Let’s Get Twisted

How about offering some weeks of camp with “twisted” themes? It’s easy to find camps offering crafts, drama and sports. Sometimes parents and kids want something different. This can range from a Job Shadow week where campers shadow professionals in various careers to a camp to learn Mandarin. A forensic camp drew a large enrollment when it was announced campers would dissect real brains. Looking for more twisted ideas? The New York Times recently ran a half-page story about an “Explosives Camp” run by a university. Campers begin by blowing up watermelons and advance to blowing away 20 tons of rock on a hillside. (There’s a shortage of explosives engineers, so the camp hopes to attract students to its explosives engineering program.)

Dancing Decorations

Looking for a way to add interest to your programs and activities? Is your decorating budget on the cheap side? Then go back to school! Throughout the year, keep in contact with high school students in your area. When they plan their proms or homecoming dances, ask for their decorations. The decorating committee usually spends hundreds of dollars on decorations to tie in with the theme of the dance. Afterwards, the cleanup committee wants to get going, so it rips down everything and tosses the banners, streamers and blow-up palm trees. Make sure the committee saves the decorations for you. You’ll have plenty of supplies to add new interest to your programs.

Sing Like A Rock Star

Use twisted thinking the next time you take campers on a field trip. Ahead of time, number the seats on the bus like an airplane, with 1A, 2B, etc. Throughout the bus ride, have raffles where you draw a seat number and announce, “I have a prize for the person sitting in seat 4C!” Attach an extra-long cord to the bus driver’s microphone so it can be passed from person to person. Pop in a Karaoke tape and let campers sing away … keeping their bottoms on the seat for safety, of course.

Card Contest

Most people give cards on Valentine’s Day or Christmas, but what about the Fourth of July? Doesn’t that holiday deserve some Hallmark moments? Sponsor a camp card-making contest between cabins. Instead of paper and markers, give each cabin a 4-foot by 8-foot piece of plywood to decorate. You can use the plywood for other projects, while campers have a twisted time decorating their giant card.

Toilet Bowling

Never forget that twisted thinking also involves toilets. One camp had replaced all the toilets before the summer started. Instead of immediately discarding the old toilets, the camp director saved them to start a new camp tradition … toilet bowling! He set up several bowling “lanes” with toilets at the end. Cabins got bowling bowls and rolled them towards the toilets, hoping to crack them to pieces.

Now that’s twisted thinking!

Silvana Clark has over 20 years experience helping thousands of children create arts and crafts projects. She presents keynotes and workshops on a variety of recreation-related subjects. She can be reached at (615) 662-7432 or via e-mail at silvanac@msn.com

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