Crafts with Teeny: Summer Fun Jar

Posted on June 21, 2013 by Teeny

As I write this blog the first campers of the summer are finishing up their last full day at camp. Time sure does fly by when you’re having fun. We’ve had a great first session at both camps! We’re looking forward to three more great two week sessions and a starter camp for new campers.

I came up with this craft a few days ago as I thought about what our campers do while they are not at camp. I’m sure many are traveling with families, going to sports camp or perhaps hanging out with friends just enjoying not having to go to school. But I know there are campers and families that spend some time bored, wondering what to do next. This craft is a “Summer Fun Jar”.

– Mason Jar
– Paint
– Paint brush
– Scrap paper
– List of activities

The first step is to paint on the outside of the Mason Jar. I chose to call it the “Summer Fun” jar. You could have your campers paint their own name and then choose their own activities that they want to put in the jar.
Have your campers write down, on scrap pieces of paper, some activities that they want to do this summer. I have included a small list to help get the ideas started.

– Go to the zoo.
– Make a bird feeder.
– Bake cookies together.
– Make a fort with mom/dad.
– Play in the sprinkler outside.
– Catch fireflies.
– Play with bubbles.
– Make homemade play dough.
– Go to the park.
– Fly a kite.
– Go on a hike.
– Make S’mores.
– Watch a movie.

Next time your campers are bored tell them to pull out an activity from the Summer Fun jar. Have a great time this summer with your campers!

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Crafts with Teeny: Bird Feeder

Posted on May 17, 2013 by Teeny

Summertime is quickly approaching which can only mean one thing: campers will be here in just a few short weeks! The flowers are blooming, grass is green and the birds are chirping. We thought it would be a great idea to do a craft to get everyone in the summer spirit. This month’s craft is a homemade bird feeder.

– Tin can (soup can)
– Paint
– Paint brush(es)
– String, ribbon, twine
– Bird seed

1. Grab an old soup can and wash it out really well. Make sure to peel off the label and try to get as much of the sticky residue off as you can.

2. Once the can is dry enough to paint, let your campers paint whatever they want! Parents, you can paint your own can and show off your creative side too! Enjoy this time with your kids. Make sure to let the first coat dry before you add decorations like stripes or polka dots.

3. You can either tie string, ribbon, or twine around the can to hang it or you can poke a hole in the bottom and tie string through it to make it more stable.

4. Scoop some bird seed into the can and make sure not to fill it too full.

5. Go outside and hang it from a tree branch. Enjoy watching the birds eat out of your new feeder!

We hope you enjoy this craft with your campers. Send us a picture of your new bird feeder on our Facebook page or to See you soon!

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Upcoming Summer

Posted on May 15, 2013 by Teeny

Well, it’s camp time once again!  We are so excited for the upcoming summer.  I’m sure that you, as parents, are excited as well for your child to be coming to camp.  For some of you, especially our first time families, you are probably feeling a little anxious, not knowing quite what to expect for your child, or how they will survive at camp without you.

Rest assured, they will make it through, and most of them will thrive in our camp community!  Camp is one of the few places where children can begin to learn a sense of independence, and learn that they can make it on their own for a brief time.  They also learn a sense of inter-dependence, building friendships with other campers from all over the country, all under the supervision of caring and loving young adults.  It will be difficult for some of you to leave your child with us, possibly being the first time you have ever separated for more than a night or two.   Realize that you are doing them a favor by providing them with the opportunity to rely on themselves, adults other than you, and God.

We are excited about what God has in store for each of our campers and staffers this summer.  Thank you for entrusting us with your children.  We look forward to their being with us soon!  God bless!

Ron Springs
Director, Ridgecrest Summer Camps


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“How To Get More Than A Grunt”

Posted on March 20, 2013 by Sharon

Have you ever picked up your child from camp and asked, “So how was it?”  What kind of response did you receive?  Did they go into detail about the activities, their counselors, their cabinmates, the food they ate?  I’m sure you have also experienced this during the school year when you ask a question and the only response you receive is, “fine”.

I came across an article recently by Paul Robertson called, “How to get more than a grunt”.  When I was growing up, this was me.  My parents were the last people I wanted to talk to about what was going on.  Even though they tried hard, I didn’t give them the response they hoped for.

The principles in this article can be applied to camp.  When the campers get picked up on Closing Day, they are feeling all sorts of emotions.  They’re happy to see their family and friends at home and to actually be at home.  But they’re also sad to leave their friends at camp and the environment at camp.  During the ride home, they may be excited to give highlights.  But what about the deeper things?  It is important to know that it may take time for your child to process the things they learned at camp, whether it was how to set the table or learning about the relationship they can have with Christ.  If you ask a question on the ride home or the day after and they respond with a short sentence, give them more time to process and let those new experiences settle in.  Here are some questions you can ask throughout the following weeks after your child comes home:
Tell me about your counselors.
What was your favorite activity?
What was the Theme this summer?  Tell me about it.
Who do you want to keep in touch with?
What was the hardest challenge?
Tell me about something you accomplished while at camp.
Tell me about your camping trips.
What skills did you take?  What did you learn in those skills?

By asking questions like this, you will able to get an accurate picture of what your child experienced at camp.  If you have any questions you’d like to add, please do so in the comment section below.

Sharon Aylestock
Assistant Director, Camp Crestridge



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The Epitome of Homesickness

Posted on April 18, 2012 by Sharon

I remember spending a few weeks with my Grandma in northern Virginia one summer.  I believe I was in Middle School at the time.  I traveled up to her house with my dad.  He dropped me off and then traveled around the area for his job.  He would come check in every so often to see how I was doing.  Even while I was with family, I made myself physically ill because I just wanted to go home.  It wasn’t a comfortable setting to me.

After I finished my junior year of High School, I went to Windy Gap (a Young Life camp just outside of Asheville) as a leader with some inner city kids for the week.  There were more than enough leaders with my group, most of which I did not know.  After the first day, I made myself physically ill because I just wanted to go home.  I was not familiar with my surroundings and the people I was with.  Unfortunately I did not stick it out and my brother came to get me.

These are two (out of many) very memorable times in my life when I became homesick.  When I hear the topic of “homesickness”, I think of myself.  I often felt there was something wrong with me because I was homesick so much.  I was embarrassed but I couldn’t help feeling that way.  I never thought I’d say this, but I am thankful for those times because I know somewhat how kids feel when they come to camp for the first time.  Those experiences have helped shape me into the person I am today.

If I had a child I was sending to camp for the first time, I would do a couple things to help prepare my child to be away from home.  I would have my child stay the night or possibly two nights at a friend’s house on a semi-regular basis.  This will allow them to have “nighttime” experiences away from their parents.  It will allow them to make decisions on their own and build confidence.  I would also help them become familiar with camp surroundings.  You may not physically be able to see camp before you come, but looking at pictures from previous summers, watching videos, and looking at the daily schedule may help.  You may even know another family in your area that has been to camp that can help you become familiar with the program.

While my child is at camp, I would consider writing a letter or sending an e-mail after the first few days of the session not after the first day.  When I was in Virginia at my Grandmother’s house, I loved receiving letters from my brothers and talking to my mom on the phone.  But each time it would make me realize that I wasn’t at home and it provoked the homesickness.  When communicating to your child, emphasize the positives about camp and let them know that you are proud of them.  Try not to focus on things that are happening at home or on pets.

Homesickness is not an abnormal thing and children shouldn’t be embarrassed by those feelings.  Our staff are trained in how to handle homesickness and do their best to make sure campers have the time of their life.  If you have any further questions about homesickness at camp, please give us a call at 1-800-968-1630.

Sharon Aylestock

Assistant Director, Camp Crestridge


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