Father’s Day the Proper Way

Hey, Proud Dads!

Happy Father’s Day! Today is a day set aside to honor the unconditional, loving support that fathers give to their children every day. On Father’s Days past, I’ve given out gift ideas for dear ol’ dad—things that you could either purchase or things that you could make on your own for free with items found around the house. Today, however, I’m talking about some things you can do WITH your father to make his Father’s Day feel a little more special!Spend some quality time with your father today!

Play catch
Your dad will be sure to appreciate the gesture if you ask him to go play a simple game of catch in the backyard. Dads love ‘Catch’! Whether they want to throw a baseball, a football…SCOOPball—it doesn’t matter. You’ll both enjoy the activity in the fresh air and sunshine—not to mention the quality time you get to spend together.

Catch a Movie
My dad was a movie buff for sure! See if your dad wants to throw something in from your home collection or maybe make some time to head out and catch a show at the theater! You can’t beat the big screen (or the popcorn…or the pretzels)!

Get Musical
Does your dad love music? Maybe he plays an instrument! See if he has time to show off his talents and maybe you can even join in for background accompaniment. Whether you are musically gifted or not, it can be a great bonding experience to let the harmonies and vibrations boost your spirits together!

Play a Game
I don’t know about all of your dads, but my dad and I played a zillion games back in the day. He was a Chess junkie and enjoyed a mean game of Trivial Pursuit. We played video games, card games, and dice games—whatever sort of game is up your dad’s alley, see if he’s interested in playing that tonight!

These are just some ideas that will more-than-likely make your father’s Father’s Day today. Or maybe these ideas have inspired you to go spend some quality time with your dad in some other way that the two of you can enjoy. In any case, enjoy the fun with your dad and give him the best Father’s Day you can! Happy Father’s Day to fathers everywhere and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Water, Water Everywhere

Hey, Water-Lovers!

Many of us feel a sense of liberation and affinity when we’re in the water! It’s no surprise that waterfront activities are some of the most popular at summer camps across the country. Water is certainly a major part of our world. For starters, it’s essential to life on this planet. Our bodies are made of roughly 60% water. And 71% of our planet surface itself is covered in water.Enjoy the ocean today if you can.

It’s kind of a big deal…

And because it’s such a big deal, we dedicate a day—this day—to the oceans of the world; today is Ocean Day. Featuring more water than it does dry land, the earth presents to us a handful of oceans. An ocean is the term we hold for the largest body of water.

There are four to seven oceans on our planet (depending on who you ask). The numbers aren’t changing so much as our classifications. When I attended grade school, I was taught that there were four oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic.

The Pacific and Atlantic are the biggest oceans and have both been unofficially split up by northern and southern hemispheres which, to some perspectives, adds two more oceans to the count; so the list looks like this: North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic (coming in at six).

It was 18 years ago in 2000 when the Southern Ocean was officially recognized as the world’s latest ocean. Constituted of the all the earth’s water below the 60° latitude line, the Southern Ocean brings the count to either five or seven depending on how you feel about splitting up the Pacific and Atlantic.

I myself don’t understand why we want to adjust our count of the oceans—after all, even the count of four that I’m familiar with is really just one. All of these gigantic bodies connect to one another. None of them are actually divided by anything aside from human designation. There’s nothing stopping Atlantic Ocean water from flowing into the Pacific territory.

And at certain points throughout the earth’s history, the ocean waters were even less obviously divided than they are today due to supercontinent formations such as Pangea and Gondwana.

Enjoy looking into this subject matter for yourself and put in your own two cents. Do you think we should have kept it to four oceans? Does the Southern Ocean make a sensical fifth ocean for earth? Maybe you agree with splitting them up into seven OR maybe you’re with me and think we should call it all one. Just…The Ocean. Let us know what you think. Happy Ocean Day and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

A Trail Tale

Hey, Camp Fans!

Today is National Trails Day! So once you’re done reading this post, lace up your boots and go take a hike! Nature trails offer an awesome venue for folks with all kinds of interests—from hiking to biking, or bird watching to horse riding! No matter what you’re into, there’s bound to be a nearby trail for you to enjoy Trails Day!

Just as summer camp offers a lengthy summer stay away from our media-saturated world, park trails and other footpaths give us miniature escapes from the bustling city life and virtual world in which so many of us spend so many hours. Meanwhile, the natural world offers us fresh air, exercise, and peace.Trails almost always lead you to beautiful places.

Immerse yourself in the scenic landscape of the natural world today!

But I’ve already run down the laundry list of healthy benefits that result from you hitting a trail in a previous Blog post which you can check out by clicking here. But today, I’m more interested in discussing how nature trails and other footpaths have come to be. Nature didn’t just provide us with a convenient, winding path through her majestic wilderness.

The world’s vast majority of trails are created through wear and tear of frequent usage. Aside from deer trails or frequented, worn-down paths of other animals, trails are obviously man-made. And even the trails that appear the roughest and most basic took an incredible amount of effort and energy and do take a good amount of maintenance.

If trails pass across flat, dry areas, all of the brush, tree limbs, and undergrowth are cleared away to make a suitable trail for the activities intended to take place on the trail. Of course, paved trails and otherwise constructed paths require specific and complex design as well as a comprehensive skill set.

Bridges (or other alternatives such as culverts, stepping stones, or shallow fords) are built when creek streams or rivers are deep enough that a means to cross is required.

Appreciate the nature around you and be sure to take great advantage of the hard work and maintenance that went into the winding paths that snake through your area. Hit a local trail today and, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

- John

Facts to Say on Memorial Day

Hey, Summer Lovers!

Happy Memorial Day! This federal holiday of the United States is observed to remember and honor the many soldiers who have fallen in service to their country. Initially a day of observance for soldiers who died in the Civil War, the day has since been stretched to honor all soldiers who have fallen during their time in the service of the United States Military.

Visit a cemetery for your memorial day observation.Because of the observed day off from school or work many people pass the day leisurely with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors (weather permitting), and grilling out or picnicking. Others with a closer connection to those who have served their country might visit cemeteries or memorials.

Memorial Day occurs every year on the last Monday in May, though it didn’t always. It was changed in 1971 under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act from its initial, consistent date, May 30. Check out some more facts you might not know about this holiday:

Renamed
In honor of the soldiers who have died, friends and family traditionally adorn the grave sites of their loved ones with flowers, wreaths, flags, and alike to celebrate what was originally Decoration Day as the cemeteries were decorated. The name of this holiday was officially changed in the 1880s and became Memorial Day.

Redeemed
There are nine states—Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia—that have officially set a day in addition to Memorial Day that commemorates the Confederate soldiers who died in the war as well. The date of observance tends to vary (except for in Virginia where they celebrate on the same day as Memorial Day).

Remembered
Congress passed a law 18 years ago that required American citizens to pause at 3:00 in the afternoon on Memorial Day to remember and honor those who died in service. This isn’t exactly an enforced law, nor is it quite common knowledge, but it’s a nice sentiment that you can carry out now that you’re aware.

So Summer Campers, I hope you found these points about this holiday interesting and that this post has given you a better understanding of Memorial Day. From Everything Summer Camp, we wish a Happy Memorial Day to all you Camp Families and, as always, thanks for reading.

John

The Sunscreen Scene

Hey, Summer Lovers!

With spring in full swing, our excitement for the summer season grows in anticipation! We all love fun in the sun, but along with spending our long, active days in the sunny outdoors comes the responsibility of good skin care. It may not be a fun subject, but I’m not bringing up skin cancer just to scare you; it’s a real issue that can be greatly reduced with the regular use of sunscreen.

Unfortunately those beautiful days of sun showers also bring harmful UV rays that come pelting down on theStay protected from the sun this summer. earth’s surface as well as your skin. Fun in the sun can certainly result in an unpleasant experience if you aren’t careful to protect yourself against these beautiful, but dangerous rays. And that’s why I’m raising awareness in observance of today—National Sunscreen Day.

To further your knowledge of responsible skincare, here are some helpful pointers to keep the burns off your back (and the rest of your body as well!):

The Waterproof Goof
While some sunscreens will boast a resistance to water for anywhere from 40 to 80 minutes, even the most water-resistant sunscreen should be reapplied regularly, because of the undoing as a result of sweat, water, and drying off with a towel. No sunscreen is actually waterproof.

Keep Things Chill
Just the same as you would handle your medication or a bottle of nail polish, keep your sunscreen out of conditions of extreme heat. Exposure to such conditions can greatly degrade the active ingredients in sunscreen.

The Sunscreen Diet
You are what you eat! Did you know that certain foods can act like sunscreen from the inside? Of course, you’ll still want to wear sunscreen, but you can aid your protection by eating such fruits as watermelon, guava, grapefruit, and tomatoes as well as vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark chocolate (yes, chocolate is a vegetable).

In closing, be sure to bring along your sunscreen so you can have your fun in the sun while supplying yourself and applying yourself with the proper skin protection. Get a close look at the sunscreen options available on our website by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Berry of Mis-STRAW-ry

Hey, Berry Pickers!

Harvesting your own berries one pluck at a time is a wonderful feeling that reminds us of just where exactly it is that our food came! And today, we celebrate specifically strawberries as it’s National Pick Strawberries Day. It was some years back when I first posted about this day, here on the Blog—we learned that strawberries aren’t actually berries, but closely related to the elegant Rose, as well as the fact that the so-called “seeds” on the outside are in actuality, tiny fruits.

I could tell you more facts that we know about strawberries like how each one has a rough Strawberry Picking is a fantastic way to pass the time today!count of 200 so-called seeds on the outside. Or that the average American eats three and a half pounds of strawberries every year. Or that strawberries are excellent sources of vitamins such as C, B6, and K. However, instead of continuing to deliver these strawberry stats, I’d like to discuss what we don’t know about them…

One thing we don’t know is why we call strawberries ‘strawberries’.

Yes, the name of this (technical aggregate accessory) fruit, is actually totally unknown to us in the modern day, now long-forgotten why we ever called this thing which is not a berry nor is it related to straw a ‘strawberry’. While many believe the reason to be that the strawberry plant is grown in straw, these plants have had their name for well-over a thousand years—long before they were included in farming or gardening as they were named by folks who happened upon these wild patches!

Nobody knows for sure, but we have theories:

Strung on Straw
Some say the woodland pickers strung them on straw pieces for convenient transportation to market.

Stuck with Straw
Others maintain that the fruit appears as though it’s had bits of straw embedded into the surface.

Straw…n About
Some even think ‘straw’ refers to the Old English meaning to strew. Since the plant runners stray in chaotic fashion, some say they look STREWN about the ground.

I don’t know…. All these theories seem pretty weak to me. But they’re kind of the best we’ve got. And whether it makes any sense or not, I like the sound of the name ‘strawberry’ and I like the taste of them too! Cheers to everyone today with this so-called berry and, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

- John

Hip to the Chip

Hey, Chocoholics!

We’re all fans of chocolate and whatever genius thought to make tiny chips out of this blessing from nature! Invented for the sheer purpose of chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chips were created the same day as the cookie in 1937. The baker Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in the town of Whitman, Massachusetts cut up chunks of a semi-sweet chocolate bar and added the chunks to a cookie recipe.Chips of chocolate are a stroke of genius!

And with that, a classic was born.

Chocolate is certainly a gift from Mother Nature to mankind with many health benefits and interesting things about it. For instance—a typical cacao bean contains less than 1/20th of the caffeine found in a coffee bean. Here are some other points about this amazing vegetable—that’s right—vegetable:

The Dark Side of Chocolate
Like many things (including water) too much of something can be bad—even deadly. Chocolate is no different. If you were to eat 6 kilograms (≈ a gallon of solid dark chocolate), you’d likely keel over from heart failure and kidney damage. Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing! It’s a good lesson.

Chocolate—the Medicinal Drink
As I’ve covered in a previous Blog post, chocolate was initially consumed as a beverage like hot chocolate. Only it wasn’t the sweet, sugary hot chocolate we know today with marshmallows floating in the mug. Ancient Mayans drank a bitter drink of a creamy milk with cocoa melted inside and it was eventually advertised as a cure-all drink in the 15th Century.

Chocolate…POTATO?!..Chips
Chocolate chips are delici—wait a minute! I wasn’t talking about THOSE kinds of chips! It was five years ago when the Lay’s company thought to combine chocolate with potato chips and, lo and behold…it sells. My niece enjoys this daring dessert snack. I don’t so much.

Chocolate is an interesting part of our world. It has health benefits, it has caffeine, it goes well with salty snacks…apparently. Anyway, no matter how I feel about certain sweet and salty snacks, enjoy some chocolate in whatever way you prefer today—but it’d be best if you had some good ol’ fashioned chocolate chip cookies! And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Bring Peace to Mothers’ Day!

Happy Mothers’ Day, Summer Campers!

Today is a day intended to celebrate Mothers all across the world. We honor them this day for their selflessness and unconditional love that they show us. On Mothers’ Days past, I’ve posted on this Blog about the history of this day and I’ve given ideas of what to do to celebrate your love for your mother.
Bring a sense of peace and love to Mothers' Day thsi year!Today, I’m going to give you a few pointers on what NOT to do:

Fight with Your Siblings
Dealing with bickering siblings is probably your mom’s least favorite thing to hear and (unless you have the healthiest relationship in the world with your siblings) chances are you guys bicker often enough. Give it a rest for the day and give your mom some peace!

Track Mud through the House
This point is more-or-less symbolic; while you literally shouldn’t track mud throughout your house, what I’m really getting at is to clean up after yourself. Keeping a clean household is on everybody, so make sure you do your part—especially today!

Show More Attention to your Dad
Of course, Dad’s great! And you certainly don’t have to treat him like chopped liver or anything like that, but this day is about Mom; make sure she knows it! Besides—Dad will get his own day in June.

Insult Your Mother’s Cooking
It’s impolite on any day to knit-pick at the culinary abilities of your mother, but today especially, you ought to keep your comments on her cooking positive and complimentary and—wait a minute! Just what are you doing making your mom cook on Mothers’ Day?! Roll up your sleeves in the kitchen and (get help if you need) to make a nice meal for your mother instead of the other way around!

Give your mother the gift of not giving her a job for the day! She’ll appreciate the break from the typical family maintenance that she deals with on a daily basis. Wish her a happy Mothers’ Day and give her something nice. You can develop some easy ideas for her on this Blog post from the past—check it out by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Yay! It’s Mushroom Day!

Happy Mushroom Day to One and All!

Today, we here at Everything Summer Camp, tip our caps to this incredibly interesting form of life on this planet. These fascinating beings grow wild in a wide array of locales. But despite their accessibility, it’s important never to consume wild mushrooms as you can never be sure what type is which. Some look uncannily similar to others, yet some are medicinal while others are fatally poisonous.

Mushrooms may not look like much at first sight, but take a look at just several different points about these intriguing organisms and I guarantee you’ll agree—mushrooms are downright miraculous!A fantastic source of lots of different healthy ingredients, get some mushrooms in your diet today!

A Mysterious Life Form
Neither plant nor animal, mushrooms are actually classified as fungi. And nobody knows how many there are in the world! While you’ll only find several different sorts in your typical grocery store, there are 10,000 known species in North America alone. And it stands that we’re only aware of less than half the amount of different species that are actually out there.

Many Purposes
Mushrooms—is there anything they can’t do?! These fungi can be used as a dye, packing material, water filter, medicine, oil spill-cleaning agent, nuclear meltdown equalizer, and other applications that we’re not even entirely aware of yet. For a better understanding of how mushrooms can be medicinal for us, check out hostdefense.com, the website of the world’s leading mycologist, Paul Stamets, (mushroom expert) where you can buy mushroom supplements for your health.

Unlike Other Foods!
You’ll find that many mushrooms have a meaty sort of texture, but few taste so much like fried chicken as the “chicken of the woods” mushroom. This bright orange fungus has the right texture and all! And, though I’ve never had the pleasure of trying the Lion’s Mane Mushroom, I’ve heard it said that it tastes like crab meat! The meaty texture of mushrooms is owed to their thick cell walls which is why it’s important to break those cell walls down through the cooking process. Raw mushrooms—even some slices in your salad—are tough on the digestive system, but nutritional when cooked appropriately.

Closer to People than Plants
One of the most surprising facts there is about mushrooms has only just recently been discovered: what people will so often refer to as a vegetable in the kitchen, mushrooms actually have closer relation to human beings than they do plants. Fungi were once recognized as a unique part of the animal kingdom, but eventually came to be seen as a kingdom all on their own. But the fact remains that fungi couldn’t be less like plants and typically has a lot more in common with people and other animals.

Mushrooms are pretty much my favorite food because, let’s face it, the edible ones are all pretty delicious. But not only that, they’re good for you, and they could help us replenish the damage we’ve done to the planet! Mushrooms to the rescue! Share the word about how cool mushrooms are and Happy Mushroom Day to you! And, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Hans Christian Who?

Hey, Fairy Tale Fans!

It’s International Children’s Book Day and, in celebration, we’re diving in to find out what this day is all about! Sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People, this day is intended to fall on or near the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen who came from poverty to be recognized during his lifetime.

Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author who produced a great variety of plays, poems, novels, travelogues, and most memorably—his fairy tales. You can learn more about fairy tales from a recent Blog post I wrote for National Tell a Fairy Tale Day by clicking here.

You may not know of Hans Christian Andersen by his name, but you certainly knTurns out he was actually a swan the whole time.ow the names of his tales! They’ve been celebrated in retellings in all different ways. There’s ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, ‘Thumbelina’, ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘The Ugly Duckling’, and many more where those came from! I’m guessing that you’ve heard of some of these…

Here are some interesting facts about Mr. Andersen:

Recognized Within His Lifetime
The author was in his 30’s by the time he published the bulk of his works, however, they were not well received by parents or children for another decade afterward. Just ten years later, he was acclaimed for delighting children the world over and was awarded many honors from royalty.

Born Dyslexic
Hans Christian Andersen learned to read despite the adversity of dyslexia. He never was able to spell properly which showed in his handwritten stories. A writing style that stayed true to the spoken language resulted from his shortcomings as a writer. His publishers fixed the spelling errors, sure to leave the conversational style intact.

Rocky Start
Andersen’s father read bedtime stories to Hans from ‘Arabian Nights’, introducing his son to a type of story that really resonated. But when Hans tried writing his own stories, he found he didn’t like them and thought he wouldn’t continue. But over time, he came to see fairy tales as a sort of “universal poetry” as he put it. His tales have since inspired ballets, plays, motion pictures, and animated films.

Darker Than Disney
Unlike many popularized versions of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, his unabridged versions typically come to darker and rather tragic endings. I won’t get into any of the melancholy endings here—we’ll just pretend that Ariel and Prince Eric live happily ever after in Hans’ telling as well!

So celebrate his birthday in fashion this year and enjoy your favorite version of your favorite fairy tale from Mr. Andersen—or read the words of the man himself in his unabridged stories. Enjoy the magical world Hans penned from his own imagination and check out a couple kids books available on our website. As always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!

- John