One objective we have at Camp Fletcher is to address the summer “learning loss” that happens when children are out of school for weeks at a time. We’re sneaky about it, so very often we’re able to turn camp activities into learning activities without the kids even knowing it. In this picture some of our campers are learning about bees.
We put a lot of time and energy into crafting lessons that are so enjoyable our campers don’t realize they’re actually sitting in an outdoor classroom and fully engaged in learning about nature or improving their reading skills. Of course we will always spend plenty of time at camp with swimming and archery and canoeing and crafts and singing camp songs and all of the other things that make for a great summer camp experience, but parents shouldn’t be surprised that their campers are also learning while they’re having fun.
“Welcome to my treehouse. What can I get for you?” the elf asked his feline friend as Rufus hopped on Twinkle’s favorite chair. Twinkle tried his best not to look annoyed as the bobcat began scratching the fabric on the cushions prior to settling in.
“A little snack would be nice,” the bobcat said. “I could go for some fresh chipmunk.”
“I just ran out of chipmunk, I’m afraid, but I do have some tasty cream. Would you like a saucer?”
“That’ll do, if it’s all you’ve got,” said Rufus, attempting to act disappointed and failing. Both of them knew of Rufus’ intense fondness for fresh cream.
The elf nibbled on a chocolate chip cookie while his friend lapped up every drop of the cream. They spent the little while enjoying their treats in contented silence. Eventually Twinkle put up the dishes while the bobcat groomed himself as he purred in self-centered satisfaction.
“To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit,” the elf asked, finally getting down to business.
“Can’t an old friend just stop by to spend quality time with another old friend,” Rufus growled in reply.
“I suppose,” Twinkle mused, “but I can’t remember a time when you ever came to my tree without wanting something.”
“Hrumph,” groused the bobcat.
“So, fess up—why did you come to see me?” Twinkle asked.
“I need some advice,” replied Rufus.
“Oh, that’s great,” Twinkle said, clapping his hands in glee. “Giving advice is one of my favorite things to do. What’s the subject?”
“Girls,” the bobcat whispered.
“Girls?” Twinkle responded in surprise.
“Girls,” confirmed Rufus. “Well, girl bobcats anyway.”
“Okay, what seems to be the problem?”
“There’s this cute bobcat,” he began. “She lives on the other side of the ridge, several miles from Camp Fletcher, and her name is Manx. The thing is, I like Manx but she wants nothing to do with me. Every time I go to see her, she tells me I’m trespassing on her property. The last time I crossed over the ridge, she growled at me and she did this,” Rufus said, pointing to a scar next to his nose. “It’s a long way to go to get to the other side of the ridge,” Rufus complained. “And I’d rather not go to all of that trouble just to get clawed. Can you help me?”
“Hmmm, I think she may be trying to tell you something, Rufus. You might need to find yourself another girlfriend. After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea.”
“I don’t know anything about fish in the sea, Twinkle. I’ve never seen the sea. But I know that Manx is the only girl bobcat living anywhere near Camp Fletcher and she hates me,” Rufus wailed, and a bobcat’s wail is one of the most sorrowful sounds in the world.
“I have an idea,” Twinkle said, not really having an idea at all but very much wanting Rufus to quit his wailing. “I haven’t left the camp in a long time. How about I cross the ridge and pay a visit to Manx? Maybe she’ll be willing to talk to me.”
“You’d do that for me?” Rufus blurted. “Twinkle, you’re the best elf ever!”
Twinkle would have answered except the delighted bobcat immediately pounced on his friend, knocking him over. Rufus stood astride the elf with a paw firmly planted on each shoulder, and he licked Twinkle’s face with a sandpaper tongue that smelled of cream.
On Saturday, August 26th, Camp Fletcher will bid summer an early goodbye in grand style, and you’re invited to the party. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. that day we’re going to host games, nature hikes, educational activities, great food, and any other fun outdoorsy campy thing we can think of between now and then.
We’re doing this to celebrate the end of another great summer season at Camp Fletcher and to share our beautiful facility with the entire community on a hot summer day.
The cost? Free! We’ll be accepting (okay, encouraging) modest donations, and sure, we’ll be charging for summer food favorites like snow cones and hot dogs; but every cent we raise that day will go toward providing scholarships for campers who would like to go to Camp Fletcher but whose families couldn’t afford it otherwise.
We’re calling this extravaganza the Dog Day Family Fest. Why that name? Well, let’s start with the date–our family fest is taking place during the dog days of summer. Or maybe it’s not. We’re not sure. We read all the way through this article in Wikipedia, and we’re still kind of confused on that part.
More to the point, we’ll be partnering with a bunch of great organizations including the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. Our friends from the GBHS will be sending one of their mobile donation centers to Camp Fletcher for Dog Day. So, we’re going to have actual dogs at Dog Day.
To fully flesh out the dog-related theme, we’re going to have a hot dog eating contest between the Jefferson County Sheriffs and the McAdory Firemen. Trust us when we tell you this contest will be glorious. And silly. And probably messy. You can come out to Camp Fletcher and see it live or stay home and watch it on the nightly news that night. It’s going to be that cool.
We’ll be telling you more about some of our other Dog Day Family Fest partners and activities as the day draws closer, but for now, just pencil in that date on your calendar and make plans to bring your family and friends or just yourself to Camp Fletcher for a wholesome afternoon of fun for everyone.
The other day Camp Fletcher’s full time Director of Operations and part time beekeeper Brandon Bagnell suited up and opened our wooden beehives to see how our bees were doing. Turns out they’re doing just fine. Brandon and a few other lucky bystanders got to taste the honey fresh from the hives and pronounced it delicious.