Camp Fire 12-8-11

This was our last official Camp Fire meeting of the year. We practiced the songs the kids will be singing at an upcoming concert at one of the local nursing homes.

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Here we are learning some hand movements to go along with our singing.

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The kids are going to sing four songs: Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, the Dreidel song, and Up On The Housetop.


Two Tours Today

Today we got to do two different tours. The first was arranged by someone in our homeschooling group. Her oldest daughter takes riding lessons at a local stable, and we were able to visit during her lesson and learn about horses and see a stable firsthand.


We met some of the horses who are boarded here. I think this one was a little annoyed with all the ruckus.


The kids got to see a few riders practicing jumps in the indoor arena.


Then we spent some time with Jazz.



Elizabeth showed us some basic grooming:




then we talked about some of the basic parts of a horse. The kids learned a few new words, including “withers” and “fetlock”. Then Elizabeth brought out the saddle and we learned how it goes on a horse and what the different saddle pieces are for.



The stable owner also talked with us about horse care and learning to ride. It was a really interesting tour.


From the stable we headed right over to a small post office in a nearby town. Our Camp Fire club met there for part of our Trail to the Community project. We saw how mail is sorted for each route, what happens to letters when you drop them in the mailbox, and met a few very nice ladies who worked in the office. The kids got to see several kinds of stamps and asked many questions. We did not take pictures inside the post office, but I did get a shot of our group out front afterwards.

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Project Linus

Our Camp Fire club participated in Project Linus, a charity program that gives hand-made blankets to hospitals for pediatric patients. Each family donated money and we were able to purchase enough material to make about 40 blankets.

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These were simple fleece blankets that had fringe cut and knotted at the edges.

Blankets for project Linus

The parents cut the fringe, and the kids worked together to tie the knots.

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The littlest ones helped by bringing materials to the older kids and folding up the finished blankets. We had quite a pile by the end of the meeting!

Finished blankets

Television Station Tour

This semester our Camp Fire club is working on the “Trail to the Community”, and we are earning the emblem for this trail by learning about people and places that help the community function.  Our leader set up a tour of one of the local television stations (actually two stations that share the same building).  We had a great tour and also got to meet several news personalities, since we were there shortly before the evening newscast.

The first thing we got to see was the larger news set and anchor’s desk.  There were lots of cameras and the lights were on because the newscast was going to start in about 20 minutes.


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We learned what a “teleprompter” was and how the news reporter used a pedal on the floor to make it scroll. We also learned that the anchors kept a written script, just in case there were technical problems with the teleprompter.


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From the news studio we went into the weather center. There is a large greenscreen for the actual forecast and a desk that the weather anchor stands behind for the weather updates throughout the day. The kids had a chance to stand in front of the greenscreen and see themselves on the monitor. We discovered it was pretty hard to make it look like we were pointing at something specific because you had to move opposite from what you were seeing on the monitor.

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Next we went to the advertising department. We learned that commercials, as much as we hate when they interrupt our shows, are how the station makes money. We got to see a commercial for a local restaurant (the place we ate at last night, in fact!)


Downstairs we found the control room, where the director and producer sit during the newscasts.

Control room

Then we went upstairs to the news room, where journalists actually collect and write the news pieces that the anchors present on air.

News room

Behind the news room is the other station’s anchor desk and set. We saw another teleprompter,

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and then the anchor himself came onto the set. He was kind enough to pose for a picture with our entire club. Hello, Stan Boney!

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What a great tour. We were really lucky to be able to get so up close and behind the scenes at our local television station.

End of the tour


I just spent the morning sewing a year’s worth of emblems on the girls’ Camp Fire vests. The emblems are a neat thing for the kids. They like the tangible recognition of their accomplishments. They were very interested in helping me place them on the vest and tugged the thread as I sewed them on. We earned emblems for almost every outing, including the water treatment plant tour and a trip to the Children’s Museum in Pittsburgh. They also earned emblems for some of their individual efforts, including ballet and tap classes. In addition to the fun ones on the back of their vests, they earned two Trail emblems this last year. One was Trail to the Environment, and the other was Trail to Creativity.

Camp Fire vest

Water Treatment Plant

As part of our Camp Fire Trail to the Environment, we took a trip to our local water treatment plant to see what happens when you flush the toilet at home.

I hate to admit it, but this tour was fascinating!  Unfortunately, it was a warmish day, so it was a little “scented” in the first part, where the sewage first comes into the plant.  I didn’t take any pictures there because we were all busy holding our noses.  😉

We got to see inside the building, which is basically a lot of pumps and a big chemistry/biology lab.  The engineers spend a lot of time making sure there is a proper balance of microbes to “handle” the sewage.

By the end of the tour, the water is crystal clear and smells… well, it doesn’t smell at all! They allow the clean water to flow back into Mill Creek, and it’s cleaner than the natural creek water.

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We’re still a bit squeamish when we think too hard about what goes on here, but it’s all natural. 🙂

Make New Friends, But Keep The Old

Today was our first official Camp Fire meeting.  The girls have joined “Club Smiley”, led by my friend, Wendy.  I was a girl scout as a kid but never had any experience with Camp Fire.  However, after having been involved with scouting as an adult, I am not happy with the direction it has taken.  The Camp Fire program appears to be much less commercialized, much more community-oriented.

The kids are in the Starflight program, which is for K-2 grades.  There are several different “Trails” in the Starflight series, each one emphasizing service and/or learning.  We are working on our “Trail to the Environment” this semester.  This will include a trip to the Sanitation Engineer’s Water Treatment plant, a trip to the Ford Nature Center, and several other regular club meetings.

Today’s meeting was supposed to be an exploration of water, but -ironically enough- the weather did not cooperate.  Instead, we worked on some indoor activities and also colored our Club’s banner.

This was also the first day back to dance classes.  This year, the girls are taking Creative Tap together and then each one is in her own ballet class.  S6 is in Pre-Ballet I and O4 is in Creative Movement II.  They have Miss Jackie for all their classes.  She’s one of my favorite instructors at Ballet Western Reserve and I am glad she will be teaching them again this year.