When you are a kid, summer camp means s'mores, horseback riding, swimming, awesome food and campfire songs. As a parent, summer camp means money. This can often be a struggle, especially if you have multiple children you want to send to camp. Most of you are already aware that having a Camp Henry experience is one of kind and with that, we want every youth to have that opportunity. The costs associated with camp are a small price to pay compared with the valuable lessons that are instilled in the youth. While some of us are fortunate enough to have the cash to pay for an amazing week at camp, the reality is that most of us do not have the money just lying around.
Since summer camp is mostly for the kids, getting them involved as much as possible with raising the funds is important and there is no reason why it can't be a fun and rewarding experience.
Here are a few fundraising tips that you can try:
1. Camp Henry Sponsorship Letter
Thousands of youth have raised their program fees by asking for donations from friends, families and businesses. This is so easy, and just takes a little of your time to write and send the letters. Start with family, friends, friends of friends and then move on to businesses. It's as simple as sharing what a week at camp means to you. If you can, include some photos and let them know you when you are going and what you will be doing. You can try following up with a phone call to ask if they are interested. It is also very valuable to let them know you will report back to them on your experience and what their contribution allowed you to do, so be sure to send them a thank you note! You will be surprised at the results from just a few hours' work.
2. Crowdsourcing Websites
The World Wide Web opens up your fundraising network to far beyond your immediate contacts. Crowdsourcing websites are very common and VERY successful. Set up a profile on a crowdsourcing website such as Gofundme.com- Invite all your friends and online network to support you by making donations online. Think of it like a personal blog, where you can list your fundraising goals, camp details, pictures, videos, etc. You can then send this to all your Facebook and email contacts and people can donate easily online! Other sites include fundly.com and youcaring.com.
3. Recycling for Cash
This is a great method ANYONE can use. Numerous recycle centers pay money for cans and bottles that can be recycled. Try friends, family, colleges, restaurants etc. produce THOUSANDS of recyclable materials every night that may just go to waste. Ask if you can collect them and turn them in for cash! You may also like to organize specific bags and write your name and Camp Henry on them and hand them out to those helping you so they remember to put them in the bag. Offices often have recycle bins that they actually pay a company to come and collect. Why not ask them to give you their cans and bottles? You can also ask offices to donate empty printer cartridges which recycle for up to $25 each. Some youth have reported collecting $800 in less than a week just from pro-active recycling! You can simple search online for recycling centers in your area.
There are many opportunities to raise funds for camp; you just have to be open to putting in the time. Other traditional fundraising options could include:
• Bake sale –Mmm...cookies
• Car wash – Best if done on a warm day!
• Baby-sitting- Who doesn't love coloring and playing at the park?
• Yard Sale – Great way to remove clutter from your life and get that spring cleaning done. As the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure.
Good Luck! Fundraising is not hard; it just takes time and dedication to the cause.
The amount of time and effort you put into your fundraising should reflect the amount of success.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any more ideas, questions, or success stories that you would like to share.
What Getting Thrown in the Lake, Rolled in Ketchup, and Stamped in Paint Taught Me About Real Life
If you have ever been to summer camp you will no doubt know the true meaning of 'getting dirty'. Not just 'it's been days and I need a shower dirty' or 'I've been painting dirty'. I mean, real, "the entire dust bowl from the A-field is resting on my face, Lake Kimball's finer bacteria have taken up residence under my bathing suit, mustard has pretty much sealed my eyes shut" kind of getting dirty.
You summer camp staffers, in particular, will know what I mean when I say a shower that comes out in only a dribble and provides no actual warmth might just be the most amazing shower you've ever taken. (Water pressure noise - now!)
There is a whole lot of mess-making going on during the glorious days and hours of Camp Henry summers and while from the outside, it sounds pretty awful and disgusting, from the inside it is truly something special. There is a magic in letting go of your clean existence and diving in to the dirt to fully experience the tastes (pancake from the gut bucket?), the smells (a mix of the "coral" and beef stew smoke in your hair) and the feelings (dried Indian campfire paint on your forehead) that make up what summer camp is all about.
Getting dirty is what gets us into the game, into the spirit of camp. It's what forms our memories and fills our pictures and becomes the foundation for the stories we tell over and over.
(Be honest, the only story you tell about the banquets where you dressed up instead of going in overalls or wild wigs was the one where you fell over a bench and pretty much face-planted in a giant bowl of spaghetti. Oh wait, that might have been me. And technically, that's pretty close to getting messy.)So why do we do it? Why do we cherish the mess so much when normal, non-camp goers, have enough sense to run away? What exactly does all this dirty-ness teach us?
I've come to find out in my years since Camp Henry that the answer is: a great deal. All those messes, layers of dirt and grimy tactile assaults, have actually been influential life lessons.
Six Things that Getting Messy at Camp Taught Me About Life:
1. The Bog Walk is not as scary as you think.
Upon following my counselor out beyond Kiowa cabin through waist-deep mud, all I could think was: deadly bugs, snakes, and rusty metal are about to attack my shins; how will I ever get the mud off my Keds?; why, exactly, is this 'fun'? Upon returning, unscathed, from that terrifying walk, and bragging to others about the adventure, all I could think was: I survived the fear of the unknown. I learned the value of risk-taking, and no matter how many times I faced a Bog Walk in my days to come - starting over in six new states, taking on a job I wasn't qualified for, even motherhood - I knew that I could slosh through and survive.
2. Potato Round-Up paint fades away but the collective experience does not.
Running around the A-field, being attacked by cold paint and semi-recognizable potato stamps may sound like a B-grade horror movie you want to watch and avoid; however it's a rite of passage not to be missed. The paint washes off - usually in the Red Area to the tune of "Scrub your head, scrub, scrub..." - but the experience you've shared with 100 other people does not. That paint bath is what binds you all together. It's better to be in the heart of the mess because that's where the friends are. Some of those I have smeared paint on are still my closest companions today. (And while older, we aren't above a good paint fight.)
3. A Good Laking is all in the release.
If you have the fortune to be a Camp Henry staff member you will undoubtably have the "fortune" of getting thrown in the lake. It is a bit frightening: four individuals stealing you -fully clothed - powder-donat-ing you through sand, swinging you closely over wood and then (hopefully) launching you high enough - right side up enough - to make a painless lake entry. But it's also a competitive challenge. If you're going to get laked, it might as well be the best laking yet. It might as well be exhilarating. You have to trust that you will clear the dock. You have to relax and work with the team so you get good height. You have to mentally assist so you put on a good show. All those years of lakings taught me how to lean into a challenge at work; how to soar when others were watching; how to remain limber; and how to go for it so the plunge was really refreshing and worthwhile.
4. The Dutch Auction is not really about you.
There is nothing like the experience of being chosen as the "Human Hot Dog" or "Human Squeegee" and being dragged across Idema Theater through ketchup, mustard, last week's cole slaw, sour milk and tater tots. But here's the thing, you are chosen for the honor. Campers want to see you at your finest, filthiest and I know because I was both a selector and a selectee. When your name is called at the Dutch Auction, you have the (mostly disgusting) pleasure of sacrificing yourself for the joy of others and in return, you get the pleasure of knowing that people care enough about you to see you submerged. This strange irony has occurred to me many times as a parent as over and over again you give in to the mess for the good of another person. Whether it be syrup down the pants or poo on your pants, it's all done in the spirit of love.
5. Mud Mud is always the best choice.
It's raining and you have a few options: friendship bracelets and rock painting in Arts and Crafts, charades in Idema, or ultimate frisbee in the mud on the A-field. The answer is this: it's ALWAYS more fun to go out in the rain. The mud is the vehicle for the reward not the obstacle. This nugget remains true about pretty much everything. Find the motivation and go out to play Mud Mud.
6. Your Indian Campfire face paint says a whole lot about who you are.
No memory of camp excites me more than the end-of-the-week Indian Campfire. That dark journey up the hill, the sound of horses and drums, the 'will the spirit of the fire be with us or not?' anticipation - there was so much to look forward to. But it's the face paint - and the costumes - I donned for the big event that stick with me the most. What you chose to put on your face represents your personality. Your creative vision. Your love of camp's sacred culture. I never took it lightly (nor under-appreciated Gretchen Carothers or Nick Koster and some of the artistic geniuses who transformed my face). I selected every feather, every color, for a reason and those days gearing up to be Summoner or Chief of Fire shaped my early sense of creativity, my fashion, my personal style. The Indian Campfire taught me that all of life is an opportunity for self-expression.
Now it's your turn, tell us your stories and memories. As a camper or staffer which messy moments meant the most to you?
Amy VanHaren is the owner of VanHaren Creative, a social media marketing company. Her first visit to Camp Henry was for mini-camp at age 7. She stayed in the Ottawa cabin and had so much fun she came back for an entire week that summer and kept coming back every year until she turned 17 when she went on work as Camp Henry staffer for 10 summers. Stay tuned for more posts from Amy and keep up with her on Facebook and Instagram.
Have you met the Awesome version of yourself today? Natalie Barlow, a speaker from The Anima Series, shares how a simple change in how you view who you are can your world. Your identity in Christ is often far different than what the negative messages of this world and your own mind lead you to beleive.
You are Awesome. It's time to let the real You, light up the world!
If you liked this video, check out The Anima Series on YouTube. Parental warning, The Anima Series deals with many real life topics and some are meant for a mature audience.
Jennie "Bieber Fever" lists out the top 18 reasons why she (and any other returning campers) can't wait for another summer on the shores of ol' Lake Kimball.
2014 Theme Launch
Throughout the Summer of 2014, Camp Henry's theme will be You Are More.
Together we will discover who God says we are and how to embrace our identity in Him.
You are more than what this world says about you.
You are more than how tall or short you are
You are more than how others see you
You are more than your clothing size
You are more than an honor's student
You are more than the words you speak
You are more than the meds that you take
You are more than the choices that you make
You are more than the mistakes that you make
You are more than the things that you have done right
You are more than a star athlete
You are more than the funny things that you do
You are more than a victim
You are more than your past
You are more than the numbers of friends that you have
You are more than your swimming ability
You are more because your heavenly Father loves you no matter what. Here's who God says you are.
You are free (Romans 8:2)
You are safe (Romans 8:35)
You are included (Ephesians 1:13)
You are holy (Colossians 3:12, Ephesians 1:4)
You are forgiven (Colossians 3:13)
You are chosen (1st Peter 2:9)
You are beloved (Romans 1:7)
You are victorious (1st John 5:4)
You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are strong(Philippians 4:13, Colossians 1:11)
You are a Friend of God (James 2:23)
You are blessed (Ephesians 1:3)
You are accepted (Romans 15:7)
You are loved (Colossians 3:12, 1st Thessalonians 1:4)
You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
Check back each month for a new theme related blog post! And follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for #youaremoremondays and more theme related material
Christina Koehler, a long time camper and high school senior, reflects on her camp experiences and how it has affected her life. She encourages all of us to "go and find out for yourself" what camp is all about. Camp is a certainly best experienced first hand!
"Camp is a place like nowhere else. I want to say that if you look hard enough that you will find a place like camp, that makes you feel as good as camp, but trust me, you won’t. Camp is one of those unique places where no matter what you say or do, everyone around you will still love you. Between the campouts and the games, I met people who will stay with me for the rest of my life. I met one of my best friends seven years ago at camp and we are still best friends to this day even though she lives 5 hours away from me.
People always ask me what I love about camp, that’s actually what I am supposed to be writing about, but I can ever put into words just what it is that makes me love camp. The only thing I could ever tell my friends when they would as why it was so important to me is “Go. Go and find out for yourself, because I sure as heck cannot describe it."
I have gone on canoe trips, 2 UP trips, and an Alaska trip with Camp Henry. I have been blessed to be able to see the beauty that God has put on this Earth and I have been blessed to be able to recognize that it is God who put that beauty there to share with all of his children. I truly believe that without camp, I would not be the forgiving and caring human being that I am today. Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Well I asked for love, acceptance, and happiness; God gave me camp."
Long Time Camp Henry Camper
High School Senior
Welcome to 2014! A whole new year ahead! New memories, new opportunities, new challenges, new friends, new resolutions. In 2014, I am going to ___________ (fill in the blank with your resolutions).
I'm going to......ummm
Well I'm definitely going to......well hmmm
Did anyone else pause at the blank? Did anyone else struggle to fill in the blank after only a week of 2014?
Each year we get amped about a new start, a fresh beginning and all that lays ahead. And yet, the luster and excitment wears off so fast! For some it lasts a week or two, others a month, and a lucky few hold fast to the excitment for a few months but for most, its only a day or two.
Our resolutions, goals and dreams get lost in the shuffle of everyday life. School, work, sports, chores, homework, doctor appointments take center stage and most if not all of our hopes for the new year get benched on a shelf in the back of our mind. They settle in and gather dust and are more often than not never glanced at again.
And what about life goals, like a bucket list, things you have always wanted to do but have put off for one reason or another? These happen throughout every year and yet they also often get left behind and forgotten or at least neglected.
Sometimes though, something will snap us out of our routine, it will spark something inside of us and reignite our originial desire to achieve this goal or that dream. The following video takes jelly beans to represent the length of the average life. It shows you how the average person uses their time and the dwindling pile of beans or days left after each common activity is removed. Once all the common activities are removed, the remaining beans represent the free time we have to do what we desire to do. I've spilled enough, just watch, it speaks for itself.
I was shocked to see the small pile of beans that remained and something stirred in me, perhaps it will have the same effect on you. All I know is that not just in 2014 but hopefully for the rest of my life, I hope to change how I manage my time. I want to take advantage of the time I have to do the things I have always wanted to do even if they are as simple as going for a hike in the snow, spending time with friends around a fire, reading a good book, singing a silly camp song or sharing a cup of coffee with a family member. Even if they are as big as living in a different country, helping an entire community, becoming more confident, standing up for what you believe in, I want to value every moment I can.
What will you do with that time?
If you need help thinking of goals or challenges for 2014 or for life, check out this list of 10 Challenges for the New Year.
I'll leave you with this quote from Kung Fu Panda. Master Oogway puts time in perspective when he says "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present."
Each day is a present, enjoy it, use it, praise God for it!
Camp Henry Guest Services
Genevieve Howell, Facilities Specialist, takes a moment to reflect on her position at Camp and Christmas time. If you have ever spent time with Genevieve, you can appreciate her unique and entertaining perspective on life. If you haven't spent time with Genevieve, you are missing out big time!
"Christmas is like power tools.
I recently started working with Ryan in facilities at camp. I was like, man, I’ll probably get to climb on every roof, discover things people have forgotten about for a hundred years (like old poop grinder pumps, yay!), drive every vehicle at camp (t minus 9 to old bus to lift off), chop down trees, and find out that the facilities people of the past have actually created an underwater world beneath barb’s point.
You know, the norm.
But I was also pretty stoked because I had never used a power tool before, or let’s be real, even been allowed to hold one. I’m not accident prone nor am I known for breaking things often, I’m not opening up discussion, this is just fact. However, with Ryan claiming I’ve nearly killed him three times, even though I say only twice, I understand that truth can seem subjective. All this to say I’ve been pretty excited about the power tools here at camp.
So how is Christmas like power tools? There’s this little tool called the sawzall here at camp.
It’s straight evil.
This thing has enormous potential, you just plug it in and you’re off cutting holes in everything within arms distance. You could probably trim your Christmas tree to look like Jesus without breaking a sweat. The only flaw is that every so often the saw blade comes loose and flies at your face going 500 miles an hour. It’s cool though, it’s like Hunger Games but REAL LIFE!
You might be thinking, yeah this really is not like Christmas at all. But here’s where I’m going with this. Imagine Christmas is this thing you hold in your hands. The holiday space of time is in front of us and if you’re anything like me you’re sitting somewhere feeling on the brink. Each year I feel like I’ve been handed this strange little break at the end of the year. All around me money’s flying through the air as people check off their "to-buy" lists and people are preparing their answers to the slightly veiled and always threatening questions of “so what do you have to show for your life?” The radio and tv make me want to punch things and forever tear red and green out of the rainbow. Only kidding. But sometimes Christmas can seem a little man-made, cluttered and chaotic.
The other day I went out on Lake Kimball and with Ryan attempted to jump through the ice (That’s right folks, we’re getting the lake ready for New Year’s Camp! Bring your swimsuit! But actually, bring it). The lake starts with a thick layer of snow (seriously I can’t remember a time before it started snowing), has a layer of thin ice, then water, slush, and more ice. In that split second that you bust through the first thin layer of ice, you think there’s nothing solid at all and it’s the end of the world. But after getting through all the slush, you realize there’s actually something holding it all up.
To me, this is Christmas. Without all the flash, stripped down, it’s pretty much the best day of the year, because it’s the day God said to each of us, “I love you so much I’m coming down!” If I had to pick one thing I’ve honed in on here at camp, it would be this: sometimes there’s a lot of sludge and excess and you have to dig down past it to get to the good stuff.
So enjoy your power tool/ice breaking Christmas, use it right, make it count, and in the words of that Insanity work out guy, “DIG DEEP!”"
The Buddy Call Luncheon is put on to help Camp Henry continue and build upon its camping ministry. Here is the video they watched to learn more about how special Camp Henry is and see much fun Camp has throughout the year! Camp Henry is very thankful to have such wonderful support from so many individuals and the surrounding communities!
The beloved phrase "Only at camp..." can be heard in use around the country at all kinds of camps. It encompasses all the wonderful things a camp experience offers that sets it apart from the rest of the world. The magic in spending a day playing large group field games, challenging your group through a low ropes course or team building session, kayaking, practicing archery, learning about nature and then spending the night around a campfire, singing songs and roasting marshmallows before heading back to the cabin to bunk with new friends. It really is an experience that can't be recreated anywhere else but at camp!
You have probably heard the Camp Henry staff raving about all the fantastic activities and experiences Camp offers. But it's not everyday you have the opportunity to hear this from someone else. Elizabeth Topliffe, Head of School at Stepping Stones Montessori and guest blogger this month, details in the paragraphs below, her experience as a school group leader when she brought over 50 elementary age students, 1st-6th grade, to Camp Henry for a 1 night, 2 day experience.
You may find yourself chuckling as she writes with an honest and humorous perspective, juggling her expectations for her students (what she hoped to have happen) with the pleasantly unpredictability kids bring to any situation (what actually happened). She brought her students with the hope of creating lasting bonds, skills to work together as a team and a community to bring back to school with them for the school year. Here is what she had to write about her experience.
"I'm a school leader, and I've learned that educators lean toward the idealistic. We believe in potential and in possibility, especially as we imagine the beginning of a school year.
As our staff talked about adding a Camp Henry experience for the Stepping Stones Montessori elementary students, I pictured children exploring the woods, dining together, and singing songs around a campfire. This experience would begin our year so beautifully that during our entire year, there would be no fights, every utterance would be kind and polite, and we would return completely connected to nature.
As the date for our camp experience approached, my picture clouded with anxiety. What were we thinking planning an overnight trip with first grade children? How would this work? Would anyone sleep?
My anxieties worsened at camp. Some students chose not to participate. They sat out. They refused invitations to join the group. Everything was in place for my vision to occur. And these kids were being difficult.
Then, things changed.
The first thing I noticed? One of our students dumped an entire two liter pitcher of juice at lunch. Most of it landed in the lap of another student. That student reacted to the spill with irritation and annoyance. She was wet. She was cold. She was sticky. The first student was visibly upset. In tears, he found a rag and started to clean up.
Enter the third student. She quietly walked over to the sink and grabbed a rag. While she was there, she reassured the first student that it was okay. Just an accident. The second student just reacted because she was wet, sticky and cold. They cleaned up the mess together.
Later, one of our older students invited a student new to our school to share a canoe. He reassured the newer student. "Don't worry. I've canoed a lot. You can just relax. I'll take care of everything."
When a teacher commented how kind that was, the student said, "I could tell that she was feeling anxious and no one else was going to invite her. She didn't have any friends there. I figured I could do it."
I could share many similar stories about how our students used camp to transform themselves. In some ways, nothing changed. Our agenda, schedule, menu, staff was the same. In other ways, nothing was the same. Our students created a community. They taught one another what the community expected. They demonstrated who they were and how willing they were to take risks with one another.
Community is at the core of Stepping Stones. Our students do not need to do math or language as soon as their eyes open and before their feet touch the floor. They don't have to count, multiply, diagram a sentence or understand cultural differences before they arrive at school.
That said, before they rise in the morning, they feel and know whether they belong. Before any work happens in a classroom, they will know whether they feel safe enough to work and risk a mistake.
The Stepping Stones elementary students created their community at Camp Henry. Sure, we could have created community without Camp. It would have taken longer. It would have been more adult-driven. It would not have been nearly as breathtaking.
Our children still have conflict. They occasionally speak unkindly. [But] They know that they are capable of resolving it, of forgiving and of moving forward together.
As for my vision, It wasn't big enough. My vision settled for perfection instead of the imperfect beauty of a community. We'll be back next year for more!"
Elizabeth Topliffe is Head of School at Stepping Stones Montessori School in Grand Rapids, a member school of the American Montessori Society. Stepping Stones Montessori School is celebrating its 30th anniversary of cultivating a lifelong love of learning.
Elizabeth Ray, one of our program specialists, reflects back on Fall Festival and the New Year's Eve Camp that rang in 2013! She dishes on all the fun that was had and is to be had at Camp Henry! Check out our New Year's Eve Camp video too!
"Hey all you camp lovers out there,
I don't have to tell you all how great summer camp is because most of you have experienced it firsthand for yourself. There is something so special about leaving your everyday world behind for a week and coming to a place dedicated to creating a unique experience of love, laughter, nature, and faith.
Recently we decided summer isn't the only time of year to have summer camp fun, so we have created events during the year to allow campers to come back to camp to enjoy even more of that summer camp experience. Coming back to this place during the school year allows campers to recharge and remember the things they learned during the summer, to renew friendships, to be challenged, and to be reminded how much God loves them. It also allows people who have never been to Camp Henry before to get a small taste of what the summer is like here.
Last winter, we brought in the 2013 by having our first ever New Year's Eve Camp for campers and staff to come back, reunite, and have a blast! If you happened to be at camp last year for New Year's you will probably remember the awesome time we had playing broomball, decorating cookies, the big reveal of human-hungry hippos, and the many dance parties that took place. It was a wonderful time to rekindle relationships with one another.
Then, just a few short weeks ago we had our 1st annual Fall Festival, #CHfallfest. At Fall Festival, we had some of the classic camp activities such as climbing the cargo net, outdoor cooking, campfires, chapel, and skit night just to name a few things. We also had a big focus on fall themed activities. We had a great pumpkin scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving, leaf animal art, and a fabulous costume contest. In fact, summer staff member, Molly Peterson's favorite part of Fall Festival was "watching everyone perform skits in their Halloween costumes. Who could forget Penelope the hedgehog's costume or how extremely realistic (and terrifying) Maverick was dressed up as an ape?"
Fellow summer staff member, Rachel Szczytko, recounts her favorite leaf driven memory from Fall Fest. "One of my favorite parts of fall festival was catching leaves before Saturday's dinner. The wind really picked up and everyone jumped around on the deck attempting to get as many as they could- classic camp ingenuity and tons of fun!"
One of the chapels during Fall Festival, Ashleigh talked about the changing colors of season and how trees lose their leaves each year, only to be renewed in the spring time. It was a reminder to us that while things in our life may change or parts of us may get shed off at different times, our roots are constant. And if our roots are in God, we know His love for us will create new things in us, just like spring weather brings new leaves to the trees. This chapel was a great connection back to the 2013 summer camp theme of being Rooted.
Even with the turning leaves, the weather during Fall Festival was absolutely gorgeous and it allowed us to spend lots of time outdoors including some of our last moments out on the lake canoeing, sailing, and kayaking. A few who were daring enough even went swimming!
We are now just under 8 weeks out from our 2nd annual New Year's Eve Camp. And we are so thrilled about this event, we have been planning for it since last New Year's Eve Camp! You can expect to see many familiar summer staff faces as well as the return of the Kimball Cup Broomball Tournament! While you are getting excited for this event, feel free to use #CHNYEVE so we can all share in the excitement and anticipation! We will have some of our classic camp activities mixed with a focus on winter and New Year's Eve themed activities, like sledding shenanigans and Camp Henry's very own, unique countdown celebration. It will be a great time to hang out, have a ton of fun, and to look forward to what God has in store for each of us in the New Year.
Come help us ring in 2014 Camp Henry style at New Year's Eve Camp! Bring a friend or two along, bundle up for cold weather fun and sign up for #CHNYEVE! If you attended last year, post a picture or two on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #CHNYEVE, we would love to share in your memories!"
Adam Swenson, Camp Henry's Assistant Program Director, is going to take you on a quick journey through the highlights of the Summer of 2013 at Camp Henry.
"There are endless amounts of highlights from Summer 2013. It is tough to just select a few, however, it's such a joy looking back and reminiscing on the events that took place here. I tend to create a mental collage that overwhelms me with happiness and excitement. Now you're probably wondering, "Hey, Adam, what's on this mental collage of yours?"
Well, I'm glad you asked! To help me illustrate the vast diversity of my mental colllage, I'm going to use the help of my 4 hybrid animal friends from Olympic week. There were the Slammoths (mammoth/sloth), the Wolfodiles (wolf/crocodile), the Snarwalls (snail/narwhal), and the Sharkosaurs (shark/dinosaur) and each of these creatures were created by the campers and represented a team during the Olympic games. My favorite part of this was during the opening ceremony when each team performed a team cheer and proudly waved their unique flag.
Speaking of flags, I saw a reoccurring theme of flags throughout our time at camp. Whether it was our daily flag raising and lowering ceremonial services, playing capture the flag, the boys village march to opening campfire, or demonstrating our dance moves to the 'Wavin Flag' energizer, flags were everywhere!
One of the most meaningful moments I experienced over the summer was on the night of July 4th. We enjoyed song and dance around the beach bonfire followed by an entertaining fireworks display hidden behind the tater totter. After the fireworks, each cabin group was given a giant paper lantern. Upon lighting it, we released it into the night sky. We used this lantern as a symbol of our hopes for how we could help share what we learned at camp to everyone outside of camp during the year.
Another thing that seems to be forever engraved in my head was during one of the hottest days of the summer when the Newaygo fire department came to camp with two of their fire trucks. They helped us kick off our Luau theme with a visit to the 'waterfalls' where the fireman proceeded to hose us down in the B field. The sounds of laughter and singing along with the vision of slip n' slides and dance moves are still so fresh in my memory.
In fact, the water activities at camp have been some of the most fun times. I always got a kick out of kayaking to the natural spring and participating in the polar bear challenge with everyone. Even receiving clay pies during fun swim or playing walk the plank on the green raft was a treat. As one of the wakeboard/water ski instructors, it was so great to hear that a handful of these campers chose to come to Camp Henry for wakeboard and waterskiing. When the question of "Why did you choose to come to Camp Henry?" was posed to other campers, the majority of responses revolved around Camp Henry being a safe place to try something new. And that the amount of support and encouragement received from everyone that makes it so much more enjoyable.
Now friends, let's not forget about the reason for the season...Christmas in July. There was so much energy and activity during that week, I don't even know where to begin! There was non-stop singing of Christmas carols, wearing of ugly sweaters and reindeer games at play, we certainly had a jolly time. My favorite part was not only seeing counselors Molly and Riley play pregnant Mary and Joseph during the nativity scene but the village Christmas themes is where the hype came from. In boys village we had 'Jurasic Pirates' and the scene of walking into the village was priceless. You saw pirates sword fighting for each others treasures while at the same time defending themselves from the hungry and wild dinosaurs that roamed about. Barely making it out alive, we came across the program staff house where minions chased each other around trying to get a banana. We then entered into girls village for a tour of America. We had to make it through customs/security first but once we got in, we had the opportunity to see the windy city, meet the president, refresh ourselves by old faithful and meet some talking corn stalks from Iowa. We ended the day with the annual cabin gift exchange that consisted mainly of back rubs and ice cream sundaes.
As you can see, our summer here at Camp Henry is a place where kids interact with people face-to-face and, at the same time, learn about themselves and others around a camp fire, under the stars, or sitting at a dining hall table. It allows the idea of boarding the train to Hogwarts during a Harry Potter Party or fighting crime as a ninja warrior to flourish. You find a world filled with possibilities at Camp that are unavailable in everyday life.
It's really the little, impromptu activities that we experience which makes our time together truly special. I always love the spectacle of the fire dancers and fire tossers during Indian campfire. And being able to see all of the open area activities, such as witnessing assistant director Stephanie play dizzy bats and catching her contagious laugh to watching counselor Maverick lead a group of kids in "I lift things up, I put them down". Even morning chapels and seeing everyone's reaction to counselor Blake shattering a potted plant on the ground or Genevieve scaring herself while popping a balloon. The list goes on and on. What I love about Camp Henry is that it gives the chance to practice being the best you can be. People experience a place designed to create happy memories, have the opportunity to climb towers, ride horses, shoot an arrow, and even experience the success of winning an epic game of Gaga! These moments stay with us forever. So the question I have for you is, what are some of your favorite memories from Summer 2013?
We live for camp, we long for camp, we love camp. Camp will forever be a part of me in everything I do, because camp is more than a place—it's a way of life. We hope to see you all next summer!"