Kids Klub Summer Escape Training Forum

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1Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Training #1 Homework 1 on January 10th 2014, 12:03 pm

Creating Magic
What separates good summer camps from GREAT SUMMER CAMPS?!?!  Many things can be attributed to this question, but the main thing that comes to mind to campers- Special things they remember for years and years after they attend-special staff, walking into an area designed to the limits with themed decorations, and the memories that are created with other campers.

Camp counselors have a BIG job for the summer and that is: Creating the Environment which ultimately Creates the Magic children feel when they attend the program.

Do you think you have what it takes to plan and execute and AMAZING summer camp at your site?!?

You and your fellow staffers will be the only ones responsible for your fate for the summer. Will you have a successful summer because you'll be well planned and always working together for the good of the kids? That is the decision you will need to make right now!

Please review the Creating Magic Packet. Your homework assignment is to comment on how you plan to create the environment on a weekly basis. How do you plan to work with your co-workers to provide a high level of magic at your site on a week to week basis? Have you done anything like this before? What past experiences will you be drawing from to complete this task?

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2Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Training #1, Homework #1-Brittany on April 4th 2014, 7:40 pm

I plan to create a welcoming and carefree environment for all of the campers. I think it would be beneficial to look up ideas on Pinterest or google to make the themes come to life. Not only is it about creating decorations and costumes, but also about creating an experience for the kids to always remember. To do this, the counselors and directors must work together each day to create something that will get the kids excited to be at camp. This means planning throughout the day and working together to gather materials, ideas, and thoughts from the children. Creating an environment like this will mean that the counselors might have to communicate outside of camp and anytime they have when they are at camp. To create an experience the counselors would have to provide themed crafts, music, songs, activities, plays, games and costumes. In the past I have done themed Bible School camps where we had to transform every aspect of the camp into a specific theme. One week was a jungle theme and the next week was a sea theme. We incorporated songs/dances, games and competitions that related to that theme.

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3Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 6th 2014, 10:13 am

I plan to work with my co-workers to provide a high level of magic at my site from a week-to-week basis through a variety of aspects; aspects like the environment, vision, and connecting to each individual camper. The environment is one of the first things that the campers see when they come into our site on each theme week. Campers want to see that they matter and as counselors we can do this through out effort to create an environment that takes them to the specific theme week, be in underwater or a sports week. When looking into the vision I think is is essential to reach for reasonable expectations. As counselors we need to look into all the options we can for themes, but also make sure that they are attainable. Pinterest has helped me a lot with things like decorations and even games. There is a lot of free material out there that we can use as a camp to help us create the best vision. It is also necessary to make every camper feel like they are a part of the camp. This can be done through building connections and having fun by participating in games.

I have done this before, last summer as a counselor for Kids Klub. I will be drawing on all that I learned from last summer to create the best possible outcome this summer. I want to include learning a new song each week, tying it into the theme if possible. I also learned that sometimes things happen that you weren't anticipating, like someone visits when you're planning on doing a craft. It's essential to go with the flow as a group of counselors and stay on the same page. Discuss at the end of each week what you will be doing each day the following week and even mapping out times for each activity so that the camp site can run as smoothly as possible.

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4Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 7th 2014, 1:25 pm

When I am at each camp site I am going to do my best to be on time and organized. Since I am specialized in soccer I will not be taking part in the day to day activities. I will make sure when the campers are with me I do my best to entice every child to want to play soccer. I will have no problem participating with them because soccer is my life. I want to show them my passion and hopefully by the end of the summer some of the children will like to play soccer more then when camp started. The nice thing about soccer is that staff can play and the safety should not be compromised, but accidents to happen. As a staff member I need to remember the age group I am playing with. This will not be a problem because I have played soccer with my nephew since he was six and he still enjoys playing with me at the age of eleven. Two years ago I was honored to help teach a soccer camp to under privileged kids living in the inner city of Chicago, Illinois. This experience was a blast and I learned how to work with kids who don't necessarily like playing soccer. I will not have a problem coming to camp each and every day full of energy because I will be teaching and playing one of my favorite thing in the world all summer. I could not ask for a better summer.

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5Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 7th 2014, 3:20 pm

I have not done something like this before but I remember being a kid at summer camp and having events like Halloween in July, and dressing up for the different decades, talent shows, and other creative ways to get the campers involved. Also, as an aspiring teacher, I am learning how to create positive classroom environments and create lesson plans. While the end goal is a little different, I think I can draw on the same skill set and organization to create the camp environment on a weekly basis. It will also help to have our counselor team to bounce ideas off each other and maximize our creativity. I think it will especially come in handy that D’Shawn is returning to KKSE so our site will be fortunate enough to have his past experiences. The packet will work well in conjunction with the sample schedule provided. For example, the packet provides great examples of the types of activities that will work best for drop off, after lunch, and pick up: “themed interest games” such as puzzles, puppets, Sudoku, and crosswords. For examples, our first week theme is Underwater Ocean Commotion. A low activity game we can have the kids do as they arrive is decorate a fish with their name on it and put it up on a designated “ocean” wall. The packet also emphasizes the importance of creating continuity with the activities. It might make more sense for activities to lead into each other. I also like the suggestion of gearing up the kids interest in a game by creating a story around it.

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6Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 12:31 am

In order to create magic for our campers, I think that we as counselors need to imagine ourselves as campers and think of what would be fun, welcoming and enticing for us. Changing decorations, games and songs week to week allows for a constant change of pace for the campers, so they are never bored with doing the same activities over and over again. Like someone above said, I think that Pinterest is a great tool to utilize to ensure we are creating as many different situations and scenarios as possible.

I have worked at a daycare over summers in the past and had the opportunity to work with the school aged kids on a fairly daily basis. However, I was typically there for lunch and relaxation time while the head teacher was on break, so I typically did not have the opportunity to plan crafts, songs or games to go with their theme that week (I was a substitute/floater, so I never knew where I was going to be or for how long), and was typically given a craft from their teacher to accomplish. However, I did have the opportunity to create activities a few times, and also had the opportunity to create games and crafts on the spot with the help from some of the kids, which was fun to get them involved! I'm really looking forward to having the opportunity to plan in advance crafts, decorations, games and everything else to ensure that our campers experience the magic!

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7Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Creating Magic on April 8th 2014, 12:17 pm

Creating a welcoming environment is a huge part of my current job as a college instructor. It's important to create a learning environment where students, regardless of age, feel that they are actively engaged in the activity and feel comfortable being themselves in the environment. There are two main components to creating a magical environment. The first is your own attitude. if you come in every day excited to be there and happy to see the students, then the students will feed off of your energy. I constantly tell my students I wake up happy every day I teach because I know I'm doing what I love! The second is having a solid plan that is flexible to issues that may arise. Lesson planning requires a great sense of creativity and on the spot reaction. Sometimes things don't go right, and you have to be prepared for that.

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8Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 12:22 pm

Kjenkins has an amazing point about imagining ourselves as campers. If we are not invested in what we create for students, there is no way that they will feel excited by the activities either. It goes back to Ms Addis's motto: check your adult attitudes at the door. Activities should be fun, engaging and creative-- they should not feel like busy work or ways to simply occupy students.

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9Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 2:14 pm

I plan to create a welcoming environment each week. I will be sure to address every child when they walk through the door and talk to each of them every day. I plan to be on time and organized as well so that I know where everything is so that both my superiors and my co-workers do not feel overwhelmed or lost at any point during the day. I will make sure that each child knows that both me and my co-workers care about them. I will work with my co-workers by planning ahead and working together to create new and fun ideas each week that go along with each theme. I like the idea of putting yourself in the campers shoes because if you do this you will truly think about what they want and that will help to make a magical environment. I have not worked at a summer camp before but I have worked in classrooms and created lessons and that is what I will be drawing from when creating a magical environment this summer. When I create lessons I think about what will truly interest the students and what type of activity will they take the most from. I want the students I work with to have the best experience possible and learn as much as they can so I place myself in their shoes and what they will think is fun and helpful. I plan to think this way when I am helping to creating my camps environment with my co-workers.

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10Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 3:01 pm

I plan to create a magical camp environment for the kids, as much as I strive to create a welcoming and fun environment for the kids today at the Pemberton site for Kids Klub. It is important to consider what the kids like, especially in this day and age it is hard keeping up with what is "cool" to the kids since it is different from when we were kids. I will be working along side of my other coworkers and site directors to create the best camp environment the kids have seen and that hopefully they will remember their entire lifetime. I have camp experiences that I still remember and tell others about. The one thing that I remember most is the enthusiastic counselors at each camp. There was always one or two counselors that were my "favorite" simply because they were the ones that were more involved with the kids. I want Delmar's site to have enthusiastic counselors that work together as a team or a unit and show the kids how much fun being at Kids Klub Summer Escape can really be. Creating this environment will be easy for me because I have always been a hard worker and enthusiastic while being around kids. I have had many situations where I have had to be a little more goofy to make the kids laugh and have fun, so I know I will have no problem at Summer Escape and cannot wait to work side by side with my coworkers, as well!

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11Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 3:05 pm

Kmarz17 made a really great point with "putting ourselves in the kids' shoes". This will help our sites gage a better understand of what the kids would like to see at each site. Maybe we could even ask the kids to offer up ideas of crafts or games that they might like to play throughout the summer during our theme weeks. If there is one thing that I have learned while working for Kids Klub is that some of the best advice I receive comes directly from the children themselves!

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12Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 5:31 pm

I think the most important aspect of creating the magic and creating the environment for us as camp counselors is to truly create the theme of each week to ensure that the children are constantly in a “new” environment while being comfortable with many of the same people. The decorations will be key to creating the environment each week. Our level of energy and excitement as counselors will also help to create a positive and fun atmosphere for the children. I previous experience working at vacation bible schools, we have had to use decorations in order to create the theme of the week. Working together as a team is critically important in order to effectively create the environment.

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13Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 8th 2014, 5:54 pm

I've been to my fair share of summer camps as a kid and without the dedicated counselors it wouldn't of been the same. As a counselor I feel in order to create the right atmosphere you have to jump in with the kids and be just as goofy showing them that it's okay and to have fun. Working and planning with your co-workers with make sure everything flows smoothly throughout the day and that you all are on the same page, so that you don't have to take time away from the kids to get organized.

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14Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 10th 2014, 1:35 pm

In order to set the theme for the week and really get the campers into the spirit of the theme, I think putting up as many decorations as possible would be the first step to setting the theme.  I think that using decorations that have a lot of color is key; this really makes the theme pop and grabs your attention.  I think that creating activities centered around the theme will also help to get the campers more engaged in the theme.  Dressing in costume each week and really playing the part of the theme character will help to engage students.  I would also like to do a daily or weekly costume contest for the campers.  We could offer a special prize for the camper who has the best costume and feature them in the weekly newsletter.  In order to make sure my co-workers and I really set the theme it will be important for us to have weekly meetings outside of the camp to create decorations and set the theme for the following week.  We could also use these meetings to discuss any ideas or problems we foresee happening in the coming weeks.  I have worked at a few after school programs and day cares, but none that have ever incorporated a theme into each week.  I am very excited about having a theme each week and I think it will help with the planning process, knowing that we have something to follow.  When working with the campers I will use my experience in dealing with children from a wide variety of ages.  I am a teacher and have worked at day cares and after school programs for several years.  I will really focus on getting to know the children and building positive relationships with them. I will also rely on my time management and organization skills to help ensure that each week is successful.  I am very excited to see what this summer has in store!

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15Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 11th 2014, 12:02 pm

What seperates good from great is mostly in how much effort you put in to making camp a postiive experience for the kids, in every way possible. For the most part, kids are gonna look back on days at camp fondly if the activites they participated in were fun and the relationships they formed at camp added to the enjoyable environment. Sure, they will rememeber some huge events, like a campwide carnival or a field trip, and we should work our hardest to plan events that are worth remembering. But, overall, I believe a great camp is a result of day-to-day interactions. As coundelors, we need to do the small things like remembering every child’s name, asking them how their day is going, and talking to them about what they like to do. In the little crafts and games we put on we need to be enthusiastic and willing to help and remain involved. They might not remember every single craft they made over the summer, but if we work hard to create fun crafts, they will cetainly remember that they liked craft time.
With my co-workers, I hope that we can create this atmosphere that kids will love! As our team gets together, we can all bring our “create the environemnt ideas” to the table and decide what we want to do each week. We can decide what “big idea” we each wants to focus on, whether that be the craft, otdoor games, songs, etc. I feel like planning will be a lot easier now that I have gone through an entire year of writing lesson plans and working with elementary school kids. I am a physcial education major and am used to planning acticites that are both fun and provide learning to kids. I have also worked at camps before, so I have an idea of what they typical day/week will look like. Im excited to work alongside my co-workers to make Kids Klub the best it can be!

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16Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 11th 2014, 1:04 pm

After working with with the Kids Klub after school program, I have come to realize how important the little things are in creating 'magic' at a site. I see most of my kids almost every weekday for a couple of hours and it isn't what game we play or what craft we do that they focus on but rather the tiny details of every day conversation. You will never make a kid feel more important than when you ask them about themselves. Even better is when you actually remember the specifics of their lives without hesitation. Kids enjoy being treated as equals and voicing their opinions and I think that we can utilize that to plan an amazing program that will create a surreal environment, whether it be under the sea or at Hogwarts. During the summer program we are going to be seeing some of these kids five days a week every week and it's up to us to make their summer special and exciting! As a staff, I think we need to create a big picture of what we want to get accomplished and then focus on the details. We need to create activities that as a group, staff and campers, we will enjoy. By actively participating and putting forth effort, we will be able to create an energetic and fun environment that is open to creating magic moments that will always be remembered.

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17Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 13th 2014, 11:30 pm

Working with my co-workers to provide a high-level of ‘magic’ is how you are going to create a well-organized and fun site for the kids. Having all of us on the same page and knowing what needs to be done and getting all the kids involved is how you will have a well-executed site and program. Also being able to get along with your co-workers is a main thing. Being able to work together will help your site drastically. Also building relationships with the kids will help create the magic within your site. I have never really done a whole summer camp, but I have done a one-week theme summer came. What I learned from that a was that the kids liked when, us as counselors, got involved with the arts and crafts and the games and would talk to them and get to know them better. Also working well with your co-workers and being able to get along will help make sure your site is filled with ‘magic’ for the kids.

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18Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on April 14th 2014, 10:03 pm

I plan to create a very fun, exciting, entertaining, and structured environment. The structure will stem from my peers myself. We need to first plan and create a solid foundation for which to follow and build a connection with one another. From this point, we will individually research and create plans to later collaborate on. After this, we can effectively create the connection with the campers with trust and fun, exciting activities. I have done this before, specifically Kids Klub Summer Escape last year and various volunteer camps. I think one key thing to keep in mind is that the kids just want to have fun and remember this summer. It is our job to provide a safe place for the kids to just be themselves and have fun!

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19Training #1 Homework 1 Empty Re: Training #1 Homework 1 on May 10th 2014, 7:52 pm

I plan to create a friendly, welcoming, and creative environment on a weekly basis. I want to try new things with the campers that will make them eager to come back every week. To provide a high level of magic at my site each week, I need to be accepting of ideas that my co-workers have. I also need to be willing to try new things, and work together in a positive manner. I have never worked for a summer camp before; however I am frequently in the school system for my major. When planning my lessons for the classroom I try to be as creative as possible, and try to incorporate topics that interest the students. While working for Kids Klub Summer Escape, I plan to find out what types of arts/crafts the kids would like to make. It's important to allow the campers to feel like they have a say in what they are doing. After all the camp is for them!

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