It’s Such a Sunny Day; Please Share My Umbrella

Hey, Rainy Day People!

Everybody knows when there’s anything from a drizzle to a downpour, it’s time to grab an umbrella! After all, that’s what umbrellas are for, right? Well, not for the first 2000+ years of its invention. Let’s get down to business about umbrellas to celebrate today—National Umbrella Day.Good for rain and good for shine, get your umbrella out today!

So, if not for protection from rain, what else would they be using umbrellas for? They were originally designed to provide shade, actually, working as a sort of personal canopy. In fact, the word ‘umbrella’ comes from the Latin word ‘umbra’ which means shade. These types of umbrellas are typically called parasols nowadays.

Umbrellas are thought to have been around for more than 4000 years as shown in artwork and artifacts from ancient civilizations like Egypt and China.

It wouldn’t be until the Victorian Era (or, more accurately, just a couple decades before the Victorian—around 1780) that umbrellas with wooden frames came on the market in London with the intention of keeping consumers dry in wet weather. But they were expensive and difficult to fold when wet which posed an obvious problem.

However, by 1852, a man named Samuel Fox introduced the steel-ribbed umbrella to the world which allowed for much simpler means of collapsing the canopy. From there, umbrella production has run amuck of different styles and different means of making umbrellas collapsible and even retractable.

Everything from umbrellas whose canopies collapse straight down to fully collapsible spring-loaded umbrellas that retract into themselves to become small enough to fit inside a handbag—umbrellas have exploded in their varied styles, fashions, and even purposes! We don’t offer umbrellas, but you can stay dry with our excellent rain gear selection. Browse it by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Sharpen the Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Camp Fun

Hey, Camp Fans!

Today launches a brand new category of posts on your favorite Everything Summer Camp Blog. This post is the first among many that will belong to the ‘Summer Camp Activities’ category in which we’ll review the basics about individual camp activities and what it is that kids get out of performing that particular activity.

And what better activity to lead the way than such a traditional (and my personal favorite) camp activity: Archery.

This sport establishes the skill of projecting arrows forward by use of a bow to pierce a traditional target a set distance away. It requires focus, patience, and a keen eye. While it was the weapon of the skillHow sharp are your Archery skills?ed archers in historical combat, Archery is revered nowadays as either a hunting or recreational activity. But it also remains the competitive sport that it used to be.

Bowmen have made their way into our folk stories and myths like the iconic archery tournament in which Robin Hood splits his competitor’s arrow directly down the middle with his own arrow or the rebellious William Tell who displayed his skills when ordered under cruel rule to shoot an apple clean off his son’s head.

An adolescent named David was interviewed by ‘Behind the News’ reporters from the abc.net news site about his blossoming passion for Archery. “I got into archery,” he mentioned, “Because when I was a little kid I watched a lot of TV and that had a lot of bows in it and I just thought it was just really, really interesting.”

We can’t help but connect with these heroes of old when eyeing up our shot and drawing back our bow. But aside from making us feel awesome, Archery lends an abundance of benefits to the avid performer such as improvements in coordination, balance, finger dexterity, strength, focus, and patience!

Be sure to try your hand at Archery when you head off to your summer camp experience and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Letters Three from Josephine P.

Hey, Camp Fans!

We loved seeing all the submissions we received for our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest here at Everything Summer Camp; we got more than 30 entries! So we’re super-excited to share the entries right here on the Blog! After seven lucky winners, everyone else who submitted received a $15 gift certificate to our website! Today’s post comes from the mother of Josephine P., who thought to share the following letters from camp written to her grandmother during her stay at YMCA Camp Arbutus Hayo-Went-Ha.

Dear Grandma:                      July 17th

It’s the second day of camp and everything is great. My cabin is Bows (the same one as last year) but I’m with different girls. Melina and Catie are in my cabin, they are my friends from my first year. The other girls are great and we are all good friends already. In total we have 7 campers (including me) and two counselors. We had waffles for breakfast and chicken pot pie for dinner. We learned how to portage today. One person holds the canoe while another leads them. After lunch we went on our ‘shake down’ (practice night for our trip). We canoed across Arbutus Lake and spent the night at a campsite. I have a new sleeping bag and it worked really well. We had dehydrated food for dinner and then s’mores. We spent the night then paddled back to camp in time for breakfast. We had our last shower today (July 18th) and we are getting corn rows in our hair later today. That’s all I have to write about now, but I’ll write when I get back to camp from the trip (we leave Thursday).

I hope everything is going well and you are feeling better.

Lots of love, Josephine

Hi Grandma:                                       August 3rd

I’m on the bus driving home now. The trip was amazing! We paddled in a huge circle around the park. We also had to portage a lot when we were going into a different lake. In the beginning of the trip we could only portage for 2-3 minutes at a time, but now we can go for 15 minutes. We only had two days of rain. The first storm was the worst. It caught us on the water and everything got wet. The second rain wasn’t bad at all, we were prepared this time. We usually woke up at 6:00am and paddled/portaged for a few hours. We always got to the campsite before lunch. Then we would just hang out and swim until dinner and going to sleep. There were so many wild blueberries, we would eat them almost every day. Melina (my friend) and I made a pie with the blueberries and oatmeal one day. It tasted great. We also made quesadillas. We had a layover day halfway through the trip. On our layover day we went on a day hikeTake a look at the Hayo-Went-Ha Life Style. up to Topaz Lake. Topaz is a tiny lake up in the hills. It has a rock bottom and a beautiful blue green color. We spent the day there swimming and cliff jumping. (The cliffs were 15-20 feet tall!). Another day we stayed at Lake Nellie, the clearest Lake in the park, it was beautiful. I can’t even describe it. We swam all day and wrote “AHWH” with a heart at the end on the bottom with rocks. (You can see all the way to the bottom it’s so clear). One of my favorite memories is when Melina, Catie and I went fishing. We made the hook out of a safety pin, the line out of dental floss, the pole out of a stick and the bobbin out of a piece of foam. We used slugs as gait. I taught Melina and Catie how to put the slug on the hook the way you showed me. We caught three fish!!! They were small so we threw them back, but it was so cool that we got them. Another day we stopped mid-portage to hike to the top of a mountain called Silver Peak. The view was amazing. We could see for miles, all the lakes and trees sprawled out below us. On Day Nine of the trip we got to go to a store. We have $25.00 to spend on the trip. I bought a KitKat, Oh Henry Bar and a portage sign for $10.00. Last night we stayed at Widgawa with all the other cabins. (There are 4 cabins in total, 26 campers, and 8 counselors). There was another store at Widgawa so I spent another $5.00 on an Oh Henry Bar, doritos, and a coke. The counselors surprised us with a pizza! It was great to have real food again. We stopped at McDonalds for lunch. I got so much food. Melina and I put our last $10.00 together and feasted. Now I feel sick but it was worth it. We are almost at camp now, the bus ride was about 8 hours but it was really fun. I’ll write again and tell you what I do at camp.

Love you!

Josephine

PS – I had some extra string so I made a key chain thing. You don’t need to keep it, I just wanted to send it to you.

Dear Grandma,                       August 9-11

Camp has been so much fun. Since we have gotten back we have paddled to a park on the Lake Arbutus and made a blueberry pie on one of the grills there. It was so good we took it back to camp and shared it with everyone on staff. On Monday we did laundry. With our left over money we got food at CVS. I ate a whole pint of ice-cream and chips with salsa. For Super Saturday we had a food fight. It was a lot of fun. I was covered in pie and ice-cream. We jumped in the lake to rinse off. On Sunday the Explorers (me and the other girls that went to Killarney) lead chapel. We used the four core values of YMCA camps, Honest, Caring, Respect, and Responsibility. Last night my cabin and I slept outside in our hammocks, the moon was full so it was the perfect night. We have also done all the classic activities like high ropes, climbing wall, paddle boarding, splash mat and outdoor cooking. Tonight was casino night. We all dressed up in crazy clothes and danced all night. We had challenges and games to earn money. We used the money to bet on activities to do as a cabin. My cabin won ‘Gaga with Add Staff’. Gaga was so much fun, it was muddy but everyone got so into it. Second-to-last night at camp is Leader’s Follies. The counselors and staff put on little plays and skits. They were all very funny. Today is the last full day at camp. We are packing and had our last showers. I’m going to miss outdoor showers. Later today we have paper plate awards. Our counselors make a paper plate with silly awards for us and inside jokes. The campers make plates for our counselors too. Tonight we have Final Banquet. I’ll probably cry. Our counselors sing a song about our trip to us, they are always really cute.

Love,
Josephine

So happy you decided to share these letters with us! They certainly are treasures. These letters are so sweet, Josephine. And we’re elated to hear what a great time at Camp Hayo-Went-Ha! You can check out Hayo-Went-Ha to see if it might be a good match for you by clicking here. And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Chopstick Etiquette

Hey, Silverware Users!

Along with the majority of the world, you’ve likely grown accustomed to the handheld utensils we have for eating like the always-handy fork, the aiding knife, and the ever-helpful spoon. But today, I’m talking about the alternative to silverware—a much older method oDo you know how to use chopsticks?f handling food without one’s hands. I’m talking about chopsticks, of course, as it only seems appropriate on National Chopsticks Day!

A much older means of eating utensils, chopsticks have cutlery beat by many a millennium. It’s hard to say just how long since chopsticks have their roots in all the way back in ancient times. We can say with absolute certainty that they’ve been around for about the last 3500 years. But chances are they go back much further than that.

Using chopsticks as opposed to traditional silverware is quite a foreign experience if you’ve never done it before. But even for those of you who are rather handy with a pair of chopsticks, I’ve put together a short list of chopstick etiquette with which you may not be familiar.

Left or Right?
We all know (or were taught anyway) that your dinner fork is set on the left of your plate, but where do you put your chopsticks? Turns out they go in the same spot as the fork (though, below the plate is also acceptable in Chinese table setting).

Don’t Knock It
If you want to show your level of class, you’ll definitely resist your urges to knock on bowls or other dishes with your chopsticks. This act is associated in China as beggar behavior.

No Digging 
It’s considered impolite to “dig” for a preferred ingredient. This notion comes from the regular practice of taking food from a common dish—the idea being that the people with whom you are dining will be made to feel like they’re eating the food you rejected.

Straight Up
It’s not a good idea to stick your chopsticks so they stand up in a bowl of rice. It’s considered offensive since it is a traditional Chinese practice to stick burning incense in rice when honoring their dead.

Don’t Cross Me!
Much the same here in the States that the √ symbol signifies approval while an × means denial, this notion lands on the Chinese dinner table; laying your chopsticks down so they are crossing one another could be taken as an offense to your dining company so it’s best to avoid it.

So, now that you have some guidance on the etiquette, try putting down the fork and your other eating utensils today and pick up a pair of timeless chopsticks! You may find you prefer them to the silverware you’ve always known. Happy Chopsticks Day and, as always, thanks for reading, everybody!

- John

What We Think of Candy Pink

Hey, Camp Aficionados!

We believe we run a pretty cool camp supplies store here at Everything Summer Camp. It’s not that we’ve got big heads about the matter or anything like that, but we ARE a one-stop online shop for everything you might want or need throughout your summer camp stay. Without tooting our own horn too loudly, we think that’s pretty cool. But to be fair, we can’t take all the credit.Here's what we think of Candy Pink here at Everything Summer Camp.

After all, our own success relies somewhat on the cool companies whose awesome products are available at Everything Summer Camp. Some of them have rich histories and interesting stories. Setting out to provide girls with some glitzy premium pajamas and more, Candy Pink focuses on fashionably cute, sugar-spice-and-everything-nice sort of prints on their cozy clothes and other loungewear or accessories.

What Candy Pink has done is develop a truly top-of-the-line, plush fleece fabric that’s perfect to wrap up in whether you’re putting on pajamas, wearing a robe, or curled up in a blanket. Add the cutest designs you’ve ever seen and it’s a magical combination! How does Candy Pink get such beautiful and colorful prints? They work with designers and other artists who are looking to shoFind your favorite Candy Pink products right here!wcase their wonderfully girlish work.

Candy Pink’s whole philosophy is that when girls dress in their pretty, cheerful, and super-soft bedtime apparel, they’re bound to have as good of a time as they feel! Imagine framing your camp days living in luxury. Every time you sink into a Candy Pink Robe or their Fleece pajama bottoms and you’re sure to bring you sweet dreams and beauty sleep throughout summer camp or afterward, at home.

We’re proud to have formed such a tight relationship with people who deal in such high-quality, comfortable clothing as the folks at Candy Pink. Wrap yourself in complete comfort and fall in love with your own cozy, fleecy sleepwear that you can find right here! Get a look at the products available from Candy Pink on our website by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Like What We’ve Done with the Place?

Hello, Loyal Readers!

Notice anything different about us? You know, back on our main site. Well, maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been on our site. We’ve got a brand new look that we think you’re going to like! Yes, we’re rather excited to announce our new web design. Check out all the great things about it, highlighted below!Welcome to our new website!

We’ve been using our previous web design for the last five years, making small changes all along the way. We think of it as having lived in the same house, but throughout the five years, giving the rooms a nice paint-job and replacing the carpet in the living room. Well, we’ve built a new home now, so welcome to our new abode!

The fun of summer camp was all the inspiration we needed for the new site. Whenever we visit camps we see all these signs of fun and life. But when we came back to our website, we didn’t think it reflected that excitement that we saw at camp. That’s when we knew it was time for a change.

The most apparent change now when you visit our site is all the photos of kids having fun at camp. It’s a nice change from products on white backgrounds.

The other biggest change is that the site is given an equal emphasis on finding your camp and your camp’s packing list as there is to shopping. There’s always a certain amount of anxiety as you’re getting ready for camp. But with your packing list found so simply, the new site should help alleviate some of that anxiety and speed along the shopping experience.

You’ll also find much more videos on our website now. Videos truly deliver a better sense for the product that you’re thinking about buying. We had videos on our site five years ago too, however, the videos were off to the side with a tiny play button and they were scarce. Now videos are a focal point of each product page—front and center!

But now that you’ve heard about it from me, go chEnjoy shopping our website with a whole new feel!eck it out for yourself by clicking right here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John