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.

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!

Top Ten Signs It’s Fall

What are your kids doing before and after school? It’s not too late to sign up for Camp Fire—some sites still have space, but don’t wait or you’ll miss all the fun!

CLICK HERE FOR THE TOP 10 REASONS TO GO TO CAMP FIRE

Benefits of Before & After School Program

Camp Fire Alaska’s Before and After School programs have been serving youth and families for close to forty years.  These programs are designed to help youth grow and find their spark while also providing support for working parents.  Our professional staff recognize that each child is a unique person with individual learning styles, interests and developmental needs. If you have a couple of minutes, we encourage you to read this article to learn more about how your child can benefit, and get tips on how to choose an after-school program. 

Planning Ahead: How After-School Programs Save Billions

Camp Fire Alaska has embraced the fall weather to do some reading ourselves – did you know that nationally, after-school programs are projected to help save $20 billion over the course of a generation’s lifetime? Teaching good mental and physical health habits can go a long way! Read here.

Talking About Star Jars


 

One of our Site Directors gives the exclusive scoop on why she let Camp Fire kids handle her Extreme Makeover. Behind this silly treat are thoughtful lessons on teaching and rewarding children for exercising compassion, tenacity, and self-reflection. Watch the full interview here.

Register for October’s In-Service and Conference Days

Camp Fire will be hosting programs on October 20th, and 25th-27th during in-service and conference days. Conference Day Programs on October 25 & 26 are offered at your regular site. In-Service Day Programs on October 20 & 27 are offered at five host sites. Please refer to the chart below to determine your site location. Both full and half days must be registered for in advance and separately from your regular plan. Please click here to register.

Registration is currently open for the entire 2017-2018 school year, including all scheduled school closure days. Don’t shy away from registering for Spring Break! Space is limited.

 

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To determine your October In-Service Site: Find your child’s Camp Fire site in the right column. Their October in-service site will be listed immediately to the right.

To read more about Camp Fire’s Scheduled School Closure Program, including program rates and other enrollment details, click here.

For additional questions, please contact our main office at (907) 279 – 3551.

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