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RECONNECTING WITH THE OUTDOORS Summer Camp Was a Big Part of My Childhood
Growing up, from the time I was 8 years old until I was 15, I would spend three weeks of the summer at a sleepaway camp. Because summer camp was such a fundamental part of my childhood, the summer season generally always reminds me of my summer camp days. This summer, after spending the last year at home due to COVID-19, and consequently spending more time indoors and in front of a computer or TV screen, I am particularly nostalgic for camp in that it allowed me to totally “unplug.” My summers at camp were “off the grid.” As campers, we were forced to leave our cellphones, tablets, and Game Boys at home. Even the counselors and staff members at camp were not allowed to use their cellphones during daylight hours. Freed from our personal electronics, and without the distractions of social media, texting, or TV shows, at camp, we enjoyed the simpler pleasures of the great outdoors. Virtually everything at camp took place outside. The days were filled with hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, and swimming. Even arts and crafts, dance, and theater were spent outdoors. Downtime was spent playing tetherball in the middle of the village, sitting on a hillside making friendship bracelets, or just lounging in the grass and talking with friends and counselors. While campers and counselors slept in cabins for the majority of the summer session, everyone at the camp was required to spend one night in the woods on what was referred to as an “overnight.” For my first several summers at camp, I anticipated these “overnights” with apprehension. Despite loving spending all our time outside, I was still frightened by the idea of spending the night without the comfort and protection of our cabin and knowing that I would have to sleep in close proximity with insects and animals.
Rachel, age 9 (center), smiles with two of her summer camp counselors on the first day of camp 2002.
Each year, for the annual “overnight” camping trip, after our counselors revealed that tonight would be this session’s overnight, my fellow cabinmates and I would return to our cabin, quickly pack our flashlights, gather our sleeping bags, and prepare to hike deep into the woods to a campsite where we’d spend the rest of the evening. Upon reaching the campsite, we pitched our tents and set out our sleeping bags. The counselors and staff members then led the campers in skill-building exercises like constructing makeshift shelters from
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sticks or identifying and avoiding poison ivy or poison oak. After the conclusion of the activity, the campers were divided into teams with different meal-prep responsibilities. Some campers helped chop veggies, others collected twigs and wood to build a fire, and some helped with the cleanup. We ate our dinner around the campfire before concluding the night with songs, roasting marshmallows, and eating s’mores. Finally, we’d climb into our sleeping bags, the sound of buzzing crickets humming us to sleep. The overnight was a crucial component to the camp experience. It pushed us campers outside of our comfort zones and taught us new skills that helped us develop self-confidence, self-reliance, and independence. Putting up and taking down a tent, building a fire, preparing a collective outdoor meal, and sharing fears and excitement of experiencing something unknown helped to strengthen the bonds of friendship and trust among the campers and their counselors. Over my many summers at camp, the overnights became one of the nights I looked forward to the most. This summer, I hope that everyone has an opportunity to spend some time outdoors, perhaps disconnected from their electronics, to learn a new skill, or simply to reconnect to nature.
3 NOODLE HACKS YOU HAVE TO TRY AFTER POOL SEASON You may only have a few more weeks of great pool weather left, so soak it up while you can! Afterward, you may find yourself taking stock of the pool toys that survived this season or notice an end-of- season sale on pool noodles. Don’t scoff! These fun pool toys can also be handy tools around the home. DON’T THROW AWAY THOSE POOL NOODLES!
Check out these affordable life hacks that are all thanks to the common pool noodle.
Protect Your Vehicle Create extra padding and prevent scratches and dings just by manipulating a few pool noodles. If you have a tight garage space, cut pool noodles lengthwise and slide them over garage beams, work benches, or other items that are frequently hit by your car door. The noodle will take the blow, and your car won’t get dinged! Another easy way to protect your car is to attach pool noodles to the top of a vehicle’s luggage rack. This will prevent your cargo from scratching the top of your vehicle! (Just be sure to strap everything down so it doesn’t slide off.) Stop the Pinch Pool weather may be ending, but trampoline season is still in full swing. Despite how fun trampolines can be, they can be risky. But pool noodles can help relieve some of your fears. Simply measure the length of a single spring on your trampoline and cut pool noodles into same-length sections so you have one piece for every spring. Then, cut the noodle pieces lengthwise and fit them over the springs. You may need to replace the noodles every few months, but fingers and hair will be protected from those sturdy metal jaws. Relieve Pain As we age, life takes its toll, so why not have a little cushion? A pool noodle is an easy solution for this. You can cut a pool noodle the length of your keyboard, and then cut it in half to create a soft and affordable wrist guard at your desk. Try the same method with ladder rungs to protect your knees and shins or cover handles with noodles for an easier grip!
INSPIRATION CORNER CATRENA CANNON
Our former client and forever friend Catrena inspires us for her positive attitude, loving nature, and passionate spirit. Catrena serves as the Workforce Diversity Manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for the City of Columbus. There, she helps to shape the workforce culture into one that is more inclusive and welcoming to all city employees. Catrena encourages acceptance of others, seeing the unique greatness within every individual.
When she is not working, she spends her time with family, especially her beautiful daughter Rhyan. Catrena’s favorite quote is:
“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Need a few more noodle hacks in your life? Reader’s Digest has you covered. Check out their extensive list online at RD.com.
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STAYING SAFE AT YOUR FAVORITE AMUSEMENT PARK A Few Tips to Remember As the country continues to open back up, some of the summer fun that we could have before the pandemic is back on the table — including trips to your favorite amusement parks. The flurry of activity, the rides, the games, and the food can all make for a fantastic day for people of all ages. However, in order to get the most fun out of your day at the amusement park, you should follow a few simple safety tips. Beware the Sun and the Heat While the roller coasters and other rides may seem intense and dangerous, the summer weather is more likely to pose health and safety risks. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as being outside will cause you to dehydrate more quickly. Also, remember to apply plenty of sunscreen to yourself and your kids. If you have children under 6 months, keep them shaded in a stroller or under a sun hat. Follow the Amusement Park’s Rules Respect the height limits posted outside certain rides — the height limits are meant to indicate on whom the straps, harnesses, and bars will properly fit. If someone too short or too small gets on the ride, it could be dangerous for them. So, you should always follow guidance from the amusement park and its employees. Many amusement park injuries occur because people don’t think the rules apply to them. Have a Plan for Minor Injuries Depending on the nature of the park, certain rides could jostle you and your kids about, leading to cuts, scrapes, and bruises. When you’re packing up your supplies for the day, it’s a good idea to also include some bandages and disinfectant wipes. To be prepared for any larger injuries, find where the first-aid station for the park is on a map before you go.
Rachel’s Raspberry Ricotta Cake
This easy, one-bowl recipe can be served with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream as an elegant dessert, but it is equally delicious with a cup of coffee for breakfast. It is even better the next day.
INGREDIENTS • Nonstick vegetable oil spray • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour • 1 cup sugar • 2 tsp baking powder • Zest of one lemon • 3/4 tsp kosher salt • 3 large eggs • 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
• Juice of half a lemon • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted • 2 cups fresh or
frozen raspberries, divided (can also use blueberries or blackberries)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, ricotta, lemon juice, and vanilla until smooth. Fold into dry ingredients until blended. Then fold in butter, followed by 1 1/2 cups raspberries, taking care not to crush berries. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining 1/2 cup raspberries over top, gently pushing them slightly into the batter. 3. Bake cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–50 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. Then, let cool another 10–15 minutes on a cooling rack. Cake can be made 2 days ahead and stored tightly wrapped at room temperature.
We hope you have a fun, safe summer ahead of you, full of opportunities to make memories with your family and friends!
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INSIDE THIS EDITION
Memories of Summer Camp
Inspiration Corner — Catrena Cannon Save Your Pool Noodles for an Easier Life Stay Safe at the Amusement Park With These Tips Rachel’s Raspberry Ricotta Cake
Work Hard Play Hard Giveaway
WORK HARD PLAY HARD GIVEAWAY
June is National Safety Month, which is sponsored annually by the National Safety Council. Last month, to encourage construction site safety awareness, we held a Work Hard Play Hard Giveaway, and we posted all month long about workplace and construction site safety. We all work hard, but it is important to take time to play hard, too! That’s why, on June 29, we gave away two two-day, any-day tickets to Cedar Point Amusement Park and a premium parking pass to two lucky winners. Check out our Facebook page to see the posts and the live drawing. If you haven’t already, be sure to like our page so you can receive notifications about future drawings, giveaways, and our community service efforts.
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