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Spring 2012

HOME OF THE HAPPY CAMPER!

Welcome to Camp Woodhaven! This past summer, I received an email that any camp director would love to receive. A mother wrote to say that her daughter brought home a glowing report about camp. Her daughter had informed her that Camp Woodhaven was “better than Disney World AND Chuck E. Cheese.” Although I was astounded at first at the camp being compared to such royalty of entertainment as Disney, on further thought I realized that even Walt Disney himself would approve of the imaginative play that takes place at camp. I am often amazed at what campers consider the highlight of camp. Many times, their activity of choice is not something that is part of formal programming. On my office door there are hand drawn pictures from campers. Among them, there is a declaration of the “Sandpit” being a favorite part of camp. The “Sandpit” fills time if campers end an activity early. Every summer, my husband George waits until camp begins to have the big dump truck pull up to empty a new load of sand. The campers have so much fun climbing the pile, and then, the grand movement of sand begins as tunnels are dug, roads are marked, and buildings began to form. Sticks and rocks join the mix to add the details to their creations. I will never forget the time that George had crushed stone delivered for a maintenance project during vacation camp. The campers asked me if they could play on the small pile. As they were working together to create a pass in the top of the pile, one little boy looked up at me with large, serious eyes and wistfully said, “I wish I could take this pile home with me.” It was a reminder to me that though we entertain our children with the stimulating world of expensive technological toys, there is still a void that can only be filled in the wonder of nature and the great outdoors where activity is not all “programmed” for them. Last summer, I noticed an interesting development next to the archery range where the campers wait for their turn at archery. The older campers constructed a garden of rock formations. The dark towers stood against the bright green foliage at the edge of the woods, adding an air of ancient mystery. I hope that they have birthed a new tradition, and that this masterpiece will develop over the years to come. ~continued on page 2


At the National Environmental Education conference George and I attended in Raleigh, NC, I learned rangers at parks in New York City are now being called “play workers.” They are facilitators of children’s natural tendency to be curious and creative. They may provide some materials and supervision, but it does not take much action on the adult’s part to initiate play and discovery. This is a concept I want to bring to our camp counselors. Creativity and imaginative play were important components of my upbringing. We did not have a TV in our home, so I played outdoors on our 100 acre dairy farm. One Christmas when I was in elementary school, my father bought me a tool box of tools, lumber, Mod Podge, and stain for my present that year. He showed me samples of toys he had made as a child. We cut designs out of tracing paper to transfer on the wood. Then, he taught me how to cut on his jigsaw. I spent hours in my workshop, filling imaginary orders. To this day, one of my creations

hangs on the wall in my 90 year old grandmother’s kitchen. The creativity they encouraged in me has given me four gifts that have impacted my adult life: curiosity, inventiveness, determination, and independence. Creative development at camp does not just happen in a physical sense. Since most of the play is done with two or more children, social creativity is also being strengthened. As they work together, they are also coming up with imaginative ways to relate, communicate, and work as a team. I see these as vital skills that must be nurtured as much of their success as adults will be based on their ability to work with other people. At the American Camping Association’s national conference in Atlanta this year, Christine Carter, PhD, a sociologist and popular author, spoke on the happiness of children. She shared about a study where children were given gradually more complex puzzles. The children who were rewarded with praise for working hard and not for their innate talent or intelligence took on more advanced puzzles. The children who were praised for being smart or

gifted did not want to take on the more difficult levels because they were afraid to lose their title of being smart. Carter said, “When children are pressured to achieve you dull their emotions, stifle their creativity, and make them unhappy.” Children are exposed to achievement pressures all the time through school and athletics. For this reason, camp has a very important place in a child’s education. Camp provides a counterbalance to achievement based learning that takes place at school. At camp, we have the perfect opportunity to let campers “try” whatever they want to do without fear of failure. There are no grades at camp. Children can participate, make mistakes, and learn from them. Camp is a “safe” place for campers of all ages to practice creativity without inhibition or fear of missing achievement standards. The staff will be there to cheer them on as we grow together and nurture the “sense of wonder” that inspires each person to want to learn and experience more.

George & Paula DeTellis Camp Directors

campers create a brush shelter

Nutsy and his camp friends camper gets assistance fROm archery specialist

No lines, no waiting, camp is ready for creating!

another great day at camp


Environmental Education

studying frogs from the bog

This fall, George and I attended the national conference for environmental education. We have become very interested in growing the environmental education side of camp. For the past two years, Clinton Elementary has brought their third graders to camp for a field trip. Students get to experience a day of camp by participating in a team building exercise, shooting bow and arrows, enjoying a nature craft, playing dodgeball, and hiking to explore a nature lesson. If you think this is something your child’s school would be interested in, please spread the word. It is our desire to assist schools in meeting curriculum requirements, so teachers are encouraged to let us know what goals need to be accomplished with their visit.

Program Dates for 2012 Camp will run for ten weeks this year beginning June 18th and ending August 24th. A number of schools already have school days scheduled during week one. The camp is offering additional options for shorter sessions for that week. It is the perfect opportunity to try camp for a day if your child is new to our program. Transportation and extended day pricing for short sessions will have to be discounted manually, so call the office before you pay for those services. A fourth week in August was added at the request of many parents. We hope that extra week will help meet your daycare needs. Thank you for letting us know how we could serve you better.

... place to a s i p Cam friends see old ends new fri e k a m and

c amper s take s ampl of wat er from es vernal the pool nature with the special ist


camper rolls log for Highland games

Electives At Camp Woodhaven, campers select the activities they want to do for two periods. The electives usually tie into the theme for each week. Electives will be ready for online selection by April 1st. An email will be sent out to all registered campers when they are online. The theme weeks are available now on www.campwoodhaven.com under the “About Us� tab. campers lead songs for Overday

yarn bug elective

playing knock-out

Open House Our annual open house will be held April 28, 2012 from 10am-2pm. This occurs prior to the May 1st early bird discount. Invite your friends to come. The invitation is ready to share on the Camp Woodhaven facebook page.

tug of war

Bus Stop Location Added A new bus stop has been added for summer 2012. Parents can now drop off their children at the Walmart parking lot at 137 West Boylston Street in West Boylston.

come meet our wonderful staff

Wacky Wednesday Color War Team


Construction Projects Completed in 2011 In 2011, the camp added three new structures and a much loved gaga pit to the property. The added space has been so helpful as now every specialist area has a place to go if it rains. Thank you to everyone who donated financially toward the buildings. We also had a furniture business and a local foundation donate a large quantity of used office furniture. A new 20 X 40 building houses the drama department. It is surrounded by windows to let in light and summer breezes thanks to a local businessman who was willing to give us the windows at cost. The facility provides groups with plenty of room for acting and dancing. In the woods, the nature center provides a 25 X 25 space for touch tanks and nature displays. This unique structure has sliding barn doors and windows. The roof is covered with clear polycarbonate to let in the natural light. Thank you to everyone who donated tanks and cages for displays. We even received some with the animals in them, which was really fun for the campers. An enormous conference table was donated as well as some metal cabinets. On the wish list for this year, we would like to install solar panels in this building to run the filters for the tanks as this building has no electricity. We also hope to have enough electricity to run a projector for a microscope or computer. If anyone has contacts for solar energy kits or if you wish to donate to this project, give the office a call. Another large 40 x 60 pavilion overlooks the pool area at the base of the sports field. It provides rainy day play space for the sports and adventure programming areas. We also would like to use this pavilion for rainy Overday cookouts. The building has a foundation for a large stone fireplace at one end. The price quote we received to build the fireplace was $17,395. As there is a need for other building projects to take place, the camp does not have the funds to put into a fireplace. If you have a desire to help with this project either by donating, finding businesses to donate, or introducing us to another mason for another quote, please let us know. Parents and children alike will enjoy a beautiful centerpiece for Overday picnics if we can pull together to get this pavilion completed. The gaga pit provides plenty of excitement for campers. The game of “gaga” or “Israeli Dodgeball” is played within an octagonal structure. The ball can be played off the wall or another person. Instead of having teams, each player is against all the other players. As the ball hits players beneath the knee, they exit the pit. If the ball hits above the knee, the person throwing the ball is out. The last person standing in the pit is the winner. This game was so popular at camp this year we have decided to build another one in a different location. Camp Woodhaven

P. O. Box 777

West Boylston, MA 01583

Phone: 508-835-9883

Fax: 508-835-0910

www.campwoodhaven.com


Camp Woodhaven Newsletter 2012