Friday, August 23, 2013

Reynolds Camp 2013

One of the very first experiences my kids had after moving to La Canada (CA) back in 2006 was going to Johnson's Camp. A family from our church purchased several acres of land from the county just outside of the city boundaries and built their home (with a pool) where they also kept all kinds of animals like horses, a llama, chickens, and a dog. Every summer we lived there (5 in all) I signed up any of my kids who were old enough to go to Johnson's Camp. They loved it! Not only did they get to do fun crafts and games, but they also rode horses, went swimming, and sometimes even came home with an egg they had collected from the chicken coop. Having spent a good chunk of my childhood on my grandparents farm in Iowa, I felt like this was a gem of an experience to have in a city that was about 15 minutes north of downtown L.A. The oldest kids in the Johnson family and their friends ran Johnson's Camp as a way to earn money in the summer, and ever since those days of attending my kids have been asking if they could organize and run a day camp of their own once they were old enough.

Well, this year they were old enough.

We started talking about it in the spring, but between Kate's two weeks of Driver's Ed, Girls Camp with the church, EFY at BYU, Youth Conference also with the church, Will's week at scout camp, our week at the Reynolds family reunion, and a week of our own little family vacation, we didn't actually settle on a date and start advertising until ONE WEEK before we planned to pull off our first annual REYNOLDS CAMP.

Since our plan for landscaping the backyard (complete with swimming pool) didn't work out this year (fingers crossed for next year/not holding my breath), we knew our plan to create a Johnson's Camp-like experience was limited. But one thing we knew we could do to increase the fun factor was to get a nice, big trampoline, so I got on KSL (local classifieds) and found a great deal on a practically new tramp and went to pick it up. It was a pain in the patookie to set up, but totally worth it:
After deciding on the details together (date, hours, ages, price), I made a flyer (also a pain in the neck--I am SO not good at that kind of thing, but with the help of some crafty person on Etsy it turned out pretty cute) and we spent a good two or three hours on Monday morning taping them to the doors of everyone we knew who had kids between the ages of 5 and 10. (That's a lot of homes.) Knowing lots of people would be out of town or already have plans, we didn't know what to expect so we just crossed our fingers and waited. We figured we could take up to 21 (3 groups of 7), but we were still pretty happy to have 14 kids sign up by the following Monday morning. Not too bad considering we advertised with only a week to go and had no reputation whatsoever. What this means is that this is a viable option in the future for summer "work" for my kids. Not only is it fun, but it's pretty good money for kids who are either too young to get a "real" job (Elizabeth and Will), or too busy with other summer commitments to get a job with really steady hours (Kate).  Of course, I probably did more work than anyone (mostly because they hadn't done anything like this before), but I have to say I was pretty proud of all their hard work. They were really motivated and certainly did their fair share. It took quite a bit of planning, set up, and of course clean up  after everyone went home--and then running the camp itself. So without further ado, here are some of the pics that I haphazardly shot here and there throughout the week. Not the greatest, but I think it still gives a pretty good representation of what we did.

The first thing we did was organize everyone into groups and have them come up with names for their group. (This is per Johnsons Camp, exactly how my kids remember doing it.) We ended up with the Killer Crocs (the boys group--big surprise), the Cheetah Swamp Bunnies, and the Sparkly Pigs. (Smiley face.) The next three mornings we spent the first half hour or so doing Joke Day, Talent Day, and then Crazy Hair Day. The judges (my older kids and Will's friend who was helping) picked two winners every day, one boy and one girl. I think my favorite day was Joke Day--oh, the jokes that were told! Nothing like the execution of a 5-year-old. It's almost funnier than real comedy!

Here we have the killer crocs:
And here we have the audience on Joke Day. I love how Rachael is sitting in her little chair and crossing her legs like she's the stuff. If she hadn't been so drugged up and in such horrible pain all week from having her tonsils out the previous Thursday (I had no idea how bad the recovery would be!) she might have been even cockier than she was about Reynolds Camp being at her house:
(Here she is one morning after sleeping in our room again during a long and painful night, so tired she doesn't even register that her hand is being licked to pieces by Bunny.) 
This little guy pretty much won every single event in my mind. So ridiculously cute:

The judges consulting with one another:
After free play time and our opening activities outside, we broke up into three groups for three rotations every morning. Kate ran the crafts (of course). Here she is helping these little cuties mold a hedgehog pencil holder out of clay (of course):
Elizabeth and I ran the food/cooking crafts out of the kitchen. The first day we made homemade rainbow crayons:
Will and his friend ran the physical games outside. They came up with all the games on their own and the kids thought they were pretty cool:
After rotating through the three groups (crafts, cooking, games) we did a group activity all together every day. The first day was music. We talked about the different types of instruments in an orchestra and read "I Know A Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello" and then Kate and Will both played songs on their harp and cello and gave the kids a chance to play them as well:

The kids were especially mesmerized by Kate's harp playing. She played a song called "Nightingale"--one of my favorites:
After the group activity the kids ate the lunches they brought with them and then played with water toys outside until their parents picked them up. That's it! Not much compared to horseback riding and a swimming pool, but the kids still seemed to have a fun time:

And because I am too darn lazy to organize the rest of the Reynolds Camp pictures in a way that makes sense, I'm just going to narrate them in the order that they were uploaded. 

Some of the fun cooking crafts we did were the coconut tree from the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and apple/grape cars:

The Sparkly Pigs:
The hedgehog pencil holders drying:

Kate doing origami with the Cheetah Swamp Bunnies:


The same day we did origami I did a group activity on Japanese culture:
Teaching them how to bow:
More outside play pictures. Everyone was crazy for the big bubble wands and special bubble mix:

The morning we did "Talent Day" and Yuki graced us with one of her unique musical performances:

One day for group activity we did "Skit-in-a-Bag" where each group had to make up a five minute play using the props they found in their bags. Truly, this was theater at its best:

Elizabeth kind of became one of the Cheetah Swamp Bunnies by the end of the week:
Will helped out the Killer Crocs:

Everybody's favorite cooking craft was the chocolatey "Bears in a Bath":

I believe they were supposed to be painting their hedgehog pencil holders here, but it looks like they are painting themselves:

Final products. Inspirational, isn't it?


More bubbles:
More slip-n-slide:
If you can't tell, Rachael is being a cheetah. That is kind of her 24/7 persona these days:

The Cheetah Swamp Bunnies using their free play time to make some music:

The boys using theirs to play on the tramp:
Everyone's favorite thing about the end of Reynolds Camp every day was choosing a Dum Dum from the giant Dum Dum ball:

Crazy Hair Day:

Again, the judges consult:
Waiting in nervous anticipation:
Okay, MY favorite "cooking" craft (more like science experiment . . .) was the Flubber:

Favorite pictures right here:

The final plate of "souvenirs" they took home on the last day:
This is how our entry looked for four days:
They probably weren't as exciting as horses or a llama, but the kids really loved playing with the dogs every day, and I think the dogs loved it too:

They got pretty tired out each day from all the excitement:

One of the leftovers at the end of the week:
Enjoying some free play of their own after everyone went home:
Again, these guys worked really hard to earn the money that they did, and made some fun memories for those cute kids in the process. I'm pretty proud of them! Looks like Reynolds Camp may have to be our new tradition:

Related Posts with Thumbnails