Bessemer Farmers Market

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Camp Fletcher is so thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Bessemer Farmers Market this summer! Running from June 2 – September 15, The Bessemer Farmers Market is the only certified farmer’s market in Western Jefferson County. Each Thursday from 4-6:30 p.m. vendors from all over the Birmingham area set up shop at Alex Bradford Park to sell fresh, local produce to area shoppers.

Major vendors – farms selling a large variety of produce –  include Dixon Family Farm from Clanton, Fiddlers Farm from Hayden, Postell Farm from Verbena, and the Veasey family from Hueytown. These farmers bring their very best seasonal produce, giving those living in the area access to produce they might not find in grocery stores. Other vendors include We Three Beeks Honey from Birmingham, Eleanor Wells from Bessemer with chicken and duck eggs, Carol Cockrell from Bessemer with handmade children’s clothes and hand towels, Magic City Sweet Ice from Homewood and Camp Fletcher. While we occasionally have some produce to sell from our garden, we’re happy to come out each week and talk about our programs with market attendees.

The farmers market is all about access to local, healthy food choices and most vendors participate in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which is a USDA program administered through our State Department of Agriculture that provides low income seniors access to vouchers than can be used at markets.  The Bessemer Farmers Market also accepts SNAP/EBT payments, and now participates in the Double Bucks Project. This provides SNAP users the opportunity to receive $1 in fruits and vegetables for every $1 they spend on fruits and vegetables purchased with SNAP benefits, up to $20 per visit. This program is funded by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

There’s a wonderful sense of community each Thursday in Alex Bradford Park, and we’re excited to join with local farmers and vendors to take part in the local food movement. If you would like more information about the market or becoming a vendor, you can contact Joe Openshaw or look for the Bessemer Farmers Market group on Facebook. It’s a great market, and we hope to see you there Thursday!

For more information about Camp Fletcher’s VISTA Education Garden, visit us online!

 

 

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VISTA Spotlight: John!

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This week is AmeriCorps Week, and we are proud to have four AmeriCorps VISTA members currently serving at Camp Fletcher! Our newest member, John, joined a few weeks back as the Garden Specialist, and we’re so happy to have him at camp overseeing the garden. John is from Fort Bragg, North Carolina and is currently pursuing a degree in architecture.

1. What made you decide to serve as a VISTA with Camp Fletcher? I decided to serve at Camp Fletcher because of my interest in helping youth gain knowledge through hands-on experiences that will assist them in succeeding in their future endeavors.

2. What previous experiences do you have that you feel will equip you for your position? Before I decided to serve as a VISTA, I worked as a counselor for an after-school program known as Open Door. I have also been a camp counselor for the Woodlore Camping School based in the Boy Scouts of America’s Choctaw District. As an Eagle Scout, I have volunteered for many organizations ranging from the Wounded Warriors Project to the Red Cross.

3. What are your goals for your year of service? What do you hope to accomplish? In my year, I hope to build the foundation for an education garden that, over time, will expand into a cornerstone of Camp Fletcher. While I believe that it will be difficult to quickly create a database of what is best to grow in the garden with the time I have been given, with my support staff and resources I am confident that it is possible. I am excited for the opportunity to learn, as well as teach others about my own endeavors planting in the garden. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and start planting.

4. What are you excited to do now that you’re in Alabama? Now that I have moved to Birmingham I am overjoyed to begin backpacking all the new trails that are available to me and traveling to the great city of Auburn to watch football games, War Eagle!

We’re so excited to have John with us! If you want to learn more about the garden at Camp Fletcher, or if you’re interested in volunteering, be sure to check out this post. We’ll be planting our spring garden very soon, and we can always use an extra hand!

 

Camp Fletcher’s Favorite Games & Songs

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If you’re missing Camp Fletcher (and we know you are!), we’ve got a special treat just for you today! This next post is all about some of our favorite Camp Fletcher activities – singing and playing games – that you can do at home!

One of our favorite things to do at Camp Fletcher is to sing songs! Our campers and counselors alike enjoy this time of letting loose, being loud and having fun. Singing Camp Fletcher songs at home is a great way to live the experience, even when you can’t be at Camp Fletcher! Kasey, our program manager, picked the songs that our campers and counselors seemed to enjoy the most. Do these song lyrics remind you of any memories from camp?

Boom Chicka Boom: Boom Chicka Boom is an all-time Camp Fletcher FAVORITE.
I said, a-boom chicka boom
I said, a-boom chicka boom
I said, a-boom chicka boom
I said, a-boom chicka boom
I said, a boom chickaraka chickaraka chicka boo!
I said, a boom chickaraka chickaraka chicka boo!
Uh- huh! Uh- huh!
Okay! Okay!
One more time…

The best thing about this song is all the different variations. From county style to valley girl, and of our Camp Fletcher style! What’s your favorite way to sing?

Humba! Humba! is also a Camp Fletcher favorite. Do you remember all the motions that go with the lyrics?
Humba! Humba!
A-ricky-ticky Tumba
A moosa-moosa-moosa
Eh-ala-way-ala-way-ala-way-a

Singing Camp Fletcher songs is a great way to bring back memories of summer camp. Be sure to ask your camper to teach your family their favorite song from camp and let us know what your family likes to sing together down in the comments!


We also love to play games at Camp Fletcher! Each day our campers have the opportunity to play field and card games, so we thought we’d share a few of our favorites from summer programming. Which games do you miss playing at Camp Fletcher? Try them at home with your family!

Our campers love field games like Capture the Flag, Kickball and Ships and Sailors. Here are the rules for a camp classic – Octopus Tag!

The point of this game is to avoid the player that has been named “it.” Be sure to describe safe zones and boundaries before you begin the game. The group of players must run from one side to the other, trying to avoid being tagged. If a player gets tagged, they must remain in their spot, moving their arms like an octopus! They can tag other players, but they cannot move their feet! The last player to avoid being tagged is the winner!

We also love card games at Camp Fletcher. Rummy, Go Fish, Speed and UNO are a few of our favorites! Ask your camper to teach you their favorite card game from this summer; a family game night is the perfect way to enjoy camp activities during the off season.

Fall & Spring Field Trips

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At Camp Fletcher, we bring academics outdoors! With over 300 acres to explore, Camp Fletcher is the perfect place for students in public, private and homeschools to experience nature through hands-on, collaborative learning experiences. We have a broad spectrum of academic and educational lesson plans that were designed specifically for Camp Fletcher, all of which meet Alabama State Department of Education core curriculum standards. A field trip to Camp Fletcher is the perfect way to energize learning and to teach your students to become ecologically literate, responsible citizens!

Field trips at Camp Fletcher can cover a wide range of subject areas and topics, and we always include plenty of hands-on activities. Our program staff is committed to working with your class or school and finding the perfect curriculum to meet the needs of your students. From archery to environmental science to our brand new Education Garden, we know students will learn, grow and explore when they come to Camp Fletcher.

Our curriculum is designed with Camp Fletcher as the classroom. Our programs utilize an interdisciplinary approach to promote the appreciation of our natural surroundings and the values of working together. From learning about science by the creek to developing team-building skills on the ropes course, every aspect of a field trip to Camp Fletcher will leave students interested, engaged and excited about learning. Our aim is to teach students the concepts of sustainability outside of the classroom walls by providing opportunities for students to have experiences with nature in a living environment.

If you’re interested in scheduling a field trip for the 2015-2016 school year, or if you’d just like more information about our programs, you can visit us online or contact us today. Field trips at Camp Fletcher are customized based on the needs of your group, and our program staff will be happy to design a learning experience to fit your needs. If you’d like more information about our Outdoor Education curriculum, as well as field trip policies and procedures, visit the Outdoor Education page on our website today!