A Portfolio Of Programming

We invited readers to submit their most creative programming ideas to find out what keeps their camp ticking.

Our readers share their camp programming ideas.

Whether a day camp or resident camp, here are several ideas that might work for you:

Create a photo album to music and burn it onto a DVD. Make it available at the end of summer to kids/parents for the cost of the DVD and cover (about $1). This is a season-long activity that involves the staff members taking pictures. The pictures are then uploaded to a DVD and set to music.

Utilize a camp mascot as a staff motivational tool. After the first week, give it to a staff member who did an exceptional job. Each week, give it to a different person and allow him or her to add something that has meaning to it.

Use Clean Table award to encourage campers to help clean up!

Ask the kids and staff to collect can pop tops to donate to Ronald McDonald House. Have a competition between the kids and staff; this not only makes it fun, but teaches the kids the importance of “giving back” through collecting and donating.

Ann Smiley, Director

Lysander Parks & Recreation

Lysander Day Camp

Baldwinsville NY


Exploring The Water World

We took an old salad bar and turned it into an aquatic-life studies resource.

Since outdoor education occurs year-round and the lake freezes in the middle of winter, this was a way to keep the macro invertebrates alive for the children to see.

The bar had a galvanized bottom with a drain plug that we sealed. It had electrical outlets for lights, so we used this to run the aerators to add oxygen.

In the spring, we added creatures that hatched and provided a great learning opportunity for children, including those who were not able to venture lakeside. Campers gathered “bugs” from the bar and looked at them under the microscopes along with all the other children.

Beth Powers

YMCA Camp Willson


Recycle Materials For Equestrian Games

Old arrows missing tips and fletchings can be great for games in the riding arena:

Get creative with equestrian races.

Stick in the bucket–Riders pick up a stick in one bucket and put it into another on the other side of the arena. This game can be played at different speeds; the buckets can be at different heights; riders can be asked to only pick up a certain color of arrow; flags or colored string can be attached, etc.

The flag race–riders pick up one flag (arrow with a flag attached) in a can filled with sand and run to the other side of the arena and jam it into another bucket. It is a timed event of speed and accuracy.

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