Fun with fire and power tools

yanfengpix2

Junk In Your Trunk and open house is THIS Saturday

Camp Fletcher is hosting our semi-annual community yard sale THIS Saturday, April 1st from 8:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m.  We already have more than 45 sellers looking to unload all kinds of geegaws and knicknacks, so if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and see us!  If you’re not in the neighborhood, you need to make plans to go out of your way and come see us anyway.JIYT

It’s not too late to become a seller at Junk In Your Trunk.  Here’s a link for more information and where you can download a registration form with all of the details, rules and other fine print. Questions? You can  drop us an e-mail at campfletcher@campfire-al.org or give us a call at 205-428-1059.

If that’s not enough excitement for you, we will be holding a summer camp open house from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday. You’re welcome to stop by at any time during either open house. If those days and times aren’t convenient for you, call the camp office at 205-428-1059 to schedule an appointment with us.  This is a great opportunity for parents and campers (or anyone interested in being involved at camp) to stop by and meet the staff, tour the grounds, and learn more about 2017 summer programs and opportunities.

Camp Fletcher named one of Alabama’s best summer camps

It comes as no surprise to us, but we were thrilled to see this article on AL.com yesterday naming Camp Fletcher among Alabama’s best summer camps.

http://www.al.com/bhammag/index.ssf/2017/03/alabamas_best_summer_camps.html

Camp counselor openings

We’re still interviewing potential camp counselors for our upcoming summer season. Working with Camp Fletcher’s kids is one of the most fun, challenging and rewarding jobs you’ll ever have. It’s also a great addition to any college student’s resume. Do you love kids and think you have the right stuff to be a Camp Fletcher camp counselor? If so, tell us about it by e-mailing your resume and letter of interest to campfletcher@campfire-al.org or give us a call at 205-428-1059 for more information.

Summer camp enrollment update

Several weeks of our summer camp programming are already at or near capacity for some age groups. If you are interested in sending your child to Camp Fletcher this summer, we strongly encourage you to contact the camp right away to find out about availability and to begin the registration process. You can reach us at campfletcher@campfire-al.org or by calling us at 205-428-1059.

Thank you Yanfeng!

A huge shout-out and great big thank you to our friends at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors. A small army of volunteers in bright yellow shirts showed up at Camp Fletcher on a drizzly Saturday morning, and boy did they come ready to work! Armed with brooms and chain saws and even a skid steer (a bulldozer-like thingy), the Yanfeng employees and their family members gave our bunkhouses and other buildings a thorough spring cleaning, cleared fallen trees from our trails, brought down some large trees that had fallen victim to last year’s drought and pine beetle infestation, and did a whole lot of other great work all over the camp.

The weather steadily improved as the morning wore on, and after several hours of labor, everyone swapped stories while feasting on well-earned chicken sandwiches as the world’s biggest bonfire blazed in the background.

We can’t thank the good people at Yanfeng enough for their hard work and financial support of Camp Fletcher. In one day they put hundreds of hours into making Camp Fletcher a better place and helped us to get ready for the upcoming summer camp season. This is the second year that the company has organized a volunteer workday at Camp Fletcher. In addition to being a great corporate citizen, Yanfeng and its people are true friends and partners of Camp Fletcher.

yanfengpix

Critter Cam

1024px-Curious_RaccoonFrom: Camp Fletcher Management
To: Camp Maintenance Director
Re: Critter Cam
 
Dear Maintenance Department,
 
Thanks for forwarding the pictures captured by the wildlife camera I had you install outside the camp office. Yes, that raccoon was adorable. He was also a thief. The last picture clearly shows the raccoon walking off with a Reese’s Cup that had been weighing down that ash leaf with all the tiny handwriting on it. That treat had been left there just for me, so I’m very disappointed that camp maintenance seems unable to control the pilfering and kleptomaniacal wildlife roaming loose at the camp.

The question I have for you is how did that leaf and candy get there in the first place? In one image from the critter cam (as you so quaintly call it), there’s no leaf and no Reese’s Cup. In the next image (taken a split second later according to the time stamp on the image), both the leaf and treat are outside the office door. But no creature of any kind appears on either picture? Since leaves and candies can’t materialize out of nowhere, this seems to defy the laws of physics? Please explain.

Before you answer, don’t start up with your friendly elf theory again. I don’t care what you think you saw out of the corner of your eye by the archery range last Thursday, it should go without saying that elves do not exist. Whatever you saw or think you saw—it definitely wasn’t an elf.

Instead of trading in silly fables, I want some real answers about who has been leaving leafmail at my door. That wildlife camera was expensive, and all we have to show for it so far is a few pictures of a larcenous raccoon.

I expect immediate results. If you can’t provide them for me, I intend to find someone who can.

Have a nice day!

Camp Management

***

Greetings from Camp Fletcher,

Have you seen all that yellow dust? It’s everywhere right now. Just look at any car parked outside, and I bet you’ll see a coat of it covering the hood and doors and even the windows. What you’re seeing is pollen which is produced by trees and flowers waking up in the spring. All of this pollen makes the Camp Fletcher bees very happy because pollen is bee food. This time of year our bees think they’re at a never ending all-you-can-eat buffet. Pollen makes some of my human friends sneeze and their eyes water, though, so that’s not so much fun. Parents don’t always like to see a coat of yellow dust on their cars (even if they’re yellow cars), but this time of year as soon as a car is washed, the pollen comes right back.

Some of the animals at Camp Fletcher are grumpy right now. It all began when Peppy the Raccoon decided to borrow a trick from his beaver acquaintances and began building a dam on one of the small creeks at camp. Peppy is a clever raccoon, and he thought the dam would make it easier for him to catch crawfish and minnows and the other seafood snacks he likes.

Sandy the red eared slider is furious about Peppy’s dam. Water turtles ured-eared_slider_deskse creeks like humans use roads, and Sandy doesn’t want to have to get out of the creek and go around Peppy’s dam every time she needs to travel upstream to have lunch with her cousins. The dam is still under construction but is already causing hurt feelings as the animals take sides. There’s a new moon tonight, so that means the Animal Council will hold their monthly meeting. I’m sure the great dam crisis will be the major topic at tonight’s council, and I’ll let you know what happens.

Talishia from McCalla sent a nice e-mail to my twinkle@campfire-al.org e-mail address. Talisha wants to know why I always weigh down my leafmails with candy when I deliver them to the camp office door. It seems strange to her that I’m leaving treats for Camp Management when management doesn’t seem to like me very much.

Well you see, Talishia, people come in two flavors—sweet and sour. Sweet humans are so much nicer than sour ones, and frankly the human who calls themselves Camp Management could use a little sweetening up. I can’t tell if it’s working yet. I’ve been trying lots of different candies to see if some work better than others. I’m keeping very careful records on this. We elves are very scientific, and trying to adjust the sweet/sour ratio of Camp Management is just one of the many experiments I’m conducting.

Write again soon, Talishia.  I’m glad your parents have signed you up to come to Camp Fletcher again this summer. I’ll see you when you get here, even if you might not see me.

Your friend,

Twinkle Loblolly
Camp Elf

The Camp Fletcher road show

bessemer2

Camp counselors needed

Right now Camp Fletcher is recruiting camp counselors for our upcoming summer season. Working with Camp Fletcher’s kids as a Camp Counselor is one of the most fun, challenging and rewarding jobs you’ll ever have. It’s also a great addition to any college student’s resume. Do you love kids and think you have the right stuff to be a Camp Fletcher camp counselor? If so, tell us about it by e-mailing your resume and letter of interest to campfletcher@campfire-al.org or give us a call at 205-428-1059 for more information.

Summer camp enrollment update

Several weeks of our summer camp programming are already at or near capacity for some age groups. If you are interested in sending your child to Camp Fletcher this summer, we strongly encourage you to contact the camp right away to find out about availability and to begin the registration process. You can reach us at campfletcher@campfire-al.org or by calling us at 205-428-1059.

Junk in Your Trunk

It’s not too late to reserve a space for our upcoming Junk in Your Trunk community yard sale being held on April Fool’s Day. Be sure to join us for a fun day of buying and selling. Here’s the link to the registration form and other event details.

Putting our show on the road

Spring is officially here at last and with temperatures in the 80s yesterday, if feels like we skipped right through to summer.  Even though it’s already getting warm, Camp Fletcher’s summer programming is still more than two months out.  Since the kids can’t come to summer camp yet, lately we’ve been bringing camp to them.

On February 22nd, Camp Fletcher staff members participated in the Urban Forestry and Conservation Fair held at Linn Park and Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham and hosted by the Jefferson County Conservation District.

Our Activities Director Kasey Liveoak along with other Camp Fletcher staff led middle-schoolers in a lesson about the food chain.  The children were assigned the roles of hawk, shrew or grasshopper (naturally, they all wanted to be hawks), and they played a game where they learned how disruptions to the food chain can impact animal populations. About 200 children rotated through the activity over the course of the day.

Last week Camp Fletcher staffers spent two days teaching team building to students at Bessemer Middle School. We used ropes, tarps, balls, hula hoops and other props to help teach the children how to work together.  The students learned about teamwork and had a whole lot of fun doing it.

On Saturday Camp Fletcher presented a lesson on orienteering to families attending Publix Presents Family Camp-Out Night at Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham. This event allowed families to pitch tents and camp out overnight downtown. At Camp Fletcher, we’re all about kids and camping, so lending a hand to Railroad Park was a no-brainer for us.

At Family Camp-Out Night, we led children in a “treasure hunt” that had them using the points of the compass to decode a secret phrase. Later we gave attendees an interactive lesson on orienteering that ended with kids and parents alike on their feet and singing a camp song with us.rr park

Daredevil squirrels and sensible squirrels

From: Camp Fletcher Management
To: VP of Camp Promotions
Re: Ongoing Elf Fiasco
 
Dear VP of Promotions, 

I saw the recent mock-ups of our new ad campaign and couldn’t help noticing our next brochure includes a mention of that Twinkle Loblolly elf creature. How can your department possibly be going along with this foolishness? And what do you mean by “people kind of like the elf?” How can anyone like the elf when there’s no such thing as elves?  How many times do I have to say it—elves are imaginary beings; they aren’t real!

I’m growing so weary of this. First IT claims they’re unable to delete the twinkle@campfire-al.org e-mail address, and now your new ad campaign is adding insult to injury.

We must nip thisquirrel-in-roads elvish nonsense in the bud because it’s beginning to spread. Apparently some people at headquarters are beginning to believe that an actual, real elf is living at Camp Fletcher. That’s unacceptable. Just because some deranged person keeps leaving leafmail outside our office doesn’t mean elves exist, much less a camp elf with the unlikely name Twinkle Loblolly.

Take a look at this latest dispatch from this Twinkle person (attached). I found it today written on a paw-paw leaf that was held down by two mini-Snickers (my favorite, yum). It’s just some drivel about squirrels and such. Just to be clear, I’m ordering you to remove all references to elves from our upcoming ad campaign or heads will roll.

Have a nice day!

Camp Fletcher Management

******

Hello World!

Greetings from Camp Fletcher and from me, Twinkle Loblolly. It’s a beautiful sunshiny day and it’s the first day of spring. Both of those things make me so very happy.

The camp was bustling all weekend with adult humans rushing here and there and everywhere to spruce up the camp. The bunkhouses got a thorough spring cleaning, brush was cleared from the trails, and lots of other things were happening all over the camp to make it ready for warmer weather.

I had fun watching the adult humans from my secret hiding spot high up in my favorite loblolly tree. Of course they never saw me. I overheard the camp director tell another grown human that 2nd graders are coming to camp this week for a field trip. Those are always fun. The camp director also said that early registration for the coming summer camp season is going very well, and that’s great news.

I got a nice e-mail this week from Alison in Bessemer. “Mommy was driving me to school last week and squirrels kept running in front of mommy’s car. We didn’t hit any, but we almost did three times. What’s making the squirrels so crazy? Msquirrelommy said to ask you about this because elves know all about squirrels.”

You ask a great question, Alison, and I asked some squirrel friends here at Camp Fletcher about this. Squirrels like to be silly, they’re not very smart, and they are easily distracted, so you can’t always trust what they tell you, but here’s what they told me.

First of all squirrels become more lively and bouncy as winter ends and the weather begins to warm up. They just like running around and climbing trees, and the warmer it gets, the livelier they get. Also, this is the time that boy squirrels like to chase after girl squirrels, and that keeps all of the squirrels scurrying this time of year.

Finally, there are two kinds of squirrels, or at least that’s what my squirrel friends tell me.  There are sensible squirrels and there are daredevil squirrels. Sensible squirrels like to lead quiet lives. They are happiest when they are gathering and burying nuts and raising their squirrel families. Sensible squirrels live happily in the woods and never, ever go near roads.

Daredevil squirrels, on the other hand, love jumping in the middle of the road to dodge oncoming cars just for the thrill of it. These silly squirrels like to show off for their friends and think playing in traffic is fun. That’s just plain dumb. Being a daredevil squirrel is very dangerous and they can be hurt or even killed playing their dodge car games.

Children should never be like the daredevil squirrels. Children should never step into the street and should never ever play near traffic. Children should stay safe like the sensible squirrels do.

My leaf is full, but write to me again soon, Alison.

Your friend,
Twinkle Loblolly
Camp Elf

Summer camp registration is open now

Brrrrrrr! Yes, it’s been chilly around these parts for the last few days, and you may be thinking more about hot cocoa and where you misplaced those gloves than you are about swimming and hiking outdoors, but we promise summer will be here before you know it.

One sigresident campn that warm weather is just around the corner is that registration is now open for Camp Fletcher’s 2017 summer season for both our Day Camp and Resident Camp experiences. Right now our camp staff members are busy preparing the camp for the summer season and recruiting our fantastic cadre of camp counselors.

For our 2017 season, Day Camp will open on May 30th with the last session ending on July 28th. We will hold a week of Resident Camp for first through fifth graders running from June 4th through June 9th and a week of resident camp for sixth through ninth graders from June 25th through 30th.

If you’re interested in visiting Camp Fletcher to see all that we have to offer and to speak with our camp director, you are invited to attend our Open House events on Saturday, April 1st from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and on  Sunday, April 2nd from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. You’re welcome to stop by at any time during either open house. If those days and times aren’t convenient for you, call the camp office at 205-428-1059 to schedule an appointment with us.day camp

For details on both Resident Camp and Day Camp dates, times, costs, activities, etc., please check out our 2017 Camp Fletcher brochure. You can pick one up at the camp or download it here: http://campfire-al.org/index.php/camp-fletcher/2016-summer-camp-flyer.

If you already know your child will be attending Camp Fletcher this summer, and you are ready to register now, congratulations–you’ve made a great decision! The next step is to complete our online registration form here: http://campfire-al.org/index.php/camp-fletcher/online-registration

We encourage early registration to ensure your child is not wait-listed. Summer camp enrollment is limited, and some weeks of camp will reach capacity. Our 91st summer season promises to be the best ever and we look forward to seeing you and your child at Camp Fletcher this year.

Memo to IT, Re: Elf

From: Camp Fletcher Management
To: IT Department Management
Re: Twinkle Loblolly, the ‘Camp Elf’

 Dear IT Management, 

How is your claim that “no one in our department created the twinkle@campfire-al.org e-mail address” even possible? If you guys didn’t set up that e-mail address, then who did? Nobody, that’s who! Only you folks in IT know how to create things like e-mail addresses and websites around here, so I’m holding you personally responsible. I’m starting to get questions about this e-mail address, so this is rapidly becoming a black eye on our organization.

And what do you mean when you tell us you are unable to delete or shut down the elf’s e-mail, and “every time we eliminate that address it turns itself back on?”  I’m no IT wizard, but even I know that e-mail accounts can’t create themselves and they definitely don’t “turn themselves back on” after being deleted.  E-mail doesn’t work that way. I need a better explanation than that.

IMG_1110 (2)What is the matter with  you people? Aiding and abetting a camp elf has to be a crime or something. Besides, everyone knows that elves don’t exist. And if I discover that one of you is responsible for creating the @twinkleloblolly Twitter account we just found out about, you are going to be looking for a new job so fast it will make your head spin.

The alleged elf left another piece of leafmail today. This one was a maple leaf covered with teensy-tinsy letters and left for us in its regular place outside the camp office. It was held down by two licorice sticks.  The red licorice was scrumptious, but I’m not a fan of the black ones, so I left it for the interns to share. I’m attaching the latest message from this Loblolly character. Please have our IT security team analyze it for digital fingerprints to see if it can point to who this person really is and who inside the organization may be helping him or her.

This insanity really must stop. You can be sure that I’m going to bring this elf business up with the Big Boss in our department heads’ meeting on Wednesday.

Hi, it’s Twinkle. It’s been a nice week at Camp Fletcher, and spring is definitely on the way; but it’s still too quiet here without all of the children. That’s why I was so happy when Rick from Alabaster sent me such a nice e-mail this week.

Rick wrote to tell me he enjoys reading my leafmails, but he had never heard of a camp elf before.  I’m sorry about the confusion, Rick. I’m actually a wood elf who lives at Camp Fletcher. People usually call me “the camp elf” instead of the more correct “wood elf who lives at the camp,” and I’m fine with that.  There are several kinds of elves—there are wood elves like me, but there are also prairie elves, mountain elves, desert elves, and even city elves. There are water elves too, but our water elf cousins are kind of snobbish and insist that we refer to them as sprites. Lah-dee-dah.

And no Rick, I’m not invisible. I’m just as visible as you or any other third grader in your class. It’s just that we wood elves are very, very shy and very, very good at hiding, so it’s almost impossible for you to see us if we don’t want you to. And we almost never want you to see us. Elves can be like that mockingbird you hear singing in a nearby tree but can’t spot through the leaves, no matter how hard you look. Actually that bird you hear at Camp Fletcher might really be me. Wood elves love to hide in trees; and my imitation of Mr. Mockingbird is good enough to fool anyone, even Mrs. Mockingbird.  If you do see me when you visit Camp Fletcher, it’s likely to be as a quick flash or tiny movement out of the corner of your eye—in other words, you’ll only see me as a twinkle. That’s how I got my first name, of course, but I bet you already knew that. So if you almost see something when you’re at Camp Fletcher, that’s probably just me saying hi.

Anyway, thanks for writing, Rick—tell all your friends that they can write me too. I can’t wait for you to come back to Camp Fletcher this summer.  Good luck with your book report in Ms. Haling’s class. I’m sure she’s not nearly as mean as you say she is.

Your friend,

Twinkle Loblolly

Camp Elf