Researching The Right Camp For Your Child

With over 11,000 camps in the United States, it is important to come up with a list of questions to guide you. By doing so, you can narrow the possibilities to a manageable few.Do the Research (January – May 2009)What do I want in a camp?
Single sex or co-ed?
Religious or non-denominational?
Sports-oriented, nature-oriented or a mixture of both?
In driving distance or am I willing to fly?
Do I want lakes or mountains (or will just a river do)?
How many weeks?
Is the camp competitive or nurturing?
Activities required or free choice?To do this research, it is helpful to:Talk to other children and parents.
Watch DVDs & talk to your children.
Search the Internet.
Attend a camp fair. The Annual Jewish Camps Fair will be held on Sunday, December 14th, from 10 am – 2 pm, at Solomon Schechter Day School. The broader St. Louis Summer Opportunities Fair will be at Whitfield School on Saturday, January 31st, from 10 am – 3 pm. At both, there will be overnight camps, day camps and teen travel opportunities.Talk to camp directors.Talk to a Camp Advisor.Making Camp Visits (Summer 2009)Based upon your research, try to narrow your camp options and choose a few programs to go and visit. All camps gladly receive guests, if you schedule an appointment. If you are considering camps in Missouri, you can plan a day or overnight trip to an area and then stop in to see the camp. If you are looking at camps in the Upper Midwest, you could plan a family vacation near to the camps you wish to visit. Most camps are located in beautiful areas near state parks or resort areas, so these visits can be fun for the whole family. You could even plan your family’s vacation at a camp and take advantage of a family weekend. These visits can help your child acclimate to the environment of the camp and make the decision to leave home a lot less scary. And, your first-hand observations of the facilities, the activities or the dining hall routine can help you know if this would be the right place for your child!Early Bird Discounts (Fall 2009)Once you have determined which camp suits your child, you can take advantage of early bird discounts. These discounts usually hold the cost of camp down to the previous year’s tuition or take a few hundred dollars off the price of residential camping. And, when your neighbors are stressing out about what their child will be doing in the coming summer, you will be sitting pretty with your child already enrolled!Summer 2010 – The Best Summer of Your Child’s LifeSince there are programs to fit the needs of any child, I encourage you to explore the range of options available to you. The camp experience is an opportunity that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Happy camping!

Key Things to Know Before You Purchase a Family Camping Stove

Finding the right camping stove for your style of camping is critical for a great family camping trip. There are several choices you need to consider before you purchase a camping stove.First consider the performance or boil time of a stove. Typically camping stoves are rated on boil time, or the time it takes to boil a quart of water using the proper fuel at the highest stove level. The boil time can range from two and a half minutes for a camping stove to ten minutes. You must also take into account the outside temperature as cooler temps can and will reduce the camping stove’s performance. If you have a large family or cooking for a group, you may want to purchase a higher performing stove as large quantities of food cooked on say a 10 minute stove may not heat large portions of food to acceptable levels.Next rate the efficiency of the stove. Efficiency of a camping stove is measured on how long it can run at full heat on a gas or fuel cartridge. The best barometer for a camping stove is about ten minutes for every ounce of fuel. You will want to estimate about four ounces of fuel per day per person.The Differences Between Cartridge Stoves And Liquid Gas Camping StovesCartridge Camping Stoves are best suited for backpacking and small family cooking (2-3 persons) as they are lightweight and less bulky than liquid gas stoves. They are relatively low maintenance and a very reliable cooking stove. Most cartridge camping stoves are connected to the fuel canister through a tube to a single burner, while some burners attach directly on top of the canister. Although very dependable, cartridge stoves don’t work well in cold weather as the fuel typically has trouble igniting. So the use of liquid gas camping stoves are preferable for cold weather camping. You can overcome this by purchasing a heat exchanger or carrying the gas canister inside your coat.The fuel cartridges contain pressurized fuel and come in a variety of convenient sizes. They are very handy as they are manufactured to be discarded after use, yet in this day we prefer the canisters that can be recycled! The canisters contain either butane, propane or a mixture of both.Liquid Camping Stoves are stoves that are fueled by a refillable tank and typically use kerosene, white gas, automobile gas or alcohol. A big plus in our book is the fact that liquid camping stoves are more environmentally acceptable as the fuel tanks are reused and recycled, plus the fuel burns hotter or more efficiently than cartridge fuel stoves. Typically larger, heavier and bulkier, liquid camping stoves tend to be more difficult to operate but allow for several pots of food to be cooked at the same time at higher temps- a great advantage for family cooking!One must consider the type of fuel and its availability too. Alcohol is very safe, stable and clean burning, yet as it burns with a cool flame so the effectiveness for cooking is diminished. Automobile gas and kerosene although they can be used it is highly NOT recommended, but it may be your only options when camping outside the US – expect lots of smoke and fumes and use in a well ventilated area. White gas is the most recommended fuel for camping stoves, as it burns at high temps in virtually any weather and altitude. Another plus, it’s widely available in the US.Taking Care Of Your Camping StoveOne last note, before you go camping with either camping stove type; take your stove out to clean and do the basic maintenance in accordance with the manufacturer and by all means fire it up before you take to the wild outdoors. Getting to your camp site only to find your stove not working… well let’s just say it puts a damper on the whole vacation!

Camping Toilets – Choosing the Best Camping Toilet For Your Needs

Camping toilets can enhance our camping experience a lot. As in other areas in our lives the small things are those that count and the same can be said for camping toilets. Most camping toilet facilities that are available in camp sites, are usually poorly maintained and not very clean. Although, when camping, it is understandable that you’re not going to be able to keep your personal hygiene levels like you can at home but a certain minimum is also required when camping.This is where portable camping toilets come into play since they enable us to avoid the usage of dirty toilet seats thus reducing our exposure to potential pathogen bacteria that reside on uncleaned toilet seats. If you do not have access to your own camping toilet and you are “forced” to use a toilet facility, you do not need to panic since there’s a small chance of you contracting a harmful virus or bacteria from a dirty toilet seat. These toilets also prove themselves to be their moneys worth, when we need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Unless you are really brave, most people find it difficult to get to the toilet facility in the middle of the night. You never know, what can happen in a lightless camping area. This is why having a camping toilet can be a very clever idea.There are two main types of camping toilets, simple and complex. Simpler (in design) camping toilets are generally made of a light metal frame with a seat that has a hole in the middle – they are almost identical to a foldable chair except they have a hole in the middle of the seat. Usually these kind of types require you to also have some bags in which you can capture the feces. One of the main concerns with using these type of toilets is that the bags for containing the poop are made out of plastic which is not nature friendly. In recent times we have seen the arrival of biodegradable bags, which help reduce our impact on the nature. The main advantage for these type of camping toilets is their price. Because their design is not that complicated, they are easy to be produced and thus the price is lower.On the other hand we have bulkier, more complex camping toilets, that are more robust and can be used for a number of times before emptying them since they have a large storing tank for the waste. Some of them also have a water storage tank which enables us to flush the poop in a manner a lot similar to our home toilets. These types of camping toilets are in most cases bulky in design which increases their size and weight thus rendering them a bit less portable. They are best suited for people that are not willing to change the waste bag every time they need to go to use the toilet and are not willing to carry a camping toilet with them on a hike. Since these types of camping toilets are more complicated in design they cost a bit more.When using these types of camping toilets we need to use different liquid or powder agents that liquefy and neutralize the produced waste. More often than not these solving and odor neutralizing agents are harmful to the environment. Nonetheless it is possible to find these agents that are environment friendly, you just have to look for them. The main advantage of these type of camping toilets is their capacity and versatility. Complex camping toilets can hold a lot of waste, which means no need for frequent emptying and they can be used almost anywhere. You can place them in a caravan, they can serve you as a back up toilet in the house for emergencies, etc.Either way you choose you can’t go wrong. Both of the described types of camping toilets are far superior compared to the dirty camping toilet facilities. So if you want to have an even better camping experience, then be sure to get your hands on a camping toilet.