Summer Camp Newsletter-May 2020
Camp Staff working SAFELY at House In The Wood to get ready for next summer. Watch our Facebook page for our projects. From left to right John (Maintenance), Sherry (Maintenance), Donna (Cook), AJ (Volunteer), Mr. Braden (Program), John (Cook), Ms. Karen (Program), Ms. Bianca (Program), Ms. Heidi (Outdoor Education Director), Mr. T (Assistant Executive Director). Not pictured: Mr. Ryan taking the picture (Summer Camp Director). Working from home: Ms. Val (Executive Director) and Ms. Lynne (Operations).
CONTENTS OF MAY NEWSLETTER:
- Summer Camp Cancelled
- From Ms. Barb to Campers
- Virtual Welcome To Camp Campfire Programs
- Campfire Program Box for Sale-Fundraiser
- Helping Hands
- Is your child Grieving the Loss of Summer Camp?
- May's Outdoor Activity-Nature Journaling
SUMMER CAMP CANCELLED
Dear Camp Families,
House in The Wood had been busy preparing for the opening of summer camp while adjusting to the changes required for post-virus reopening. However, after many hours of discussion with staff, health professionals, and camp professionals, we have decided that we cannot safely open camp this year. Rather than risk our campers, their families and our staff, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel all of our summer camp programs for 2020. This is the first year since House In The Wood opened in 1910—so during two world wars, the great depression and so many other challenges--that House in the Wood will have no summer camp.
We know that the summer camp experience benefits our campers. Since there is no such thing as a virtual summer camp, we are working on programs for our campers later in the year. We will be contacting you throughout the year with news and updates on events for your children and family.
We are all working from safe locations to get ready for NEXT SUMMER. We are looking forward to seeing our campers AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Take Care, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Go Outside,
Ms. Val Wright
House in the Wood
FROM MS. BARB TO CAMPERS...
Hello Friends! Here it is almost June and plans would normally be made to train the counselors and plan the events for a fun time by all. You and your parents would be putting together your clothes for camp. Although we will not be able to celebrate together this summer at House in the Wood, you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Challenges follow you daily during these pandemic times. Challenges bring choices. It is your choice how you will handle the issues that these times bring. Remember to receive respect you must give it. Think before you react … is your reaction a responsible one … will it bring harm to others … only you can make a positive difference!
Watch for our next Newsletter when we talk about integrity.
Ms. Barb is the staff person our campers know as "the person we see when we are in trouble". However, she is so much more than that! Ms. Barb is the staff member who helps our campers learn to work with others in their cabin and she helps our campers learn to deal with tough emotions from disappointment to anger. She also coaches our younger staff who need ideas to help them work better with our campers. She has been working at House In The Wood for three summers now.
VIRTUAL WELCOME CAMPFIRES
Join us online for a Virtual Welcome Campfire complete with s'mores. Every new session of the first night, we have a "Welcome to Camp" campfire program with songs, stories, skits and s'mores. This summer, of course, they are online. We have four campfire's scheduled and each campfire has special guests joining us online. You can participate in one campfire or all campfires. The link for the VIRTUAL WELCOME CAMPFIRES will be in the next few newsletters. ONLY those camper families registered for summer 2020 OR those people who have signed up for our Summer Camp Newsletter will get the link. Sign up with Mr. T, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Session 1-Monday, July 6 at 6pm CDT with Staff from SUMMER 2019
Session 2-Monday, July 20 at 6pm CDT with Staff from SUMMER 2018
Session 3 (Teen Camp)-Monday, August 3 at 6pm CDT with Staff from SUMMER 2017
Session 5 (Summer Adventure)-Monday, August 17 at 3pm CDT with the LIT's
CAMPFIRE PROGRAM BOX FOR SALE
Buy a CAMPFIRE PROGRAM BOX with S'MORES featuring Ms. Val's homemade flavored marshmallows. YUM, YUM. So far, we have coconut flavor and we will have one other choice. Ms. Val is still experimenting with flavors. The box will include instructions for toasting your marshmallow indoors safely in the oven. Look on the website in June to order. Boxes will be shipped one week before the virtual campfire so you will have fresh marshmallows. This is a fundraiser for House In The Wood! Complete details will be on our website in June.
Northwestern Settlement since the beginning of the pandemic has been handing out food boxes Monday-Thursday from 9 am to 12:30 pm. There are many ways you can help out Northwestern Settlement during Coronavirus.
- Donate to the Food Pantry's GoFundMe page to provide food for our community.
- Purchase supplies off our Amazon Wish List page.
- Volunteer for a shift at the Food Pantry! Shifts are four hours long, Monday - Thursday from 8:30 -12:30. You can sign up for a shift here! Volunteers are asked to stay for the duration of their shift so please only sign up for dates you know you can attend.
- Follow Northwestern Settlement on Instagram & Facebook and share with your network! Help us get the word out so we can serve more families.
- Amazon Smile. Same price for your order! Pick Northwestern Settlement as your charity.
IS YOUR CHILD GRIEVING THE LOSS OF SUMMER CAMP?
Some things to Know to Help Your Child
Your children may have been looking forward ALL YEAR to coming to House In The Wood for Summer Camp. They may experience this as a loss of best friends, favorite activities, their favorite staff, their favorite place or just being themselves and acting goofy at camp. Below are a few key grief concepts that will be helpful to parents or guardians who are providing support.
It’s not all about COVID-19.
Although the pandemic has dominated the news and our lives, plenty of kids are coping with stressors far greater than other people getting coronavirus. Don’t assume that a young person’s social-emotional distress has anything to do with COVID-19. If a child is upset, try: “I can see you’re upset. What’s bothering you?”
It’s hard to talk about silver linings.
For some young people (and adults, of course), there have been positive aspects to spending more time at home, more time with family, and more time alone. Try asking an open-ended and two-pronged question, such as, “What have been the best and worst things about the past few months?” to allow for positives.
Be direct and avoid euphemisms.
When children are coping with death, euphemisms such as “went to sleep” can be confusing. Little kids might take what you say literally and start to fear bedtime; older kids might feel like you are too uncomfortable to have an honest conversation. Be direct instead. It’s OK to say, “There won’t be on-site camp this summer. Or you won't be going to House In The Wood this year.”
Expect wide-ranging emotions and behaviors.
Grief does not follow a predictable course, nor does it feel or look the same in everyone. It can come and go in waves. And just because kids look OK does not mean they feel OK inside. Check in periodically without obsessing. Remember that it’s healthy for a grieving person to laugh, have fun, and participate in activities.
Probe and process the memories.
The young people you care for miss different things about camp, so it will feel supportive to ask, “What will/do you miss the most about camp?” Resist the urge to suggest the important memories. And remember that not all kids prefer to express their grief verbally; many want to draw, journal, or talk with peers instead of you.
Cancellation is not death.
There are two important points here: (1) All but the youngest children understand that death is final, but everyone knows that something that is cancelled could—in theory—be reinstated. Expect kids to argue, reason, and want to discuss how camp could be un-cancelled. That’s a normal, healthy way to come to terms with the finality of a decision. And (2) remember that as much as we are all grieving cancellations, camp is ultimately a “nice-to-have,” not a “need-to-have.” At some point, gently share some perspective about how cancellation is an unselfish way to keep other people healthy. Offer hopeful messages about summer 2021.
Credit to Dr Chris Thurber for the above information.
May's Outdoor Activity-Nature Journaling
Who Can Nature Journal?
Anyone! You don't need to be able to draw or write. I traced the leaf in the journal entry to the left and then because my drawing skills weren't up to it, I just used words to describe what I was seeing.
Why Nature Journal?
To really SEE nature, often we need to stop and LOOK. We need to observe closely and wonder why? We need to ask: What do I NOTICE? What do I WONDER? What does this REMIND ME of? This is where all of our great scientist start on their journey to greatness--they notice and they wonder.
What do I need?
Journal or piece of paper, pencils, colored pencils (optional), nature objects to observe--leaves, flowers, clouds, birds, soil, animals, insects.
How do I Start?
- Gather your supplies
- Go Outside
- Choose a small part of nature to focus on
- Observe and note down with drawings, words or numbers what you see.
- AND THEN SEND A PICTURE OF YOUR JOURNAL TO MS. VAL at https://padlet.com/vwright16/HITWJournal This website is secure for your child. It is only available to the parents who have the link--not the general public. Just click in the brown area and add your picture.
Credit to Emilie Lygren for the above information. Free download of her "How to Teach Nature Journaling" book at link.
Need a Journal? Contact Ms. Val at email@example.com with the Subject Line JOURNAL. Don't forget to include your name and address so we can send it to you.
Visit Ms. Val's favorite nature website at https://www.eekwi.org/
Chicago families need to be fully counted to get federal funding for education. Chicago Public Schools has declared May 25 to May 29 as Census Week. They have a CENSUS WEEK GUIDE of activities to support you.