Rice Krispie Sculpture Contest

Camp Fire is holding our first ever sculpture contest! As the proud creators of Rice Krispie Treats (aka the molding clay of amateur baking shows) it seems only fitting that we celebrate our heritage the way we know best: with FUN!

School sites will be able to brainstorm, sculpt, and submit their tasty sculptures for a celebrity judge’s consideration. Our contest closes in early October, and the top three scorers will be eligible to win three fabulous prizes!

Stay tuned for sticky fingers, smiling faces, and some wowza-moments!


Rice Krispie Treats. Buttery, gooey, and delightfully crispy, these well-known desserts are beloved for their simplicity and versatility—may we recommend a salted dark chocolate dip? Back in the 1930s, Mildred Day invented this treat on behalf of Camp Fire Girls through the Kellogg Company’s Home Economics Department. 

At the time of invention, Camp Fire Girls needed a product easy enough for beginning bakers to quickly master. As America trudged through the Great Depression and the average pantry’s supply closet dwindled, recipes designed around low production costs and high caloric yield rocketed in popularity. This was around the time Kraft’s Mac and Cheese hit the shelves.

Fortunately for Camp Fire Girls, Mildred Day wasn’t about to cut flour with sawdust. She was inventive (and tasteful!) enough to keep everyone happy.

The original 1932 recipe is included on the side of Rice Krispie boxes to this day. Over time, molasses and corn syrup have been swapped for microwavable marshmallows—but that sweet, warm taste remains a childhood staple across the flux of generations.

Join Camp Fire’s Before & After School Program

ASchool’s in! And so are we. Our Before and After School Program launched yesterday despite pesky smoke interference, and we couldn’t be more pleased to greet faces familiar and new!

  • If you’re new to our School Age program, read up on all the fun details here.
  • If you’re curious about that special magic factor that sets Camp Fire programs apart from the rest, check out our interview with recent Government Hill Site Director Hannah, who speaks beautifully about the power of respect and accountability’s place in youth development.
  • Current parents can download our new and improved 2019-2020 Parent Handbook for contact info, current procedures, and this year’s schedule.
  • Our 2019-2020 schedule is here (and within the parent handbook). Sites for both Full Day Programs and Unscheduled Closure days are outlined. Sites for Full Day programs are subject to change depending on school district availability. Any changes to site location will be promptly communicated to all registered parents via email and social media.

If you haven’t yet registered for our programs, we strongly encourage families to get their foot in the door now. Many sites are at full capacity, but we have rolling waitlists that we are now constantly pulling from. Don’t delay, register now!

It Begins with Respect

Government Hill, Before and After School 2018-2019 Program

Last spring, Camp Fire’s Site Director for Government Hill left the state to pursue her dream to dance professionally in New York City. It was hard to say goodbye. Over her multi-year tenure as a Site Director, Hannah shaped Government Hill’s program into something special. Parents and visitors often marveled at the calm, organized efficiency of site operations, as well as the organic role-modeling and leadership older kids were modeling for their younger friends. Walking into the Government Hill site was like stepping into a greenhouse—one where each plant has been thoughtfully positioned to support another. So what was that extra sprinkle of magic? How could one adult not only tame a pack of 40 children, but also teach them to monitor themselves?

“Respect.” says Hannah.“Teaching and reinforcing good manners was a huge thing for me. We based a lot of things on teaching manners and respect, but once that was established, things started getting a lot cooler. We had bigger parties, better toys, more interesting activities. Once the foundation was in place, our program became something really special.”

Hannah went on to add that the structure she instituted at her site became a tool for establishing trust and community. Older kids were often trusted with access and leadership responsibilities, which would have otherwise been impossible. During weekly Pancake Fridays, for example, older children would be the ones teaching younger kids how to make pancakes—rather than a Camp Fire staff member.

There’s a difference between childcare and youth development. At Camp Fire, we recognize the responsibility that comes with spending an extended period of time with a child. Our organization is constantly developing and practicing new curriculums designed to help youth grow as individuals and as community members. 

Respect goes both ways. As Hannah explained, You have to hold children responsible, but you also have to hold yourself accountable. There were times when my personal life left me tired, and it showed. I didn’t excuse myself from explaining. I would apologize to my kids during Circle Time. I would explain that I was tired and trying to not be grumpy. I respected the kids, and so they respected me. I created an environment where my staff, my kids, and I all felt equally supported. It was a philosophy based on respect.”

The job of Site Director, Hannah explains, isn’t just about hanging out with kids and making sure they have fun. Being a Site Director at Camp Fire means supporting children whose families are going through divorce, hunger, homelessness, loss of work, and so many other circumstances. Sometimes kids have complicated, adult emotions that they’re still learning how to recognize and regulate. Camp Fire programs respect children, and respect what they’re going through while also teaching them important life skills.

While Hannah departed Camp Fire to take her turn on stage (good luck Hannah!!), the lessons and impact she shared with her site are unforgettable. Addressing her farewell, Hannah shared, It was very firmly decided that I would need to call them once a week during Circle Time, so that the kids and I can update each other on our news. A few of my fifth graders are about to become sixth graders, and it’s vital that I return for the elementary school graduation.

For my going away present, I made them a yearbook. We all signed it and wrote little notes to each other. I’ve had two portraits painted of me as well as been given personal notes and gift cards—they’ve done a lot to make me feel loved. And you know, I loved working at Camp Fire, too. There were so many times when I’d been at dance practice all night, and I’d wake up exhausted, dragging myself into morning program. But the kids were always so excited to see me. Some of them had been waiting all night to tell me what was happening in their lives. They were counting on me to be there for them. It taught me a lot about accountability and showing up for people who need you.”

We couldn’t be more proud of Hannah—both for the time she spent with us at Camp Fire, and for her journeys ahead. At Camp Fire, we like to say that we’re in when school’s out. Thanks to the dedicated work of many talented people, we’re proud to announce the opening of our 2019-2020 Before and After School programs.

Best of Alaska

The public’s review has launched! Nominate your favorite Alaska businesses (and peruse your neighbor’s recommendations) through the ADN’s Best of Alaska Showcase. 

Business categories range from dining to entertainment to childcare providers (it’s us!!). Shout outs to “Camp Fire Alaska” as Best Summer Camp or Best Daycare are greatly appreciated.

Happy voting!

Update – Camp Fire Alaska’s Outdoor Programs and the Swan Lake Fire

July 11, 2019: Map provided by the Incident Information System.

The Swan Lake Fire continues to burn and officials report that it will burn all summer. The smoke produced by the fire has led to air quality advisories and increased monitoring of health and safety. 

Air quality in both Anchorage and Cooper Landing is subject to change based upon the fire’s progress and a variety of other weather factors. In Anchorage, campers enrolled in Camp Si-La-Meo and Summer Adventure Programs will continue to enjoy outdoor fieldtrips and activities as conditions allow. Degraded air quality warnings will result in reduced physical activity, reduced exposure to outdoor air, and moving activities indoors. If air quality reaches Unhealthy status, early program closure may result.

Camp K on Kenai Lakeis located in Cooper Landing, and has both greater proximity to the Swan Lake Fire, as well as greater chance of exposure to smoky air. Camp Fire will be intensely monitoring air-quality updates, weather predictions, and health advisories when determining whether to host camp sessions. Again, reduced air quality could result in less time outdoors, less physical activity, and potentially shorter camp sessions.

We have no reason to believe that Camp K is at risk of fire exposure. Anycompromise of environmental safety would lead to the immediate evacuation of camp.

Updates for upcoming Camp K sessions will be communicated to families 2 days prior to their session start. In the event of camp closure, Camp Fire will explore rescheduling camp, relocating our facilities, and other possibilities.

Smoke effects everyone differently, sometimes in unexpected ways. The safety and health of allour campers will alwaysbe our top priority. Minimizing exposure to smoky air while encouraging healthy outdoor play forces all of us to walk a fine line. Our efforts to achieve balance can result in sudden changes of plan. 

Our decision whether to hold camp is directly impacted by the government’s incident reportsofficial air quality reports, contact with health professionals, and weather reports.

Thank youto Camp Fire families who have shown such flexibility and understanding while we navigate these unusual circumstances. We wish you and your families nothing but safety and good health for the duration of this summer—they’re the cornerstones of having fun. As always, please reach out to discuss your family’s needs. We want to provide the best experience possible. Give us a call at (907) 279-3551, our offices are open Monday through Friday, 8AM – 5PM. 

6th Annual Wild Women of Wohelo Retreat

Camp isn’t just for kids anymore! Ladies, join us August 3-4 for two days at beautiful Camp K on Kenai Lake.  This weekend combines the splendor of nature with all the fun of summer camp for grown-ups. Explore the shores along the lake, the surrounding trails, and participate in traditional camp activities such as arts & crafts, kayaking and archery alongside  the company of a great community of women.  All funds raised support Camp K’s Maintenance Fund.

For more information or to register, click here.

Camp Si-La-Meo 2019 Special Offers

Camp Si-La-Meo’s field trip schedule is done! Campers age 9-13 are invited to take advantage of this year’s huge catalogue of field trip add-ons. Download the field trip schedule here.

We would also like to highlight Camp Si-La-Meo’s new Family Camp. Running July 1-3, Family Camp is a special opportunity for parents and siblings to take part in camp fun. Download Family Camp schedule here.

For questions, check out the Si-La-Meo FAQ, or give us a call at (907) 279-3551.

How to Choose a Camp

Camp Fire Alaska has a variety of summer programs to match your family’s needs as well as your child’s interests and maturity level. In some cases, a mix of different camp experiences throughout the summer is the perfect choice. You can find more details on our website, but here are some guidelines to help get you started!

Summer Adventure Program

Licensed Full-Day Program, entering grades 1-7
June 3rd – August 2nd

Flexibility: Register by the day, week, or the whole summer!
Friends: Your camper will likely already know many of the other kids.
CCA: This program accepts child care assistance payments.

Sample activities include outdoor recreation, field trips, gym games, cooking, science, creative arts and community involvement projects. Read more about this program!

Camp K on Kenai Lake

Overnight Camp, Ages 6-17
May 29th – July 25th

All-Age Sessions: Camp K has short sessions for beginners and wilderness expeditions for older teens.
Independence: Overnight camp provides the best environment for kids to grow and challenge themselves.
Nature: Camp K’s beautiful surroundings provide campers with a chance to connect with the natural world around them.
Campers stay at camp overnight, sleep in bunk houses and participate in traditional summer camp activities such as canoeing, hiking, archery and creative arts. Read more about this program!

Camp Si-La-Meo

Day Camp, Ages 5 – 13 
June 3rd – August 9th

Close to Home: It has all the fun of summer camp, but campers sleep at home each night.
Swimming: Campers of all ages learn to swim and/or improve their swimming skills.
Challenging: Campers are organized into small groups by age, and activities are designed to fit each group’s physical, mental and social ability levels.
Activities include: Swimming, Rock Wall Climbing, Boating, Archery, Creative Arts, Hiking, Outdoor Living Skills, and Team Building activities. Read more about this program!

Extra Resources

Next Steps: Preparing for Overnight Camp 
Need some financial support?
Our Scholarship Fund may help! Download the Application Form.
Donate: Please consider contributing to this year’s Campership Fund. Click Here to Donate.

Contact

Call us at (907) 279-3551 for questions about programs. Or, contact our summer program leaders…
Summer Adventure Program: Nichole Boyden @ nboyden@campfireak.org
Camp K: Will Day @ wday@campfireak.org
Camp Si-La-Meo: Rae Ratliff @ rratliff@campfireak.org

Is Your Child Ready for Summer Camp?

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When to start sending your child to overnight camp is a decision that depends on you and your child. A mature six year old might be ready to go, while some ten year olds might not be quite ready. Sometimes, “he’s not ready for camp” actually means you’re not ready. It’s a big step! To help you navigate this decision, we’ve pulled together some tips from experts in the field.

Advice from Peg Smith, former CEO of the American Camp Association

Parents should consider whether their child has been away from them overnight before, either with friends or family members, and how they have handled those separations. Really, it’s the child’s expectations that will drive the experience, and determine your confidence in them. I remember my son wanted to go to camp when he was about seven, and I had this bubble over my head saying ‘you’re not ready to do that.’ But he was. Talking to the child about camp and what their expectations are can help you decide if they understand what camp is, and if they’re ready to go.

How Your Camper Will Benefit

By Katie Adrian, Camp Fire’s former Manager of Camp K on Kenai Lake 
Every camp experience provides opportunities for campers to build their social and emotional skills, and practice how to engage with their peers and with adults in a productive way that will carry over into their interactions at home, school, and in the community. From team building and get to know you games to challenging new activities and familiar favorites, camp is full of ways for youth to build self-confidence and independence.
You can help ease this transition for your camper by taking them out on a hike or sleeping in a tent in your backyard before sending them on the bus to camp. Sharing photos of camp also helps prepare your child for what camp will be like. No matter what you might be feeling as a parent, showing your child that you are excited for their amazing adventure will help them feel excited, too!
Camp is an amazing place to build new friendships and meet caring adults. As soon as a camper has built a connection to another person or activity at camp, any feelings of homesickness melt away and are replaced with independence, competence, and a sense of excitement about upcoming adventures. Families new to the camp experience are encouraged to call the Camp Fire office and speak to me about all of the awesome activities we offer at Camp Fire.

 
For Camp K’s session dates, rates, and more: Click Here!

10 Reasons to Choose Camp Fire Before & After School

While it’s true that we’re leaping to start our summer camp season, Camp Fire’s heart and soul is our Before and After School Program. While you’re registering your child for their Best! Summer! Ever! take a minute to roll in their school-year registration too.

On the fence, or just new to our programs? Take a look at the video below for a glimpse of what’s going on!

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