WoHeLo: A Camp Fletcher Tradition

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Camp Fletcher during the heavy snow fall in January 2014

As you drive into camp, you may have noticed a sign above the gate sporting an unfamiliar word. The word is WoHeLo, and it’s the banner that welcomes all campers, counselors, staff and volunteers to Camp Fletcher. It’s more than a word, however; it’s our catch phrase that represents who we are, what we stand for, and what we are striving to do every day at camp.

WoHeLo (pronounced whoa-hee-low) stands for work, health, and love. Our counselors are trained to facilitate conversations with campers about their day, and ways they saw WoHeLo materialize throughout the activities, conversations and lessons they had that day. Our campers reflect on each of the parts that make up WoHeLo, and we hope they come away with some important take-aways from these discussions.

Work: The work our campers do can be anything from their daily activities like swimming or canoeing, to team work, helping others, and achieving personal goals. We hope our campers will be able to identify the work they do, and begin to see how their work can impact those around them. The goal is for our campers to be engaged in their work, to try their hardest, and to be helpful and caring individuals.

Health: We address health in different ways at camp. Our campers are active and they learn the importance of getting up, getting outside, and moving around. We want our campers to be responsible for their bodies by making sure they are nourished, rested, hydrated, and in a positive mindset. We ask our campers to identify what they think health is and how to be healthy, but we also ask them to identify why health matters. By identifying ways they are making healthy choices each and every day, our campers are able to better incorporate health into their lives, both at camp and elsewhere.

Love: Love is the last element of WoHeLo, and it’s something we feel our campers do very well. We want everyone at Camp Fletcher to love themselves, each other and the world around them. When we have discussions about what love is, how we love and why it matters, we’re helping our campers develop compassion and empathy, and to learn how to build lasting and healthy relationships with those around them.

We want our campers to understand how important these things – work, health and love – are, and how to connect them to everything we do at Camp Fletcher. Our counselors and camp staff are trained to help all campers see the importance of WoHeLo, and to lead discussions that help our campers begin to make those connections themselves. While WoHeLo is something we focus on at camp, we hope it is something all campers carry with them throughout their lives, and we would like to encourage parents to have these conversations at home, too. WoHeLo is just as much a part of camp as the trees, and the cabins and the creek. We know our campers will remember the lessons they learn each summer at Camp Fletcher.

Pine Needle Express

The Pine Needle Express is our camp newsletter, and we know how important it is for parents to keep up with everything that’s happening at camp during the summer! This year, we’re going to be posting all the issues on the Pine Needle Express on our blog so parents can have easy access to all the information they need! Our first issue for 2015 is ready, and it is full of great information about our upcoming programs, as well as some super lucky CONTEST WINNERS! Click on Pine Needle Express Issue 1 to download it or view it below!

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PNE 5.1 (page 2)

Staff Spotlight: Kasey

Last week, we introduced you to one of our awesome counselors for summer 2015, but we also want to give you a chance to get to know the people who work hard all year to make Camp Fletcher amazing! Today, we’re going to hear from Kasey, one of the best Camp Fletcher staff members (…but maybe we’re biased because we think ALL of our staff members are the best).

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Our Program Coordinator, Kasey

Kasey is the Program Coordinator at Camp Fletcher. She’s been with camp for 7 years. Kasey just returned from the American Camping Association Conference, full of awesome ideas for this summer! Here’s what she had to say.

What is your favorite part about working at Camp Fletcher?
The camp culture and family environment is my favorite part about working at Camp Fletcher! I had the opportunity to work with a large group of friends that I went to college with at Jacksonville State University my very first summer and, after that, I was hooked. The people you work with become so much more than your co-workers, but a second family. I love that counselors and campers return year after year and  seeing the smiles on their faces when they enter our front gates. There is truly never a dull moment at Camp Fletcher.

In your opinion, what makes Camp Fletcher the best way to spend a summer?
Like I mentioned before, the culture is so different than traditional work places. We become a family, working with people you never imagined you would be working with while being a positive role model to the youth we serve. I might be biased, but I think we have the best campers too! They are so full of energy and excited about everything AND we get to spend our days outside doing archery, swimming, canoeing, etc. Who wouldn’t love going on fun adventures every day?

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Where is your favorite spot at camp?
My favorite spot is the benches at our docking area for canoeing. It sits on Shades Creek and the location is perfect because you can see and hear the water moving with the current. One minute it might be filled with laughing children getting ready to set off on their trip to see our tiny waterfall. The next minute it might be filled only with the sounds of the creek and birds, making it a perfect spot to sit and contemplate life.

What are some goals you have for camp this summer?
My goal for this summer is simple: I just want to improve and make it better than it was last year. In the past I have made these grand plans for change and I feel that we make sure we have an amazing staff and programing for our campers. I just think we can improve on some things here and there that make our campers experience with us even more memorable and having those campers as our future camp counselors. I want them to Live The Experience and tell everyone about it!

What is the most interesting/exciting/strangest thing that has happened to you since you’ve been working at camp?
I know the strangest thing that happened to us was during staff training my third summer. We were in the middle of an activity and someone said, “Is that a cow?”. We walked out of our dining hall and we saw a bull just grazing across from us. When we walked toward it, it started running down the trail. We were all dumbfounded. The cow appeared two more times throughout camp that summer until the owner could be tracked down. It was pretty far away from its home.

The most exciting thing would have to be CSI week for day camp a year or two ago. A camper’s dad worked on a police force so he came out with cars and friends and had a big event for them and our campers even got little Junior Officer Badges. The kids loved it and had a blast hearing the sirens and the lights on the police car.

I think the most interesting thing is running into campers outside of camp. It’s just funny seeing their reactions and also the excitement on their face when they realize who you are. I think the most memorable moments for me happen more outside of camp because campers that you might have played a card game once or sat and talked with during pool time or meal time remember your name and run up and hug you. I think that is one of the biggest compliments is just receiving a hug because, to you, it seemed like only for a moment or just a summer that you connected with them, but for them it was for a lifetime and they may never forget.

If Camp Fletcher sounds like the perfect place for you or your children this summer, click here to find out more about our summer programs or contact us today.

The absolute BEST things about a summer at Camp Fletcher!

It’s pretty common knowledge that summer camp is among one of the best experiences a kid can have, but we believe that the Camp Fletcher summer camp experience can’t be beat! Our beautiful camp is the perfect atmosphere for a summer of fun, excitement and growth for kids of all ages. We work hard to make sure every camper has an awesome summer, and we know there are a few things about a summer at Camp Fletcher that make us unique.

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  1. The beautiful outdoors: Camp Fletcher is located on a beautiful, wooded 300 acres just outside Birmingham, Alabama. Our camp is rich in history, with tall trees and access to the beautiful Shades Creek. Our campers love being outside, whether they are spending time in canoes, on hikes, by camp fires, or in the swimming pool.dandelion
  2. Our exciting programs: Camp Fletcher has a host of activities for campers to participate in, from swimming, canoeing, hiking, a low ropes course, archery and more! Whether you come for the day or overnight, Camp Fletcher is sure to have activities that interest and excite you.
  3. Our amazing counselors: All of our counselors are well-trained, caring adults who love the outdoors! Our counselors are hand selected, and they are there to ensure that all campers have a safe and fun summer. Additionally, our camp directors are a wonderful group that work hard all year to make sure summers at Camp Fletcher are unforgettable.children-516340_1280
  4. Friends, friends, friends: At Camp Fletcher, we want all campers to connect to nature and to one another! You will be sure to meet kids from all different backgrounds, but we are growing caring and cool kids every summer at Camp Fletcher!

If this list has you convinced, then be sure to check out our Summer Brochure, for all the great information about our day and residential camps. Our camps are fun and affordable, and we know that each and every camper will have a summer they never forget.

For more information, or if you have questions, click here to contact us today!

Counselor Spotlight: Meet Courtney!

As we get ready for camp this summer, we are hard at work finding the perfect counselors to care for our campers! Over the next few months, we’re going to spotlight some really great counselors, so you can get to know some smiling Camp Fletcher faces.

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This is Courtney. This summer will be her first as a Camp Fletcher counselor, but she is more than familiar with summers at camp! Courtney is from Pell City, Alabama. She is a junior at Mississippi State University where she majors in Elementary Education. We asked Courtney some questions, so check out what she had to say about working at Camp Fletcher!

What made you want to work at Camp Fletcher?
I chose Camp Fletcher because I myself was a camper there. I have wonderful memories from camp as a camper and can’t wait to make many more as a counselor.

What previous experiences do you have that you think will make you a great counselor?
I am majoring in Education. I have a lot of experience with kids so I think that will be the greatest help to me as a camp counselor.

What are you most excited about for summer 2015 at Camp Fletcher?
I am most excited about making new memories at camp! I am pumped about a full summer outdoors and getting to know the other counselors.

We are THRILLED to have Courtney come aboard as a counselor this year. We know 2015 will be a great summer for all of our counselors and campers!

If you are interested in working at Camp Fletcher this summer, visit us online today or check out our post about working at camp. Summer staff must be at least 18 years old and able to commit the entire summer (June – August). Counselors are carefully chosen for their leadership skills and interest in child development. All staff members are required to have a criminal background check, a multi-panel drug test, and must participate in an extensive training program following the American Camping Association and Camp Fire’s policies and guidelines. If you would like to apply, click here for more information!

For more information about summers at Camp Fletcher, contact us today to find a program that’s right for you!

Spring Programs & Events!

flagsAt Camp Fletcher, we are ready for sunny days so we can get outside and have some fun! Before summer camp arrives, we are getting for some really awesome spring programs just for you! Our Spring Retreat is March 28 and 29, and is for kids from first grade to ninth grade. Cost is $35 before March 6 and $40 after, and includes meals. Our Spring Retreat is centered on fun springtime activities, including bubbles, s’mores and much more! For more information, click here to see the brochure and registration information.

On April 25 & 26, Camp Fletcher is hosting Spring Backpacking 101: The Basics for 6th-12th graders looking for adventure! Cost is $40 per camper, and spots are limited so be sure to register before April 16. For a complete packing list and registration information, click here.

In addition to these special events, we will also be hosting the Junk in Your Trunk Community Yard Sale on April 11. Spots are $5 and the event is free to the public. Spring is also a great time for field trips, and Camp Fletcher is the perfect way to get out of the classroom and offer your students a collaborative learning experience! We’re conveniently located, we’re affordable, and we provide a broad spectrum of academic and educational lesson plans which meet ASDE Core Curriculum Standards. For more information, check out our outdoor education page.

If you have questions or would like to register for any of our spring programs, visit us online or contact us today!

Honey bees are buzzing…

Did you know that we have three honey bee hives at Camp Fletcher? These hives are part of our new outdoor education program at camp, designed to teach kids about healthy food, science and nature in an interactive learning environment! Our bees have been dormant for the past few months, but this weekend we had a volunteer come out to camp to check on our hard working bees.

Our volunteer fed the bees sugar to help them survive the winter. Sprinkling sugar in the hive once a month helps the bees last through the cold, lean months. Bees are less active in the winter, and we wanted to be sure the hives were still in great condition.

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Staff and volunteers who are not trained with bees should keep a safe distance away from the hives at all times.
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Our volunteer sprinkling sugar in this very active bee hive!

As the weather warms up, our bees will become more and more active. In the spring, we should be able to collect and process our first honey harvest. Honey can be harvested twice a year, in the spring and fall, as long as the bees have produced enough honey for themselves to survive the winter. Making and selling honey is the primary reason we have bees at Camp Fletcher, but they also have other benefits; bees pollinate flowers, increasing their health and enhancing nearby gardens. Additionally, buying and consuming honey made where you live can help with allergies because the pollen helps your body build up immunity to allergens in your local environment.

Caring for our honey bees is a fun and exciting activity that camp staff and trained volunteers have the opportunity to help with. As we get ready to harvest honey in April, we will be sure to keep you updated on our bees and where you will be able to buy our fresh, local honey!