Wide Game: Pokemon Go!

Wide games are always such a fun part of the camp experience – I mean, how often do you get more than 20 kids (sometimes even hundreds!) together to play a giant, epic game?!

Our friends Dan and Amy at Camp Kadesh in Saskatchewan have been dreamin’ and schemin’ wide games for many years in their role as Program Directors. They’re super passionate about big group games and love to bring them to life! We are excited to get to share one of Dan and Amy’s games with the CCI/Canada family in this blog.


POKEMON GO

The mobile app/game became incredibly popular in 2016 and was successful largely because it reached an audience of all age categories; Pokemon, as a game or a tv show, has been loved by multiple generations. In this wide game, Pokemon comes to life as campers attempt to “catch ’em all” (the ” ’em” being staff dressed as various Pokemon!)


SUPPLIES

Medic Disk and Pokeball

Each team of campers will need:

  • 2 Pokeballs
    These are small red light plastic balls painted to look like Pokeballs. (Tip: They will get thrown at the Pokemon, so make sure they don’t hurt when you get hit by them!)
  • 1 Towel
    Beach towel sized ideally.
  • 1 Medic Disk
    Can really be made out of anything – in this case, they used Plastic bucket lids painted red with an X taped on it.
  • 1 Pokedex 

    Example of Pokedex (click to enlarge)

    Printed sheet of paper that lists all of the types of Pokemon in categories (ie. Fire, Water, Grass, etc.)

Each “Pokemon” (staff member) will need:

  • Epic Pokemon costume
    Whatever you want! Raid that dress up closet and get creative! In one game of Pokemon, three staff dressed up in brown and wrapped themselves together to become Dugtrio! Keep in mind that you may want to consider the costume’s mobility  factor (to run away from campers!)
  • 1 Pool Noodle
    Pokemon use these to defend themselves.
  • Pokemon Cards (quantity depends on number of campers)
    Each Pokemon carries these small slips of paper with them. When they’re caught by the campers, they give them a card to symbolize their capture. These cards are ultimately worth points.

OBJECT OF THE GAME

To catch ’em all! (Obviously.) But in seriousness, the object of the game is to be the group that ends up with the most points. Points are acquired in the following ways:

  1. Capturing a Pokemon (different Pokemon are worth different point values)
  2. Acquiring the cards of all of the Pokemon in a single category (ie. all grass Pokemon). Cards can be acquired by catching or by trading.
  3. Acquiring the cards for EVERY Pokemon in the game.

RULES

How to catch a Pokemon:

  • Campers travel as a cabin group. When they see a Pokemon, they can throw a Pokeball at it. If it hits the Pokemon, the Pokemon will freeze for 5 seconds.
  • While a Pokemon is frozen, the campers must wrap their beach towel fully around the Pokemon to capture it.

    Camper attempts to capture a frozen Pokemon by wrapping it in a towel.

  • If, however, the Pokemon hits any of the campers with a pool noodle, they become frozen. The only way they are able to be unfrozen is by being tagged with the Medic Disk.
  • Pokemon cannot be captured while any member of the group is frozen. So whoever holds the Medic Disk must go around tagging those who got hit by the pool noodle. 
  • Note: Pokemon can be caught by the same group MORE THAN ONCE. Ex. If Pidgey is worth 1 point, and a cabin catches the Pidgey 3 times, they would acquire 3 Pidgey cards. This would be worth 3 points at the end of the game.

Trading:

  • Set up a “safe zone” where groups can come to trade cards with each other. Because they’re able to capture the same Pokemon more than once and there is an advantage to having all of one type and all of the Pokemon in the game, groups will likely want to trade with other groups to get them all registered in their Pokedex!

Bonus: 

  • Release a “Legendary” Pokemon into the game! Make sure that this Pokemon is fairly elusive and is worth a decent amount of points if captured! 

At the end of the game:

  • Have each group hand in their Pokedex and all of their Pokemon Cards. Tally each group’s points to determine the winner!

PHOTOS

Check out these fantastic photos of Pokemon Go in action!

Campers try to catch wild Pokemon all over camp.

To freeze a Pokemon, campers must hit them with a Pokeball.

A wild Poliwhirl appears!

A Pokemon about to get caught!


Is your camp really awesome at something? Songs? Skits? Games? Let us know! We would love to feature you and tell the whole CCI/Canada community about it! Send us an e-mail: communicate@cci-canada.ca

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Canada Day Activities

At camp, we love having reasons to celebrate! And what better reason than to celebrate the birth of our beautiful nation with Canada Day! Since Canada is celebrating its 150 years, I really wanted to put together a list of 150 different Canada Day activities, but I felt like that might be really overwhelming (and also that’s so many!). Instead, I’m going to focus on 10 great camp activities for your campers or staff to enjoy Canada Day to the max!


Crafts

Crafts are classic, aren’t they? Here are a few ranging from pretty basic to more advanced that will put your campers into the Canada Day spirit!

Bust out the finger paint for this activity: Canadian themed murals! 

In this activity (originally seen here), a little bit of mess and a lot of creativity is encouraged! Ask you campers to dive right in (ok, maybe just with their hands and feet) and create some of Canada’s most iconic symbols with their artistic finger painting skills! I bet there will be a lot of unexpected results that could require some hilarious interpretation!

Mini Ice Hockey

I feel like a lot could be done with this one: a mini version of ICE HOCKEY! With real ice! The instructions for this one are pretty thorough and create a nice mini version of a tabletop hockey game, but perhaps this can be transformed into a slightly bigger version! Maybe air hockey style pawns and disks could be used! What about freezing in some other obstacles just to mix things up? Maybe make a tin foil Stanley cup and have a tournament to determine the camp mini ice hockey champion!

Paper Bracelets

Show your Canada pride all day long with these simple paper bracelets! The instructions here show exactly how to fold them.

Inukshuks

Take a look at what Inukshuks are and why they exist – explain these to the campers and ask them to make their own! If you have a lakefront with lots of rocks and pebbles, kids can head out with a bucket to collect the best rocks they can find. If you don’t have a lake, maybe try using other materials (logs, bark, etc). You can get the kids to glue them together as a keepsake or they can try to balance the rocks on themselves.


Food

Yummmmmmmmm. We’re always told to not “play with our food”, but I think camp is the perfect time to add a bit of shenangianry to our meals! Especially if it’s to celebrate a fun event like Canada Day! Check out these awesome fun foods that you could serve your kids! (Click on the photo to enlarge)

Food Inukshuks It’s a fun Canadian way to present food to the campers!
  Canada Fruit Kabobs It’s like a Canada flag on a stick! Also, it’s healthy.
  Rice Krispie Treats Really, any red and white food – but these look delicious!
  Maple Cupcakes (or Maple ANYTHING!) Yum yum yum…maple is a pretty classic Canadian flavour. You could do cookies or muffins, or even just have Canada Day pancakes in the morning!

Things you can buy

Glowsticks!

Honestly, I love glowsticks for just about any occasion and Canada Day IS an occasion! You can get packs of 12 for $1.50 at Michaels Craft Stores (usually near the till) or a GIANT tube at Party City with 180 for $20.

Temporary Tattoos
In the span of only a few seconds, a bunch of temporary tattoos, some scissors, water, and paper towel, your entire camp could be ready to celebrate Canada Day in style! You can usually get these temporary tattoos at the dollar store or London Drugs. It’s an easy way to make everyone feel like they’re included and a part of the festivities!


How does your camp plan on celebrating Canada Day? Do you have any special camp traditions for the first of July? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

Taking care of your herd over the winter

Infographic Below!

As a Camp Director or Horsemanship Coordinator, winter is generally a slower season for activities that involve our horses. Depending on your camp set up, it’s possible that the responsibility of feeding and daily care of the horses is delegated to a “caretaker” over the colder months. Sometimes, the caretaker is simply a staff member who is around enough to take care of these tasks, and they may not have too much interest or experience with horses to begin with. What is the best way to make sure that your horses stay safe and healthy, and set your caretaker up for success without being forced to turn into a “horse person”?

As people who have invested in our herds, learned about horse health and gained experience in this area, it is easy for us to overwhelm workers with excessive knowledge when, in reality, they just need to use basic observational skills and be aware of a few horse-specific signs of injury/poor health.

When delegating this important task, set your caretaker up for success. First, give them a few simple things to look for while they are taking care of your herd (more on that, below). Second, make a plan that includes a “next step” contact person – this can be yourself or another senior staff member who has more experience with horses. A vet is not an ideal contact person for this, as it is intimidating to call a vet about a suspected injury – especially as a person with less horse experience. The contact should be someone that the caretaker is comfortable calling and talking to; remember that it’s better to hear about a bunch of silly cuts and bumps rather than not hear about something that could be very serious. Lastly, know what a “win” is, and communicate this to your caretaker. You can’t expect them to a) know what colic is b) diagnose it and c) deal with it. You CAN, however, expect them to call you after they notice that a horse is behaving differently than the rest. That phone call is the win here. From there, you can ask more questions and determine a course of action to help the horse if it is necessary to do so. Setting expectations and a definition of what success looks like before the task is given to your caretaker will allow both of you to be on the same page and will set up a positive process regarding the care of your herd.

In keeping information as simple as possible, here are some signs that your caretaker can look for based on their natural senses.

Visual

Encourage your caretaker to watch your herd for things that are out of the ordinary. They can be looking for these signs:

  1. Blood.
    This should come pretty naturally, as in any animal, seeing blood is not a good sign. You can explain that if the wound is very small and has already dried/scabbed and looks clean that it is not as much of a concern. If possible, show some examples on your horses of little nicks and scratches.  Remember to have grace and patience for your caretaker – they are learning and gaining experience and together, your mutual definition of success is noticing and reporting any abnormalities.
  2. Limping.
    We know that limping can be caused by a range of underlying injuries, but explaining each of these in detail to your caretaker will not benefit them. Let the caretaker know that a limp is a sign that you want to know about, and tell them how to spot it – the horse will walk differently than the others and its head movement will appear exaggerated. Tell them to watch for a few minutes and if it’s continual (and not just the horse tripping and recovering), they should call you. That’s a win! You can talk them through anything else from there.
  3. Weight.
    Each horse carries their weight slightly differently, but there are a few things that your staff can look for to make sure they’re healthy. Teach them to look in the area of the horse’s ribs for weight loss. As a caretaker, your staff will likely not have the experience required to quickly determine what is a normal weight for each and every one of your horses, and often weight gain or loss occurs over a period of time. Show them what a normal weight looks like and then simply encourage them to call you if they think a horse has gained or lost weight.
  4. Urine/Feces.
    Your staff should know what normal excretion looks like for a horse and take note of anything out of the ordinary. Diarrhea or urinating issues are signs that you are going to want to know about. Remember, you don’t need to go into details of what it means if a horse has any symptoms, just drive home the point that they need to call you if they see these things. *It is a fairly common occurrence in the winter to notice what appears to be red urine on the ground. This happens as a result of a chemical reaction between horse urine and the snow and is no cause for alarm. If, however, your staff sees pink or red urine coming out of a horse, they should know to alert you.

Touch

If, after checking the herd out visually, there is a concern of injury, you can tell your caretaker to feel if the area is warm. This may be difficult during the winter, but if they compare the injured area (for example the knee), with the opposite knee, a significant difference in temperature could indicate a problem that should be looked at.

Smell

Some bacterial infections cause a horse to have an unusual odour. You can let your staff know that an odd smell can be a sign that something is not right and ask them to call you if they notice it.

Sound

If your staff suspects any kind of injury, listening to sounds from the horse can give further clues as to a potential problem. Some things they can listen for are:

  • Laboured breathing
  • Absence of gut sounds (tummy rumbling)
  • Straining or grunting sounds

These auditory cues are important to take note of and look into further.

Allow your staff to take ownership of this task. Empower and encourage them that they are the ones who are being entrusted with this important task to take care of your camp’s valuable animals. Regardless of whether the staff member has an interest in horses or not, providing them with the right tools, taking the time to explain a these tips clearly, and giving them a simple plan for getting assistance when needed will set them – and your horses – up for success this winter.

infographic

Link

Camp horses.

If there’s a creature on earth that deserves a medal just for existing, it’s these guys. Imagine being a camp horse. You’ve got to cart around thousands of people each year, never getting the chance to stick with one person you like. You’re expected to stand still while getting kicked in the stomach, poked in the kidneys and thumped on the back. Every day, while your mouth gets yanked on, you’ve got to try to decipher the signals whoever’s up top is trying to send you. Kicking and pulling at the same time — does this kid want me to stop or go?!

Most camp horses are given the pleasure of a winter off, where they can just hang out with their buddies, eat hay and grow shaggy winter coats. But as springtime rental season is upon us, we’ve got to bring those ponies in from the field, clean them up and remind them how to do their jobs. Even if you’ve already had the job of being in charge of the horse program at your camp, it’s always good to start fresh each year. Who knows how the horses may have changed over the winter — health-wise or even just in terms of personality.

Here are a few tips on how to get your camp horsemanship program started off right this spring!

Take stock of your herd

Whether you’ve just got a handful of horses for pony rides, or you’ve got a full-blown herd of horses for running a lesson program, the first thing a horsemanship director should do is familiarize him-or-herself with the herd. Being well informed about what kinds of horses you’ll be working with can go a long way towards a smooth season of trail rides and lessons.

Try these suggestions:

  • Take a look through the horses’ records. If your camp does not keep a written record of each horse and his pertinent information (such as dates of farrier, deworming and vaccinations), then you should definitely start one. Each horse should have a page describing his age, breed, height and markings, as well as a chart for keeping track of medical information. You can find some examples here, here and here to get you started. I also found this free online software you can use, but I’d still recommend having something in hard copy to consult while you’re down at the barn.
  • Watch the horses in their pen. See if you can determine the pecking order. Which horses are more dominant? Which seem to get picked on? Knowing the personalities of your horses as they react to each other can tell you a lot about how they’ll react in other situations. I have a horse who is at the very bottom of the pecking order — as a riding horse, he is sweet and well-meaning, but can sometimes be a bit skittish in new or unexpected situations. This behaviour is not unusual for his personality in a herd. Knowing the pecking order will also help you down the line when determining the order of the string of horses for your trail rides or lessons. You probably shouldn’t put the most dominant horse right in front or behind the one who’s at the bottom of the heap. This knowledge can avoid accidents that erupt from horses biting or kicking each other while kids are on board. You can read a bit more about horse herd behaviour here.
  • Give each horse a quick once-over. You don’t have to spend all day inspecting every inch of every horse, but there are some important details to note. Take a look at their feet and weight. Are a couple of horses looking thin while the rest are all fat? They might need to go in a pen of their own to eat. Does one horse have lots of marks on his body? He’s probably getting picked on, and you might need to put him in a pen with more amiable paddock-mates.
  • At this point, I would take all of the information I’ve determined and start to come up with a farrier schedule and a feed plan. Some horses may have come out of the winter looking pretty skinny, so you might have to put them on a different feed or increase the amount you’re feeding them. Some might have to go on a diet.  Having taken that cursory look at the horses, I’ll know which to group together for farrier appointments, feed schedules, and even the order in which I’ll put them in a trail ride.

Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone. As the season wears on, you’ll probably want to change some things. But it’s always good to have a solid knowledge of the general health and happiness of your herd before you start putting kids on them.

Take stock of your equipment

Go into your tack room and take a look at your gear. Do you have enough grooming supplies, like brushes and curry combs? What have you got in your medicine cabinet?What about important stuff for summer like fly spray?

You should have the right supplies for treating minor injuries or maladies. Things like Zev (a cough syrup for horses), clean syringes, an antibacterial wash like betadine or hibitane, clean bandages and vet wrap. Here’s a great list of ten items to have in your horse first aid kit.

After covering the basics, take a look at probably the most important pieces of equipment you’ll use all year: your tack. I think it’s important to try saddles on their horses each year, just to make sure everything still fits. The same goes for bridles. If you’ve got enough horses and enough tack, you’ll probably be able to do some swapping around until everything fits properly. Now would be a great time to clean and repair all that tack as well, so that it’s in good working order come spring.

Not too sure how to judge proper saddle fit? Check out this awesome video about how to tell proper fit of a western saddle. The principle is the same for English saddles as well, whether they’re close contact, all purpose or dressage saddles. Look for any pressure points, the range of motion of the horse’s shoulder blade and good clearance for the withers.

Start riding those horses

Try to ride as many horses as you can. While you ride, test the horses to see what they’ll tolerate. Think of how beginners tend to ride and do those same things. You’ll get an idea of what each horse will allow. If your main program is trail riding, try to recruit some other staff to join you to go on trail rides as much as possible.

I know you’re just one person, and it might be impossible for you to ride all the horses. Try holding several staff riding days at the beginning of the season. Get as many staff and volunteers as you can to come out and ride the horses on days that you schedule. You can be there to coordinate the day, while you observe the horses being ridden by people of various skill level. Get the riders to test the horses’ basic skills. Try getting them to play a game like one of these ones. Finish the day with a big group trail ride to see how the horses do following nose-to-tail amidst the tempting budding grasses and leaves out back.

Once you know the health, personalities and aptitude of your horses, you’ll be better equipped to develop your horse program. I hope you and your horses have a safe and fun summer!

February Featured Video: Ranger Lake Bible Camp takes it!

Well, it’s February. As I look out the window at a herd of very shaggy horses standing in their snow-covered corral, I’m wondering: where in the world did January go? And I’m also wondering: when will summer ever get here?!

If you’re jonesing for some summer camp reminiscence, I’ve got the perfect thing for you. It’s a great summer camp video by Ranger Lake Bible Camp. It just happens to be our Featured Video of the month!

If potential parents or campers were wondering what’s in store for a week of camp at Ranger Lake Bible Camp, this video should clear it up — lots of fun activities, the chance to make friends and the opportunity to encounter God! This video made me wish I could go to camp!

And speaking of Ranger Lake: their website is pretty spiffy, too. I really like the design, and it’s really functional. They’ve included new things for 2012, which is a great way to promote their summer program and encourage registrations. You should check it out.

Is your camp putting together a promotional video for the 2012 camp season? If so, I want to see it! It could be our March Featured Video, which means a ton of exposure for your camp. Send it to me (Deanna) at communicate@cci-canada.ca!

Birch Bay Ranch: CCI/Canada’s Camp Video Contest Winner – December!

Congratulations, Birch Bay Ranch! Your winter wonderland video was the winner of this month’s video contest!

Check out the video in all its festive glory:

Most kids who attend camp have no clue what happens at camp over the wintertime. They don’t know what it looks like or what kinds of activities are offered. A video like this can help connect your camp to its supporters all winter long.

We loved the rustic scenes shown in this video: a wintry barnyard complete with an assortment of farmyard animals, sleigh rides, a lodge all decorated for Christmas banquets and parties, a crackling fire… doesn’t it just make you want to drink hot cocoa and listen to Christmas carols?

We still want to see more winter camp videos! Your video can be as simple as a little tour of your facilities in wintertime. If your camp is on, say, the West Coast of British Columbia, where there’s little to no snow, your video can be tongue-in-cheek!

Send all video submissions to Deanna at communicate@cci-canada.ca!

Wintertime news from CCI/Canada

November is almost half over already, and many of us are getting ready to deck the halls. How is your camp doing at the start of this winter season? What are some of the programs or activities you offer at your camp or conference center during the wintertime?

Speaking of wintertime, I wanted to tell you about the rules for next month’s video contest! I’ve really enjoyed watching all of the videos of your camps’ awesome summer programs, but now that the temperature is falling (at least here in Alberta) and some of us are starting to see snow, I’m really interested in what your camp looks like in the wintertime! I want to see what activities you offer, and whether you decorate for Christmas, and how your onsite staff deal with the chill and snow!

Our Winter Video Contest will run for the next three months (or until I change my mind!), so get out there with your camera, camp friends! As usual, videos can be sent to me at communicate@cci-canada.ca.

Now, November doesn’t just mean first snowfalls and and falling temperatures. It also means that the Executive Leadership Institute is upon us! We are so excited to see all of you on November 21st. We’ve got the whole conference packed with great stuff for you to grow as a camp leader.

If you’re unable to attend, keep an eye out for news about regional conferences and events in 2012, as well as our National Conference!

One more piece of news: CCI/Canada is gearing up to launch its brand new website. I hope you’ll keep your eyes peeled for it, because it’s going to be great. By this time next week, it should be totally up and running and ready for you to explore. We’ll keep you posted about how our new Members-Only Portal is going to work. We’re really excited about all of this, and we know you’ll all appreciate our swanky new site.

Well, camp friends, I hope you’re able to attend ELI next week! And if not, I hope you’re still finding ways to improve your ministry all the time.