Here’s a pic for those of you thinking about camp, we’re starting to get everything ready for first session, here’s what camp looks like right now…
Archive for May, 2007
Zachary Flick recently performed the role of General Cartwright, the head of the Save-A-Soul Mission, in his middle school production of Guys and Dolls.
Hi Ron, Beth and Isaac and the whole French Woods crew.
I can’t believe the school year is almost over (where did it go?) and summer begins next month, but I am really looking forward to it! Hope all is well and that you have a great opening and session 1.
I wanted to say a great big “Thanks” to Ron for enabling me to get to know Thoroughly Modern Millie from the “inside” … as you know, I ended up choosing it for my high school musical this year, with former campers Melissa Smith as Muzzy and Brittany Jakubowitz as Miss Flannery.
We were honored to have in our audience, at my invitation, the esteemed theatre journalist Peter Filichia, of Theatermania.com and the Newark Star-Ledger; Tony voter and author of my favorite “trade” book Let’s Put on a Musical: How to Choose the Right Show For Your School, Community or Professional Theater. I hope you will permit me to share with you Peter’s incredibly gratifying words, which appeared in his April column …
So thanks again, Ron, for providing the inspiration to make it happen!
See you soon –
Why choose an Individually programmed sessional specialty camp as opposed to a traditional summer campTuesday, May 1st, 2007
Camp is an experience that cannot be duplicated in any other environment, offering the opportunity for your child to achieve the poise and confidence that comes with the mastery of skills and the sociability developed as a vital participant in a structured and democratic society of his/her peers. Camps invest countless hours throughout the year to prepare and evaluate their upcoming season.
An individually programmed sessional camp allows children to chose the activities that they would like to participate in. It allows the parents to be able to afford a portion of the camp experience at a reasonably priced tuition. It gives the family more flexibility for their own time together. Parents have asked me about the importance of the bunk in terms of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“total camp experience.Ã¢â‚¬Â Some believe that the traditional camp offers a more valuable camp experience.
In my almost 30 years of camping, I have always viewed the individually programmed creative arts camp as a camp that offers all the activities and experiences that any camp in the world could provide and then much, much more. I tried various camps for my children, traditional and sports camps where what everybody recommended. It will make a man out of your son, I was often told. My own children were very much sports oriented kids. My son became a three letter man in high school and college. A captain of two teams. My daughter was the captain of her high school softball team. I wanted my children exposed to the boys and girls that attended a camp with an abundance of creative and artistic activities. My kids loved sports, the out doors, and the like. I realized that at the individualized creative arts camp they could partake in swimming and sailing, and tennis, and baseball and basketball, and fencing, and wrestling, and biking, and hockey, and skating and football and soccer, yes and even horseback riding. but they could also learn to play an instrument, be in a Broadway show with a full pit, be in a band or orchestra, learn to dance, build a set, learn about video, sound, and lighting, throw a pot, make a puppet, screen a shirt, create an animation, produce a movie, record their own music, fly on the trapeze, jam with a rock band, the list is endless. To run an individualized program, a camp must have a copious array of activities to direct the children toward. Without this vast assortment of activity the children would have little to choose from and it would defeat the whole individually programmed concept.
Through all of these activities, one thing that stands out in my mind is the tremendous support that the campers give to one another. The creative arts camper is more precocious and more introspective that the average child; they are brighter, more inquisitive, creative, motivated and supportive. This is just the environment in which I would want my children to be exposed.
At my sonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wedding, there were four tables of former campers. One table was full with boys from his very first bunk (age 6), the young men he started camp with, and almost twenty years later still counted them as his most important friends. All camps build this kind of camaraderie. Parents just seem to be surprised by the strong bonds created at the individualized creative arts camp. Remember, it is still CAMP.
My little ones, who are still at camp, were on the computer last night speaking to their camp friends from around the country and making plans to visit with them whenever the chance presented itself. It is these precisely these relationships which will last a lifetime. The sharing and the camaraderie are incomparable.
I see the bonds at camp being very strong ones. I see the bonds at the individualized creative arts camp going a step beyond. Parents ask about the importance of the bunk. The kids are not always together. Do they develop a relationship with the other children in their cabin? I point out that the bunk is very important. Remember, the campers leave the bunk every morning and go out and work hard to learn and achieve at various activities. They must learn their songs, lines, and dances for a show. They must learn and rehearse the music for their concert. They must practice and rehearse their circus acts. They have baseball and basketball practice. Many times, they are with various members of their bunk and sometimes their interests separate them from some of their bunkmates. But at the end of the day, and at every meal they reunite with their Ã¢â‚¬Å“bunkÃ¢â‚¬Â; itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s their safe haven, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s their support, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s their best friends, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like coming home after a tough day and knowing that your Ã¢â‚¬Å“familyÃ¢â‚¬Â is there to comfort you and share in your successes and, yes, your hardships as well.
Individualized creative arts CAMPS are more sophisticated in many ways. Children attend for various lengths of time. Some children stay longer, while others leave and new kids arrive. Parents worry that their child will not get the support from their peers that a traditional camp might offer. Just ask the children. The boys and girls await the new campers with open arms. They cannot wait to help them, orient them, and take them under their wings. At one time, they were the new campers too, and they were welcomed with open arms and made to feel that CAMP was their home away from home.
My wife and I can honestly say that camp changed our childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lives for the better. It opened them up to a magnificent learning experience in the company of the most amazing and extraordinary people one could ever meet.
Again, the importance of the bunk at an individualized creative arts camp cannot be denied. The team building and the camaraderie far exceed any oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s expectations. Although the camper meets and develops relationships with peers outside of the bunk, the bunk remains one of the most important aspects of camp life. Counselors are trained, with the knowledge that the bunk is the most important aspect of camping. The individualized creative arts camp is so successful because it starts with this premise and move on from there to create one of the most incredible environments in all of camping.
A French Woods Parent First
And a Camp Director at
French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts
Hancock, NY 13783
Many first year campers have never been away from home for an extended period of time. It is natural, therefore, that their reluctance about leaving friends and family could be carried to camp. It is with this in mind that I offer these suggestions.
Homesickness is a natural result of the changes in a childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s environment. Parents can take courage from the fact that many campers do not experience this, and those that do recover swiftly. All of the camp staff, from the director down, are prepared to help the youngster with the adjustment, expedited with the cooperation of the parent.
These suggestions are designed to help you prepare your child for the enriching experience that camp provides.
If your youngster exhibits concern about going to camp, encourage him/her to talk to you about it. The child is worried about the unknown and is looking for understanding. It is helpful to tell your child that such concerns are normal and that many other campers feel the same way. If there are specific worries about bunkmates, clothes, or anything else, let the youngster call the camp office and speak with the camp director. Often specific answers are not necessary after the child has had the opportunity to express himself/herself to a receptive ear.
Begin by involving your child in the process of choosing a camp. The more that the child owns the decision, the more comfortable the child will feel being at camp.
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be ambivalent about the length of your childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stay at camp. There should be no trial periods. He/she is there for a full session or a full summer and should understand this. A Ã¢â‚¬Å“try-outÃ¢â‚¬Â approach is a sure loser, certain to create a serious homesickness problem at camp. On the other hand, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make your child feel he/she must go to camp, no matter how enthusiastic you may feel about the benefits of the experience.
Send a note or care package ahead of time to arrive the first day of camp. Acknowledge, in a positive way, that you will miss your child. For example, you can say “I am going to miss you, but I know that you will have a good time at camp.”
Reassure your child that everything at home will be the same as when he left; that pets will be cared for, possessions protected, etc. If, for some reason, this is not possible let the camp director know so that the director and his staff can effectively be supportive. Don’t bribe. Linking a successful stay at camp to a material object sends the wrong message. The reward should be your child’s new found confidence and independence.
Please notify the director of any upsetting event which may have occurred prior to camp, or is to occur during the summer. This might include illness or death in the family, poor school grades, divorce, or moving to a new house or city. The camp staff is there to help.
When seeing your child off at the bus, make your parting brief and pleasant. Long goodbyes and floods of tears are upsetting. The same applies for visiting days, too.
Every camp asks for parents to fill out medical and profile information. Ensure that you complete the medical and activity profiles as completely as possible. While the camp is designed to provide instruction and recreation in many areas, certain youngsters may have a more rewarding time if encouraged in specific activities. The camp staffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s knowledge of your childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s interests (and Phobias!) can be helpful in arranging the most appropriate program from the wide variety of activities offered.
Your cooperation is needed to ensure a successful summer for your child. Most children are resilient and adapt successfully to new situations. Parents, however, sometimes find it difficult to adjust to the youngsters being away from home. To prevent any negative effects on your children:
Write frequently with good news and a cheerful tone – chatty and pleasant.
Try not to telephone except in an emergency. Contact the directors if you have a special concern. Be assured we will contact you if your child is experiencing difficulties. Remember children have access to payphones should they need to call you after the first week of each session.
When a “rescue call” comes from the child, offer calm reassurance and put the time frame into perspective. Avoid the temptation to take the child home early. Should you receive an upsetting call or e-mail, telephone the camp immediately. The camp director and his staff will help. MAKE NO PROMISES. This is a sure route to failure.
Talk candidly with the camp director to obtain his/her perspective on your child’s adjustment.
Don’t feel guilty about encouraging your child to stay at camp. For many children, camp is a first step toward independence and plays an important role in their growth and development.
Camp is an experience that cannot be duplicated in any other environment, offering the opportunity for your child to achieve the poise and confidence that comes with the mastery of skills and the sociability developed as a vital participant in a structured and democratic society of his/her peers. Summer camps work diligently to assemble the best staff possible. Countless hours throughout the year go into preparation and evaluation of the camp program. With your help, camps are well prepared to serve the needs of todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s children.
Isaac Baumfeld is a camp director at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts and a camp parent. You can speak with Isaac about Ã¢â‚¬Å“campÃ¢â‚¬Â by calling him at 800-634-1703. You can check out French Woods on the web, at www.frenchwoods.com.