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! 

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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!

VISTA Spotlight: Jade

Summer is always an exciting time at Camp Fletcher, but this summer has been especially exciting with the addition of two new VISTA members, Cynthia and Jade. Jade joined Camp Fletcher and Camp Fire Alabama in June as our Education Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA. She has some fantastic ideas for our garden education program, and we know she’s going to have a great time serving with us!

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Jade is 23 years old and was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from The University of Montevallo. We’re so excited about all of the passion and experience Jade brings to our VISTA team!

What made you decide to serve as a VISTA with Camp Fletcher?
I decided serve as a VISTA with Camp Fletcher for two reasons. First, I want to have experience in the education field and, secondly, Camp Fletcher matches with my goals for a future career in school counseling.

What previous experiences do you have that you feel will equip you for your position?
A majority of my work and volunteer experience has been in youth service. During college, I worked as a teacher’s aide at Child Study Center, a senior camp counselor at YMCA Camp Cosby and mentored for two years with Blueprints College Access Initiative.

What are your goals for your year of service? What do you hope to accomplish?
My number one goal for my year of service is to make sure every garden exploration lesson plan is up to course standards and is fun! Also, I want every day to be a day of learning, not just for kids, but every adult — as well as myself.

What aspect of your position are you most excited about?
I am most excited about interacting with kids, but I am so excited about doing a job I love. With this mindset I know I can give more than 100% to achieve success for everyone involved in the garden education program at Camp Fletcher.

What aspect of your position do you feel will be the most challenging?
This job is a new adventure, the most challenging aspect of this job is to make a curriculum that everyone will like and find successful.

We know Jade is going to do a great job, and we can’t wait to share the garden education program she’s designing with you next spring! For more information about Camp Fletcher’s garden and the VISTA project, visit us online!

 

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!