Groovy Summer Edition: First Week Recap

Hip, hip, hooray! Last Friday, we wrapped up the first week of ESP’s Groovy Summer! We’ve had an amazing start to the camp season with lots of love and laughter, and we want to thank everyone who is helping to make camp possible! Here’s a look at what went on at our campsites during our first week back! 

Bounce Houses

Last week, each of our campsites had a designated Bounce House Day where all of the campers got to slip and slide with their friends all day long! Whether it was racing through a blow-up obstacle course, gliding down an inflatable slide, or having an EPIC water gun battle, participants were able to create magical moments together! It was amazing to see our campers who usually use wheelchairs, like Magen, be fully included in the fun. For many of our campers, it was also their first time going down such a big slide! With their buddies by their sides, we were so proud to see these participants bravely give it a go. We love seeing our campers grow in their confidence and have these wonderful new experiences! 

Science Experiments

At all of our sites, participants transformed into mad scientists and made their own stomp rockets out of paper, tape, and empty soda bottles! They stomped with all of their might and watched as their rockets took flight. The orange site even made a contest to see who could launch it the highest. At the yellow site, Tyler amazed the crowd as his rocket shot all the way up to the ceiling! 

The purple team conducted an experiment of their own by taking part in the watermelon challenge! They took turns stacking rubber bands around a watermelon until the pressure made it explode! Megan had so much fun putting on the rubber bands, and eagerly anticipated the blast. It wound up taking 360 rubber bands (and a lot of patience) to split the watermelon, but the burst at the end was well worth the wait! Campers enjoyed eating the delicious watermelon.

Friday was an EXPLOSIVE day for the yellow team! The campers created crazy chemical reactions to make elephant soap blasts and erupting volcanoes. They mixed together ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, mentos, and soda, and stood back in awe as foam spurted everywhere! 

Fun with Food

This week, the blueorange, and red teams became stars of their very own cooking shows! Participants loved making healthy parfaits with vanilla or strawberry yogurt, fruit, and granola. Claudia was so excited to show her delectable snack to the rest of the orange site since one of her favorite activities is cooking! 

On Tasty Thursday at the blue site, campers built their own edible underwater worlds! These delicious mini aquariums were made using blue Jello, Skittles, and Swedish Fish. The campers were just as excited to devour them as they were to make them! 

At Athens Church, the red team could hardly wait to make starburst slime for their last activity of the week. The campers used their muscles to knead a mixture of starburst, powdered sugar, and cornstarch until they had a slime-like consistency. Aysha had fun playing with hers, but we think she enjoyed eating the sweet treat even more! 

The red and yellow team members got their creative juices flowing by making models out of marshmallows and toothpicks! At the yellow site, camper Rod was so excited to build a configuration of one of his favorite people at ESP, our director of programs Jake! Over at the red site, Grace was pretty proud of her geometric masterpiece and couldn’t wait to show it off to the camera! 

Arts and Crafts

This week was filled with so many fun and unique arts and crafts activities! At the blue site, the crew put their color-identification skills to the test and created beautiful rainbow clouds using puffy paint. These awesome designs will surely earn a place on the fridge! 

For the first activity at Crossroads, the purple site made tin can bird feeders! The campers loved being able to decorate them with paint and popsicle sticks, and we love that they got to hone their fine motor skills by using brushes, gluing, and tying string. The blue team also made bird feeders, but this time out of peanut butter, toilet paper rolls, and seed. Abram loved making his with the help of his buddy, and can’t wait to see all of his feathery friends enjoy it! 

At Athens Church, the red team made dream catchers out of paper plates, beads, and yarn. Each camper got to color their intricate designs, and now they should have no trouble keeping the bad dreams away! Brittany can’t wait to hang hers up at home!

Over at the yellow site, the crew tie-dyed their own bandanas! The campers were so excited to show off their colorful creations, and now they have a groovy new accessory to remember this summer with! 

For their craft activity, the orange team went on a scavenger hunt outside to find rocks, flowers, and sticks to make their very own textured papers. Faith found some smooth leaves and prickly pines and pasted them on her purple construction paper to create a sensory paradise!

At the purple site, the crew got to pick out cool rocks to paint however they liked! They also got into the Groovy Summer spirit by making some disco sun catchers with sequins, glitter glue, and string.

At Camp Hooray, the green team had THE BEST TIME playing Pictionary out of shaving cream. Nick did an awesome job guessing, and his smile while playing in the foam is simply contagious! 

Music

On Thursday, the campers at the yellow site gathered to sing some Beatles songs as unit leader, Ben, played on his guitar. Sierra absolutely LOVED shaking her maracas and singing along to the lyrics, and Noah had so much fun banging his sticks to the rhythm with his buddy, Palmer!

The red team members participated in a spectacular talent show on their first day of camp! Brittany showed off her fabulous ballerina skills, Andrea demonstrated how to make awesome Tik Toks, and Kody danced to his favorite song, “Wheels on the Bus!” 

At the blue site, the campers grabbed a hold of a parachute for “Music Monday” and practiced listening to instructions that were given through song.

The orange team created their own CDs by designing the cover with construction paper and markers, picking a title, and choosing songs to put on it. The orange leaders will burn the CDs so that the campers can take them home next week and jam-out all they want! 

At the purple site, campers did a cognitive workout by making their own songs, Mad-Lib style! Participants did not fail to impress with their new versions of popular songs and amazing performances on stage! Rey absolutely sang his heart out, and we enjoyed every part of his dazzling act!

Planting

At the red and orange sites, the teams got to paint flower pots that would soon become homes to their future plants. At the orange site, Thomas showed that he had no concern for team rivalries by painting his flower pot a beautiful bright blue! Campers got to learn all about growing plants while putting soil in their pot, and about their specific seed of choice while in breakout groups. They all guessed how tall their plants would grow, watered them, and left them outside to bask in the sunshine. With all of the love the campers put into these little guys, we’re sure they’ll grow like weeds! 

Outdoor Games and Sports

There were lots of opportunities to be active at our campsites, whether it be dancing, competing in games, or playing sports like tennis and soccer during free-time! At the red site, leaders created an obstacle course, circus style. After they were split into teams, the participants had a competition to see who could get through the course the fastest. Each competitor was cheered on by their teammates as they juggled, walked on tightropes, and balanced balls on their noses like seals! The red and orange teams also played rousing games of “capture the flag” at their respective sites! The campers had so much fun using water guns to protect their flag against their “enemies!”  

The campers at the orange site also played different variations of hopscotch on Monday (such as hopscotch bingo and freeze dance hopscotch), and a game of hockey using pool noodles and beach balls later in the week! On Friday, the orange team played Kick the Can. Members were split into two teams on either side of the lawn, and the player chosen to be “it” guarded a can in the middle. Everyone hid, and “it” had to tag them while also making sure no one kicked the can over! If “it” tagged someone, they were captured, and if someone touched the can, the player was released!

Over at Camp Hooray, the crew was so thrilled to have the beautiful lake all to themselves! They spent their time fishing and kayaking to their hearts’ content! Avery loved cruising around with leader Addison, and Amber ALMOST caught a giant catfish, but it slipped off the hook before she could reel it in! The campers also had a fun time stepping onto the green and showing off their golfing skills! Indoors, they played a a life-sized version of hungry hippos, with campers holding baskets as the hippos!

Water Activities

This week, all of the sites got to participate in wet ‘n wild water activities right at their own campsites! Sites split their members into two teams and raced to finish an over-and-under sponge relay. Next, teams tried to knock ping-pong balls off of a stands by shooting them with water guns from behind a line before time ran out. At the yellow site, Zoey was VERY proud of her awesome aim. Whether she meant to hit Ben or the target, we’re not so sure! 

Spa Day

After a long first week of camp, the yellow crew treated themselves to a spa day! Stephanie painted her nails bright pink, Naiyah admired her glowing skin after doing an oatmeal and honey face mask, and even the boys enjoyed putting the cool cucumbers over their eyes! Now that they feel rejuvenated, the yellow team is ready to tackle another full week of activities!

Thank you all for making this such a great first week! We hope you’re all just as excited to kick off week two!