Friday, May 29, 2009

Co-operative Summer Camp

I've been a part of an co-operative camp since my oldest two were very little.  I organized the first one when Christopher was 4 or 5.  It's a wonderful way to have a great camp experience without the cost associated with many of the camps. 

We have typically chosen a theme or a book to work from.  Some of the topics we have covered include the following:

*Nature Fun (book title w/6 topics)

*More Nature Fun (follow-up book in the series)

*Various other nature topics

*Jungle animals

*Around the World

*Artists (different one each day)

*Explorers (focused on one from each continent)

*Outdoor Adventure

Any topic really would work in this format! 

Here are the logistics for those that may want them.  We typically start planning in the winter (Jan or Feb in years we are on the ball).  This year I wasn't motivated until ... May.  We are pulling one together quickly - and it is working!  I'm thankful to be joined by a fun and creative bunch of ladies!!!  That really is what makes it work!

We split the moms into teaching pairs for each day of camp and rotate days so that each mom carries an even amount of the load of teaching.  This year, based on the children's ages, we have a teaching pair for the younger kids (4-9) and the older kids (10-16).  Our camp day starts at 9:30 and ends at approximately noon.  We like to start early so that we aren't dealing with too much of the heat. 

Our general format has been this:

9:30  Prayer/devotion/opening activity

10:15 Snack (try to relate it to the theme of the day)

10:40 Craft or hands-on activity

11:00 Free time (allows for those who want to work longer to have more time with a craft)

11:20 or 11:30 Activity/Game

12:00 Lunch or more time to play.

The teachers are responsible for supplying all that is needed on their day.  No collecting or transfer of money which is nice.  For location, we have usually rotated homes. 

We ask each student to bring a water bottle and lunch and to come with sunscreen on.  We also have the parent complete a medical release form if they are not going to be staying at the camp.  This is a "just in case" thing that we have thankfully never needed.  We also collect cell phone numbers from moms that are dropping off. 

That's it!  And it really is a lot of fun.  Its a great opportunity to do some of those fun things that you have been wanting to do.  It is also a fun thing to brainstorm and work with another mom in planning things.

This year, as I mentioned, I was really unmotivated for a number of reasons.  Our fun Field Day is the day I finally felt like I could do this.  Our camp this year is different in some ways - ways that are stretching me.  When I finally realized that we could pull this off, I handed it to God.  He has surprised me in some ways - but isn't that like Him.  I'm sorry this is vague, but I don't feel at liberty to discuss some of these things on a blog since they involve others. 

God is taking me out of my comfort zone and challenging me to follow Him.  I see this in various areas of my life.  Sometimes I fight it.  Why do I do that?  You would think I would have learned by now.  This time, I questioned briefly and then surrendered.  I've felt a calm and peace that could only be Him.  God is good - and in the details of something even as small as a summer camp.  

I'd be happy to discuss or share more details if anyone wants them.  I'm working on uploading photos so I can share our first day which was yesterday with you.