Fleas! Ticks! Mosquitos! Oh My!

A Note from the Health Center to our Camp Parents:

We’d like to take a moment to share our plan of action for an increased risk associated with flea, tick and mosquito bites throughout the United States. Camp has been taking steps to minimize exposure for our campers and prevent the spread of disease. In addition to the measures outlined below, camp regularly consults with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to update our protocols.

Prevention

  • Outside lawn chemical professionals have been hired to treat all fields and field perimeters with fleaand tick control as well as areas around bunks, buildings, and activity areas with fleaand tick control.
  • All trails and paths at camp are treated with fleaand tick control.
  • An outside professional pest control company has been contracted to regularly treat for rodents, etc.
  • Grass is cut frequently and brush is trimmed back in regularly trafficked areas.
  • Application of CDC approved bug spray throughout the day as needed for activities in wooded areas. There are also bug spray stations throughout camp.

Education and Practice

  • All counselors have training sessions on ticks and the counselor’s roles in health care, including
    • Hygiene, shower hour self-check prompting, tick checks after hikes, walks in the woods, and campfires
    • Basic tick prevention, best practices, bug and bite identification
    • Camper clothing coverage, including long pants and sleeves on hikes
    • Avoiding brushy areas, high grass and leaf litter.  Walking in the center of trails.
  • Nurse education during training
    • Tickchecks, identification, removal
  • Full body checks after all hikes and walks in wooded areas.
    • A note: Nurses and counselors prompt campers to self check in and around the bathing suit area.
  • Check clothing.

Please don’t hesitate to call us with questions or concerns. We will stay vigilant!

The Health Center

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Packing Tips for Parents!

Hi Moms + Dads!

It’s that time of year again! Time to think PACKING! We know the packing list may seem overwhelming at first, especially for our newest LOC families. Here are a few outside-of-the-box tips we thought we’d share.

Packing Tip 1:
Our camp colors are BLUE AND WHITE, and our boys LOVE to wear them proudly. Unlike our sister camp, Timber Tops, you do not need to pack shirts of different colors.   During the 1st half of the summer, we provide them with a shirt for the three days of Olympics that depicts their team color. During the 2nd half of the summer, we don’t have a traditional “Color War”, but our own exciting Frontier Week. The teams are not depicted by color, but by tribe name that is chosen once the teams are formed. We do celebrate the 4th of July in a big way, so make sure to pack something to wear and fun hats or glasses or whatever wacky items your camper likes. During the 2nd session we have OWEGOWEEN for grades 2nd through 6th. Many like to make their costumes at camp but, some like to bring one.

Packing Tip 2:
Speaking of clothing, remember to pack a few WHITE articles of clothing. Can you say Tie–Dye?!

Packing Tip 3:
Your campers are never too old for pre-addressed envelopes or postcards. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and best family friends are definitely not getting that letter you promised unless it’s over-the-top easy for your camper to send. (Pre-address envelopes home too. It’s one less step for your camper to take while he’s running to the mailbox on his way to the basketball court, or the lake, or to adventure!)

Packing Tip 4:
We keep the boys very busy but there is some down time during each day. We have gathering decks with fun activities like knock-hockey, hoop shots and ping pong but Magic Cards and games like that are great to pack. Supervised Free Activity (pronounced S’Fa) is everyone’s favorite time to hang out on the gathering decks, write letters and relax. Most seniors, 7th-11th grade, pack a folding Camp Chair, like what you would bring to a sporting event. They use these at campfires. Some of the juniors do as well but, it is not necessary.

 Packing Tip 5:
Don’t buy expensive clothes, jeans or bathing suits. Don’t pack too many things to throw on the bed. Don’t pack anything you don’t want going in the laundry. Your son will be wearing the same t-shirts on rotation and getting dressed and ready faster than you thought humanly possible. They hate missing a single moment. Just LABEL EVERYTHING clearly. Every boy has a blue raincoat, a blue duffle, a blue sweatshirt, a blue…you get the picture. They are so busy running from one activity to another that it is inevitable that they will leave something somewhere.

Packing Tip 6:
If you’re worried that your son may need more storage space for his athletic equipment, we recommend gear bags that fit under the bed. Once again, label every cleat, shin guard, glove, stick and racquet.

Packing Tip 7:
You’ve probably heard the term “shoe bag” or bunk junk bag thrown around. At camp, shoe bags are often used to hang up on the wall or at the end of the bed and store extra “stuff” in (think flashlight, hair brush, etc). Small shoe box bins are great to keep socks and underwear organized within the cubbies and on top to hold extra stuff like magic cards, etc. You can pack right in them and they place them right into the cubbies from their trunks and duffle bags. You can find them at Target and Walmart for about $2/bin.

Packing Tip 8:
Leave the electronics at home! No matter what you hear from friends about other camps, LOC parents don’t sneak them into their campers’ bags! Our parents are rule-followers, and our kids follow their parents’ lead. At camp it isn’t “cool” to have electronics or phones. In fact, it’s “cool” to leave all that behind. Believe us when we tell you that Lake Owego boys appreciate unplugging. It’s just part of our camp culture.

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Top Ten Tips for New Families!

Calling All New Camper Parents! 

April showers will bring May flowers, and do you know what May flowers bring? CAMP, of course! Talk about camp at least! We know that the change in weather has all of us thinking SUMMER, and we hope that these tipswill be helpful to you during the excitement of the final countdown. Even if you’ve sent an older child off to camp before, these TOP TEN TIPSfor NEWCAMPERS might be worth a refresher!

1. Communicate with the directors about any and all family, social or medication issues or changes during the year and in the summer. Nothing is too small! A meaningful camp/parent partnership benefits your camper. Call or email us anytime! We are here for you!

2. Stay positive about separating from home! Don’t focus on what your camper will be missing (vacation, trips a favorite ice cream shop), rather discuss what he or she has to look forward to at camp! (The same goes for what you write about in your letters once the time comes!)

3. If your camper asks about homesickness, normalize it! “Of course you’ll miss things about home every now and again, because you have a wonderful home and family! It would be unusual for you not to miss home!” Also, in the same spirit, try to minimize your own feelings of child-sickness! “Of course we’ll miss you, but we’ll be fine! The summer will fly by and we’re so excited for you. You’re going to have an awesome time!”

4. If your camper has specific needs (in the cabin, in the health center, in the dining hall), make sure to call or email us,  and make sure to write about it in your confidential forms (or as an addendum to the form) before camp– those confidential forms are our bible!

5. Discuss different activities your camper might enjoy and also talk about trying newones, keeping an open mind! Camp is a great, safe place to go outside of one’s comfort zone!

6. Take advantage of NewCamper Weekend on June 1st and 2nd at camp, either for the day or stay overnight! It’s a great opportunity to meet other first-time campers, see camp, get to know staff, and have positive camp experiences together as a family. Call the office for more info!

7. Keep all “camp talk” light! In letters, in person, keep it upbeat!

8. Now is when your camper may start asking you about what he or she will bring. Make sure to send your camper’s stuffed animal, a favorite book or two, and any other item that makes them feel at home; if there’s something your camper sleeps with every night, please make sure to send it! Believe us when we say that most campers bring a security object of some sort. You’re never too old!

9. If panic sets in, call us. We’ll talk you through it, but when speaking to your camper NEVER promise to PICK UP YOUR CHILD. He or she might ask in the time between now and camp! It’s normal to get cold feet in the spring! Remind your camper that you’ve made a commitment as a family, that  camp is only for a short amount of time, and that you know he or she is in the right place, that they can do it! They are in a safe place. CAMP IS WHERE CHILDREN LEARN INDEPENDENCE! By giving your camper the gift of camp, you’re giving them independence, resilience, and the ability to adapt to and thrive in newenvironments! If your children know that they’re definitely going to camp and definitely staying at camp for the summer, they’ll allow themselves to relax and let go. Squash the “what if!”

10. If there’s anything (big or small!) you’re worried about before, during, or after the summer, CALL OR EMAIL ANYTIME!

We’re here for you, always, so keep in touch!
We can’t wait to get started!
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Every Day is Earth Day at Camp!

Camp is many things, like making new friends, having fun at activities and learning new skills. But at its core, going to camp is a return to nature. It is a simpler life, unplugged but connected to the wonders all around us. Smell the pines! Breathe in fresh mountain air! Listen to the sound of crickets at night! Feel the warmth of the sun on your shoulders. Happy Earth Day from Greeley, PA!

Here’s a short Earth Day quiz, Greeley edition!

What is the Pennsylvania state flower that can be found throughout our beautiful camp, just beginning to bud during this time of year?
Answer: The Mountain Laurel

What environmentally important site is located in Milford, Pennsylvania, one of the closest towns to camp?
Answer: Grey Towers in Milford is the original 1900 site of the Yale School of Forestry Summer Camp!

Who lived at Grey Towers, Milford and is known as the “Father of American Conservation”?
Answer: Gifford Pinchot

Every summer, campers canoe the Delaware and Lackawaxen rivers. The two rivers converge in Lackawaxen Pennsylvania, a beautiful spot very close to camp. What famous American bird do campers frequently see there, soaring high above them?
Answer: The American Bald Eagle. Lackawaxen is home to 200 bald eagles!

Camp is located in Pike County, named after Zebulon Motgomery Pike. What famous mountain did he discover and where is it located?
Answer: Pike’s Peak, Colorado

Bonus Question!
Our camp was one of the first camps in American to win the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Award. Which of these things didn’t we do to earn it?
1) Change all light bulbs to LED
2) Cover the pools with special pool covers to preserve heat and lower use of energy
3) Recycle waste
4) Change from disposable dishes to reusable dishware
5) Hang underwear from the flagpole

 

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A Roadblock to Snowplowing?  Summer Camp.

A Roadblock to Snowplowing?  Summer Camp.

A note from Pine Forest Camp (our sister co-ed camp) Owner/Director, Mickey Black:

You may have been hearing a lot lately about “Snowplow” parents, those who move everything and anything out of the way to smooth the road for their children on the path of life.  In my opinion, many  of these parents may even do so unwittingly, with the best of intentions, but not in their child’s best long–term interest. What’s an effective  way to prevent that?  Send them off to a great camp like Lake Owego.

My daughter and co-director, Anna Black Morin, a parent of two girls of her own, Ruby and Hattie (Hattie is named after her great, great grandfather and PFC’s founder Hughie Black), put it this way:

Snowplow parents prepare the road for kids. Responsible parents prepare kids for the road. One concrete way to prepare kids for the road is to give the gift of a good, scratch that, a great residential, long-term, old-fashioned summer camp!

You don’t build resilience by eliminating struggle. You build resilience by normalizing it: teaching kids to see obstacles as temporary hurdles. Homesickness! Conflict with a friend! Advocating for yourself! Advocating for a friend! Trying something new (that might take practice)! Making decisions independent of your parents! The gifts of these experiences become immeasurable.

Camp is less than 100 days away, and this generation needs it now more than ever. And not just because it’s screen free, but there’s that too!”

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River Runners: An American Bald Eagle in Flight!

A River Runners Thrill: Seeing an American Bald Eagle in Flight.

It’s breathtaking!

In 1975, there was just a single pair of nesting bald eagles left in New York State.  Now, there are hundreds in NY and PA.  The return of the eagle to the Upper Delaware River area is one of the great success stories of the American environmental movement.  At the forefront of the return of the eagle population to PA/NY is The Delaware Highlands Conservancy.  Our campers will meet a representative of the Conservancy and with their help, watch for eagles in flight.

https://delawarehighlands.org/

Eagle sighting map:

Did you know that it takes about 5 years for an eagle to grow their all-white feathers around their head? Or that their wingspan is about 6-7 feet, larger than any other bird of prey in this region?

When you see an eagle soaring above in its natural habitat, it is unforgettable! They look regal even at rest in the trees in winter.

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River Runners: Meet Chief Little Feather!

On our new, after-camp trip, the River Runners will meet Lenape Chief Joseph Little Feather.

The upper Delaware River was the home of the Lenape or “Delaware Indians.”  Where our campers paddle down the Delaware River, the Lenape traveled in dugout canoes made from hollowed out trees.

Delaware is said to mean “original people.” It is believed that they were the original inhabitants of this region and ancestors of the Algonquin tribe.  The Delaware Indians are considered by many as the “grandfathers” of many native Americans.

Our campers will have the rare honor to meet in person a descendant of the Lenape and its current chief, Chief Joseph Little Feather. Chief Little Feather will talk about the daily life of the Lenape, their rich history, and their organic connection to nature.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Lenape (Delaware Indians), you can do so here and here.

 

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The Art of Cooking with Fire…

“The comforts of life’s essentials — food, fire, and friendships…”

-Julia Child

Let’s take a journey into the art of cooking with the most basic cooking tool….Fire. The best part of camping, for me, is building the perfect fire. Watching it burn can be hypnotizing in beauty as it changes form and radiates energy. That energy is then absorbed by everyone surrounding it forming love, laughter, wonder, storytelling, and the gift of living in the moment. These are just a few of the gifts of camp. The camp fire also creates the perfect environment for cooking and learning how to cook. There is no need for a stove, an oven, a steamer or a broiler. Learning the art of cooking on open flame teaches all the essentials. Just like growing a vegetable in your own garden, cooking on a campfire allows you to truly appreciate the final product. You understand the science, you appreciate the nature, and you enjoy your food even more! This lesson is a great lesson in cooking but also life at home, in school, and in everyday challenges. The campfire, building it, experiencing it, cooking on it, tending to it, is the embodiment of summer camp and a summer spent in the great outdoors.

Kristian Unvericht, Food Services Director at Pine Forest, Timber Tops, and Lake Owego camps

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Recipe: Campfire Monkey Bread!

Campfire MonkeyBread:

Prep time:  5 mins
Cook time:  10 mins
Total time:  15 mins
Serves: 8

This ooey, gooey monkey bread can be made right over the campfire!

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. Prior to camping, place the brown sugar, and sugar into a large Ziploc bag.
  2. At the campsite, prepare the campfire and allow to burn for at least 30-60 minutes to create hot coals.
  3. Cut up the biscuits into quarters. Drop into the Ziploc bag and completely cover.
  4. Melt the butter and pour over the biscuits. Seal the bag and shake again. The biscuits should appear very gooey. The pie iron will tend to dry them out so you want them well covered.
  5. Spray both sides of the pie iron well with cooking spray. This recipe will fill 2 double sized pie irons.
  6. Place the biscuits on the pie iron and spoon any remaining mixture over top to coat further (Make sure you save some for the second batch!) You can also try adding this half way through cooking if you like it a little more sticky.
  7. Close the pie iron and place in the hot coals for approximately 10-12 minutes turning and rotating frequently. (We found that it worked best if we flipped the pie iron over as well as rotating it around the coals so the front of the pie iron was not always facing the same direction!)

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Let Children Get Bored Again

We believe that a good, traditional overnight camp isn’t meant to be an amusement park. We believe that the best programs and evening activities aren’t ones with flashy lights, shiny things and outside entertainment. Living simply, in a wooden cabin, listening to the sounds of nature, creating outstanding programming using very little but the imagination, living tech free, focusing on each other, makes camp a place that can uniquely give the gifts of confidence, community, self reliance, resourcefulness, creativity, and grit. Though camp is action-packed for sure, the most magical part is what happens beyond swimming lessons, soccer games, horseback riding and everything in between.

Here’s a link to a great NY Times article, Let Children Get Bored Again, that shares a similar sentiment.

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