Tuesday, October 9, 2007

2007 Director Lipsync

Will Jeffumina join Ben for the big cheerleading competition? Watch to find out..

Parent Education Event announcement!

Next Wednesday, October 17, the Common Ground Speaker series is hosting a panel discussion featuring several well known academics in the education field. Entitled "GETTING SCHOOL RIGHT: Helping Kids Stay Healthy, Happy & Engaged" the panel will feature David Elkind, Ph.D., Madeline Levine, Ph.D., Denise Pope, Ph.D. and Brad Sachs, Ph.D. As stated on their website,

Common Ground is a coalition of Bay Area schools that have joined together to enhance parent education. The goal of the coalition is to provide opportunities for parents and educators to learn from experts in a variety of fields, to share ideas with others, and to support each other's efforts to enrich our local communities

Wednesday, October 17, 7:00PM
Woodside High School
Performing Arts Center
199 Churchill Avenue
Woodside, CA 94062
(650) 367-9750

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What is Love? Ask the Jefunira Counselors...

The Jefunira counselors ask that eternal question.."What is Love"? While we maintain that love is a giant box of otter pops, check out this clip to see what their answer is....

Jefunira goes Global!

Jefunira Camp is popping up around the world! We received a sighting report of counselors Jamie and Justin in China and Tibet, and just discovered photographic proof that they made their way to the Jokhang in Tibet. Counselor Jamie told us they played a thrilling game of Star Wars in the plaza behind them, and that they left their newfound friends chanting "If you had fun, you won!" Check out other Jefunira sightings around the globe at our website. You can even send in your own photos of your family wearing their Jefunira gear at other famous or exotic locations and help us start filling up our map!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Studies show..Recess is important!

The National Association of Early Childhood Specialists has put out a position paper that reiterates the importance and value of unstructured play time for children on a regular basis. As both current and former teachers and educators ourselves, the Jefunira director corps couldn't agree more with the sentiments of the paper. Allowing children the opportunity for free play time on a daily basis not only provides them with an opportunity for exercise and physical activity, but encourages them to be creative in coming up with their own games to play, rather than waiting to be provided with structured play by an adult. We at Jefunira Camp encourage families to find time each day to go to the playground or park- And rather than telling your children what games to play, let them teach you a favorite game, or even invent their own game for the family to play!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Transition Tips for the New School Year

We know making the transition from the summer to a new school year can be a difficult one for many parents. Figuring out new schedules, homework expectations and helping children adapt to new environments is a big task for parents and we here at Jefunira Camp want to help! Here is a list of tips suggested by the National Association of School Psychologists on their web site

* Re-establish bedtime and mealtime routines early in the year to help remind your child(ren) of their school year schedules.

* Turn off the TV. The NASP suggests keeping television off limits during all school weeks, but if thats not reasonable for your family, limiting TV time during the first month of school will help your child focus on getting into a good homework routine. Which leads us to...

* Designate a space to do homework that is consistently quiet and free of distractions. For older children, studying in their own rooms may be the best bet, while younger children should work in a common family space to help facilitate check ins and help.

* Remain calm and positive. We know its hard not to panic when you see that your child is in a class with someone who they have had trouble with in the past, but before you send your child into high anxiety, there a several steps you can take to set them up for a more successful year. 1) Let your childs teacher know of the past issues, and what was done to address them. 2) Reassure your that their teachers are aware of the issues and are working to create a positive experience this year. 3)Reinforce your childs ability to cope by giving them some strategies to use should minor issues arise. Make sure they know to tell a teacher if the problem persists or become more severe.

* For older children, find out from their teachers which days will be homework or study intensive, and plan extracurricular activities accordingly around that schedule

* And finally, remind your children that just because summer vacation is over, their enjoyment of the year doesn't have to end! Look over their upcoming curriculum together and find items that they are excited about, or projects you can work on as a family.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another Summer in the Books!

Thanks to everyone who helped to make summer 2007 a fantastically fun and memorable experience. From the now legendary counselor 'Pachelbel lipsync' (video to follow!) to the epic games of Capture the Flag and Prisonball, we hope everyone made enough memories to last through the coming year! From all of us at Jefunira Camp, we wish everyone a wonderful start to the school year and hope to see everyone again next year!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Chariots of Chlorine

Congratulations to former Jefunira campers Tara and Tera Levens! These two Jefunira alums took third place in the CCS swimming finals last weekend, breaking a 27 year old school record in the 200 medley relay event. Way to go! Congrats also to all the other Jefunira alums who participated! Remember- If you had fun, you won...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Businesses with Values

Jeff and I were fortunate enough to attend a class and discussion at the Stanford Business school this morning. The class was engaged in a case study of Wild Planet Toys, a SF based toy company founded by Danny Grossman. During the class, one of the recurring ideas raised revolved around Wild Planet's core values of respecting kids and adults, and producing toys and games that promote non-violent play and encourage exploration. Many of the students in the class were curious/impressed with how Wild Planet has retained its core values through significant growth and how it has remained true to its vision in all of the toys it has produced.

Like Wild Planet, Jefunira Camp was founded on a very clear set of values, and continues to promote non-competitive, inclusive activities that encourage social and emotional growth in children. As we begin to grow and expand, we're looking to companies such as Wild Planet for guidance on how to expand a business without compromising the values it was founded on. As always, we welcome thoughts from the community on how to do this!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Counselor Serenade 2006

As the summer grows closer, we thought we'd share a song written by last years counselors for our campers!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Summer Camps: A fun way to get fit!

Among the many enriching experiences and opportunities that outdoor summer camps offer, perhaps one of the most valuable today is the chance for children to be physically active. With more and more studies being released that document that rapid growth of obesity and other weight related diseases in children, some scientists are predicting that close to half of the children in North and South America could be overweight by 2010. With all of the forms of media entertainment available to todays children and the glut of advertisements being put out by fast food companies, lack of physical exercise combined with unhealthy eating habits is becoming a serious issue.

At Jefunira Camp, we develop programming that is welcoming and fun to all children, regardless of their skill level or athletic experience. By creating non-traditional games that create excitement for our campers and offer multiple ways to engage within the activities, our programming is designed to be accessible to all kids. Our advice for parents struggling to get their kids outdoors is to create activities that generate excitement and teach athletic skills in fun, innovative ways. For example, when working on throwing and catching skills, rather than simply tossing a ball back and forth endlessly, create a game such as the "Catching Olympics" in which kids get points every time they make a catch, or create a 'landing zone' out of cones and challenge your child to try to throw objects into the zone, awarding points for every successful throw. Keep track of the running 'Grand Champion Score' and challenge them in successive rounds to beat the score!

For more information on this topic and some ideas on how to help your children stay healthy, we reccomend the American Obesity Association website.

Friday, May 11, 2007

It Takes a Village..

As a small business, Jefunira Camp has relied on a lot of support from our community and local businesses over the years. Although we don't currently offer the buying power or budget of a larger company, we've been able to continue to grow and flourish in no small part thanks to the hard work and diligence of our supporting businesses. For today's post, we wanted take the time to give a thank you to all of the people and busineses that have supported us over the years, and continue to support us! Thanks to you, we continue to be able to offer a premier summer camp experience to our communities and campers. Although there are too many to name each individual, we did want to give an extra big thank you to those listed below:

Jennifer Allen and Mike Maystead of Pip Printing

David Wright of InterWest Insurance

Heidi Faith of Phoenix Designs

Maureen Velasquez and Barbara Welsh, principals of St. Cyprian and Nixon Elementary schools

Ilene Sotnick and her amazing T-shirt design company, Meridian ID!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

5 Ways to Beat the Heat!

With temperatures skyrocketing in the area, the Jefunira Camp directors sat down and compiled a list of activities for parents to entertain their kids on hot afternoons...We'd also love to hear your ideas!

#1. Make your own Water Park in the back/front yard. Let your kids imaginations run wild by giving them some sprinklers, buckets, squirt bottles and a hose and ask them to set up a water amusement park ride, relay race or game!

#2. Play Squirt Bottle Tag! This one's a lot of fun and easy to set-up. Just fill a few squirt bottles with water, give the kids a boundary, and tell them that anyone inside the boundaries can be squirted! If any participants don't feel like getting wet, or want to take a break, they can step outside the boundary into the 'safe zone'. For a twist, put a couple objects (bean bags, toys, water balloons) in the middle of a circle and break the kids into teams. One team trys to run in and grab the objects, while the defenders in the middle are armed with squirt bottles. If you are squirted while trying to grab an object, you have been 'tagged' and must exit the circle!

#3. Visit the Baylands or Shoreline. Both of these parks are on the water and offer a cooler environment than anywhere in town. Baylands offers some great nature walks and is located next to Twisters Gym, if your kids are in the mood for some rock climbing! Shoreline Park offers paddleboats, sailing, and some great walks as well!

#4. The always popular option...go to the movies! While the summer blockbusters (Shrek 3, Pirates 3) are still a few weeks away from opening, theaters in the area are currently playing Disneys "Meet the Robinsons" (in 3-D no less!) for the younger crowd, while Spider Man 3 just opened last week for the 5th grade and up audience. Check out the Jefunira Review of Spider Man below, and keep your eyes peeled for more Jefunira "Kid-Friendly" reviews coming soon!

#5. When in doubt on a hot day...go to Ricks Rather Rich Ice Cream on Middlefield and Charleston or the Creamery downtown! Ricks (now run by Gary Schoen) uses a higher percentage of butterfat than many other places, resulting in smooth, creamy flavors! We recommend the Computer Chip and Chocolate Ginger. And for those interested in the Jefunira Directors Ice Cream Picks..

Jeff says, "Baskin Robbins 2 scoop hot fudge sundae w/ vanilla ice cream, extra nuts and no cherry."

Ben says, "Palo Alto Creamery Oreo cookie mint milkshake with extra fudge mixed in"

Monday, May 7, 2007

Stanford event on Academic Stress

In light of our recent post on the benefits of play for children, we thought the following event might be of interest to our readers!

On May 11 at 7:30, the Stanford school of Education will be hosting a free plenary session open to the public featuring two nationally acclaimed speakers, Dr. Madeline Levine and Dr. Wendy Mogel. The topic of discussion is SOS, or Stressed out Students, and the session is a part of a research and intervention project working towards creating healthier students and educational environments. The event website lists the following reasons for hosting this event,

With a rise in recent years in the number of students seeking mental health services, an increase in cheating behavior in school, and students' consistent worry about academic achievement, we feel it is time to bring the community together to address and counter problems associated with academic stress
.We encourage parents, educators and members of the community to check out this event, and continue to strive to create a healthy, fun and low-stress childhood for our children! You can find the details at the SOS website.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Spider Man 3: Campy but fun!

As professional camp directors, we consider it our duty to stay on top of the latest news, studies, and media that relate to our fields of interest. Thus, in the interest of research, Jefunira took a field trip to the movies today to see the new Spider Man movie!

After reading some pretty negative reviews describing the film as overly long, muddled and lacking in a single grounded storyline, our expectations were somewhat lowered. But 2 hours and 20 minutes later (definitely about 20 minutes too long) we left the theater entertained and happy! Yes, the characters strayed from the core personalities that have been established for them over the last two movies; Yes, the multiple villains and their corresponding plotlines were lacking in both menace and cohesiveness, but the movie harkened to the campy, irreverent comic books of old. With larger than life explosions and fight scenes, and overly melodramatic dialogue that was dripping with corny but wise-sounding pieces of advice ("We choose who we are" and "The hardest thing to do is forgive yourself"), Spider Man 3 was a fun kick-off to the coming onslaught of Summer blockbusters. We give it 3.5 Otter Pops out of 5.

This movie is appropriate for: Purple Groupers

To find a showing of Spider Man 3 near you, click here!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Shift in Global Educational values

The NY Times Magazine recently published a fairly extensive piece examining China's education system, and the growing movement towards developing a more creative, flexible and individualistic workforce in this era of global markets. Towards this end, many of the private elementary and middle schools are attempting to develop curriculum that steers away from the traditional rote memorization exercises and introduces classroom projects and activities that may develop creativity and foster social emotional growth.

This trend is one that we've observed locally as well, as parents recognize the value of social development, opportunities for creativity, and chances for their children to engage in play based settings that aren't high stress/high pressure. These skills are all core to the programming philosophy at Jefunira, and were at the forefront during our recent re-examination of the camp's mission statement. Our final result,

"Jefunira Camp is committed to providing a premier summer camp experience by creating a safe and inclusive community where campers can develop self-esteem, self- confidence and have fun through inclusive, play based activity".
reflects our commitment to fostering the social skills and play based learning that is becoming harder and harder to find! If we can pass on some of the same kind of summer memories that we look back on so fondly from our youth, our mission will be well served.

We're also curious as to others thoughts on the matter- are the academic pressures placed on children around the globe in todays high-pressure society negatively impacting their development? Or are summer tutors and enrichment math classes necessary to achieve success? Is there a better way to balance out these dual needs?
These questions have been on our minds frequently, and we look forward to continuing to engage the community in dialogues that better help us create fun, enriching and memorable experiences for all children!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Summer is almost upon us!

The countdown has begun...45 days till training for Jefunira Camp begins! Jeff, Terri and I have been getting very excited for the summer to begin- as much fun as we have playing 1 on 1 Ga-Ga, nothing compares to the excitement of having all of our campers and counselors around to play with. We've also been busy in the off-season inventing some new games and activities- keep your eyes peeled for "Dragonslayer" "Bean Bag Olympics" and some even wackier relay events!

We've nearly completed our hiring for the summer, and are very excited about the caliber of our counselors this summer- we have some amazingly talented people working with us, including a large number of returning counselors from last year! This years counseling staff includes singers, ice hockey players, ultimate frisbee stars, martial artists, global volunteers and more...We're still looking for those last few all-stars to round out the counseling staff- if you know of anyone you think would make a great camp counselor, please send them our way!

-Director Ben

Monday, April 9, 2007

Jefunira in the News!

Jefunira Camp was mentioned as one of the most popular camps in Palo Alto in a San Jose Mercury article about summer camp registration- look for us about 2/3 of the way down. The article discusses the early deadlines for parents trying to register their kids for summer programming and brings up some good issues regarding the at times competitive and extreme nature of camp registration. Jefunira saw this first hand this year, with over 500 applications arriving on the first day- a little overwhelming even for us! For those parents still trying to choose the right camp for their kids, our best advice is to consult other parents! Nothing substitutes for first hand knowledge of a program, and past attendees can tell you about issues such as quality of staff, programming, and other topics that might not be addressed by a website or brochure. Some good questions to ask:

1) Does the camp feel like a safe place to leave your kids?
2) What is the diversity of the camp's programming? (i.e. Is it all sports, all crafts, a mix of both, etc..)
3)What kind of staff-camper ratio does the camp have?
4) Do the counselors engage campers in activities when they arrive?
5) Is the camp ACA (American Camping Assocation) certified?

Regarding #5- Jefunira Camp is one of the only day camps on the peninsula to voluntarily submit ourselves to the ACA certification process. While optional, we feel that the guidelines and demonstration that we're following industry best practices required for ACA accredidation helps us to provide the safest, highest quality summer experience for our campers!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Director Lip Sync 2006

Once again, Ben and Jeff spent countless hours rehearsing choreography, picking out costumes, perfecting their hair, and memorizing lyrics for the much anticipated directors lip sync! Did all their hard work pay off? You be the judge...

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The 1st Jefunira Podcast!

Jefunira is pleased to bring you the first of what will soon be many fun podcasts!

Counselor Lip Sync 2006

The Jefunira Counselors encounter a 7 foot tall Otter Pop...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Jefunira camp goes high-tech!

Welcome everyone!

We at Jefunira Camp are very excited to announce our new blog. We hope to start posting some exciting new content to fulfill your Jefunira needs year-round- keep your eyes peeled for podcast interviews with the Gladiators, downloadable stories told by Directors "Jeff" and "Ben", and videos offering a behind the scenes view of Jefunira camp! We'll also be using this site to post reviews of books, movies, and fun places that we think campers would enjoy!