What I learned at summer camp…fair

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Remember all those back-to-school essays teachers used to assign after summer breaks — most expecting a gripping account of summertime adventures. I’d have written far better answers had I attended all the camps I’m exploring at this weekend’s Raising Arizona Kids Magazine Camp Fair, where I’m learning all sorts of things.

I discovered on Saturday, for example, that it’s impossible to tell which of two napping ferrets is named “Romeo” and which is named “Juliet.” It’s best, I think, to let sleeping ferrets lie.

I learned that Linda Pullinski, a painter who works with the Scottsdale Artists’ School, longs to try her hand at the flying trapeze — something Nigel of the Independent Lake Camp says they offer as part of their circus camp (kids can circus now, but an adult circus experience is in the works).

Pullinski reminded me of something I’d known but forgotten — that kids can get creative with the simplest of objects. While some art camp exhibitors opted for paint, she let kids play with all sorts of animals and such made with colorful pipe cleaners. It’s all good, of course. The more art experiences the better.

A bevy of bunnies atop the Crazzy Wasewagan’s Camp & Retreat table reminded me that bunnies, whether California or Arizona-grown, love to munch on juicy apples. At other booths featuring animal fare, I discovered that reptiles and octopus are more mum about their snacking habits.

I watched a woman at the Northern Arizona University table showing children different marks made by various creatures in a couple of logs and bits of bark she’d brought along, and remembered how important it was to know such things when my children were little.

I discovered that kids will be baking Hamentashen stuffed with chocolate, raspberry or apricot at the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center today as they learn about the history of Purim and its traditions. And that they’re holding a Passover celebration called “Chocolate Seder”on April 1.

Lee Cooley with Valley Youth Theatre shared the news that VYT alumnus Nick Cartell will be rocking the swing thing when a revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar” opens on Broadway in March. Soon they’ll need to turn their poster featuring famous folks who’ve trained and performed with VYT into a wall mural.

And I learned from Linda with Montessori Academy Smart Camps that they’re working to become trailblazers of sorts — having kids grow the food they prepare in a culinary program on site in their very own community garden. Michelle Obama, take note.

By now I’ve surely supassed the length of your average “what I learned at summer camp” essay, so I’ll save the rest of my 2012 Camp Fair musings for future posts — and hope you get a chance to make some fun discoveries of your own at today’s Camp Fair session at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler.

— Lynn

Note: I’ll be updating this post with more photos after attending Sunday’s Camp Fair in Chandler — and writing more about arts camps who participated in future posts.

Coming up: What a ham!, Got glass?


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