Go Back to Sleep!

Hey, Sleepyheads!

Today is the Festival of Sleep—a day for loafin’ around the house and staying warm under the blankets amidst the dead of a chilly winter. In honor of the day, last year I posted about all the different benefits a good night of sleep brings to us as people—not just in the winter, but year-round. You can check out last year’s pHibernating dormouse {Muscardinus avellanarius} curled up asleep in nest, Sussex, UKost right here.

But this year, I’d like to focus more on sleeping in the winter season—or, more appropriately, THROUGH—the winter season. I’m talking about hibernation.

Unfortunately, we people don’t hibernate—much as we feel we may want to! Our bodies just aren’t biologically designed to do it. So who DOES hibernate? Oh, lots of creatures! You have bears and bats—they’re the most popularly-known—but there are also mice, chipmunks, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, snakes and a number of other reptiles, some amphibians, bees, and more.

Not all of these animals are true hibernators the way that bears and bats are. These guys fall asleep and will coast clear through winter and spring. Others, however, like raccoons and chipmunks, tend to wake up periodically to snack on some food that they have stored up. But even then, if they’ve run out of their food supply, they’ll go searching for more. Still, This guys ready for a long winter snooze.they sleep for much longer than you or I could ever dream.

What are these animals doing, you ask? Well, these creatures’ bodies have all adapted in one way or another to remain inactive as a means of conserving their energy. By slowing their metabolism and reducing their body temperature considerably, these creatures stay asleep for days, weeks, even months at a time.

Food gets to be hard to come by for some animals—especially bears, and so, instead of migrating or expanding their diet, these animals took the lazy route and make the bold move to sleep through this season of scarcity. The benefits of sleep for us—like boosting our mental, physical, and emotional well-being—are nothing compared to what sleep can do for these animals who essentially freeze time for themselves.

We may not be able to hibernate, but we can certainly pretend! Enjoy getting the most out of your Zzzz’s today and all winter long. And, as always, thanks for zzzz…
You dn't get cozier than this.

- John

Sing as Snowflakes Fall…

Merry Christmas to One and All!

The Christmas holiday has been celebrated for a long time and it’s come to mean a lot of things to the people who love this day of the year. Nobody’s working today at Everything Summer Camp! We’re all spending the holiday with our families, enjoying all the traditional gift-exchanging, feasting, and all-around merrymaking. I know that’s what I do every year!
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough, you guys.
Each season provides us with its own specific atmosphere and this particular season was made to be spent in the warm company of those who are dear to us. Despite the fact that it contains the coldest, darkest day of the year, we brighten the season up with our cheerfulness, our good will, and the company of our loved ones.

As did many of you, I’m sure, I traveled this year to be with my family. We always tend to really immerse ourselves in the holiday spirit, so there’s lots of smiles, laughs, and merriment here in my mom’s house. This will be the last Christmas for my mother and my siblings to gather in the home where we all grew up to celebrate our family Christmas so it means a lot to us all.

Many of our Christmas traditions like gift-giving, feasting, and bringing trees into our homes have been adopted from a varied past, originating from Pagan celebrations and re-popularized by none other than Charles Dickens with his still-famous Christmastime masterpiece, ‘A Christmas Carol’.

These traditions have been carried out for many, many a year and, as for me and my family, we’re all more-than-happy to carry on the age-old traditions and keep Christmas a warm day that unites us and brings us all joy. I wish togetherness, joy, and merriment to all of our summer camp families out there and, as always, Merry Christmas!
Keep the brightest star shining tonight.

- John

Happy Hanukkah from ESC!

Hey, Holidayers!

Sunset tonight begins the long-celebrated Jewish tradition of Hanukkah! Eight days and nights will follow in observance of this traditional Hebrew holiday which will take us right up to nightfall on New Year’s Day. Like any other holiday, Hanukkah is typically celebrated with a great assortment of festive foods, singing, playing games, and ritualistic traditions—like the lighting of the Hanukkiah (the traditional candleholder that is often confused for a menorah).

The eight days of Hanukkah don’t land consistently on the calendar the way Christmas does so steadily on December 25 every year. Instead, it jumps around seeHappy Hanukkah to our Jewish summer camp families!mingly with no rhyme or reason. But there is actually a method to the apparent madness. See, Hanukkah does abide by a consistent date on the calendar year after year—it’s just not the same calendar that we commonly use.

The Hebrews used a lunisolar calendar which is based on the sun and the moon whereas the traditional Gregorian calendar that we all know so well today only considers the sun and the time it takes the earth to move around it. While the date may jump around from year to year on the Gregorian calendar, Hanukkah consistently begins on the 25 of Kislev, a month of the Hebrew calendar.

When you and your family gather for your festivities this year and you enjoy your time together with song, games, and delicious Mandelbrot, we here at Everything Summer Camp wish you peace and warmth as you light your Hanukkiah in remembrance of the seven-day miracle that kept the Maccabees menorah burning for eight days, though they only had a day’s worth of oil.

Happy Hanukkah to all of our Jewish summer camp families. Keep warm in this wintry season with the love of your family and your faith and, as always, thanks for reading.

- JohnDreidels are traditional Hanukkah presents for fun games

The Longest Night of the Year

Hey, Winter Lovers!

The winter season is certainly in full swing at this point. In fact, today marks the middle of the season. Today is the Winter Solstice. Located on the opposite side of the year from the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the Winter Solstice is the day with the least amount of daylight.
The shortest day of the year.A magical day of the year, the Winter Solstice reminds us of how harsh and unforgiving mother nature can be. Especially in locations up north—like us at Everything Summer Camp in Northern Wisconsin—Winter Solstices are always cold, dark, and typically covered in ice and snow.

This day would strike fear into the hearts of our ancient ancestors and, without the science that we have today to explain the natural phenomenon of the Winter Solstice, they grew more and more worried in the days leading up to the Solstice that the sun would grow more and more distant until one day they would find that it disappeared completely!

Of course, today we understand this is simply the cycle of the seasons, but back then, it was something to really be scared about. And under such terrifying concern, people brought evergreens and palm trees (depending on their geographic location) into their homes—considering them good luck charms in this relentless season since they never lost their healthy, green color.

Christmas trees and the spirit of the holidays altogether mean gathering with those we hold closest to our hearts to prove that even through the thick of these long, cold, dark winter nights, we can make them feel like the warmest and the brightest of the year.

And when we all treat one another with peace and good will, the idea that these cold, dark nights can also be the warmest and the brightest becomes fact. It’s a beautiful thing that happens every year. Enjoy staying warm on this Winter SVery beautiful, this dim-lit day is always so pretty.olstice night and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

A Real Famous Cat all Dressed up in Red

Hey, all you good girls and boys!

Around this time of year, lots of folks start getting real excited about a magical visit that occurs on a special night from someone who goes by many names. He goes by Kris Kringle or Father Christmas, but he’s most commonly referred to as Santa. In the Netherlands, they call him Sinter Klaas.

But, of course, he initially went by just one name: Nicholas. Today is St. Nick’s Day—the perfect time to learn a little about how this little, old man got to be so world-famous!

The story begins a very long time ago (around the year 300) in a land called Lycia—which is present-day Turkey—across the Atlantic Ocean and sandwiched between the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Near the end of his childhood, poor Nicholas lost both of his parents to an epidemic that plagued the people of his home.
Who is the man behind the legend?
He went to go live with his uncle who was also named Nicholas and it was at this time that he began using his inheritance from his parents to help out the poor and sick people around his community. Back then, slavery wasn’t illegal and people could sell other people into ownership.

One of his most famous acts of kindness from his early days was inspired by Roman soldiers making a scene in the street. A poor woodcutter who had seen hard times met with even harder times when he told the soldiers that he was no longer going to be able to make his housing payments.

The soldiers told him that they would accept his three daughters in place of pay which was not acceptable to the woodcutter. The old man, however, had no real choice in the matter. Upon seeing the woodcutter in this desperate situation, Nicholas knew he had to help.

He had to keep his anonymity too—he didn’t want any attention from soldiers patrolling the streets. So Nicholas climbed his way to the rooftop of the woodcutter’s home and dropped enough bags of gold down the chimney that the woodcutter would be able to make his housing payment with a generous amount leftover!

Nicholas enjoyed helping people out so much, he made it his life’s purpose. Eventually he didn’t need to keep his anonymity for being so generous after he was appointed to be bishop, or so he thought. He did, however, end up imprisoned due to persecution against his faith for roughly 20 years!

When finally released, the Roman government had shifted its views on Christianity and Nicholas simply continued the life of goodwill he had started before his imprisonment. He was eventually made a saint for his boundless generosity.

Since he’s never stopped his tradition of giving, to this day, girls and boys find presents magically waiting for them on Christmas morning. Happy St. Nicholas Day and, as always, thanks for reading!

- JohnOh, Merry Christmas, Saint Nick

Traditions to Celebrate Today

Happy Thanksgiving!

We love holidays here at Everything Summer Camp! You won’t catch any of us without a full plate of food at our Thanksgiving celebrations for this holiday. How could we go without the traditional turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, and other delicious assorted dishes? And, of course, we stick to these warm, fun traditions because they bring us together.One reason turkey is so popular for Thanksgiving is because of its size

Always thankful for our families, we take time out of our busy, bustling lives to get together with those who are closest to us. So I thought it would be nice to go around the office and see what people are up to for their Thanksgiving plans. Let’s hear from Art, Missy, and Mellina on what fun festivities they have planned for their Thanksgiving celebrations!

General Maintenance
Art and his wife, Pat, ventured out for the day-long trip to Texas yesterday so they could be with their son, also named Art, today. This family of three keeps it a tradition to spend Thanksgiving together in Texas.

When I asked about how he handled the long drive from northern Wisconsin, Art didn’t even bat an eye—“My son’s culinary skills are worth every mile,” he told me. They’re feasting well today!How did it come to be that we dine on these funny birds for Thanksgiving

Missy, our receptionist, isn’t actually doing Thanksgiving today. She’s holding off for the weekend so she can do it up right. Life on the farm is demanding for Missy, her husband Mike, and their three kids, Chelsea, Morgan, and Luke. “It’ll make life a lot easier to hold off till Saturday when the farm schedule isn’t as hectic,” Missy said.

The rest of the family then has the option on Saturday to either help in the kitchen or pitch in with the weekend chores. “They always pick the chores,” Missy offered. They’re sure to take care of the dishes afterward, though.

Printshop Production
Mellina’s Thanksgiving celebration is being delayed as well. “I wouldn’t dream of skipping our traditions, though!” she followed up quickly. Her family is waiting till Saturday when Mellina’s mother-in-law returns home. She and her husband Jeremy are very eager to have her around for the holidays.

Coming back on her third deployment from the marines, she is no doubt ecstatic to be heading home soon to celebrate and feast with her family. This family is thankful simply to be together this year.

We hope your Thanksgiving brings happiness, togetherness, and—of course—a big, fat feast for the whole family to enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers and, as always, I’m thankful for all of you. Thanks for reading!Be sure to enjoy your Thanksgiving Day celebration!
- John

What We’re Cookin’ Up

Hey, Pilgrims!

We’re getting ourselves prepared for the Thanksgiving Feast in advance this year. And we thought, while we’re at it, we may as well help all of you get prepared as well. After all, there’s always so much to do come early Spatchcock for your turkey this year!Thanksgiving morning: there’s the turkey—the star of the show, you have stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and so much more.

I went around the office today, asking people to share their personal recipes for all the basic food groups that are presented in the typical Thanksgiving dinner (pretty much everything I listed above).

Mark’s Turkey
Mark, vice president of Everything Summer Camp, takes a different approach to his turkey preparation with a cooking method called spatchcocking. Check out what he does for Thanksgiving right here.

Matt’s StuffingMake yourself some delicous stuffing this holiday!
Matt, our Sales Director, makes a mean stuffing dish. Take a look at the recipe he uses every year.

Nate’s Gravy
What’s a Thanksgiving meal without any gravy on your turkey, potatoes, or stuffing?! When you make it this good, you’ll want it on everything. See what the manager of our graphics department, Nate, does for his Thanksgiving dinners.

Anita’s Mashed Potatoes
Our Call Center Supervisor, Anita has her Creamy Mashed Potatoes down to a science. Here’s how she gets them perfect every year!

Missy’s Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries? Apples? Marshmallows? This sauce didn’t come from any can. Make cranberry sauce like our Missy does for a delicious Thanksgiving treat! Get her recipe right here.

Mellina’s Pumpkin PieThis traditional pie belongs on your table this upcoming holiday!
Leave room for pie! This traditional pie is a favorite for most families at Thanksgiving. Get Mellina’s recipe for her delectable pumpkin pie recipe right here.

Tim’s Layered Jell-o
Crazy about the Jell-o his mom makes every year, Tim wanted to share this recipe for Layered Jell-o, made using cream cheese. See the recipe right here.

Art’s Stuffed Dried Fruit
This last recipe sounds like a refreshing, light, bite-sized treat after a fantastic feast! Get the recipe from our Maintenance guy, Art, right here. This one has been in his family for over 80 years!

Stick with these tried and true recipes and your Thanksgiving feast is bound to be a smash-hit among your friends and family. Enjoy the holiday and, as always, thanks for reading!Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

- John

Who’s got Halloween Fever?

Hey, Halloween Enthusiasts!

The time has come once again to parade ourselves in costumes to pretend we are who we are not. I love it. You love it. Everyone I know loves it! It’s Halloween. From Trick-or-Treating to haunted houses, you can’t go wrong with this holiday! Lots of people like to do it up for Halloween. And some of them do it up in a frighteningly fantastic way!

Take a look at three towns across the country that do Halloween BIG each year:

Park City, UtahThese streets get packed in Utah around Halloweentime!
Talk about ‘parading’ around—streets of Park City (or should I say ‘Bark’ City) in Utah actually look like a parade during their Howl-o-Ween street party. Packed with costumed travelers, Park City’s streets get a treat of a rather old tradition. Annual ghost tours are held as well in which spooky sites are visited and tales of the dead are told.

St. Helen, Oregon
After the small town of St. Helen in Oregon got a heavy dosage of decking the halls for Halloween when The Disney CThese guys got real into Halloween. Thanks, Disney Channel!hannel used their town to film their Halloween classic, ‘Halloweentown’ in 1998, the townsfolk got addicted to the all-out Halloween spirit. Because they loved it so much, they go to incredible lengths to recreate the setup each year! The town holds tours and costume contests every weekend throughout October!

Fairhaven, Massachusetts
Last, but not least, is the small town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Not very long ago, a documentary called, ‘The American Scream’ was filmed there to focus on three families who all coincidentally live in the same neighborhood and each one as just as obsessed with Halloween as the next. Going as far as to create legitimate haunted houses in their backyards, you can check out a preview to the documentary below.

Enjoy all of your Halloween scares and treats this spooky season and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Of Comics and Summer Camp

Hey, Comic Book Fans!

A very popular piece of reading material to pack along for a fun-filled summer camp stay, comic books are ever-present in the kingdom of kids. From superheroes to graphic novels all the way across the map to the Sunday Funnies, comic books are a wonderful way to lose yourself in a world of art and imagination presented in panels and gutters!

Today is National Comic Book Day.

What better day to brush up on thwock and thud are all great exclamationsyour own collection or trade issues with a friend to check out one you haven’t seen yet? Whether you’re into the classics like the members from the Justice League or superheroes of the newer generation such as Spiderman or X-Men, get lost in the worlds that you love the most today.

Perhaps you like to do more than just READ comic books but you like conceiving of your own too. If that’s the case, you’re bound to find THIS summer camp up your alley: Randy Emberlin’s Summer Comic Book Art Camp. Look into it for yourself for next summer.

Randy Emberlin is an artist who makes comic books. Best knoWhammo! Words really can hurt you in the comic book world.wn for his work inking the Spider-Man comic books, Randy has also put his magical touch to series like Dark Horse’s ‘Ghost’, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Origin Series’, the ‘Left Behind’ series, ‘Star Wars Tales’—issues 12 and 15, and more. He’s been expanding his creative work for the last 30 years!

Go for this four-day camp session open to comic enthusiasts from third grade to first-year high schoolers. Learn from Randy Emberlin himself as he gives great instruction for perspective drawing, layout, penciling, inking, coloring, and more!

Sticks and stones cann break your bones and words can give superheroes black eyes.Check out their website for yourself and enjoy National Comic Book Day by reading your favorite comic or maybe even designing your own! As always, thanks for reading!

- John

12 hour days; 12 hour nights

Hey, Summer Fans!

We’ve had a wonderful season this year and hope the summer fun was just as fantastic for you too. We say goodbye to the summer season today as its cycle has once again run its course for this year. We’ll miss you until next year, summer. But in the meanFall is here today! Learn about the Autumnal Equinox.time, let’s get excited about the fall season. Summer may be old news now, but fall is as fresh as it can be today.

Today is the Autumnal Equinox.

What in the world is an equinox? you might be asking yourself. It’s a fair enough question. After all, we only hear mention of them a couple times a year. Well, that’s because they occur twice a year! Much like the more popularly known Summer and Winter Solstice, there is an equinox for both the spring and fall seasons.

Opposite to the solstices which mark the longest (in summer) and shortest (in winter) days of the year, the Autumnal and Vernal Equinoxes hang in a fragile balance to mark equal day and night at 12 hours apiece all across the entire planet! The word ‘equinox’ is Latin in origin: ‘aequus’, which means ‘equal’ and ‘nox’, which means ‘night’.

It’s not an exact science. Due to refracted light coming through our atmosphere and because people have trouble settling on when sunrise and sunset really are, equinoxes almost never land on the actual day of observance, but always within a few days it.

The Northern Lights are one of the greatest phenomenon we're aware of.People from all around the world celebrate with feasts and festivals, marking the arrival of the holiday. Dependent on your location on the globe, you may even be able to see the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. These are beautiful colors that always appear in the sky this time of year. The phenomenon is actually radiation from the sun interfering with the earth’s magnetic field!

The further north you are, the better chance you have of seeing the Auroras! Enjoy your observance and celebration of the Autumnal Equinox and keep your eyes on the skies! As always, thanks for reading.

- John