What to do if you’re already missing summer camp

missing-summerWohelo! The official start of fall is just around the corner and camp is unusually quiet without the laughter and joy of our campers. It was a great summer here at Hantesa and we hope all of our campers and counselors have enjoyed it as much as we, the full-time staff, have! Right now, most of our campers are reconnecting with school friends while most of our counselors have either resumed classes themselves or are still traveling throughout the USA. But even with all of the excitement of a new school year and traveling, we know some of you are already missing camp so we’ve come up with a few tips to help you cope during the time between summers!

  1. Return for fall programs: Although summer is our busiest time of the year, we are open all year long! Coming up this fall we have Camp Fire Day Camps during those miscellaneous days off from school, Afternoon at the Ranch, Family Camp, Mom/Youth Overnights, and even a haunted trail that is appropriate for the whole family! We have also started a brand new Plein Air Club for youth AND adults to come out and enjoy Hantesa’s scenery while painting or drawing! So, even though the weather may be a bit cooler, there are still plenty of reasons to visit! Follow the links provided to learn more or to register! 

  2. Revisit some of your favorite moments: We have photos from every week of day camp and resident camp on our Facebook page as well as the Hantesa Instagram. If you are missing camp, these are a great way to reminisce! Make sure and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so you can keep in touch with us about upcoming events/happenings at camp! You can find the links for those accounts at the top of this page, just click on the icons in the top right corner! 

  3. Keep an eye out for winter and spring events: Remember, whenever school is out, camp is open! Registration is not yet available for our winter and spring programs, but they are coming! We have winter resident camp, a new years eve party, and much more on the way so make sure and keep your calendars clear! 

  4. Start a countdown: If you really can’t wait until next summer, then start counting down the days! Make sure and mark your calendar and coordinate with camp friends about when you want to come to camp! Also make sure and recruit some of your new friends from school for a week of fun and excitement at Camp Hantesa in 2017!

Hello again! 

It’s been nearly two years since our last blog post. In that time we have reformatted this site, twice. We vow to post much more from this point forward. Hopefully you have noticed our increased social media presence on our Facebook page, facebook.com/camphantesa, our Twitter account, @camphantesa and especially our Instagram account @camphantesa. We will be adding new features to this site as well including camper posts and a new podcast.

We wanted to post today to talk about the weather, as we did two years ago. Our last weather post was about severe storms, this as you can imagine will be about the impending heat wave. We are well aware of the conditions predicted and we will be taking the following precautions:

  • We will re-educate our staff and educate the rest of the camp community about what they should do for themselves in extreme heat. These things include drinking more water, taking extra rest, applying ice to cool down and if need be laying down in the health lodge or office. Being an American Camp Association accredited camp we use the following as a resource as a guide to dealing with extreme heat: http://www.acacamps.org/resource-library/extreme-heat-preventing-and-identifying-heat-related-illness
  • We will add extra water stations around camp. Additionally we have literally hundreds of water bottles we will give to campers that don’t have them. We also have sports drinks on hand for anyone suffering from heat cramps.
  • We will monitor the temperatures in cabins without air conditioning to ensure those cabins remain habitable. If we deem the cabins too hot we will temporarily move those campers and counselors to air conditioned cabins.
  • We will be adding additional pool time for resident campers.
  • We have decided to forgo resident camp pony rides for the safety of the horses and the campers. We will refund the families who have paid for the rides. We will continue Herman’s Ranch including the horse show on Saturday morning at 9AM.

Thank you all very much for your patience and understanding, if you have any further questions please give us a call at 515-432-1417 or email us at hantesa@campfireiowa.org or michael@campfireiowa.org

Thank you to a friend

Hello everyone, long time no talk. We are here in the first week of November and the change in weather indicates a change in what camp looks like and feels like. As the weather chills we are starting to see the end of our very busy fall wedding, retreats, and conference season. Of course we do these things year around but it is not unusual to have multiple groups here at the same time in the fall. The good news is that as we have fewer retreats we are really getting into our Hantesa Day Camps a.k.a. School Day Off. If you don’t know when the Des Moines, Ames, and Boone school districts have a day off of school we are open for camp. Registration is open for our fall and winter day camps on the following days.

November 13, 14, & 26

December 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31

January 2, 19

February 16, 26, 27

We also have overnight and resident camp options this winter. We have a resident winter break camp on December 29-January 1, a New Years Eve overnight party on December 31-January 1. And an Outrageous Overnight ski trip on February 7-8. The Outrageous program is for campers grades 5 and up. You may register for those programs or get more details at http://www.campfireiowa.org or by calling the Camp Fire Iowa Service Center at 515-274-1501 or Camp Hantesa at 515-432-1417.

Our next day camp is tomorrow, November 7th, which brings me for the reason for this blog post. Tomorrow is also the last day for Jenna Johnson, our Assistant Director. The fact that you are reading this message right now is a testament to what she has brought to this camp and the council. When she started in late April of 2013 we had not had a facebook post or blog entry in 4 months, we didn’t even know how to access the blog. Since she’s started we have more than doubled the amount of likes on our page going from about 500, to over 1300 now. The last post that we had on our facebook page before she took it over had a reach of 157 people now our facebook posts reach as many as 2000 people. These numbers are important because it shows the increase of awareness of our camp. In 2014 having a substantial social media footprint is vital to our success.

The social media rebirth is a very important thing that Jenna is leaving with us but it is in no way shape or form the only way she impacted Camp Hantesa. One of Jenna’s role as the assistant director is to oversee the programming. If you had a kid come home from our programs and gush about how much fun they had then you can thank Jenna and our program staff. She is a creative but practical mind that has the ability to put together amazing programs that are great for our fun minded campers and our budget minded director. Jenna works extremely hard in assuring that when we have people here at camp for programming; from the a fore mentioned Hantesa Day Camps, to our summer programming, to our family camp programs, that they enjoy themselves and that they have unique experiences each and every time that they are here.

I will miss Jenna professionally a great deal. In addition to the things that I have already mentioned she is organized, professional. prompt, and patient. Above all of these things though is that she is exceedingly kind. Jenna is a genuinely fantastic person. There isn’t a single person who have dealt with her has a bad thing to say about her. She is put into the position of frequently having to communicate with campers, parents, staff, and vendors and these people aren’t always happy with us, but it is impossible to deal with Jenna and not have an appreciation for how nice she is. I would be remiss if I did not mention her husband Kyle as well. Kyle only worked here during the summer of 2013 and he worked exceedingly hard for those 3 months. Kyle’s contribution did not end when he stopped working for us. Kyle and their son Daxton, born February 2014, were frequently around and Kyle never hesitated helping out without being asked and it was greatly appreciated. Many of the beautiful recent photos taken at and around camp were taken by Jenna and Kyle.

Jenna and Kyle are my friends; I will miss them, my family will miss them, camp will miss them. Good luck in South Carolina my friends and thanks for everything. This is good night and not good bye.

-Michael

jenna, kyle, and daxton

A little insight as to how we handle inclement weather

Hello, we hope you are all doing wonderfully on this soggy Monday. Now seems like a great time to let you all know what goes into our programming decisions when we have weather concerns. First of all, our decisions are made in the best interests of our campers and counselors. The key to handling weather successfully is to be cautious but not overly cautious to the point where we are not running a quality program. As parents we want to know that the people looking after our children will safeguard them as if they are our own, which we do. We also want to deliver a quality program because we want the campers to have a fulfilling, satisfying experience.

As of this moment Boone is in a Tornado Watch. We are still running a full program because outside of a few raindrops the weather, while gray, is calm. Knowing the difference between a watch and a warning whether it is flood, thunderstorm, or tornado is a key component to driving our decisions. A watch can be issued and you can have a wonderfully idyllic day. Technology has helped us a great deal when it comes to how to deal with the weather. We can see the radar to tell when a storm is approaching and if it will dissipate or strengthen. We also have the ability to use lightning detectors and trackers to see just how close the lightning is.

In times like today when there is poor weather all around us but not at camp we use these things to monitor our surroundings including battery powered radios. We keep in constant communication with our day camp coordinator, resident camp coordinator, bard director, and pool director to make sure that they have the same current information that we have. We do have a plan as to how to deal with severe weather if it hits and we have trained our staff on how to act if action is needed quickly. When there is lightning within 10 miles everyone has to be inside, preferably Clayton Lodge, but if campers are already inside of a building we will keep them there until the lightning has gone. Campers are not allowed on horses or in the pool until the lightning has passed by at least 10 miles. Again we have the technology to see where the strikes are, if that technology fails they have to wait 30 minutes after the last strike before entering the pool or getting on a horse. In case of Tornadoes we have two shelters at our main camp, our preferred shelter is once again Clayton Lodge where we have a concrete basement where everyone can go. If the storms happen too quickly we have a basement under Miles Crafts Building for campers and counselors on Happy Hill and Miss Suz has graciously allowed our equestrian riders to use the basement of her house if we have people at the barn.

 

We hope this lengthy explanation has helped all of you understand the hows and whys of how we handle storms here, unfortunately we have had a lot of practice the last couple of weeks. As always if you have any additional questions please give us a call, 515-432-1417, or you can email us at hantesa@campfireiowa.org or me personally at michael@campfireiowa.org. That’s all for now, I have weather updates to give 🙂

 

WoHeLo,

Michael (Mr. Purple)

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

It has been over a year since our last post, but we are back with a new and improved blog site. Make sure to check out all the tabs for detailed information on camp. Send your friends our way and help people find out more information on this magical place!

We have been VERY busy this past year. The summer of 2013 was a huge success. We welcomed many new campers as well as saw beloved familiar faces. Friendships were made, honors were earned, skills were gained, and a great summer was had by all. During the fall, winter, and this spring we have done team building with school groups, run Family Camp programs, hosted weddings and group retreats, run School Day Off Day Camps, and taught lessons at Afternoon at the Ranch; to name a few.

We have also been getting ready for this summer. Our staff training begins next week and we are excited to have an amazing group of staff this summer including international staff from England, Wales, New Zealand, and Iceland! If your havent gotten your child enrolled in to camp it’s not too late! Go to our Camp Hantesa website for information on dates and prices http://www.campfireiowa.org/summer-programs.html

This year has FLOWN by for us but we are ready for another great summer season. We can’t wait to climb Magic Hill, cook on a fire at packout, dance at party night, celebrate at Council Fire, and have campers voices and laughter throughout camp. Make sure to check back here throughout the summer for more posts and pictures!

See you soon!

Michael and Jenna

Winter at camp
Winter at camp
Beautiful fall
Beautiful fall
Hantesa staff at Boone Holiday Parade
Hantesa staff at Boone Holiday Parade
Mom/Youth camp fall 2013
Mom/Youth camp fall 2013
Afternoon at the Ranch
Afternoon at the Ranch
School Day Off day Camps
School Day Off Day Camps
Family Camp fall 2013
Family Camp fall 2013
2013 Day Camp
2013 Day Camp

 

 

 

Improvements at Camp Hantesa

When you arrive at Camp Hantesa, you will see some subtle changes. As many of you know, we rebuilt our shower and bathroom facilities at the pool last summer and started on a path to create an apprentice lodge and a place for the apprentice directors to call home in the summer. Also, last fall, we replaced the roof on Clayton Lodge. This spring, we are working on projects at the entrance to camp, and updating and sprucing up Cook’s Cabin to make that space available for volunteers in the summer and in the fall and spring when we need more weekend help. In the fall, our pool will get a needed facelift courtesy of Variety of Iowa.

With the help of the Boone County Endowment, we are also adding new microscopes and telescopes to our eco-lab as well as a ventilation system that will help that facility to be more comfortable in the summer months.

2013-04-26 13.41.47We also have embarked on a project that is surely needed, but we recognize marks a big change at Camp Hantesa. With the help of the Leonard Good Trust, we are heat pumps and air conditioning units to the Owassa Valley cabins and lodge. The staff and board recognize this may be a controversial decision, so we have outlined a plan for use that will help our campers get a good nights rest in the “dog days of summer” but keep them in the great out of doors the rest of their day at camp. We know this project will be well received by a great number of our parents and youth.

You will also see new faces at camp. Michael Johnson joined us in the fall, and Jenna Johnson (no relation) joined us in April. Together, they will be guiding Camp Hantesa into the future. We are thrilled to have their knowledge, skill and enthususiasm for kids and camping at Camp Hantesa!