Camp Fletcher crime spree

watermelonIt’s a sad day in the Camp Fletcher garden. Three nights this week, four legged criminals have managed to defeat our highly sophisticated security measures (a short wire fence) and have just about wiped out our watermelon crop. We were oh-so-close to harvesting a bumper crop of watermelons but the furry terrorists beat us to it.

Rick Ellis, whose day job is the chief financial officer for Camp Fire Alabama (Camp Fletcher’s parent agency) planted the seeds and tenderly transplanted them from our greenhouse to the ground early this spring. Rick has been watching over and nurturing our plants ever since in anticipation of the day that he could have a delicious slice of ice cold Camp Fletcher watermelon. Now it looks like his dream has been shattered and will have to be deferred to next year.

Can the expert gardeners out there tell from the pictures what we are up against? Our leading theories are raccoons, deer or coyotes. Feral pigs, maybe?  Also, any tips for keeping the fuzzy menaces away from next year’s crop would be much appreciated.

Ribbit

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One of our resident bullfrogs is out chillaxing on a hot summer day. This guy lives in the goldfish pond across from the Camp Fletcher swimming pool. You may not always see him, but most days you don’t need to linger too long to hear his croaking froggy serenade.

Dog day afternoon

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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.

Dash Away 10K and Family Fun Day!

 

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Ready to run? Ready for some Christmas fun?

Runners and walkers of all ages are welcome to join us at our second annual 10K & Family Fun Day at Camp Fletcher! As the name suggests, this combo event will include a 10K, 5K and 1 Mile run on our USATF certified course (#AL15064JD) alongside a FREE family-fun, holiday themed event. There will be food trucks, kids games & activities (including bouncy houses, pictures with Santa, ornament making etc.), and a vendor area for any last minute Christmas gifts you need to pick up!

All Proceeds benefit Camp Fire Alabama & Camp Fletcher programs for children, youth, and families in our community!

For race registration and more info, visit us online or check out our Facebook event!

Camp Fletcher Education Garden & State Farm Neighborhood Assist

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Camp Fire Alabama has been selected as one of 200 finalists in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist® program! Our submission, along with the other finalists, is live at http://www.neighborhoodassist.com and anyone with a valid email address can logon and vote for our cause. The 40 causes that receive the most votes will be announced on Nov. 30 and a $25,000 grant will be awarded to the affiliated nonprofits to implement the solution.

The Camp Fletcher Education Garden will provide students and their families an opportunity to learn about the food they eat, while providing the community with a new source of fresh, local produce. Our organization strives to improve the lives and welfare of people in our community, and we can further that mission by rallying together and encouraging others to join us in support by voting.

To support Camp Fletcher Education Garden and vote, click here  to vote! The voting phase is open from Oct. 26-Nov.4 and anyone with a valid email address is eligible to vote up to 10 times per day.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic initiative that lets communities determine where grant funding is awarded. The initiative utilizes the State Farm Youth Advisory Board to vet submissions for causes and empowers the community to vote for the final 40 grant winners. The program has been inspired by the incredible number of neighborhoods that are coming together to solve a problem or improve their community.

We are thrilled to make it to the top 200, but we need your help to win! Vote for Camp Fletcher Education Garden TODAY! 

Fall Programs & Events 2016

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Summer has ended, and we want to say a huge THANK YOU to each member of our camp family – you made this summer an unforgettable one! We’re so excited to bring you even more fun as the weather turns cold. We’ve got some great events coming up this fall, and we hope to see you soon at Camp Fletcher!

Our first event is also one of our most popular! Junk In Your Trunk, our community yard sale, is Saturday, October 1, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This event is always a hit, and we’re expecting a great turn out of eager sellers looking to unload all kinds of unique items. Have nothing to sell? Stop by and shop! Seller spots are $5 and seller set-up begins at 7:00 a.m. Admission is free to the public and the gates open at 8:00 a.m. You’ll definitely want to bring your friends and family to this HUGE sale!

Click here for more information & to reserve a seller spot today!

We’re also excited to be hosting an overnight retreat this fall for 1st – 6th graders! Join us October 15-16, 2016 for fun fall activities, outdoor living skills and s’more! Cost is $35 per camper if registered by October 7. Price increases to $40 on October 8. Space is limited & registration is required. To register, please complete, sign and submit a Health History Form to the Camp Fletcher office.

Click here for registration forms, packing lists and more!

Make plans to join us for our second annual holiday event  – Dash Away 10K –  on Saturday, December 10, 2016 at Camp Fletcher! Runners and walkers of all ages are welcome to join us at our second annual 10K & Family Fun Day at Camp Fletcher! As the name suggests, this combo event will include a 10K, 5K and 1 Mile run on our USATF certified course (#AL15064JD) alongside a FREE family-fun, holiday themed event. There will be food trucks, kids games & activities (including bouncy houses, pictures with Santa, ornament making etc.), and a vendor area for any last minute Christmas gifts you need to pick up!

Race registration is NOW OPEN with an early bird saving of $10 on running spots until August 31st!

For more information about any of these exciting events, be sure to check out our website at http://www.campfire-al.org and ‘Like’ us on Facebook!

 

Fall Field Trips @ Camp Fletcher

Picture2Did you know that Camp Fletcher isn’t just a summer camp! The fun doesn’t end when school starts — in fact, it’s just beginning! Our outdoor education program provides public, private and home schools the opportunity to experience camp all year long. Using the outdoor education curriculum created specifically for Camp Fletcher, we encourage students to become ecologically literate, responsible citizens, in an experiential learning environment. The program utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to promote the appreciation of our natural surroundings and the values of working together. Our aim is to teach students the concepts of sustainability and interdependency outside of the classroom walls.

Our program activities include creek ecology, archery, hiking, and low ropes course initiates, among many others. Content is completely customizable depending on your specific class needs. Additionally, our programs align with Alabama Course of Study Standards, and Camp Fletcher is accredited by the American Camp Association.

If you’re looking for something new and exciting this school year, look no further than Camp Fletcher’s Outdoor Education program! We’re now booking for fall field trips, so reserve your date before our calendar is full. For more information and an online reservation form, visit our website today!

Parent Testimonial – Erika H.

At Camp Fletcher, we’re a family, and we know we’re doing a great job when our camp parents are thrilled about their experiences each summer! If you’re interested in learning more about why Camp Fletcher is such a great summer camp experience, we want you to hear what other parents have to say. Today we’re excited to feature an AWESOME testimonial from a Camp Fletcher parent – Erika H.

Erika has two kids currently attending Camp Fletcher. Jessi, 14, has been a camper for 9 summers in our day and resident programs; Joshua, 7, has been in our day camp program for two summers.

Here’s what Erika had to say about Camp Fletcher:

erika halsey testimonial photo edit“We learned about Camp Fletcher through a flyer, handed out towards the end of the school year. Jessi had attended a different camp the prior two summers, but it felt more like child care. I appreciate that Camp Fletcher lives out the “camp” experience in its name, and that’s what I always envisioned in a camp — canoeing, hiking, fishing, and not just swimming all day. This was immediately noticeable from the other camp we had attended.

We chose Camp Fletcher, not knowing everything that we would get, and we haven’t regretted it. Within two summers of first attending, Jessi and Josh both learned how to swim at Camp Fletcher, without formal swim lessons. Jessi and Josh have come home with stories practically every day, excited about such things like catching the biggest fish in the creek or how they almost “captured the flag” and missed. Both kids especially enjoyed fishing (Josh) and hiking (Jessi).

The staff at Camp Fletcher has consistently been kind and professional. Camp Fletcher has been a great match for us because it has remained consistent. The number of campers have appeared to remain manageable and we’ve gotten to know our director and the counselors. We would definitely recommend Camp Fletcher, as we have recommended three of our closest friends and family members from Texas and Georgia, all of which have attended one or more sessions. This summer was the last summer for Jessi to attend as a day camper. However, she has always stated that she hopes to become a counselor at Camp Fletcher and volunteer her time as an adult. Camp Fletcher is a great camp.”

If you know someone who might be interested in coming to Camp Fletcher next summer, feel free to share this or any of our other Parent Testimonials with them. We’re so thankful for our awesome camp parents, and we know you won’t be disappointed with your Camp Fletcher experience!

Summer 2016 Highlights

We had an INCREDIBLE summer at Camp Fletcher, and we can’t believe it’s over already! Between the swimming, canoeing, archery, field games and more, the summer definitely flew by, and we can’t believe it’s already time for our campers to head back to school. We hope you enjoyed the summer as much as we did, and we can’t wait to see you again next year. Here are a few of our favorite moments from summer 2016!

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We hope our resident campers has a great time, too!

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We had a great summer, and we’re already hard at working planning our awesome fall events and field trips. If you want to see more photos from the summer, be sure to check out our Facebook page!

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!