Monthly Archives: February 2014

1996 Staff- Friday night costumes

Staff 1996 costumes partynight

Categories: Alumni, Events, Friendship, The good ole days, The Staff House, Throwback Thursday, Welcome to camp, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday

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Categories: Activities, Friendship, Welcome to camp, What I like about camp, Wordless Wednesday | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview with returning counselor: Emily Westphal

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Emily “Emma D” Westphal

I am from the “Mitten State” aka Michigan. I grew up in Gaylord, but now live in Hermansville, which is in the Upper Peninsula.

What do you do when you are not at your REAL job at camp?

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When I am not at my summer home enjoying the beauty of Northern California with some amazing friends, I am an Art Teacher for a small public school district. I teach all ages, starting with young 4’s all the way through middle and high school students. Here is a link to my website: http://artofthejets.weebly.com.  I also am the Senior class advisor, run an after school art club for elementary students, and coach JV Volleyball. In my free time I love home décor projects, training for my first 5K, keeping in touch with friends, and spending as much time as possible being “Auntie Em” to my adorable niece and nephew.

When did you first start working at CCC?

I first took the leap and came to Coppercreek back in 2009. This summer will be my 6th year on staff, but it seems like time has flown by.

What were your biggest fears about coming to camp?

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Coming to camp my first year was like going to college all over again, except this time, I was a flight away from anyone I knew. It was very hard for me to get on a plane and go somewhere that I’ve only seen in pictures. At least when I went to college, I could visit beforehand. I was nervous that I would not connect with anyone, feel homesick, and not be as good of a counselor as the veteran staff.

What was camp like when you arrived?

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Chilly. All I can remember is thinking to myself, “Isn’t this California? I thought it was hot all of the time!” That summer, the nights were pretty cold during staff training, and I definitely wasn’t expecting that. The days were beautiful, and that made up for it 100%. The Directors and staff were friendly, welcoming, and I felt at home very quickly. I knew I made the right decision by taking the risk of trying something new.

What are your favorite activities?

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My favorite place at camp is the high ropes course. I like to facilitate it as the course supervisor, but I love to be a platform supervisor high up in the trees. The view is incredible, and I love watching campers conquer their fears. In addition, I have come to really enjoy a mountain bike ride here and there. It may not be something I am an expert on, but I love the challenge, and the feeling of satisfaction after completing a hard ride. I also have a soft spot for the talent show, vespers, and dressing up for Friday night dances.

What is your best memory?

I cannot pick one, so I compromised with three.

When I successfully got up on a wakeboard on Lake Almanor with the help of an amazing past counselor, Ryan McDowell.

A silly interpretative dance for the talent show to “Circle of Life” from The Lion King with the amazing Becca Rudy.

Last year at Vespers when Eric James Barger (the first) wrote a piece for me explaining the “Emma D Rule Book for Life” that made both of us cry in front of all of camp.

How did you feel when it was time to leave camp?

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Oh man… I am an incredibly emotional person, so I always take it really hard. I realize that I will not see everyone for at least a year, or more, or ever again for that matter, and I become quite sad. After leaving, I go through a period of time at home where I experience “camp withdrawals” and it is odd to adjust to everyday life. I definitely miss everything about Coppercreek instantly.

What do you know now that you didn’t know before you came to camp?

So many things. The first thing that comes to my mind is to try everything. You will never what you are capable of unless you give it a shot. Did I think I could fly across the country and make friendships with a “second family” away from home? No. Did I think I could try a riding lesson on a horse? No. Did I think I could complete an element of the high ropes course? No. But instead, I accomplished all of those things. ☺

If you could give campers advice on how to enjoy camp, what would that be?

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Try a variety of activities. Be silly. Get to know everyone in your cabin, including your counselor, because they are awesome! Step outside of your comfort zone. Perform something in the talent show. Try a horse lesson if you never have before. Sign up for out of camp trips. Go all out for dance costumes (I do!).

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And my top advice: Write down your favorite part of the day before you go to sleep. I call this concept Happy Thoughts. I have a happy thought book including all five of my years at camp, with entries from not only me, but ALL of my cabin members as well. It is SO amazing to look back and remember all of the times over the years. Those books are some of my prized possessions.

What is your favorite quote?

“A happy memory is a joy forever.”

Categories: Friendship, The Staff House, Welcome to camp, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday- Horses from the 1996 Yearbook

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Horses 1996 page 3-3

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Categories: Alumni, Horses of course, The good ole days, Throwback Thursday, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday- Talent Show with the Vaulters and Hatch.

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Categories: Activities, Events, Horses of course, Team Work, What I like about camp, Wordless Wednesday | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

What is CHA- Certified Horsemanship Association

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All of our riding staff, at Coppercreek Camp, are required to complete a 5 day CHA clinic which we host here at camp. CHA’s mission statement is, “To promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the entire horse industry. This is accomplished by certifying instructors, accrediting equine facilities and publishing educational resources.”

A camper practicing pole work under, CHA instructor, Dani's watchful eye.

A camper practicing pole work under, CHA instructor, Dani’s watchful eye.

During CHA, our instructors, along with people from other camps and equestrian facilities, “practice” teaching riding lessons to each other. Under the careful supervision and instruction of two experienced CHA clinicians, each instructor must teach at least 3 mounted lessons and one unmounted lesson. After their lesson, they are given constructive feedback on what went well, what needs improvement, and any safety issues.

MJ- one of our wonderful clinicians.

MJ- one of our wonderful clinicians.

Each candidate is evaluated on two different criteria: their riding ability and their teaching ability. CHA is divided up into 4 levels with Level 1 being the most basic and appropriate for beginner riders. Level 4 would be for advanced riders who are capable of riding with an independent seat, leg and hands at all gaits and can jump. Candidates can only be certified to teach up to one level below their riding ability.

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It is an intense 5 days filled with valuable information and experience. Each certified instructor leaves with a heightened sense of safety and competence. When you see a camp with certified CHA instructors, you know those instructors have been carefully “vetted” by the clinicians and you can feel more confident your child will be in capable hands, learning age appropriate equestrian instruction at the level of their riding ability.

Unmounted lesson on tying a horse.

Unmounted lesson on tying a horse.

In the horse world today, any person can hang a sign and call themselves a “riding instructor” and you have no idea if they actually know what they are doing. CHA creates a quality standard for instructors to follow. Instructors have to meet or exceed the criteria required during the clinic and then have to continue their equestrian education  to maintain their certification.

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Categories: Horses of course, Team Work, Uncategorized, Welcome to camp, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday- Teen leaders, Erika and Katherine, working on the camp newspaper (1993).

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Categories: Activities, Alumni, The good ole days, Throwback Thursday, Welcome to camp, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday- A Day of Teen Leadership Training

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Categories: Activities, Team Work, What I like about camp, Wordless Wednesday | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Interview with Jessica- returning CIT Director

Jess as the Popsicle Fairy

Jess as the Popsicle Fairy

Hometown: Green Mountain, Colorado

What do you do when you are not at your REAL job at camp? 

When I am not at camp I act as an LRF, Live- in residential Faculty, at the Athenian School in Danville California. My job is a lot like camp, I get to live in the girls’ dorm with high school students from around the world. Some of my students are from Vietnam, China, Japan, Uganda, Germany, and even India.

When did you first start working at CCC?

My first summer at Coppercreek was in 2012.

What were your biggest fears about coming to camp?

Coppercreek was not my first camp, though admittedly the first one was not a particularly pleasant experience, so my biggest fear in coming to Coppercreek for the first time was that I wouldn’t be a good fit for camp. I think the fact that I am returning for my third summer is evidence that this was not the case. I was also a little scared of camping without a tent, but now I prefer to sleep under the stars, tents just get in the way of a spectacular view. One of my biggest fears in general, not just at camp, was of heights. While I am still a little afraid for the last two summers, I have challenged myself to try something new on the ropes course during staff training and I have grown a lot from facing this fear.

What are your favorite activities?

I have so many favorite activities at camp, one of these is the high ropes course. With one of my biggest fears being heights, I am always amazed at the incredible things that campers achieve on the course, and I don’t just mean getting all the way across the Tarzan vines. The high ropes course offers everyone a chance to push themselves and succeed. Some of the most impressive feats I have seen down there are the campers that are terrified deciding to try, even if they don’t make it to the top, making that choice to challenge themselves both physically and mentally is astounding and I love to be their cheerleader.

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I also really enjoy anytime I can spend time with my Counselors in Training all together. My crew spends so much time split up at different cabins and activities that when we come back together we have a blast and make the most of it. So Teen Social Night and Outpost are incredible. There are too many activities at camp I enjoy chatting about, but the last one I want to mention here is my favorite game, The Stick Game. You’ll have to ask Emma D how to play 😊.

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What is your best memory?

I don’t think it is fair to be asked to choose just one favorite memory in all of my time at camp, but I will at least choose a very good one. On my very first outpost, which, as I mentioned before, I was nervous about due to the lack of tents; my campers found out that I had never seen a shooting star. This was made even worse by the fact that I missed every single one before we lay down on our tarp. So it was a very exciting moment when I finally did see my first shooting star, so much so that instead of going to sleep we stayed up and sang a song that one of my CIT’s made up about it, every time I saw one. We were all a giggling mess and certainly couldn’t sleep after all the excitement so we played a few rounds of The Question Game and had to describe our ideal toilets, the thing we most missed at outpost.

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How did you feel when it was time to leave camp?

The end of camp is bitter sweet. As sad as it is to be saying goodbye, some of my favorite moments have been during the last dance, or last meadow meeting of the season. I find it so touching that the only time my girls ever ask me to wake them up early is when a friend is on the first airport shuttle. I wish that camp could last forever but one of the things that makes it so special is that it doesn’t exist on Williams Valley Drive 10 months a year because we all take a little piece of it with us in our hearts. Coppercreek is only camp again when we all return with our little pieces of camp and create this magical place again.

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What do you know now that you didn’t know before you came to camp?

I know a lot of things now that I didn’t know before I came to Coppercreek, I know that the frogs in the showers are friendly, headlamps are cool, people actually do gymnastics on horseback, what it says on the top of the Leap of Faith log, making silly dances is a talent…. The list could go on and on but the biggest thing that Coppercreek has taught me is that Camp will never be done teaching me things.

If you could give campers advice on how to enjoy camp, what would that be?

Camp looks different for every single Camper, and Staff Member. There is no magic hint to have the most fun. The one thing that is required to have an amazing summer at Coppercreek is a positive attitude and an open mind. The more you try the more you will enjoy, and if you don’t enjoy a new activity there is always something else to try instead.

What is your favorite quote?

“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it all in at once.”

Audrey Hepburn

 

 

 

Categories: Activities, Friendship, The Staff House, Welcome to camp, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday- Music at camp

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Categories: Activities, Camp Songs, What I like about camp | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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