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!

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VISTA Spotlight: Cynthia

It’s an exciting time at Camp Fletcher – summer camp just kicked off and we’ve also welcomed a new VISTA member to our team! We’re excited to introduce Cynthia, and we know she’s going to have a great year of service with us at Camp Fletcher.

Cynthia will be serving as our Community Mapping Specialist. She is originally from Dayton, Ohio but has lived in the Birmingham area for many years. Cynthia currently holds a B.A. in English, a Masters Degree in Business and is finishing up a B.S. in Psychology. We are so excited to welcome her, and we know she’s going to be a great addition to our VISTA project!

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What made you decide to serve as a VISTA with Camp Fletcher? I am very active and engaged in my community and when the opportunity to serve as a VISTA presented itself, I was very happy and honored to accept the appointment.

What previous experiences do you have that you feel will equip you for your position? I currently serve as the Special Events Coordinator for the Title I Parent Leader Counsel as established under Federal guidelines, and this volunteer position has afforded me the opportunity to serve my community in a number of capacities that range from working with school administrators, parents, students and key policy makers throughout the Birmingham City School system and surrounding areas.

What are your goals for your year of service? What do you hope to accomplish? My goal during my 1st year of service is to connect with and establish lasting relationships with the educational communities that surround Camp Fletcher.

What aspect of your position are you most excited about? I’m excited about bringing awareness to the surrounding area that Camp Fletcher is true Alabama history and that it should be seen as our gold mine.

What aspect of your position do you feel will be the most challenging? Initial contact and establishing the connections with the persons that can move the cause forward will be the most challenging.

If you would like more information about our VISTA project, you can visit us online to learn more about all of our service members!

9 Skills to Teach Campers Before Resident Sessions

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When you decide to send your child to summer camp, you’re already expecting them to learn a lot of different things. From improving their canoeing and swimming skills to learning how to make new friends and express themselves, campers get a lot out of their summer experiences. For first time campers, though, the transition from home to camp can be more challenging than they might expect. Even if they’ll just be gone for a week of resident camp, a little preparation ahead of time can make a big difference!

Making their bed: Campers will be expected to keep their bunk neat and clean, and making their bed is a big part of that. If your child doesn’t routinely make their bed at home, try getting them used to making it each morning so they’re comfortable making their bed at camp. It’s the little things that can make a big difference.

Enjoying the outdoors: For campers who live in cities or suburbs, spending a lot of time outside – especially in the hot summer – can be a huge adjustment. We work hard to keep our campers cool and hydrated, but some campers just aren’t used to being outside all the time. Spending time with them in parks or on short hikes before they come to camp is a great way to help smooth the transition.

Dealing with bugs: Being outside means bugs – and lots of them! Many kids are easily scared of bugs, but we want our campers to learn about nature. We want our campers to know which bugs are safe, which ones to avoid, and how to safely move them back outside if they end up in their bunk. These skills can make that first spider sighting a lot easier for a camper!

Dealing with homesickness: Our counselors and staff are trained to deal with homesickness, but it’s something to talk to your campers about before dropping them off. Having a plan will help them feel prepared when they start missing home, and having a familiar object – like a stuffed animal – can be a great way for campers to feel safe.

Getting in a routine: Campers do a lot of different activities, and most of their days are structured and planned. If this is something your child isn’t used to, letting them know ahead of time that they’ll be busy can help them adjust. Go over schedules with them so they understand what they’ll be doing, and practice getting them in a routine for meals and bedtime before they come to camp.

Unplugging: At Camp Fletcher, we are completely unplugged. We know campers are going to have a blast without screens, but no access to technology can be an adjustment for some. Consider preparing your camper by limiting screen time to help them adjust better without access to cell phones, video games and other electronics.

Spotting poison ivy and poison oak: This is definitely something our counselors will remind campers about over and over again, but your child can never hear it too many times – leaves of three, let it be; leaves of five, let it thrive.

Eating right: If your camper isn’t used to making meal decisions by themselves, meals at camp can be challenging. Campers need to eat right so they have the energy they need throughout the day, and picky eaters might be less likely to eat enough at meals. If you have questions about the meals we serve at camp, let us know beforehand so you can talk with your camper about their options and making healthy choices.

Asking for help: While our counselors and staff are very attentive, your camper needs to know how to ask for help – not just at camp. Teach them how to locate a trustworthy adult and seek assistance if they need something. There are no dumb questions and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help!

We want all of our campers to make memories they will never forget! Learning independence can be a challenge, but taking the time to prepare your camper for their time away can make the transition much smoother. Our staff and counselors are trained to insure a safe and fun environment, and we know your camper will have the time of their life when they’re prepared and excited for a resident session at Camp Fletcher!

Staff Training 2016

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Camp Fletcher Summer Staff 2016

Today is the first day of summer camp and our staff has been hard at work getting ready over the past few weeks! Each year our Program Coordinator, Kasey, spends countless hours recruiting counselors for summer camp. Staff members have to be hard-working and full of energy, and Kasey hires and trains counselors that can facilitate a great summer at camp. Each counselor must participate in an extensive training program following the American Camping Association and Camp Fire’s policies and guidelines. We held staff training last week, and we wanted to give you a sneak peak into what our counselors learn!

Lifeguard training comes first, and all of our Lifeguards are trained and certified by the American Red Cross. Counselors who serve as lifeguards spent an additional week at Camp Fletcher with lifeguard trainer Jordan Barksdale. We have a great group of lifeguards this year and we’re looking forward to safe swimming at camp this summer!

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Lifeguards Mia and Courtney during Lifeguard Training

 

All of our counselors spend a week at camp for staff training. Many of our counselors are returning, and they are great at leading songs, following directions and setting a positive tone. We are so thankful for the counselors that return year after year, and they do a great job of welcoming new counselors to the camp family, too!

Staff training was all about learning and growing. Our counselors received First Aid and CPR Certification from the McAdory Fire Department; they spent time learning to lead camp activities – from canoeing to archery to the ropes course. They sang songs, shared meals and got to know one another. They practiced common camp scenarios, learned problem solving techniques and focused on camper health and safety.

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Camp Fletcher staff with Firefighter Kevin Allred from the McAdory Fire Department after First Aid and CPR Certification
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These counselors have been friends since kindergarten, and we’re so excited to have them working together at camp this summer!
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Counselors learning elements on the ropes course.
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We love to tie-dye at camp! Check out these counselors learning one of our favorite crafts!
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Hiking is a favorite camp activity and our counselors know the trails well by the end of staff training!

Learning to be a good counselor is all about thinking fast, working together and putting the needs of the camper first. It’s important that our counselors are having fun and loving camp, but our main focus is always safety. Staff training teaches our counselors how to be great leaders that can insure a safe, fun summer environment for each and every camper. We’ve got a great group of counselors this year, and we’re so excited for everything summer 2016 is going to bring! For more pictures from staff training, head over to our Facebook page!

Counselor Spotlights: Brianna & Mia!

Staff training started over the weekend, and we are so excited to have all of our awesome counselors at Camp Fletcher for seven days! Great counselors are key to a safe and fun summer, and staff training is an important part of making sure our counselors are ready and excited for the next nine weeks. So far, it’s been great, and we’re so excited to welcome back familiar faces and meet many new counselors, too! Today we’re introducing you to two new counselors, Brianna and Mia! This will be their first summer at Camp Fletcher, and we know they’re going to love being part of the Camp Family!

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Brianna is 24 years old. She is from St. Petersberg, Florida and currently attends Judson College, where she majors in social work. Keep reading to learn more!

What made you choose Camp Fletcher?
I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to help the youth we serve!

What previous experiences do you have that you think will make you a great counselor?
My studies to become a social worker will help! Also, I help my younger cousins through dilemmas as they grow older.

What are you most excited about for summer 2015 at Camp Fletcher?
I think it’s going to be a great experience!


Mia  is 18 years old and is from Birmingham, Alabama. She attends Samford University, and her major is currently undeclared, but she is considering a double major in International Relations and French!

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What made you choose Camp Fletcher?
I have always loved working as a counselor at summer camps, so when I found Camp Fletcher’s job announcement on the Samford University’s job searching database, I knew I had to apply! I was hired for the job and I am so excited to serve as a camp counselor at Camp Fletcher!

What previous experiences do you have that you think will make you a great counselor?
As a child who spent a lot of time at summer camps, I remember how much I looked up to my camp counselors as role models and knew that I wanted to be just like them. Ever since middle school, I have had the opportunity to work as a camp counselor at a variety of camps including Girl Scouts Rocky Mountain Day Camp at Kanawahala Program Center and Dawson Music Academy’s Music Camp at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church. My past experience as a camp counselor has helped me grow in patience and leadership, skills I will continue to hone as a counselor at Camp Fletcher.

What are you most excited about for summer 2015 at Camp Fletcher?
I am so excited to have the opportunity to spend my summer with some incredible campers, counselors, and staff members! I can’t wait to see how much the campers grow during their time at Camp Fletcher as they create new friendships, memories, and experiences!

Welcome to Camp Fletcher, Brianna & Mia! It’s going to be a great summer!

5 Tips For First-Time Counselors

Staff training starts later this week, and many of our counselors this year have never worked at a summer camp before! While we have lots of returning counselors, as well, we’re so excited to welcome a group of brand new faces to camp. We know this summer is going to be fantastic, and we can’t wait to get everyone together at staff training!

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If this will be your first summer working as a counselor, keep reading for five helpful tips for a great summer at Camp Fletcher!

  1. Have the right mindset: If you come into camp with a positive mindset and a flexible attitude, you will get so much more out of it! Our campers look to you to set the tone for each day: they get excited about camp when you are excited about camp. A little energy goes a long way in making sure campers are happy and having fun!
  2. Be in the moment: Cell phones and other screens are a no-go at camp because we think unplugging is vital to a successful learning environment. Our counselors need to be focused at all times for the safety of our campers, and being present in every moment insures that our campers are always safe. Plus, they will follow your lead – if you’re engaged and interested in an activity, they will be, too!
  3. Pay attention when you pack: You don’t want to under or over pack for a week of camp. Staff training is a great time to learn what you’ll need each week, so pay attention to what returning counselors bring. Make sure you have a great pair of tennis shoes – you’ll wear them every day!
  4. Learn constantly: Our returning counselors have a lot of helpful experience under their belt, so working with them will teach you a lot. It’s also important to have a teachable attitude and to ask questions. You’ll learn a lot from a summer working at Camp Fletcher if you make the effort!
  5. This is the toughest job you will ever love: Our counselors work hard, but they gain so much from their time here. We know you will learn and grow, and that a summer at Camp Fletcher can change you. There’s a reason so many counselors return each summer – it’s an experience you will never forget!

If you are interested in applying for a summer staff position, you’ve only got a few days left! Staff training starts this week. You can get more info & apply online at http://www.campfire-al.org

Counselor Spotlight: Jeral!

Counselor training starts NEXT WEEK, and we are so excited to welcome back another great counselor. At Camp Fletcher, Jeral is better known as J Money, and we’re so glad he’s returning for his third summer as a counselor! Keep reading to learn more, and be sure to check out his counselor spotlight from last summer!

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J Money at Camp Fletcher, Summer 2015

J Money is 23 years old. He attends UAB, where he majors in Information Systems.

What made you want to return to Camp Fletcher for another summer?
Camp Fletcher is my second home and the staff is my second family so I have to visit every now and then, right? Working at camp allows me to enjoy hard work while having fun with the campers at the same time. It’s an experience, among several others, that will always draw me back for another summer.

What was your favorite memory from summer 2015 at Camp Fletcher?
I’ll cheat and tell my favorite camper memory and counselor/staff memory. My camper memory is seeing the stumped looks on all of the campers when I perform my magic card tricks. I smile when they keep asking me to do the trick again, show them another trick, or teach it to them. I still remember showing one trick to a camper; he vowed to learn how I did that trick and show me the next time we meet at camp.

My counselor memory is that I made crystal heart ornaments for my co-counselors who had to leave camp for a day due to an illness. I made them just to show that they were not forgotten and I’m sure I made them feel even better when they returned. The funny thing about it was that I was keeping it a secret from everyone and I was walking back and forth between my cabin room and the kitchen with jars of hot water every night. I got interrogated a lot, but it was all for a good cause!

What are you most excited about for summer 2016 at Camp Fletcher?
I’ve learned a lot more magic card tricks and I’ll be bringing even more new, crazy fun ideas to camp. I’m expecting another fun summer with all of the campers and counselors.

We can’t wait to welcome J Money back to camp next week for staff training, and we know it’s going to be a great summer! If you’re interested in working as a counselor this summer, there’s still time to apply. Visit us online for more information and to apply today!