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!

 

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Returning Counselor Spotlights: Callie & Courtney!

Summer is fast-approaching and we’ve already started hiring some incredible counselors! We’re so happy to welcome back Callie, who will be spending her fourth summer at Camp Fletcher this year! If you missed Callie’s spotlight last summer, you can check it out here.

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Callie is a senior Elementary Education major at The University of West Alabama. She works both in the university library and as an orientation leader. We are so happy to have her back this summer! Keep reading to find out more about Callie and why she’s returning for another summer at camp:

What made you want to return to Camp Fletcher for another summer?
I decided to return to Camp Fletcher for another summer merely because camp has become another home for me. I enjoy spending time outdoors and with the campers every summer. It’s actually something I look forward to throughout the school year.  Camp has a lot to offer, not only to the campers, but the staff as well. Being able to make a difference in a child’s life is something I cherish greatly.

What was your favorite memory from summer 2015 at Camp Fletcher?
My favorite memory from the summer of 2015 at Camp Fletcher has to be the time a rather rough storm came through camp during the evening and knocked the power out at and around camp. Well, we toughed it out for quite some time (the counselors had our “counselors day out” without the campers). However, we knew we had to get camp back up and running. Since camp was out of power, the staff was forced to go off camp grounds to get food. While we were out, Ms. Janis spotted some power line workers. We already know that our staff at camp is very special and some of the greatest people you will ever know. At this point, Ms. Janis became even greater. After being without power, camp was desperate to get power back. Therefore, after seeing the power line workers, Ms. Janis followed them to see where they were going. We were thrilled to see that they were headed to camp, until they stopped and pulled over. So, we stopped too. Mrs. Janis got out of the van and walked right up to the men and asked them to fix our power and asked when they could get it fixed. It’s my favorite memory because it was just a funny experience to be following around the power men like the campers typically follow us around.

Typically my memories would include campers, but there were so many wonderful camper memories, that I couldn’t just choose one.

What are you most excited about for summer 2016 at Camp Fletcher?
I am most excited about surprising the campers that I have grown to admire so much over the previous three summers and being back at camp. I enjoy so much of what camp has to offer, but I’m always the most excited about seeing new campers and returning campers, who I’ve had the privilege of watching grow and learn.


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We are so excited to also be welcoming Courtney back to camp this summer! Courtney is 22 years old. She’s an Elementary Education major at Mississippi State University. Courtney is returning for her 6th summer at Camp Fletcher! This will be her second year as a counselor, but Courtney was a camper for four years as a child.

What made you want to return to Camp Fletcher for another summer?
Last summer was the best summer of my life – hands down. So, it was very easy for me to decide I wanted to come back.

What was your favorite memory from summer 2015 at Camp Fletcher?
It’s really hard to pick my favorite memory but one of my favorite things about last summer was that I made friends with other counselors, and I know I’ll be friends with them for the rest of my life. You spend a lot of time with your co-workers and you get close really fast. I gained so many friends last summer.

What are you most excited about for summer 2016 at Camp Fletcher?
I have been counting down the days for camp ever since I found out I was returning for sure. I can’t really pick one thing I am most excited about. I’m excited about seeing old friends and making new ones. I’m also really excited for the opportunity to help the campers have the best summer ever!

Camper to Staff Ratio

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At Camp Fletcher, safety is always our very first priority. We look for the very best counselors to take care of our campers, but we know that even the best counselors can get overwhelmed if they’re looking after too many kids at once. This is why we work hard to keep our Camper-to-Staff ratios low! We want to be sure our campers are able to explore and learn in a safe environment, and the success of our programs is due, in large part, to our summer staff. Camper-to-Staff ratios are super important, and keeping a low number of campers paired with a high number of great counselors is top priority at Camp Fletcher.

Meeting Standards: Accreditation through the American Camp Association requires Camp Fletcher to meet more than 300 nationally recognized industry standards – from staff qualifications and training, to health and safety, and facility management. ACA has suggested Camper-to-Staff ratios for different age groups, and this helps ensures that all ACA camps are prioritizing safety.

The Numbers: The American Camp Association sets guidelines for all aspects of camp programming, and this includes suggestions for Camper-to-Staff ratios. At Camp Fletcher, we use ratios that strictly follow these guidelines, and our older groups actually use a smaller ratio than what is suggested by ACA.

  • For Navajo campers (Grades 1-3) we use a ratio of 1 counselor per 5 campers (1:5)
  • For Pueblo campers (Grades 4 & 5)  we use a ratio of 1 counselor per 7 campers (1:7)
  • For Iroquois campers (Grades 6-9) we use a ratio of 3 counselors per 20 campers, or roughly 1:7.

Making it Work: We work hard to keep our Camper-to-Staff ratio low because it’s better for everyone. Our campers are safer, but they also have counselors who are able to focus on them and invest in them. It’s better for our counselors because they get to know their campers and develop strong working relationships with other counselors. Our counselors are a team, and they’re all working together to insure that our campers have an incredible summer at Camp Fletcher.

Whether your camper is attending a day program or a resident program, we want you to feel secure that they are safe at Camp Fletcher. We hand select the best counselors and put a ton of thought into these numbers, and we’ve developed a system that works best for our staff, our campers and you! These guidelines help create an environment where everyone can succeed and have an unforgettable summer at Camp Fletcher!

Resident Camp Builds Character

At Camp Fletcher, we know the benefits of a summer at camp are endless because we see the impact our programs have on campers each and every year. While day camp is a great way to spend your summer, we know there is something incredibly special about our resident programs. There is so much competition for our children’s time in the summer – sports practices, summer school, well-deserved vacations. But resident camp is a gift. Our campers learn important lessons, and they have so much fun exploring camp, trying new things and challenging themselves.

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Resident camp builds self-confidence and self-esteem. At resident camp, you don’t have to be the very best to thrive. Everyone get a chance to explore their talents and interests, and our counselors know how to encourage campers to try hard and be proud of their achievements. Campers learn teamwork and independence, and success at camp means your child returns home feeling good about who they are and what they’ve done.

Resident camp is a safe environment. At Camp Fletcher, safety is our top priority. Our trained staff and counselors work hard to keep every camper safe, while also allowing them to take risks, explore and have awesome adventures! Whether it’s a canoe trip down shades creek or a challenge on the ropes course, our staff creates an environment where campers feel safe trying new things.

Resident camp is a place to build social skills and make friends. Campers are socializing with one another from the time they wake up until the time they go to sleep, and our programs are designed to improve their teamwork, leadership and communication skills. A week at resident camp can drastically improve social skills, and this is a life-changing experience for many campers.

According to the American Camp Association, parents report that camp experiences help their children feel good about themselves, learn independence, and try new things. If you’re a day camp parent or new to Camp Fletcher completely, we hope you’ll consider whether a resident program might be the right choice for your camper this summer. Online registration is now open and you can find more information about our affordable sessions on our website!

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!

 

Summer Camp 2016

registration now open

We’re SO EXCITED and we just can’t hide it! Summer is almost here and we’ve just finalized our offerings for the upcoming camp season. Registration for our summer programs is now open ONLINE ONLY @ our website www.campfire-al.org. It’s going to be a great camp season and we can’t wait to welcome our campers – old and new – to Camp Fletcher!

This year, registration is available online only. You can register on our website, and be sure to take a look at our Session Dates and Rates, Parent Corner and more for all the information you need!

Day camp session fill up fast, so be sure to get your registration in as soon as possible. You don’t want to miss out on all Camp Fletcher has to offer this summer!

Spring Events @ Camp Fletcher!

 

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Spring is just around the corner, and we know you’re excited for warmer weather and the chance to visit Camp Fletcher! We’re busy getting everything ready for our awesome spring events, plus summer camp is right around the corner! This blog post has everything you need to know about all the awesome events coming soon to Camp Fletcher.

Junk In Your Trunk : Our semi-annual community yard sale is just around the corner! 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! You’ll definitely want to bring your friends and family to this HUGE sale! $5 gets you a spot to sell and seller set-up begins at 7 a.m. Admission is free to the public and the gates open at 8 a.m.
Saturday, April 2 | 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. | JIYT Info

Open House Events: Camp Fletcher will be hosting two open house events for interested camp families to meet the director and staff, tour our facilities and learn more about summer programming. Led tours will start every 30 minutes. If you are unable to attend on these dates, please give us a call to schedule a tour with the camp office!
April 2 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | April 3 from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. | Open House Info

Spring Retreat: Camp Fletcher invites you to ‘SPRING INTO FUN’ at our upcoming retreat! We have lots of fun activities planned – you don’t want to miss it! It’s a great opportunity to catch up with camp counselors & friends, old and new. Available for 1st – 6th graders. Cost is $35 per camper if registered by March 31; price increases to $40 on April 1. Registration is required.
April 16 – 17, 2016 | Check In & Check Out at 11:00 a.m. | Spring Retreat Info

We know these events are going to be great, and we hope to see you at Camp Fletcher soon! Be sure to RSVP on our Facebook page and invite your friends, too!

Summer programming will be kicking off before you know it, and registration will be open SOON. Dates are available online so you can start planning your summer, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated so you can register ASAP. We know it’s going to be another great season at Camp Fletcher!