Category Archives: Summer Camp

Summer Travels: Into the Land that is Japan \(^.^)/

By Gina Musick, Education Intern for Summer Tour Plus 2016 Program via Summer Travels: Into the Land that is Japan \(^.^)/ — Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens


Hello everyone! My name is Gina Musick and I am a new volunteer, but as a seasoned Morikami member and Elementary Education major in college, I saw an amazing opportunity in front of me when I read about a posting for an Education Intern for their Summer Tour Plus program. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a tour! A wonderful tour where both docents and volunteers come together in order to create a fun, interactive, and educational experience for visiting camps of all ages into the land of Japan in South Florida.

Imagine visiting another country for almost the whole summer with nothing but the clothes on your back…without leaving your home state! “Impossible!” is what some may say, but that’s exactly how it felt for me. Walking up the steps to the museum alone is a stunning view, surrounded by a preview of the gardens and a small koi pond. Morikami creates a one-of-a-time experience that children of all ages and backgrounds are able to participate in.

Here is what a day in the Summer Tour Plus 2016 program looked like:

1. Japanese Game Show: the volunteers engage the campers in a slideshow of various Japanese tools and objects, guessing their true meanings of utility, after watching a clip from a real live game show!

2.Art Gallery Tour: the docents give the campers a unique and peaceful tour of Hiromi Moneyhun’s paper cut exhibition, where they learn about her unique art style and its main elements – metamorphosis and symmetry.

3. Shadow Art: Kirigami: the volunteers teach the campers how to create the own paper cuts (known in Japanese as kirigami)! The campers use scissors and hole-punchers to create unique designs and patterns into their canvas’, which is a moth – a strong representation of both symmetry and metamorphosis.

4. Docents’ Choice: the docents choose an activity of their own discretion to educate the campers about! For instance, during the week of the Star Festival (also known as Tanabata), which occurs on July 7th, the children learned about the history behind the festival and wrote a wish on a strip of paper attached to string (known as tanzaku) and then tied them to a bamboo tree for the wish to come true! Click here to learn more about Tanabata.img_1743

Each camp that visited Morikami participated in all four of these activities at some time or another during their day. In each rotation, the campers were motivated and supported by volunteers and docents alike to pursue a passion in learning to appreciate the very diverse and beautiful culture of Japan. The Summer Tour Plus Program created by Morikami strongly reflects the museum’s mission to the community…”to provide authentic Japanese cultural experiences that entertain, educate, and inspire.”

I thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer experience as a summer intern at Morikami, as it was everything I expected it to be and more! It was amazing to see children of all ages and cultural backgrounds learning about a very historic and unique culture through different activities, and excel at participating in every way. Such a successful experience does not go without thanking all of the staff, docents, and volunteers involved in creating such an enriching and lasting experience!

img_1880-e1475684592620Morikami is always looking for volunteers to help out on a day-to-day basis, as well as for festivals or a variety of programs. During the time we waited for the camps to arrive, we volunteers would work on creating decorations for upcoming festivals. We made paper chains, tissue paper flowers, and paper lanterns all to help prepare for the upcoming Lantern Festival: In the Spirit of Obon! If you have a passion for education, culture, or anything Japan, I highly recommend you take an opportunity and offer your time to this amazing non-profit institution. You will receive a timeless experience for the time that you give! Click here to find out about your possible opportunities~!  \(^.^)

さようなら。! (Sayōnara!)

Youth & Teens ‘Move & Groove’ at this year’s #pbcParks Summer Camp!

Palm Beach County’s West Boynton, Westgate & West Jupiter Recreation Facilities, as well as Aquatics, Okeeheelee Nature Center and Golf hosted a number of Summer & Specialty Camp programs to entertain kids during this year’s Summer Break. The kids went on field trips, learned about living healthy lifestyles through physical activity and healthy eating, played a number of games & activities, made tons of friends, and more!

Watch this short video for a recap of this year’s Summer Camp!

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Okeeheelee Nature Center Welcomes Specialty Camps, Field Trips

Did you know that our Nature Centers are the perfect field trip and camp destinations?  Okeeheelee Nature Center recently hosted a week-long specialty camp, where kids canoed, built bird houses, interacted with birds and deer that live at the Nature Center, and more. During a field trip to Okeeheelee, Green Cay or Daggerwing Nature Centers, kids can enjoy some of the same interactive and educational activities, like owl pellet dissection and animal encounters.

Okeeheelee Nature Center is operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. We operate more than 80 regional, district, community, beach, and neighborhood parks, spanning several thousand acres. Our mission is to make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. This is achieved by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

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“I hope this camp is around when I have kids!”

“I hope this camp is around when I have kids!” wrote a teen. Summer Camp went so smoothly this summer, reported Recreation Programs Coordinator Adrienne Huisman. “We had new staff who brought in new energy, and we had returning staff who brought structure, stability, and routine.”

Summer Camp ended with a Tea Party at Westgate Recreation Center. Who had more fun—campers or parents? We couldn’t tell!

What do we say to a disappointed 15-year-old who is aging out of summer teen camp?
If they’re responsible kids who consistently support fellow campers and their counselors, we invite them to consider applying for our volunteer Jr. Internship program.

“Our Jr. Interns add a sparkle to camp with their youthful energy and desire to learn,” says Huisman. They provide a positive role model that is in between the age of campers and the counselors, so Jr. Interns are expected to meet the highest standards of behavior and character.

Jr. Internships are win-win. This unpaid position is often a teen’s first real job experience, and it counts towards the service hours now required by most schools for graduation. Interested teens are expected to complete their applications and will experience formal interviews. Once selected, Jr. Interns provide camp counselors with much needed supervisory backup and help with errands, such as picking up the camp shirt that was left behind or grabbing the lunch the camper forgot. Jr. Interns also receive coaching from their counselors and, by the end of the summer, will have planned and implemented a recreation module for campers. And it’s a logical progression:  the successful and experienced Jr. Intern is encouraged to apply and interview for a paid position as a Summer Camp Counselor.

Jr. Intern Hannah Tannone

Jr. Intern Hannah Tannone assisted Adrienne Huisman with paperwork and a variety of projects throughout the summer. She also planned and implemented a volleyball module for campers. She’s been attending summer camps operated by Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation since she was 7.

Jr. Interns Courtney Robinson and Andelina Noel

Courtney Robinson and Andelina Noel were Jr. Interns at West Boynton Recreation Center. “Every single day I come here there are favorite moments,” declared Andelina who hopes to one day become a pediatrician. Both really enjoyed interacting with the campers. She and Courtney found the staff training helpful that was provided before the summer got underway. “They told us how to help kids with ADHD and that training really worked. We had some kids like that and we used the techniques they taught us. It really worked—it was just amazing!”

Jr. Interns Amanda Teague and Amelia Newell

Amanda Teague and Amelia Newell, Jr. Interns at West Jupiter Recreation Center, assisted with camper supervision and ran errands for camp counselors. They also assisted with the planning of a talent show for parents. They designed the set, handled cue cards, and emceed the special show that starred campers and counselors. “This camp is not just a camp,” insists Amanda. “It’s family.”

Faris Matthews has been participating in programs at Westgate Recreation Center since he was in 3rd grade. This summer, as a Jr. Intern, he was able to step in and coach basketball when the need unexpectedly arose. “I just try to help the kids be more than what people see them as,” he explained. “I want them to have a place where they can be themselves and don’t have to worry about anything.” Not surprisingly, his team took Second Place.