevitably interfere with the last-minute touches the staff is making. Be ready to meet directors, check in, get assigned a cabin, see the medical staff if you need to, unpack your kid’s Put your shoes on and get ready for summer camp!gear, and meet the staff. If you won’t be able to be with your kid at registration, you’ll need to complete some basic pieces of Opening Day by phone or mail.

Meet Your Child’s Leader
There are likely to be more than just one cabin leader who will be working closely with your kid this summer, but you’ll want to be sure to meet at least one of them. Open up to them about any physical, behavioral, emotional, and medical issues they should know about with your kid. It’s smart to ask the cabin leader questions about themselves too to give yourself a better idea of whose hands you’re leaving your child in. Ask questions about their own experience at camp, where they go to school, where they live. It’ll make you feel better.

Address Medical, Behavioral, and Emotional Concerns
Be sure to talk with the camp director and a representative of the medical staff about any concerns you have—especially medical conditions such as asthma, allergies, recent injuries, illnesses, physical disabilities, or any others. The decision about whether to share information is up to you, of course. However, it is hardly ever beneficial to leave the camp in the dark about significant issues. Had staff been informed about a problem or concern, they could have helped out right away instead of guessing at what a problem is.

Allocate Spending Money
Most camps do not allow campers to keep cash with them. Therefore, the camp may ask you to allocate spending money for your child to purchase items at the camp store, buy projects at the arts and crafts shop, pay for out-of-camp trips, and so on. Some camps include spending money in the registration fees; others ask you to make a deposit when you register. If the camp does not publish a suggested amount in their information packet, ask the director how much spending money is adequate. You’ll get back whatever is leftover at the end of the session.

Say Goodbye
It’s smart to ask your camper ahead of time how long they want to hang out together at camp before parents head home. Some kids want their parents to stick around, others are ready to push you out the door. How will you say good-bye? A short walk? A hug and a kiss? Just a hug? A high-five? Talking it over now will make your good-bye go more smoothly. Also, once you’ve said goodbye, you should make your resolved departure. Lingering or unexpectedly returning can increase your kid’s anxiety.

To get even more great information about these six elements of Opening Day, pick up your own copy of ‘The Summer Camp Handbook’. Enjoy Opening Day as best you can and tune in next Monday for tips about Visiting Days at camp. As always, thanks for reading!

- John
Get your own copy of The Summer Camp Handbook for a wealth of information about sending your kid to camp the right way!

At camp, it’s ON…very much unlike Donkey Kong

Hey, Gamers!

Innovation and technology in the video game field have been sweeping the nation since they got their start in the 70’s. From Tetris to Mario, Donkey Kong to Madden NFL, the world of video games has boomed in popularity with advancing possibilities. A leading branch of entertainment, a lot of good can be said about video games and their proficiency in experiential learning—just check out this Ted Talk from gaming expert Jane McGonigal.

Ray Montgomery—founder of Choose Your Own Adventure books said, “experiential learning is the most powerful way for kids, or for anyone, to learn something. It’s not lecturing, it’s experiential—hands-on learning. To a great extent, that’s gaming.” Choose Your Own Adventure books give readers interactivity, multiple-choice, and multiple-endings to make reading less of an academic challenge and more like a game!

Most overnight camps don’t allow video games. But if games are a good thing, why aren’t they allowed at camp?Video games are far from a bad thing, that just don't belong at camp is all.

Summer camp experts Chris Thurber and Jon Malinowski tackle that subject in their informative guidebook, ‘The Summer Camp Handbook’. Kids feel good when they win in a game they like. It boosts self-esteem and gives off a sense of ‘mastery’. Video games give kids control. And control is extremely important to kids who live in a world mostly controlled by adults.

Kids are told where to go, what to do, and how to do it all day long, but not in a video game. There the decisions are up to them. In a video game, YOU shoot the attacking zombies, YOU discover the secret exit, YOU defeat the boss. Video games sharpen skills and strengthen enthusiasm.

Camp, however, is a time to get back to nature. Camp does all the same great stuff of boosting skills and enthusiasm—it just does it among natural settings with the chance to physically participate in activities (not just virtually). As ‘The Summer Camp Handbook’ puts it, “The independence and self-esteem you gain won’t be spoiled by electrical blackouts, computer glitches, or soda pop in the joystick.”

You’re sure to survive a few weeks or even a month or more without video games no matter how much you love them. So look forward to a little hiatus with them and get out and enjoy the natural surroundings that you’ll experience at summer camp and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John