- HATIYE GARIP
In addition to riding, one activity the kids love is doing a beauty contest with the ponies. They love to decorate them and parade them around the ring. They also like to paint the horses and have Tasha, our face painter, paint their faces as well.
— Kim Johansen, owner, Livery Horse Farm, Hinesburg
My favorite camp game is Captain's Coming. We make the outline of a boat in a grassy area or on the beach and all of the campers become the "crew" of the ship. In the game, crew members learn and practice the parts of a boat and get their silly on by pretending to be mermaids, row a boat or become bells on the ship. I cannot get through a game without laughing out loud with the crew.
My favorite camp activity is Camp Olympics. We set up a series of events for the entire camp on our dock and in the swim area. Everyone is wearing a life jacket as they perform different tasks like a paddling obstacle course, dock-line throw or relay races.
— Mary Dowd, program director, Community Sailing Center, Burlington
My favorite time of our day is when the entire camp comes together in a circle at the end of the day. It's here where we give thanks for the day, look ahead to tomorrow and sing our closing song. We also have an all-around-camp relay race for our oldest campers called "Call of the Loon," which everyone looks forward to every year.
— John Hammond, director, Hosmer Point, Craftsbury Common
- HATIYE GARIP
Our flagship activity is exploring our wetland at the Ethan Allen Homestead. Campers are given nets to catch frogs and other critters, like turtles, fish and various aquatic insects. We have buckets to hold the animals and aquatic magnifying glasses so campers can observe them. To wrap it all up, counselors explain what each creature is, how it is specially adapted for its environment and what its presence tells us about the water quality of the wetland. Campers are rewarded with the unforgettable experience of catching and observing wild creatures up close and learn important lessons in ecology, conservation and stewardship.
— Remy Crettol, Projects & Programs coordinator, S.O.L.E. Camp (Winooski Valley Park District), Burlington
For overnight Talent Development Institute participants, a highlight is the talent show each Friday evening. In a very supportive, fun environment, campers, teen leaders and staff can show off their polished and unpolished talents, such as playing a musical instrument, reciting Pi (from memory) to 100 places, all types of dancing, speed solving of Rubik's cubes and singing. These serious talents are tempered by silly skits, jokes and "non-talents" (such as a staff person licking her own elbow). The talent show often ends on a high note with music and group dancing before campers head back to the dorm.
— Lucy Bogue, co-director, Talent Development Institute Summer Camp, Johnson
- HATIYE GARIP
Each year at LEtGO Your Mind, STEM campers build motorized Lego cars. We love to build and modify our Lego cars on a 15-foot track. This year's vehicle will be a motorized Lego dragster!
— Jim Harvey, owner, LEtGO Your Mind, Burlington/Essex Junction/South Burlington/Winooski
One of my favorite Honest Yoga camp games is smelling different essential oils and then guessing which one it is. At our B-Tru Dance camps, we enjoy creating a small end-of-the-week performance for parents. In our Hip Hop: Funk and Breakin camps, we learn the history of American culture through movement.
— Karen Santorello, manager, Honest Yoga, South Burlington
Snorkeling is the number one activity at LCMM, but going deeper underwater with Eva, our ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle), is pretty close. We also love casting metal and building boats. And finding treasure maps and shipwrecks. Did we say firing our cannon on July 4th? That, too.
— Elizabeth Lee, education director, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vergennes
- HATIYE GARIP
One of my favorite songs is "All I Ask Of You." We often sing this at our campfires and closing circle. The refrain is "All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you." The lyrics speak of taking time to be with one another through times of pain, joy, laughter and tears. This is a wonderful example of what it means to make friends, be friends and keep friends.
Fun-Yaks are a blast! They are small sit-on-top kayaks, and campers can't get enough of them. I love to watch as they experience the excitement of what it means to balance on a tippy watercraft in big waves and to manipulate the paddle to move themselves through the water. Of course, campers just know they're having a ton of fun!
— Sherry Osborn, camp director, Rock Point Summer Camp, Burlington
Green and White Day is a camper and counselor favorite. Campers travel in teams of 10, completing challenges that focus on collaboration and teamwork. Last summer, during Moana-themed Green and White Day, campers battled with pool noodles atop paddleboards, built and sailed boats constructed of cardboard, aimed for balloons at the archery range, and presented their loudest, most enthusiastic renditions of Moana soundtrack favorites.
Paddleboard yoga is a popular way to start the day at camp. Lifeguard-certified staff take groups of campers out onto the beautiful morning waters of Lake Champlain. As campers practice yoga positions atop paddleboards, they strengthen their focus, test their core strength and share friendly laughter as they attempt particularly challenging feats of balance that often result in quick dunks in the lake.
— Hannah Bogard, camp director, Camp Hochelaga, South Hero
- HATIYE GARIP
One of my favorite camp activities is our climbing Olympics. They are usually on one of the last days of camp and are a culmination of many of the skills we learned during the week, as well as an introduction to some fun, new activities. While we do a lot of activities that may dip into the climbing skills we have learned, we also dip into fun activities, ranging from obstacle courses to crate stacking. I have even run an Olympics that culminated in a Grease-style dance-off. I also enjoy teaching kids to belay. Belaying is the process where one climber is pulling the rope through a specialized device as the other scales the wall. For kids, it's really cool to have the responsibility of holding one another up. While newer belayers always have an experienced person on backup, those who are veterans at belaying and who have been monitored for maturity and skill proficiency will have the opportunity to earn various levels of belay privileges through tests. Kids who pass these tests take great pride in having done so. These privileges also serve as a great aspiration for newer belayers to work toward.
— Matthew Butler-Bugher, general manager, MetroRock Vermont, Essex
- HATIYE GARIP
It's hard to choose a favorite activity because we love the trail rides, jumping lessons, games on horseback, tubing down the river, campouts, and daily games of capture the flag and kickball. But if we have to pick, our most favorite is the weekly movie production. We love seeing what the campers come up with. They choose the story and plan the costumes, the script, the shooting locations and roles for everyone, and have a blast creating films of their own imagining. Some of the highlights have been Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Wizard of Oz and the stories invented by the campers themselves — all starring our horses, as well as the kids, of course!