Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mischief Managed - 6th Birthday

Happy birthday, Trefoil Academy, and many more! 

Greetings, Trefoil Academy!   Today is October 23, 2014.   HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Most of the time, it is very hard to remember what life was like before Trefoil Academy and its gleeful Cheshire Cat whirlwind.  However, today, it feels like it was only yesterday that the invitational e-mail showed up in my mailbox.  The story of Trefoil Academy is the story of a little project that got out hand.

Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."    It is very true.  What started as a small and one-time archery camp has evolved into a full fledged movement that is discovering its voice.  Trefoil Academy is dedicated to providing a safe environment where youth are able to discover what they are passionate about without the fear of negativity from their peers.  It is offers the rare sanctuary in today's world where imagination, resourcefulness and creativity reign.  With each passing year, our impact continues to grow ever further.  We have and continue to make a difference in the lives around us.

This difference is the direct result of the wonderful support from our camp family.   I would like to thank our dedicated camp parents for their unwavering support.   I would also like to thank our wonderful campers who continue to remind us each passing day why we volunteer.  May their enthusiasm never waver.   Most of all, a very heart felt thank you goes out to the amazing volunteer staff of Trefoil Academy.  When I first started working in the camp industry, I was told that you can have a great camp in a parking lot if you have great counselors.   The passion, hard-work, dedication and innovative spirit of our staff never ceases to amaze me and is the reason that we are here today.  

The magic of this story is its journey and the impact that it has had on all of us.  We will never know where it may eventually take us or who we will meet along the way.  What is known is that we continue to design, develop and determine our destiny, and what a destiny it will be.  Our legacy is change, and the future is ours.

[Birthday present coming soon]

Thank you for your continuous support.



Previous birthday posts
5th birthday

4th birthday

3rd birthday

2nd birthday

1st birthday

The start of the journey

Monday, July 21, 2014

2014 Evaluations-At-A-Glance

While I am still planning up a formal review of the camp to be posted, here is a quick summary of the 2014 camper evaluations.

1) Overall Rating of the Camp
Goal #1: Skyline Council tells camp directors to strive for a 90% rating of "Pretty Good."

This year . . .
Love It: 92%
Pretty Good: 6% 

Its Okay: 2%

Overall, we have actually gone up from last year which is impressive.  Please note that NOT a single person marked it is "not so good" on their evaluation.

2) Interest In Returning To Camp
Goal #2: American Camp Association (ACA)'s standard recommend 60% or higher of campers wishing to return

This year . . 100% of the campers indicated an interest or a willingness to return to camp.   

3) Interest In Returning to Their House
Goal #3: 80% will wish to return to their houses

This year, 100% expressed a strong desire of returning to their house.

4) Approval of Activities
Goal #4: All Activities Will Receive An Approval Rating of 85% or higher.

This year, all activities rated at 92% approval or higher

5) Camper Recommendations For 2014
82% of the camp felt it was perfect. However, 18 campers provided feedback that will be considered for next year.

  • Make it longer (8)
    It is an issue of being able to pay the real life bills.  If I had my way, this would be a summer long overnight camp.  
  • Hot Chocolate At Breakfast (2)
    We had some unexpected problems plaguing the kitchen involving Sam's Club.  We will most certainly try for next year though.
  • More overnight camping (adv. SFF) (1)
    I will be talking to the others about that,  and we will see what we can do.
  • More student awards  (1)
  • More house activities (2)
  • More space for wand-at-the-ready (2)
    Duly noted for set up of next year.
  • More involvement with the antagonist (1)
  • Runology II (1)
  • A note has been made to include that when the 2015 program has been developed.

    Sunday, July 20, 2014

    From Moon: Let's All Refer to the End of Camp as "Taking a Break"

    Hello all! Ash's post-camp reports will be forthcoming, when she has a chance to recover from the labor-intensive but magical experience that we call camp, as well as compile said reports.

    I heard from a number of campers and counselors during our goodbyes yesterday saying that leaving is more like taking a break than saying goodbye. Some also said "see you soon," or "see you later." From our perspective, this could not be truer. We're always, constantly talking about the next chance we'll get to have camp, or about summer session.

    Trefoil Academy is this magical place that we sometimes get to visit, where we get to be with our camp family and have all sorts of magical adventures and fun together. When we are not there, it feels like it waits in the wings for us. Just when we think we can't wait any longer, all of a sudden the castle stands again and then we find ourselves battling death eaters, dementors and hunting down villains as we always do.

    And this year? We did so much more than ever before! Defense against the Dark Arts became our archery class, so that we could gain Abjuration - our martial arts class. History of Magic, once a popular elective, became a core class so that everyone can enjoy it. We built robots! Liam taught a few of our talented mages the art of Technomancy, in which students learned how to build and code a functioning robot (that then proceeded to chase people around :P ). Paws held Victiorian tea time, and taught us some refinement.

    Wednesday was certainly an eventful day. We got to teach more magizoology this year, adding to our advanced care of magic creatures course advanced magizoology. We took some of our junior magizoologists on an adventure to a muggle park called Mill Mountain Zoo.That evening, professor Laura paid us a visit and helped with our first advanced surviving the forbidden forest course in which some of our resourceful mages went out camping.

    Ash taught us gemology, and some of the magical properties that gems and stones can have. Cloud led our first official choir. We also had our first band class. We had our own rad powder battle on the quidditch field, where 150 people ran around throwing "floo powder" at everyone in order to travel back in time. Goose taught our crafty mages bookbinding while Ranger led our first parkour class. Rhine taught us how to tell stories in illusionology while Sneaky Giant taught us about mythology in legends and lore. Stringbean taught us to tap dance in kinetics while Kestrel led our handy mages in color guard in our air evocation class. Ember taught our first yoga course.

    And the above is only mentioning our relatively new activities! That's all in addition to our returning courses like the ever popular quidditch, quadpot, wandlore, divination, runology, witch stitchery, muggle studies, enchanting, flying, dueling club, and ready set spells. And those are just the electives! We still have charms class, wonders of the black lake, transfiguration, herbology, care of magical creatures, potions, and surviving the forbidden forest.

    Yes, this is all in one week! How do we manage it? Magic! So after all of that you can imagine that we might need a little break. But rest assured, it will not be for long, nor for forever. Our wonderful campers (aka mages or witches) have a very special place in our hearts. We do all this for you. And if we could manage to keep you for longer, believe me, we would. Alas, we are but volunteers, and have school to attend or bills to pay. You all are the best, which is why we keep coming back to do all of these wonderful programs - for you. So have a great year, and we will see you very soon!  - Love Moon

    Monday, May 26, 2014

    From Moon: A Legacy of Change

    What is Trefoil Academy? Can I just say that when I talk about our camp with people, that is one of my favorite questions to answer. Why? There are a number of reasons. One that is pretty high up there is the fact that we are always doing something different.

    Greetings friends, families, and prospects. My name is Moon, and this year will mark my fourth summer session (only one more til I get my five year pin, woo!)

    Our returning and previous campers will tell you to expect the unexpected during our camps. We absolutely love throwing curve balls, and trying new ideas wherever we can. It's fun for us, and hopefully fun for you! We love change. It's how we got to try out this springs Parallel Universes camp. You ladies (the campers) told us what you're passionate about, and what you'd like to do at camp. We listened. And it just so happens that we share many of those passions with you! (And can I just say that it was great being able to talk someone else's ear off about Doctor Who? ;P )

    Did you all know that our tradition of implementing change can also be found outside of camp as well? As counselors, we will never stop learning. Our constant goal of wanting to make camp better for our families drives us to find better ways of doing everything. This includes how we prepare for camp, training, how we communicate with one another, how we organize information, how we reward our successes, the theme of each year's staff retreat, and so on. The list goes on. Have you noticed also that our website also has a habit of changing and evolving over the years? Even our logo and our t-shirts change! Each year we also find new crafts and wares to put up in the camp store (look out, fun stuff is coming!). And you know what? I love it all.

    Every time we talk about doing something new at camp, it makes me look forward to summer session that much more. There are so many, many, many ideas that we have for camp. Last summer following camp we had the thought, "Gosh, if we only had time to do all that.." So what did we do? We made time, revamping the daily schedule for this year's summer session to accommodate for all of the new things that we wanted to do! That is why you may have noticed the new format for signing up for activities for registration. And I can't wait to see how you all enjoy it.

    What else is changing? As always, we are opening Trefoil Academy's family to new staff members! Some of them you may have met already, such as M, Cypher, Red and Valkyrie. But we have so many more that you all can look forward to meeting! I cannot tell you about all of them alas, because some of them are so excited for camp that they have not decided on their characters yet. Rest assured, however, that they are looking forward to seeing all of the campers that we are constantly bragging about!

    I hope you can hold on for just a little bit longer, campers. July is just around the corner! So do well on your exams, SOLs, and any goals you are striving for between now and camp. We'll have so much fun planned for you as a reward. ;)        - Moon

    Sunday, February 9, 2014

    Trefoil Academy: The Road Trip

    Hello all! I know it's been a long time since I have posted on the blog. I have a valid excuse, the evidence of which I will be posting here soon. (So keep a look out!) 

    Critter and Froggie

    So all the counselors have been dreaming of a chance to go on a road trip. Some day it would be supremely awesome to go on a massive road trip with a few dozen staff members! For the moment, five was more than enough to provide lots of fun! As you may have seen below, Ash, Froggie, Critter, Liam and I all packed into a car and drove down to Orlando for the National American Camp Association (ACA) Conference. It was a long drive, but most definitely not a boring one. With a car full of Trefoil Academy's finest, you really cannot expect anything less than hilarity and good times. 

    Post it notes: providing endless road trip entertainment to the young at heart everywhere.

    I believe I speak for the five of us when I say that experiencing our first ACA conference was enlightening. One of our first impressions was a feeling like these are our people. They understand all the craziness, energy, and warmth that involves being a counselor. We met a lot of people from camps all over the country, and some from other countries! I personally had lovely discussions with camp directors from both Greece and Venezuela! The camp from Venezuela is called Shangrila, and their camp grounds even have peacocks. How nifty is that? There I was sharing ideas with camp counselors and directors from around the world! It's worth mentioning that there were plenty of other Girl Scouts camps there from around the country as well.

    Our goal at the ACA conference was to learn. And that we did! To say that we learned a lot would be a huge understatement! And the great part about this is we get to bring all that we learned to camp to make it an even better and more enriching experience for all our campers as well as our staff. 

    I know there's something wrong with this picture, but I can't seem to figure out what

    One aspect of the conference that none of us saw coming was that we stood out. Why? Two reasons. Firstly, we are a Harry Potter camp. Secondly, we all wore our bandanas. We can't complain, honestly. It was pretty nice being affectionately called the bandana clan/team/crew/etc. We were THE bandana people. We know that many camps use the bandana system, so we expected to see others there wearing their bandanas. They did not. So we stood out a little. We're used to this by now, I think. Even when we made a quick stop to Downtown Disney during our free time, one of the cast members called us the bandana crew. 

    The idea that our identity is being a Harry Potter camp was somewhat unique at the conference. I can scarcely recall running into any other themed camps. One of the presenters before a class asked us what would happen when Harry Potter is no longer popular. He was surprised that we already had an answer to his question and that we were not offended by it. Our returning campers will know that we have ventured out of the plot of the book series already, and begun our own. But the presenter's question did remind us that we are building the identity of our camp based on the foundation of acceptance. We aren't just Hogwarts: the Summer Session. We are Trefoil Academy. We are the camp where it's not only okay to be geeky or passionate about something, it's embraced. From the get go, we followed our campers into the rabbit hole, and will continue to do so as long as you all are having fun.

    Froggie and Ash trying out some fun toys before a keynote speech on Wednesday

    No matter what kind of camp director, counselor or presenter we spoke to, however, we all at least had one thing in common: we were there in the end for the sake of our campers. That's why we do what we do. It's why most of us are so proud to say we're volunteers at a Girl Scouts camp, or a Harry Potter camp. Many of our peers in our personal lives think we're a little crazy to take our time off only to go and work at a camp. I think that they're missing out. In the end it's all for you guys. That's why we packed ourselves into a car and drove so far. We're committed to Trefoil Academy. And now we have a few more tools to help us keep those commitments.

    I will probably add more photos or video here later. And I know Ash has some she might want to share. For now, however, I will get back to work on Doctor Who camp. That's right, folks! Coming this April, we have Parallel Universes, which is still enrolling! Spend a day in one of four universes, including Pirates vs Ninjas, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, and Pokemon! There's so much going on this spring. So if you need to get your camp fix before Summer Session, or are curious as to what a Trefoil Academy camp is like, please join us! We'd love to have you, and are always excited to meet new faces! 

    Enjoy the rest of your winter safely, and don't forget to do your homework kids ;)  

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    Road trip: ACA National Conference

    I am currently in the back seat of Liam's car with Froggie laughing at what my auto correct on my phone changing thIs post to.  We have been in the car since approximately 8 am so naturally we are a bit slap happy. It has been a long day but fun to travel with fellow counselors.  Liam, Moon, Critter, and Froggie are with me.  They day has been full of mischievous photos, singing to wizard wrock music on top of our lungs and other Trefoil style humor.  We still have about an hour before we arrive to our destination.  Rose is gracious to be allowing us to crash at her place.

    While today was a long day, tomorrow is going to be even longer.  For the next several days we will be attending the National ACA conference in Orlando, Florida.  ACA is the accreditation body for summer camps everywhere.     I am really looking forward to all the exciting workshops and having an opportunity to meet other people who share the same love that we do for camp.

    I will be doing my best to update the blog frequently about our adventures.

    Ooo. Another good wrock song!  Sweet dreams, Trefoil family and be safe!