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July 2015

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July 31st


Coney Island

July Camp: Coney Island

Back at the campus, storm clouds rolled in, and we wondered how well Pioneers were making out yesterday at their Coney Island trip, an annual July Camp tradition. Grey skies ending up being perfect weather for a day at Luna Park. Hardly anyone was there and campers were able to go on all the rides they wanted! Campers displayed admirable social maturity, making compromises on what rides they repeated based on what other campers wanted as well. Favorites this year were buttery popcorn for snack and the Electro Spin ride.

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July 28th


Carnival Days

Carnival Days: Friday

Friday was the last of our two-day Carnival Days event. Performers, twenty-eight camper-produced games, huge rides and fair-inspired sweet treats celebrated summer and the weeks of effort campers put in to create this pop-out theme carnival. The excitement was catching as campers took turns at scurrying to spend their ACT dollars or enticing potential customers from their booths. Four NEW blow-up rides (after three other, massive ones Thursday) kept the amusement factor high.

Today campers are developing their sports skills with Country Challenge. Coach Amanda will be keeping the ACTion going between Morningside Park and the ACT campus with tournaments that test physical abilities as well as spirit and teamwork. Campers will be recognized Friday at the 2 pm Closing Assembly. All families are welcome to attend! ?

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July 23rd


Carnival Days

Carnival Days: Thursday

We revved up for the first day of Time Travel Carnival with a showcase of talent: the result of nearly two weeks of rehearsals in ACTion with Rebecca, Performing Arts Specialist. Mini-ACTors and Preps entertained campers and families with dance and song, from a mummy rendition of “Thriller” from the Egyptian group to the French song, "J 'aime les fruits."

After the Assembly, Carnival opened amidst eager cheers. Fourteen game booths with two challenges each and humongous blow-up rides transformed the Cathedral campus into an exhilarating fair. These unique, artistic booths were produced by work from counselors, specialists and especially campers. Campers have a predesignated amount of ACT dollars to play the games that their peers have created and enjoy the blow-up rides. To get more ACT dollars, they can perform a social or academic activity, such as sing their group song or another’s or solving a math problem. We call it earning by learning!

Parents, make sure your child’s swimsuit is packed with them tomorrow; the water rides will be back! We invite you to attend; feel free to walk around with your child through the Carnival. If you would like to take your child home early afterward, please step into the office to fill out an Early Dismissal form. The fun continues Friday!

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July 22th


Staying Cool at July Summer Camp

Staying Cool

A high of 93 that "feels like" 99?! How do ACTors stay cool in sizzling July sun? After a lively game of GaGa Ball or visit to the Nature Center, you may want to take the route through the mist zone. Routine reminders to visit the water station keep water bottles full and chilly. Before or after lunch, campers have the option to indulge in cool treats at the Canteen. The animated mood around ACT proves the heat can’t slow us down! Spirits were lively and smiles were big. Here are some of Monday’s snapshots and a few photos from late last week.

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July 16th


Shepherd Lake at July Summer Camp

July Summer Camp: Shepherd Lake

It’s a beautiful day at Shepherd Lake for Voyagers and Pioneers as they take the trip to New Jersey’s Ringwood State Park that the Preps enjoyed yesterday. Beach activities, sports and art projects are on the agenda. Back home at the ACT campus, Mini-ACTors and Preps take turns splashing on our water slide and playing games in the sun.

The hallways inside are quiet as everyone takes advantage of the pleasant weather, but they are not bare! Lining the walls and edges are massive posters close to completion that counselors, specialists, and campers have been painting for Carnival Days. We are eagerly anticipating the famous annual event that will culminate 2 weeks of camper work next Thursday and Friday!

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July 14th


ACT Aqua Day

2015 Visiting Day is ACT Aqua Day!

A little sun shower did not rain out Aqua Day! Three different blow-up water slides delighted campers all morning, a massive tall and horizontal one in the Cathedral driveway and a single-person slide in the lower playground. Jose V Torres and Coach Shaughn grilled hotdogs and cheese sandwiches for lunch.

The third and fourth weeks of ACT July Camp are devoted to Carnival preparation. Our 2015 Time Travel Carnival explores different eras as well as different lands. From a Prep and Voyager "Dance Around the World" Assembly to rice ball food fights (with cotton balls!) at ACTion, we kept up the Carnival prep spirit with fun learning activities centered around diversity. Much of the art developing in the classrooms right now will come alive on July 23rd and 24th for Carnival Days, a two-day extravaganza with rides and games originated by the campers.

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July 11th


July Summer Camp: at the ACT Garden and Nature Center

At the ACT Garden and Nature Center

Wednesday, while Pioneers and Surveyors headed out to the much-anticipated camping trip and Preps ventured to Tomahawk Lake, Voyagers shined in their X-panda Clubs and Mini-ACT got down and dirty with their growing garden in the Nature and Science Center -- ACT Summer Camp? style!

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July 10th


July Summer Camp: Party in the USA

July Summer Camp: Party in the USA

In celebration of this week's theme, Party in the USA, we explored activities from around the nation.

On Monday, Richard Stillman entertained Preps with his Broadway-honed skills in tap dancing, banjo playing, and more. The actor/dancer/musician explained the difference between types of tap dancing, then taught us some of his country clogging moves. CIT Victor was turned into a community musical instrument when Mr. Stillman had him don the washboard. We loved to see the campers to be part of the show.

After the performance, Preps headed outside to a bustling Party in the USA Fair. Activities included sack races, hoop throws, and a popular Watermelon Eating Contest. Marie Del Tejo, Director of Programs, was our Sheriff and Game Moderator!

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July 9th


Camping Trip Update

Camping Trip - Thursday Update!

Jose V Torres sent over an update yesterday evening after 5pm that they arrived at Stokes Park around noon and were at the lake by 2pm. The rain didn’t get to them. Weather was partly cloudy and humid. Activities were held as planned: Welcoming Ceremonies, Glo-Stick Relays in the Dark, Softball (a fun version with reverse bases!). They headed back to the camp site around 5:30pm for a delicious dinner of mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, and salad.

This morning, campers woke early to a very light drizzle. At 10:30 am, the mist had dissipated and conditions were cloudy. The day’s activities at "In Search of the Fifth Element" 2015 Camping Trip are continuing as scheduled. Rest assured there have been no injuries! The time is now noon and the campers are competing in water balloon races in their quest to win the four elements, each in hermetically-sealed containers and ultimately combine them Friday to discover the "Fifth Element."

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July 2nd


New Games at ACT Summer Camp

Sumo Wrestling and Other New Challenges

Counselors like to surprise their kids with new games. This keeps everyone engaged and exercises muscles both physical and mental that they may not have worked before.

Yesterday, Voyager buddies went belly-to-belly with Sumo Wrestling. As each team waited their turn, they analyzed the game before them for ideas. Teams that already went shouted strategy from the wings: "Keep it higher!" This new game was a winner. Even the counselors looked a little green with envy.

Preps took advantage of the sunshine with a trip to the beach at Lake Welsh on Wednesday. Campers kept ACTive with portable games, like Tangle Ball, learned at the ACA (American Camp Association) Conference this year. Tangle Ball is a fast-paced sport that develops skills similar to baseball: eye-hand coordination, teamwork, catching and strategy.

We have also included photos of Monday's Native American Storytelling Assembly for the Preps and Voyager Water Blast. Today MiniACT performed ACTION with Rebecca, while Pioneers and Voyagers visited Bear Mountain.

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July 1st


Colonial Fair at July Summer Camp

Choices for Children and Training for CITs

The dual purpose of the "Old Fashioned Fair," one of the major ACTivities on Day One of Summer Camp, was to promote the excitement and maturity that children gain from having options, as well as to give the CITs valuable experience preparing and executing their own games. Every Monday of July Camp, there will be a large event with balanced freedom and diverse options just for the Preps, a group whose name is derived from the ACT objective to prep younger campers for more independence.

Counselors-in-Training (CITs) explored best practices for developing new games during Camp Orientation, which lasted from June 20th to June 27th. At Monday’s "Old Fashioned Fair," their designs were realized – or challenged! The "Old Fashioned Fair" was an early opportunity for CITs to take the lead: to develop a plan, to obtain materials and to learn what it takes to make an activity successful. Some of the CITs had to think quickly, improvise or make adjustments to counter unexpected obstacles – like an overactive breeze blowing through the playground. This taught CITs flexibility and to have contingency plans.

The Upper Playground was bursting with variety! The nine themed choices included an active game of 9 Pins, created by Aaron. Kyle led a surprising popular memory game of famous early Americans, and Aiden helped campers design beaded necklaces. Why on Day One? Nancy says it is so CITs understand right away "how important they are to the program." Although CITs are not paid an hourly wage and compensated only with a stipend funded by a grant from Columbia Community Service, there’s so much Summer Camp ACTion that wouldn't be the same without them! The CITs' performance Monday also serves as an example for the Counselors, who will be planning similar events next week for all divisions.

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