March 29, 2012


Think American Idol. What began as 36 different logos has now been narrowed down by the Peconic Dunes judges to THE FINAL 3. And's America's turn to decide which will be the official Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp logo! Voting is open to everyone...campers, parents, staff, alumni, and the general public. This voting booth will close Sunday, April 1 @ midnight.

All the logo designs include a turtle. Turtles have lived in New York longer than most other animals, including humans. Turtles are an emblem of longevity and stability in many cultures around the world, and are often implicated in creation myths regarding the origin of the Earth. We like the turtle because it represents our hope for the future of our community and this place. We hope to ask everyone at Peconic Dunes, "are you a turtle?"

For now, try to ignore the colors and vote ONLY on design. When the voting is over the winning logo will go through a "color analysis". That means the final logo might end up being totally different colors. (Personally, I'm hoping for green, black, and white, but I'm not the color analysis guru). Please share your color ideas in the comment box at the very bottom.

Now...GO VOTE!

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March 26, 2012

Peconic Dunes is a Spider Web

Posted by Sarah Marcus, STEM Director/Educator

Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp (STEM=Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

Every spring over 3,000 people flock to Atlantic City, braving the Jersey shore winds and overpriced lattes for a once-a-year experience. Some flock here for a week of gambling and entertainment while others like the PDunes team come for a week of learning and inspiration. We are summer camp professionals, traveling from distances near and far to connect with others who are dedicated to improving the lives of children and to learn new strategies for preparing our camps for a new summer.

This year four of Peconic Dunes’ full time staff members attended the American Camp Association Tristate Camp Conference. Chris Colahan, Brenna McMahon, Sarah Marcus and Melissa Elkins spent two full days immersed in the many ways we can continue to improve Peconic Dunes. The conference offered 180 educational sessions and we spread ourselves out to try to absorb as much information as possible. So, what did we learn about making the Peconic Dunes experience even more amazing than it already is?I learned new engaging activities to do during staff training to keep everyone on their toes. For example, instead of having people write down and then verbalize their goals for the summer I discovered a more concrete activity. I will ask my ECO staff to write down one word that they hope their co-workers will feel about them at the end of the summer and then two specific things they can do to make their co-workers actually feel that way about them.

Melissa and Brenna learned some new techniques for streamlining communication from within the office through the rest of camp. For example, they developed procedures that will assist in better communication between parents and camp. Chris learned about the steps required to turn our campus “nut aware” and how to serve high quality food without upping the cost. For example, we’re putting more information on our website about allergy and “nut awareness” and our menus. You may have thought managing a summer camp involves nothing more than making cabin assignments and creating the daily schedule. In fact, it is more like managing a spider web. In order for the entire web to function successfully as a prey catching apparatus the spider must work continuously to maintain the connection of every single strand to the whole web.

Each connection must be strong in order for the web to be successful. At the ACA Camp Conference we learned new ways to maintain the strength of each connection on the Peconic Dunes web. We are ready. Bring on the summer!

March 10, 2012

2012 Dance Themes

In case you're new to Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp, one of our traditions is the Thursday night dance. For years our counselors came up with themes a day or two before the dance and would spend their time off scavenging thrift stores and costume shops. Then last year someone had the brilliant idea to use the secret staff Facebook page to chose the themes before camp so we could email all the families, and post them on Facebook. The result was that a lot of campers came to camp prepared.

Campers dressed up for the "Letters P & D" dance.

This year we want you to vote on the dance themes! We got the list started. You can add to it at the bottom. The 8 themes with the most votes will be the 2012 dance themes. Feel free to use our Facebook page to campaign for your favorite theme(s). There's no guarantee that your theme will be picked (it's up to the voters). Also, once we have the top 8 themes, we'll probably assign them to each week at random, unless we hear from you. Again, use the Facebook page to share your thoughts. Voting will conclude Sunday, March 18 at midnight. (Be sure to click "Done" to cast your vote).

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March 2, 2012

OMG, I Registered my Kid for the Wrong Camp!….and other mistakes to avoid when registering your child for summer camp.

Posted by Melissa Elkins, Office Manager at Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp

Sending your child to summer camp, especially for the first time, can be a momentous and emotional experience for any parent. Let’s face it. You pack their gear, drop them off and it is very unlikely that you will hear from them until the day you pick them up. With that in mind, the last thing a parent wants to do is make a mistake that could negatively impact your child’s summer camp experience.

Mistake #1 – Waiting!
If you are like many parents you are already mapping out your child’s entire summer
week by week. And believe it or not, the time to plan – and register – for summer camp is now! Countless parents have already completed registering their children for summer programs and camps. Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp, like many other Long Island summer camps, opens registration on January 1and while it may seem difficult to make that final decision – it really needs to be done now! Please don’t wait! If you are thinking, “Summer is months away. Why would I register now?” Camps, whether on Long Island or elsewhere, fill up fast! Many sessions at Peconic Dunes begin to fill to capacity as early as April. Chances are if you wait until late April or May your child could easily end up on an extensive wait-list and may miss out on getting into camp altogether. Our mantra here is: Don’t wait!

Mistake #2 – Using Paper Registration
Peconic Dunes and most other summer camps have easy-to-use on-line registration…use it! The best thing about registering online is that in doing so your child’s place at camp is immediately reserved. Once you have completed the registration you can have 100% peace of mind knowing it is done and your child is in. Online registration also eliminates the possibility of lost, incorrect or delayed delivery. Each year at Peconic Dunes there are parents who incorrectly believe their child is registered for camp only to find out that we never received their application. By the time they realize it, there are no spaces left for their child at camp. Another huge upside of on-line registration is ecology. When registering online you are saving several pieces of paper. If all families register online you’ll be a part of saving the environment approximately 11,250 sheets of paper and envelopes! That’s equivalent to 1&1/2 trees as well as less toxic production waste going into the atmosphere. So, help yourself (and our planet) by registering online!

Mistake #3 – Mom! My BFF was supposed to be at camp with me and wasn’t!!!!!!
Attending camp with a buddy can make the experience even more awesome. However, if you plan to reg
ister your child so that he or she is coming with a friend, be absolutely positive that the other parent is on board and ready to register at the same time. There is nothing worse than the anticipation of going camp with your BFF only to find out your child’s friend ended up on a wait list or their parent changed their mind and forgot to tell you. At Peconic Dunes, we see this happen each summer. Equally as important as registering at the same time as the best friend, is being unequivocally positive that you are registering your child for the correct camp. While this may sound unlikely and it may not occur often, it does happen and believe me…it’s not pretty! Tears will ensue and while the admin team here at Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp will make every effort to correct this kind of unfortunate situation, due to maximum allowable capacities it is not always possible to remedy.

Mistake #4 – Too Many Ca
bin Requests
“Mom, I want to go to camp and be in the same cabin with Amanda, Mykaela, Katie and Emily.” So what’s the big deal? Well, it actually can be a big deal for us here at Peconic Dunes as well as other Lon
g Island summer camps. Our admin team works very hard to place groups of kids together at camp. After all, we are in the business of making kids happy. Unfortunately, we can’t always please everyone. The above mentioned scenario only involves five girls. How hard could that be? Well, if the cabin fits six campers and two counselors, just stop and think how awful it would be for that one child that would have to be put into a cabin and be the odd one out of a group of five 12-year-old girls. Any child in that situation would have a miserable camp experience.

And don’t forget, kids coming to camp with a large group of friends tend not to make new friends. New friends made at camp historically last for years. Seeing that “camp friend” each summer bestows upon children special memories and experiences shared only with their fellow campers creating that magical camper bond that can last a life time. With all of the above in mind, make decisions and don’t wait!