Monthly Archives: June 2014

What’s in a Game?

In case you haven’t heard, the World Cup game of Germany vs. USA starts in less than an hour. This has us thinking about what makes for a good game. We do play the traditional kickball, soccer, basketball, etc. occasionally, but the best camp games tend to be the ones campers don’t get to play everyday. So, what makes a good game? The best ones engage all campers. We never want someone to feel like they are left out, so a good game keeps campers playing, still engaged if they are “out,” or have a fast turnover rate so a new game is quick to start. A good camp game also has the element of teamwork. Campers have to work together or interact with each other during the game. Games get bonus points if these interactions encourage campers to mingle and mix with the entire group. And most of all – games have to be fun. No one wants to play a boring game. The game that has quickly become a favorite at Asbury Hills is Ships and Sailors. Here’s how you play:

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Ships and Sailors

This game is a cross between Simon Says and Mingle. The facilitator is the captain and gives these commands:

  • Ships- run to the left
  • Sailors – run to the right
  • Captain on Deck – stand and salute. The captain will try to make you laugh.
  • At ease – Stand normally
  • Man overboard – Everyone pairs up in twos with one person on their tummy and the other with their leg on 
their back and hand over their eyebrows as if they are looking out to sea.
  • Chicken in the henhouse – 2 people. One person goes on all fours. The other puts their knee on the 1st 
person’s back and clucks like a chicken.
  • Walk the plank – 4 people line up single file
  • Three men in rowboat – get in groups of three and pretend to row
  • North Star – get in groups of 5 and walk in a circle with right (or left) hands in the center
  • Hit the Deck – Everyone drops to the ground
  • Beluga Whale – Everyone lies on their stomach grabs their ankles and sticks their tongue out
  • Life Preserver – Everyone runs and hugs a buddy
  • Cockroach – Lie on your back and wave your hands and feet around

Kids who do the action incorrectly or get left out of the groups are considered “out.” The last person remaining wins.

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When the Rain Comes

If you have ever been a counselor at Asbury Hills, you probably still have “flashlight, water bottle, poncho?” on repeat in your head. Why is this? Well, because it gets really dark at night in the woods so it is always good to have a flashlight on hand. Also, summer heat + hiking everywhere you go + lots of physical activities = the need for lots of water. And lastly, it is much better to be dry in the rain instead of wet.

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Did you know that Asbury Hills is located in the Appalachian temperate rain forest? This means that it rains at camp.  It rains a lot. One of the questions we get asked frequently is – what do you do when it rains? Honestly, the answer is pretty simply. We just have camp in the rain. Many of our activities are water based, and it really makes no difference if you creek hike in the rain or sunshine. You are getting wet regardless. Other times, campers can simply put on their rain jacket or poncho and continue doing the activities.

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There are other times, like during a thunderstorm, that activities must stop. It is obviously not safe for campers to be in water or 50 feet in the air attached to metal cables during a storm. Thankfully, most thunderstorms are pretty short lived, and groups can wait them out. Other times, counselors pull out their rainy day games to keep their group safe, engaged, and having fun. These are games like party quirks, banana slugs, mind games, and signs. There are also times when the weather decides to grace us with rain during a scheduled outdoor worship time. This is also no problem as we just move locations to the Rec Shelter, dining hall, or other covered space and worship continues as scheduled.

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Home in the Woods

We are in week 1 of summer camp, and it is Tuesday.  This can only mean one thing – it is home in the woods night!  Home in the woods is a long standing tradition at Asbury Hills because of its ability to get groups outside of their comfort zone, fully immerse in God’s creation, and come back to main camp as a much stronger group for the rest of the week.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Sam Bradley, a camper and staff alumnus, shares her story:

My first week as a counselor on staff at Asbury Hills was going well. I had a great group of campers that were all having a wonderful time together. Home in the woods, our night of camping out, started off just as well as the rest of the week. We arrived in plenty of time, gathered lots of firewood, and were eating dinner by 6:00. Because we were able to eat at a decent hour, we decided to play in the creek for a while before eating s’mores. It was dark by the time we settled around the fire for dessert, so we could not see the dark clouds forming over our heads. All of a sudden the bottom fell out. Everyone rushed around the campsite grabbing book bags, sleeping bags, and extra clothes and throwing them under the security of the tarp. My co-counselor and I ushered the girls under the tarp while we threw another tarp over the firewood and began to fix our now leaking shelter.

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My heart was beginning to sink. We were having such a good time, and the rain came and ruined our camping experience. I knew the girls would forget the fun we had before, and would only remember how cold and wet the rain felt on their skin. When we finally got the tarp lowered to prevent any more rain from coming in, we entered the shelter, ready to comfort our disappointed campers. But to our surprise, we could not have been more wrong. The girls were all huddled together in the middle of the shelter, laughing about what had just happened. They had already decided how they would spread out their blankets to share with the girls who had wet sleeping bags. We all spent the next couple of hours sitting together talking about everything imaginable. When we finally went to sleep, the rain outside was long forgotten.

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The next morning, they could not wait to get back to camp to tell everyone about our night out in the woods. I could not believe how excited they were about soggy s’mores and wet sleeping bags. But when I started to think about it, I knew exactly why they were so excited.

7 years ago, the first summer I was a camper at Asbury Hills, nearly the exact same thing happened to me. The rain poured down on us, we could not get a fire going, and finally ended up eating dinner well after nightfall. We too huddled together in the limited dry area of our shelter. The bond I formed that night over the shared “hardship” with my fellow campers was the reason I decided I wanted to come back to Asbury Hills the following summer.

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Although a dry home in the woods experience is much easier and less stressful for everyone involved, a part of me always prays for rain on nights of a campout at Asbury Hills.

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Happy Staff Equals Happy Campers

We are partly through our last week of staff training before summer camp begins THIS SUNDAY! Asbury Hills is really blessed this summer with a fantastic staff, and training has flown by. We have had a great time training on the Wet Willy, zipline canopy tour, summer craft, and more. But we also realize that some important topics like child abuse and safe sanctuary are very necessary, but not fun topics to talk about. We also know that as the summer progresses, staff members will have a rough week or two and be tempted to lose energy.

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To combat this, Asbury Hills really pours into our staff. We firmly believe that happy staff equals happy campers. And if we don’t have happy staff, we will not have happy campers. No one wants this so we do the following to keep our staff happy:

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  1. Time off during the weekends. If this is impossible due to Family Camp or other groups, we will make it up during the week.
  2. Staff dinner offsite on Fridays.
  3. A rivalry softball game with a neighbor camp during staff training.
  4. Staff funs days like a Greenville Drive baseball game and a surprise trip in July.
  5. Staff sponsors to pour into our staff with prayers and cards during the summer. (To learn more about this, click here.)
Categories: Asbury Hills, Summer Camp | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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