Bugs & Critters

Posted by on May 25, 2013

Every year thousands of folks come out to Camp to enjoy nature. Camp is filled with amazing trees, lakes, games and memories. But…with all that nature has to offer, we have to deal with chiggers, ticks and bugs. I learned really quickly my first summer about chiggers and ticks. Not have lived on the East Coast for ten plus years, I kind of forgot what it felt like to get a tick bit. I also learned really quickly about chiggers. I have never been a bug spray person, but now that I live in South Jersey…I’m a big fan. So I stumbled across this great review from consumer reports. Just remember this summer…use bug spray, just not inside!...

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Posted by on May 21, 2013

As I have come to grow older birthdays have held less significance for me in terms of my age. I have long since hit all of the ages where I gain new rights and am considered more an adult (I do not count the right to rent a car and drive a recreational vehicle that I earned on my most recent birthday as milestone privileges). As a result, my birthday has meant that when people ask me how old I am, I need to remember to give a number that is one larger than the age that I had been presenting for over a year. That is until I started working here full time last March. Something that you have done for two years in a row still counts as a tradition. Here at camp we have had a very interesting and coincidental tradition for the past two years. Two weeks ago, the outdoor recreation and retreats department at camp celebrated the camp holiday known as triple birthday for the second straight year. Through amazing luck, it just so happens that our recreational staff Rich (May 5th), Matt (April 28th), and Myself (James May 2nd) were born in the same seven day window albeit different years. As a result though, we decided last year to combine our birthdays. At first it was a logistical decision more than anything else. As our birthdays fall in Spring at the beginning of the warm part of the year camp is naturally right in the middle of its busiest retreat season. We all worked on all of our birthdays (another common trend of adulthood), so neither of us individually got to celebrate our birthdays on our birthdays. Since our schedule only permitted one real night where we could go do something nice, we decided to all go out together and have it count for all three of us. What has blossomed is a wonderful tradition where we bring friends and loved ones to eat a nice cheeseburger dinner and celebrate not just our birthdays, but also our friendship that we have cultivated through our many years at camp. While as a child I surely would have hated someone else stealing my birthday thunder, as an adult these past two birthdays have been more enjoyable than any of my other birthdays in my twenties because I got to simultaneously celebrate my own birthday as well as contribute to my good friends’ birthdays. If you have good friends who share close birthdates to you, I highly recommend trying joint birthdays. While triple birthday has not prevented me from getting any older, it sure has taken the sting of it away as we get to re-group and walk through each year of our lives together with those who are important to us....

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Camp is Changing

Posted by on May 14, 2013

Watching the seasons change our environment is one of the great benefits to living here at camp. I love the sudden change when the leaves grow back and everything is green again. The changing seasons always bring about new families staying here at camp. For instance the geese are raising five babies that follow them around near the lake everyday. Behind Ockenhouse there are two wood ducks named Wilma and Fred waiting on their eggs to hatch. Watching deer in the Matolly field eating with their young is a sight to see. If you haven’t gotten a chance recently to come out and see the place transforming then I encourage you to come to our open house on May 19 or come spend the weekend with your family at our Memorial Day Camp May 24-27. Just as everything at camp grows so do the people who come here. I find it amazing how fast our campers grow up. Even watching my fellow staff member’s children grow is really exciting. This past weekend we had our mother child event and it brought some very familiar faces to camp. I really enjoyed catching up with everyone that I have not seen in many months and also building relationships with so many new people. I look forward to the next opportunity when I get to see all of my friends from this weekend back at camp. Whether that be summer camp, family camps, or the next mother child weekend this past weekend really reminded me of how fortunate I am to be apart of something truly special. Every day is a great day when you are in a place as wonderful as Camp Ockanickon....

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The Pecking Order…

Posted by on May 7, 2013

Late last week Jamie and I were out at the challenge course when a little bit of an ornithological schoolyard fight played out in front of us. The red tailed hawk below had it’s eye on a meal somewhere close to a blue jay’s newly hatched nest. As the baby blue jays chirped away mom came over and started to let our hawk friend know that these guys were off the menu. A few well placed dives onto the hawks head with it’s beak and the hawk got the message – taking off for a meal further down the...

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Posted by on May 1, 2013

Hi all, Last month James, Rich, and I had the opportunity to spend some time with Karl Rohnke – a legend in experiential education. I was reminded of that yesterday when the students from the North Hanover 6th Grade Class joined us at camp. Karl’s Cyclops Tag, Two-lip Traverse, Handy Games, and Cork Activities all got put to use in what ended up being one extremely fun day. Thanks again to the students from North Hanover for being so open, energetic, and eager to have fun at camp with us....

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