A couple of years ago, I was asked by my boss to take part in a short Q&A session at a conference. I don’t remember exactly how we got on the topic but somehow, we got on the subject of the #1 piece of advice I would give someone trying to start any children’s program.

So here it is. Let’s start this new blog off with the best I have:

“Don’t reinvent the wheel.”

As I told the people at the conference (a few of whom were members of MENSA so why they wanted to hear what I had to say I shall never know,) start with a format you are familiar with then work your way from there. When we first decided to start a day camp at the museum I was a little overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to start. How long should the camp be? What age groups should we have? What are we going to do with these kids all day?

Now, for a rather substantial part of my life I have been blessed with being involved in an amazing Catholic version of VBS known as Heroes Camp. It’s an amazing day camp program for children ages 4-11, runs 9:30-12:30, consists of 4 activity stations, opening and closing activities where the whole camp is together, and every activity the campers do (even snacks and games) reinforce the topics learned that day. Well, since that model worked so well for Heroes Camp and after 6 or so years of being a Heroes Camp counselor I knew it pretty well, I took it and applied it to “Dino Camp” as the kiddies call it. Overall, I have to say it works pretty well. Camp costs about $80 a week, we get a nice turn out every year, and most people keep coming back.

Ok, so I realize that these camps are very different. One being about dinosaurs and fossils and the other being about Catholic Saints but I used the bare bones of Heroes Camp (hours, how the hours are broken up, age group etc…) and applied it to my Dino theme. No need to reinvent the wheel and I did not break any laws…this time.


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