The snow is finally gone, and Harmon Pond is ice free as Spring has sprung here at camp! Buds on the trees are aplenty, the sun is a little warmer these days and the May flies are not out yet, which we're grateful for! Spring is also the busiest time of the year (next to summer of course) with many camp related events and happenings. So in this blog post, we'll let you know all the camp goings on, as well as a little piece on a camp staple, Friendship Bracelets!
We just had our first Open House this past Sunday and it was a wonderful success! We had many people come and visit, take a tour, visit with new and returning camp staff, enjoy the campfire and even make s'mores! New Camp Director Josh Scott was on hand, chatting with many visiting parents and campers alike. Overall, it was a great day! If you wished you could have joined us, no need to worry! The next Open House will take place May 19th from Noon to 3pm. Here's a couple pictures from the Open House.
Perhaps you can't wait till then, and you want to lend a hand? Why not join us for the first work weekend coming up soon on April 27th and 28th. We'll be tackling large (Cabin roof) and small (water tank) projects and could use some help! We can use some experience when it comes to the roofing project, but all kinds of help is appreciated, even if you can just stay for a few hours. Dinner Saturday night and Breakfast Sunday morning will be provided. Please let Josh know if you'll be coming- firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-229-9110.
The highlight of our spring is the 4th Annual Wa Wa Wally Waddle! This 5k Walk/Run is coming up on May 12th and is once again, taking place at Vassar Farms in Poughkeepsie, NY. The race continues to raise money for Dutchess County children to have the life-enriching experience of attending YMCA Camp Wa Wa Segowea. We'll have more about the Waddle in an upcoming blog post.
It is with sadness that we relay the news of the passing of Camp Alum, Barrett Wyles Raymond. Barrett died in a tragic accident while canoeing on the Hudson River last December. Barrett's dad, Jeff Raymond who currently sits on the Smith Park Board for camp, shared the pictures below of Barrett. Among Barrett's passions were sailing (he earned his captain's license from the US Coast Guard) and painting and his family and friends. Our deepest condolences to the Raymond Family and to Barrett's many friends around the globe.
They begin as multi-colored thread, or yarn or beads or something you can string together, then woven and knotted around a friends wrist and lo and behold, you have a friendship bracelet! It's often more time consuming than just that, but it's purpose remains the same at camp. It's a symbol of friendship. It's something so simple, yet intricate and often has a special meaning behind it. The making of them does indeed take some skill, and some time. One good thing though is they can be pretty inexpensive to make!
According to braceletbook.com, knot-tying arts have developed independently in different parts of the world. China, Arabia, Italy and France are all "tied" in to the knot tying culture. However, friendship bracelets themselves became widely known in American culture in the 1960's and 70's. Some say Guatemalans were the originators of the craft and others say Native Americans made the first ones. What we do know for certain is the popularity of them at camp is always evident as year after year, someone always seems to be making one! The tradition behind them is as such- a bracelet is made and then placed on a friend, tying it at the wrist. It is supposed to be worn until it falls off naturally, honoring the hard work that went into creating it. Often both people give each other bracelets, creating that friendship bond forever. Some too are made for wishing purposes, with the recipient making a wish when the bracelet is placed on his or her's wrist. Then the bracelet wearer keeps the bracelet tied until it naturally falls off, when the wish will come true.
So what makes them so popular at camp? I asked several people and received the following responses-
I like being able to look down at my arms and think of the different people that made them for me.
I LOVE making them and then giving them away! It keeps me connected to all my friends.
I love friendship bracelets, and having hundreds of them on my arms. I love how they look, and it's something everyone has at camp. But then back at home it's different and I have my own style with them, plus they remind me of camp. However, I can't make them and I just end up tying a bunch of knots!
I also asked Peg Smith, CEO of American Camp Association, and here is her response-
“Treasures brought home from camp, whether they be friendship bracelets or other arts and crafts projects, give physical form to what campers and families value from the camp experience — new activities tried, new friendships formed, new skills and confidence acquired. While social, emotional, and cognitive gains can’t necessarily be worn around the wrist or ankle, friendship bracelets can . . . and they serve as a reminder of the fun and learning that took place at camp.”
It is indeed a reminder of the fun and learning at camp and we'll likely see the popularity of them continuing this coming summer.
In the meantime, if you're interested, here's a couple bracelet making tutorials online-
And at least one website has such bracelets as their top sellers-
Friendship Bracelets are the perfect camp souvenir and a fun project for any age. They're a chance to show your creativity and at the same time, make that connection with the lucky recipient. Time to start tying!