Camp’s all Fun for Andrea C.’s Son

Hey, Camp Fans!

We were elated with all the great submissions we got about the experience our camp families underwent this last summer! We saw more than 30 submissions for our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest that we had at Everything Summer Camp and we’re still posting each of your entries on the Blog! After our seven lucky winners who got larger prizes, all other entrants received a $15 gift certificate to our online store! And today’s post is from Check out Falling Creek Camp for your camp experience!Andrea C., who wrote in to tell us about her son’s rookie year at Falling Creek Camp.

My son went to camp for the first time this summer. As a new nine-year-old (his birthday was the first day of camp), he was ready for his new adventure. He had a few friends from home at camp with him but was really looking forward to meeting new friends.

On Day One, he literally threw his bag onto his bunk, shouted “Bye Mom!” and was running off with boys to play games. There were no tearful goodbyes, no send off with positive words, no reminding him of the videos and shows he had watched about camp, and no goodbye kiss to Mom (I did make him come back and accomplish that!). He seemed ready. His father and I looked at each other and shrugged. We proceeded to walk back to the car to head out. First impressions? Camp was going to be a good fit.

As the week went on, I anxiously read the daily blog and looked for him in the photos. I missed him, of course, but knew that he was having fun. Before I knew it, it was time to pick him up. Had he been homesick? Will he want to go back? Was I more excited about his camp experience than he was?

There was no need for me to worry. Pickup day was pouring down rain. I had planned to have him show me around, take some photos, and hear all about his week. Instead, we waded through mud and water and loaded the van with a trunk full of wet, stinky, gear. He didn’t even notice the rain or the mud. I had an umbrella but he was just walking in the rain, not noticing it. It seemed that after spending a week in the rain, playing, camping, and having a good time, he realized that it is just part of nature. He seemed to have a sense of confidence that it was just a little water. He talked non-stop about his week, his friends, who was homesick, and who was the best at whatever activity. Whew…..

Camp was great for my son. He is looking forward to going to a longer session next summer. He is already starting to think about activities and trips he wants to do. The confidence and independence he gained in such a short period was notable. Boys get very few opportunities in today’s society to be independent and make their own decisions. Camp is such a place. I cannot wait to see how he comes home next summer. I guess I am now a CAMP MOM!

Congratulations, Andrea (a.k.a. Camp Mom)! We’re so happy that your son’s first year was so easy yet influential! Summer camp certainly is a powerful experience for those who attend it. We hope to hear back from you on how Year Number Two goes! For the rest of you, check out Falling Creek Camp for Boys to see if it might be a good match for your son. And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Fun Ensues for Ailey W.

Hey, Camp Fans!

We were elated to receive over 30 entries for our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest here at Everything Summer Camp. We’re super eager to share with all our readers by publishing each one of the submissions right here on the Blog! There were seven lucky winners to our contest and everyone else who submCamp Mystic girls get out for adventure!itted received a $15 gift certificate to our website! Today’s post is from Ailey W., who wrote in to tell us about her first two-week camp stay at Camp Mystic.

This Summer I went to camp at Camp Mystic in Hunt, Texas. It was my first time to go to a two week long camp. For my birthday I got a beautiful, new trunk from Everything Summer Camp Store. When I got to camp there was no air conditioning. The camp had two tribes called Tonkawas & Kiowas. I drew out of a hat to pick my tribe and I got Tonkawa. I got to pick five activities and I chose Camp Craft, Archery, Fishing, Swimming & Horseback Riding. My favorite was Fishing. On the first day I caught a Bass and on the second day I caught a small fish. One day I even caught a seven pound catfish, but it broke the line. Another thing I enjoyed was watching a movie one rainy night. We watched Shark Boy & Lava Girl. It was so good but I didn’t get to see all of the movie so I was disappointed but I am fine with it now. Thank you Everything Summer Camp store for getting me ready for camp!

Glad to hear you had so much fun at Camp Mystic Ailey! Sounds like you’re pretty good at fishing. I’m sure you’ll be telling the tale of the catfish who got away for years from now. Camp certainly is a great time! Check out Camp Mystic to see if it might be a good match for you. And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Emily’s Pleased With Camp Louise

Hey, Camp Fans!

We got more than 30 submissions for our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest here at Everything Summer Camp and we’re itching with anticipation to publish each one of them right here on the Blog to share with all our readers! There were seven lucky winners to our contest and everyone else who submitted received a $15 gift certificate to our website! Today’s post is from Emily N., who wrote in to tell us about her second year at Gold Arrow Camp.

LETTER OF GRATITUDE SENT TO CAMP LOUISE DIRECTOR

Dear Alicia,
lAs I wake up my first morning at home I am still thinking about the Middah of the week, “Gratitude”, and feel the need to express how thankful I am to be a part of the camp family for the past 3 summers.
         lIt has been an overwhelming experience to be re-included in the world of Camp Louise which I have loved since I was 10 years old. Each year I look forward to returning with trepidation as well as excitement just like any camper, but leave feeling full of love, acceptance, and longing for the next year.
lI am beyond grateful for what Camp Emily LOVES Louise! And who doesn't?!Louise has given not only to me, but also my daughter. I loved this place as a child and never thought twice about signing her up for Rookie Camp the day she turned 7 years old. Her first few summers I enjoyed watching Annie grow and shine from afar – waiting every morning for the photos to be released and scouring the Unit Leader emails for every morsel of camp life.
lA few years ago, I learned about the possibility of returning to camp as Staff and am so grateful you found a place for me. These past 3 summers have been the most amazing of all my time at camp. Some might think that being a camper is best time of your life but I’d argue that being here and watching your child relish in all that this magical place has to offer is truly one of life’s greatest joys.
lI want to say thanks to everyone who makes this experience possible; from her bunk counselors, to her Unit Leader, the UCs and A Team, to Dining Hall Staff and Housekeeping Crew – I see how all are pieces of the puzzle that make it possible for Annie to return home each summer with her soul full of enough passion, confidence, and laughter to last her the next 11 months.
lI hope you are able to share this at Tuesday’s Staff Meeting as there wasn’t enough time to thank each person individually. Keep up the amazing work for the next 5 weeks, no matter how tired you get, knowing you are truly touching the lives of the 411 campers sleeping soundly in their bunks tonight as well as their parents and the generations yet to come.

Beyond Grateful,
Emily Newmark
Camper, Parent & Staff

What a thoughtful letter, Emily! We love getting stories like this that illustrate just what a powerful connection we have to summer camp. Sounds like Camp Louise is a fantastic place and I bet you had a lot to do with that! So glad to hear how much Annie loves it there too. Check out Camp Louise by clicking here and see what strong connection you might develop with it. As always, thanks for reading!

- John

Catherine D. Loves Camping

Hey, Camp Fans!

We got more than 30 submissions for our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest here at Everything Summer Camp and we’re itching with anticipation to publish each one of them right here on the Blog to share with all our readers! There were seven lucky winners to our contest and everyone else who submitted received a $15 gift certificate to our website! Today’s post is from Catherine D., who wrote in to tell us about her third year at Gold Arrow Camp.

What makes camp such an amazing place? Why is it the place that I call my second home and the highlight of my summer? These questions are ones that I have been asking myself ever since I started going to Gold Arrow Camp. Three summers ago, I was absolutely terrified to go to my first ever sleepaway camp. I stepped onto the camp bus early one Sunday morning, sobbing, and certain This is a great camp; but don't take my word for it!that I was going to have a terrible time and never want to go again. After two amazing weeks, I boarded the bus for the second time, sobbing again, but for a different reason. I didn’t want to leave. So, for all of the people reading this who wonder why sleepaway camps are so amazing and question if they should send their kids to camp, I am attempting to answer these questions in three parts.
       lThe first amazing thing about my camp is the activities that I participated in. At home, a typical Saturday for me in the summer would be spent waking up very late in the morning, reading for most of the day, and maybe going swimming if I was feeling particularly adventurous. In contrast, at camp, a Saturday would be spent water-skiing in the morning, horseback riding in the afternoon, and zip-lining after dinner. We kayaked, paddle-boarded, canoed, wake-boarded, rock-climbed, did archery, riflery, arts and crafts, backpacked, and slept under the stars. I faced some of my biggest fears by doing activities such as zip-lining and the high ropes course, and discovered things about myself such as that I love sailing. Every single day brought something new to try, a new challenge, and a new adventure.
       lSecondly, I want to talk about the atmosphere at camp. Although it may sound cliché, camp is the place that I feel I can most be myself. At school, I feel pressure to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and act a certain way. However, at camp, I embrace my inner child. In the mornings, we sing fun repeat-after-me songs, dance like no one is watching, and get ready for the day (a routine that does not include applying make up, and does include wearing clothes suitable for playing in the wilderness all day). At home, I also face so much stress around homework and tests, while at camp, I get more sleep than I do during the rest of the year and simply have fun every single day. Additionally, there is no “friend drama”. Almost as if there is some unspoken agreement, every person I have met at camp is genuinely nice, friendly, and supportive.
       lThe last unbelievably wonderful thing about camp is the relationships that I make there. This year, I was in a cabin with nine other girls (whom I didn’t know) for two weeks, and I have never become closer with any other group of people in my entire life. There is something about spending every day for two weeks together that creates an immense bond between a group of people that can never be broken. Our cabin went to activities together, ate together, slept together, and backpacked together. We gave each other advice about friend issues at home, confessed our biggest fears, told each other our most embarrassing moments, shared our goals and supported each other to achieve them. In addition, all of this happened without the complication of phones or technology. When we were together, we had face to face interactions and really listened to each other, without checking our phones or texting others while we were talking. Yes, by the end of the two weeks I spent at camp I had gained nine sisters, and know that the friendship we made can never be broken.
       lBecause of these three main reasons, camp will always have a special place in my heart, and I am counting down the days until I can board the bus once again!

Thanks for such an organized and thoughtful submission, Catherine! It’s great to know that Gold Arrow Camp has been such a positive influence in your life. Camp certainly has a way of working its magic! Check out Gold Arrow Camp to see if it might be a good match for you. And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Ava R. Loves Camp So Far!

Hey, Camp Fans!

We received more than 30 entries for our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest here at Everything Summer Camp and now we’re eager to publish each one of them right here on the Blog to share with all our readers! There were seven lucky winners to our contest and everyone else who submitted received a $15 gift certificate to our website! Today’s post is from Ava R., who wrote in to tell us about her second year at Camp Chi.
Camp Chi is planning lots of fun for their campers every summer!
“I attended Camp Chi; this was my second year. I was very nervous because the first year I was very homesick. As soon as I arrived to camp, I saw the people in my cabin and we started playing games. I learned the names of my friends and my counselors and they seemed really nice. We did everything together. We went horseback riding, zip lining, water skiing and many more fun things. They had a new activity this year and it was tie dying shirts and I really enjoyed this because I like to tie dye and I like the patterns you can make. I also liked ceramics because I like to make stuff and bring it home to show my family. I also loved going into the cove. The cove is like the beach but it has trampolines in the water so you can jump from the trampolines to the water. Lots of times our cabin played games. One time we played volleyball. On the last day of camp I was really sad because I didn’t want to leave because I liked it a lot. I was really sad when I arrived home and I told my parents that I want to go for four weeks next year instead of two! I can’t wait for next summer!!!!”

Glad to hear how much you loved your time at Camp Chi, Ava! It’s great that you didn’t really get homesick either (although don’t be surprised if you should encounter it in years to come). Camp certainly is a great time! Check out Camp Chi to see if it might be a good match for you. And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Sky Ranch Glee for Audrey C.

Hey, Camp Aficionados!

It was great to read all the camper submissions we received this year for our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest at Everything summer Camp. We’re happy to share them with our online community and post each submission right here on the Blog! Besides our seven lucky winners of larger prizes, all other entrants received a $15 gift certificate to our online store! Today’s post is from Audrey C., who wrote in to tell us about the best week of her entire life at Sky Ranch Camp. Here’s her submission:

“Starting out the week I was nervous that I was going to miss home but as the week went on and I grew deeper in Christ! I learned so many things about myself, and had the time of Check out Sky Ranch Camp for your fun summer stay at camp.my life doing amazing activities and learning things about myself that I would have ever learned about if I wouldn’t have gone to Sky Ranch! On Wednesday night at camp we had worship after the girls night activity and this one lady came out and started singing about Christ. And once she started singing I started to break down crying because I thought about Christ and how he died on the cross for us. Then I asked myself will Christ accept me? After worship one of my counselors came up to me and we started to talk and while we were talking Allie the sky three and four director came up and Allie and my counselor Sarah Lee and I started talking. At the end of our 45 minute conversation Allie told me that I had just accepted Christ into my life! I had given my trust to God and God had given his trust to me! As the week went on Allie and I had more one-on-ones going deeper into Bible study, and I will never forget this week of camp because this was truly the best week of my entire life!”

Audrey clearly loved her time away at Sky Ranch Camp. We’re happy to hear that your nerves calmed down early on enough that you could enjoy your time away. Readers may love it too if it’s a good match for you. Look into Sky Ranch Camp on their website by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Angela D.—Camp Employee

Hey Camp Fans!

We’ve been having a blast sharing all your great responses to our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest right here on the Everything Summer Camp Blog. After our seven lucky winners, everyone else who submitted received a $15 gift certificate to our online store! Today’s post is from Angela D. (or should I say Wisp), who wrote in to tell us about her summer as a staff member at Camp Cahinnio. Here’s her submission:

“I recently worked as a staff member at a Girl Scout camp here in Arkansas. Located in Booneville, Camp Cahinnio is a snug little camp nestled into the woods. This was my first year working as a staff member there and it was an amazing experience. We had a week or so of pre-camp training where all the employees worked together to clean up the camp for campers and learn the essentials to caring for campers needs. Pre-camp also gave us a lot of time to bond before campers came. Each staff member whether a cook orCheck out these diamonds in the rough. a counselor had their own camp name. My camp name was Wisp. My favorite part of training week was getting to stay in the platform tents that we call Tipi. This area had wooden platforms with an open tent set on each platform. It was the first time I had really slept out in the open like that because I have only ever camped in tents before. The best part was getting to walk a few people that I worked with who had never used a latrine to the latrines. Every time they would make me giggle because of the funny things they would comment about.
         lI was a unit counselor for our BA unit, which stands for Broken Arrow. This unit housed the youngest of the girls that attended camp. The girls were usually aged six to eight years of age and they were cute to work with. Our BA girls stayed in air conditioned cabins, but they were not allowed to let the A/C go down past 70 because that would make them sick.
         lMy largest challenge came the first week we had girls at camp. Some of our girls came to us saying their was a giant spider in their cabin. Another counselor and I walked into their cabin to find this really enormous spider crawling up their wall. I was terrified because I do NOT like spiders. I took the little child sized broom and let the big spider crawl on it and then put it outside. I think it helps me to be brave when there is someone there who needs more comforting than me.
         lOverall, I had a lot of fun. I spent about five or so weeks there and it was a really great experience. Depending on what all is going on in my life next year I might sign up to be a unit counselor again. It was a growing experience and I hope that I helped to better the futures of the young girls I camped with.”

Glad to hear your camp experience as a staff member was such a great time for you—everything except the part about the spider. If any readers out there are interested in joining the Girl Scouts in Camp Cahinnio or becoming a staff member there, check it out by clicking right here and, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Folks!

- John

Aidan G. at Camp Laney

Hey, Camp Fans!

We were delighted to see such a great response to our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest here at Everything Summer Camp and now we’re eager to publish each one right here on the Blog! After our seven lucky winners, everyone else who submitted received a $15 gift certificate to our online store! Today’s post is from Aidan G., whose mother wrote in to tell us about her son’s time away at Camp Laney and her experience with her first-time camper…

“I have been waiting for this summer since I found out I was pregnant for a boy in early Camp Laney for Boys is a great place to camp!2008. This year, Aidan, was finally ready to attend his first summer at Camp Laney. And boy was I excited and ready for his summer adventure!
        lTwo weeks without being able to talk to or see my boy was tough. I stalked the mailbox for mail, checked the website hourly for news and pictures… anything for a glimpse of how my son’s summer adventure was going. Nothing. Thank God for the camp website loaded with News and Photos because that’s all I knew about how he was doing. He was smiling in every picture and I knew that smile meant he was good and happy and having a great time. I am very thankful for modern technology because the mail never came. He was too busy making memories and having a great time to write to anyone, including his friends.
        lWhen I picked him up from camp after a long two weeks, he ran to me and gave me the biggest hug. Then told me how much fun he had, that he wanted to be a ‘W’ (WCIT), and then a counselor and wanted to go to Camp Laney for the rest of his life. It made my heart so happy to know that he had all of the wonderful adventures and fun that I always dreamt he would have.
        lWhat an awesome first camp experience! I’m so happy that camp lived up to everything that I thought it would. After doing eight loads of laundry, I noticed he didn’t come home with several items of clothing – two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, two pairs of shorts, a pair of jeans, a striped bathing suit, and a white LSU #7 jersey. The jersey is the only item that I hope is found. He either left it at camp or put in another camper’s dirty laundry bag or trunk. My only consolation is that maybe it went home with an Alabama fan and it turned them into an LSU fan.
        lUntil next year… let’s just hope he becomes a bit more responsible with keeping his clothes together.”

Sounds like Aidan really enjoyed Camp Laney! As they say, no news is good news. It’s hard enough to be away for so long, but to be away without any contact or news is certainly a taxing trial. But it always means that your camper is simply off having an amazing time. Check out Camp Laney for yourself by clicking here if you’re interested in this camping experience and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Tellin’ Tales Out of Camp

Hey, Storytellers!

People have told stories since our languages and other means of communication were developed. Everyone wants to hear a well-told story! Stories are built into our genetic makeup. I suppose that’s why we’ve incorporated a full day into oEnjoy the great outdoors around a fire. It's some HOT fun!ur calendar which is dedicated to the art of story telling. Today is National Tell a Story Day.

This time of year, stories tend to tilt toward the side of terror—people become obsessed with the spooky and supernatural; after all, All Hallow’s Eve is just on the other side of the weekend. These scary types of tales are traditional material for kids around the campfire as they hold a flashlight below their chin.

And speaking of telling camp stories, we’re happy to show our appreciation once more this year to everyone who participated in the Everything Summer Camp ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest! They may not be very scary, but they do a great job at illustrating the camp experience. It’s great to see our customers having such positive reactions to their summer camp stays.

I’ve been posting the camp stories that were submitted to us ever since September 5th and I’ll continue posting our customer’s submissions until they’ve all been shared stretching far into the month of March. Check back on the Everything Summer Camp Blog frequently to catch the next camper submission. I typically post a ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest submission on a weekly basis, except for certain breaks throughout the holiday season.

Stories are an instinctive part of the human species. They are the way our minds make sense of the lives we live. Enjoy the rest of Tell a Story Day and share a good story with some of the folks in your life. They’re bound to appreciate you for it. Happy Tell a Story Day, Everyone!

- John

Two Weeks for Lauren B.

Hey, Camp Fans!

Having received more than 30 entries for our ‘Share Your Camp Story’ Contest here at Everything Summer Camp, we’re eager to publish each one of them right here on the Blog to share with all our readers! We had seven lucky winners and then everyone else who submitted received a $15 gift certificate to our website! Today’s post is from Lauren B., who wrote in to tell us about her first year at overnight camp…

 “This was my first time going to camp and I was nervous/excited. I went with my best Camp Crestridge is a great place for your summer stay!friend and it was her first time too. We are both 10 so we knew we were OK being together. My mom asked me what was the most surprising thing I did or felt while being away from my home for two weeks and I told her I was surprised at how much I DIDN’T miss my parents! Surprisingly, she was happy to hear that! I loved meeting new friends and having new experiences. I enjoyed the skills training although I never got the hang of archery. My friend and I can’t wait to go back next summer and we want to stay a whole month but our parents said no only two weeks! We had such an amazing time three of our friends want to come with us next summer! Thank you for letting me tell you about my awesome time at Camp Crestridge!

Love your friend,
Lauren B.- Chickasaw Cabin 8”

Glad to hear how much you loved your stay at Camp Crestridge, Lauren! It’s great that you didn’t really get homesick either (although don’t be surprised if you should encounter it in years to come). Sounds like you sparked an interest in camp among your other friends as well! Camp certainly is contagious! Check out Camp Crestridge to see if it might be a good match for you. And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John