A Summer Camp Story

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No, this isn’t one of those “mission trip” tales, of going away for a week and coming back forever changed, which might be sort of what the post title seems to imply. Or is that just me?  Today I’m going to share a bit about how I spend a large portion of my summer.  I can already tell that it’s going to feel a bit weird telling about it, because I don’t really talk about it much with my friends for some reason.  But here it goes… (:

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With my neighbor and family, I had helped with little household “camps” or “moms day out” before when I was younger.   But I had this idea of holding summer camps at my house that stuck with me. So the summer going into eight grade, I started planning, writing down everything from activity ideas to possible campers.

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Being a creative (and ambitious) person, I decided to hold an arts and crafts and sewing and baking and drama camp for elementary age girls. It took some convincing for Mom to let our house get taken over by fifteen paintbrush-wielding girls, but she came around eventually, as long as I planned all the details and cleaned up everyday.  I asked some friends to help, promising to pay them afterwards, and figured out how much supplies would cost.  So thus, Creative Chicks art camps was born.  In April, I figured out a camp cost, and designed a little logo to go on the flyer. And then sent out a mass email.


Having two younger sisters who have a lot of friends is the luckiest deal ever.  Instant people to market my camps to! And I had filled up the camp by the end of the week, with fifteen girls.  My first year I had one session: Monday to Thursday, 1 pm to 4 pm each day. We did projects like a fine art painting, plaster masks, nature collages, and jewelry making.  Part of the day, all fifteen girls would do a large project or drama game together, and the other half we split into “rotation” small groups and went through different stations. It was a blast!  And this past year was my fourth year holding them! The best feeling ever is seeing girls who have done camp for three years come back this time around.  Or maybe having two of the girls who came to the camp become paid helpers this year. My babies are growing up. :’) Well not really my babies, but that’s a bit of the feeling…

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There’s so much that I’ve learned and grown from over the four years.  And lots of funny stories too.

  • Like for example, dollar store gloves don’t really work for tie-dye.  And that dye is not going to wash off, no matter how hard you scrub.
  • Wet colored tissue paper stained the counters more than acrylic paint.
  • Cooking and sewing are the favorite parts of camp. But teaching sewing is HARD. I’ve alternated every other year between teaching it…and then backing out because of how crazy it was…and then missing it so deciding to include it again…
  • Teaching scherenschnitte, which is German paper cutting, you’re going to get some interesting pronunciation attempts. (:
  • And camper quotes are the funniest ever.  “Do you have a boyfriend? Why not? I have a boyfriend…” from a 9 year old. At which point you ask all the girls in your group if they have boyfriends, and everyone does except for one girl?! “Oh yeah, I have a boyfriend, only please don’t tell him because he doesn’t know it yet.”  Priceless.
  • Asking certain friends to help but not being able to ask others because you won’t be able to pay them…it’s one of the worst part of running the camps.
  • If you leave your rotation group to their own devices, they’ll come up with the group name “DB CAPIA”.  which stands for “Da Boss, Cool Awesome People In Action”, obviously.
  • You’ll always have one craft that goes way better than expected (really? you’re super happy with coloring with sharpies on mugs? great!) and one that is kind of a bust, even if it worked great when you tested it before (cough Dream Catchers cough).
  • A few days after you buy supplies in bulk is when they’re going to have that 30% off entire order coupon. So you ask your mom to take you to Michael’s to return it all and re-check it out. Again.

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The amount of prep time for putting on the summer camps is insane, but it is so worth it because it’s fun and if you get enough girls to attend, you can make a little money off of it too. (:

that’s a wrap on this rambly story. have a good week-end!!


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One response to “A Summer Camp Story

  1. Pingback: Start the Camp 1. Big Picture | Periwinkle Lane

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