By Tracy Bryan, Program Director —
This summer was certainly different than any other. But as usual, our CRG team and volunteers created an incredibly special two weeks of fun, connection and camp experiences.
We kicked camp off with a special celebration where campers drove by the office to a wave parade—with a lot of CRG style. There were costumes, a dance party, balloons, bubbles, and a photo op. Each camper received special “happy camper kits” full of supplies to enhance and supplement the variety of events for each day of camp.
When we started planning for virtual camp, the goal was to limit the time our campers spent on screens. Camp is about getting outside, pushing your limits and trying new, fun activities. The kit had items like their camper shirts with a tie-dye kit, a build-your-own name tag project, joy jars, art shack supplies, running bibs for the virtual race, and other items to make CRG’s virtual camp extra special.
We also looked at the special moments and traditions we have at camp and found ways to replicate them in a virtual setting. We also wanted to introduce new activities our campers could try out at home.
Time to Circle-Up
Just like at camp, each morning started with a circle-up message recorded by a volunteer. They let the campers know what fun things were in store for the day. We shared a recipe to make sticky slime, dressed up in silly costumes, put on shine hats, created chalk art masterpieces, told jokes, tried our first Netflix party, participated in cooking challenges, and (just like being at camp) we spent lots of time in the Art Shack.
Most days we had live sessions where we enjoyed things like yoga, show-and-tell and a talent show. We even had a live camp dance and campfire. One night, we encouraged our camp families to “camp out” in their backyard! We even provided s’mores supplies to make it extra fun.
Surprises for Week Two
To kick off the second week of camp, all families received a surprise, top-secret mailing that contained items for two new activities—bottle cap necklaces and an owl pellet dissection. It was so fun to do something familiar and then try something so new too!
Campers enjoyed getting to participate at their own pace and schedule. We loved seeing the creativity from our volunteer counselors and how everyone put their own spin on our camp activities. And as we all expected, “raiding” was a huge hit! We loved seeing campers make new friends, and welcoming new events and traditions into our program!
A Summer to Remember
Although we missed being up in the mountains, this summer reminded us that the most important part of what we do is building connections, relationships and empowering experiences. We are all in this together and at CRG we love to make the most of the opportunities we have. The opportunity to camp at home was no different.
We shared lots of laughs, had so much fun, and felt the hope and love we always experience when we are all together. And just like when we are up at camp, we made every minute count. The summer of 2020 will always hold a special place in our hearts, and when we think back on it we will always remember the summer we camped at home.