Tuesday, December 10, 2013

StreetFest 2013

StreetFest 2013 has come and gone, and with it have gone the ghosts, minions, and other costumed characters that lined the halls of The Jones Center for this fun fall festival.  Camp War Eagle, in partnership with Mosaic Fellowship Church and the Center for Relationship Enrichment (CRE), hosted a carnival on a rainy October 30th in the massive hallways of The Jones Center facility.  Over 1100 people attended the 2-hour event, complete with games, inflatables, food, and prizes. 
Families in attendance were treated to a meal, given opportunities to sign up for Jones Center memberships and CRE parenting and marriage courses, and entered into a sweet raffle!  Prizes included 3 gift cards to Wal-Mart, valued at 50, 75, and 100 dollars, a family membership to The Jones Center, and a prize session for a student for Camp War Eagle. 

Come to STREETFEST 2014 on OCTOBER 29, 2014!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lifeline Focuses on Life Skills

Their eyes widened and their hearts beat a little faster. The van filled with excited chatter. Faces pressed against the window. Fingers pointed towards what lay before them. They could hardly wait. And slowly, very slowly, the van pulled into Springdale Fire Station #1. Today was the day students would experience life as a fireman.

Lifeline, comprised of students in 2nd-5th grade, has allowed the opportunity to learn many different life skills this year. Lifeline meets every first and third Saturday of the month. One of the monthly meetings consists of a story from the Bible, complete with games, snacks, and time with leaders. The other meeting introduces students to a wide variety of life skills or community service activities, ranging anywhere from self-defense to fire safety to healthy eating.

Students transformed into ninjas for the first life skill Lifeline in September, as they donned homemade "ninja" headbands and learned self-defense moves.  Students practiced their moves on leaders, an activity that students enjoyed and leaders endured. They also talked about fitness and challenged each other to epic competitions in wall sits and planks.

Bentonville students at the fire station!
During the second life skill, Ozone vans transported students to fire stations in their respective cities to tour a fire station and learn about fire safety. Bentonville student Jesslynn said, “I have to say [the fire station visit] was pretty amazing and my favorite part was probably the ambulance.” Others learned valuable lessons: “I learned that when a fireman puts on an oxygen mask, it sounds like Darth Vader.” The firemen also emphasized fire safety, encouraging kids to never play with matches or enter a burning building. 

Students’ stomachs were full after the third life skill of the semester: healthy eating. The time began with a review of the basic food groups, followed by food related games and activities. Students’ favorite part, by far, was the snack – Ants on a Log. After receiving a plate full of ingredients, students compiled their very own healthy snack, a piece of celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins. Seconds were a must.

The next semester promises more fun activities, including more community service activities for those in elementary. But we’ll keep those under wraps until after Christmas. For now, students enjoy recounting their experiences through Ozone. Said Springdale student Natalie: “This is the best field trip I’ve ever been on.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Mentoring Program's Fall Fun Retreat

On October, 26, mentors and mentees gathered together at the Jones Center to celebrate the third annual Mentor Retreat. Upon arrival, many mentors and mentees were dressed up in their various costumes. Michelle Lee and her mentee, Collin Thompson, dressed up as fairies. Samantha Harp and Christina Salgado were dressed up as if it were their birthdays! MaKalynn Hartman and her mentor, Jamie Fritz, dressed up as angels while Cheyenne Pinkerman and Desaray Botteron dressed as pirates.

Upon arrival, a waffle breakfast was served. Once everyone had eaten, the many activities began. To start, mentees and mentors carved pumpkins together. For MaKalynn Hartman, this provided a first time opportunity. “My favorite part of the mentor retreat was when Jamie and I carved our pumpkin. I had never carved a pumpkin before! I let Jamie be in charge of cleaning it out,” MaKalynn laughed. Other mentor-mentee matches dressed up their pumpkins, or created scenarios of pumpkins throwing up pumpkin “guts.”
After pumpkins were carved and pumpkin goop tossed away, it was time to build scarecrows from hay bales and clothing. Raul Flores and Ethan Dopeke made a very unique scarecrow with a paper outfit. For Ethan, this was his first time to build a scarecrow. “When my son Ethan came home he said he had a blast! He built his first scarecrow, and won the award for best scarecrow. They received a gift card to Fast Lanes as a prize, pretty cool,” said Sara Dopeke, Ethan’s mother. There were so many great scarecrows.

The final portion of the day was a Fall Festival Relay, where different stations held different fall activities. The stations included face painting, the mystery box, a photo booth, mummy game, twister, football throw, pumpkin seed spitting, a voting booth to decide who was dressed most creatively, and caramel apple making. For mentor Erin Wiltse and mentee Tracy, the mummy game was a favorite: “The best part of the mentor retreat was when I turned Tracy in to a mummy bride, she even had a toilet paper ring and veil. It was hilarious! We had a great time.” All of these stations gave matches the opportunity to have tons of fun together and win prizes.

While waiting for the winners of different activities to be announced, mentors and mentees played a few rounds of smashball, a camp favorite. Prizes were offered for the best pumpkin, most unique scarecrow, and overall Fall Festival winner. The winner of the Pumpkin contest went to Desaray Botteron, an 8th grader from Bentonville, and her mentor Cheyenne. Their pumpkin was carved to resemble a Minion from the movie Despicable Me. Raul Flores and Ethan Dopeke won the “best scarecrow” prize for their paper-covered scarecrow, which looked like a recycling dream. The overall winner of the Fall Festival was Collin Thompson of Springdale and her mentor, Michelle Lee. Collin and Michelle were excited about the win, “Collin and I planned out our costumes and decided that we wanted to be fairies. Then we decided that everything we did was going to be fairy themed, so every event had to be decorated with ribbons and bows. I brought a basket full of craft supplies to dress up our pumpkin and our scarecrow as fairies. I am glad we did because Collin and I won first place! We received Chick-fil-a gift cards.” The prizes awarded matches will enable them to spend time together and support the building of relationships.

Yet again, the Fall Mentoring Retreat was a grand success. Mentors and mentees had a blast carving pumpkins, making scarecrows, participating in the Fall Festival, but most importantly, building strong memories. Everyone is looking forward to next years fourth annual Mentor Retreat.

If you'd like to see more photos, click here.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fayetteville Students Experience a Historic Arkansas

Cleaning up rural roads

As Camp War Eagle vans turned onto the foliage-lined dirt road, Fayetteville lifeline girls were transported  into the rural country life of 1800s America. After serving the family by cleaning up trash on their county road, students met the Tillery family, long-time residents of Tillery Farm. Gwen Tillery, sporting 1800s attire, began by leading a tour of the area, beginning with the cabin. The structure has now been in the family for over 150 years. Though it is now somewhat altered to allow the conveniences of modern amenities, the inside maintains its original framework. On the front porch, the girls witnessed the Tilleries and their neighbors shucking corn and spinning cotton into thread. The family welcomed the girls’ questions and gladly demonstrated how to perform said tasks. 
Checking out the old machine
After following trails and bridges through the trees and admiring the chickens and ducks the Tillery family raises, the group loaded onto the back of a wagon for a hay ride, which the elder Mr. Tillery narrated. The tractor traveled to the top of a hill, allowing the group to breathe in the fresh fall air and view the rolling autumn hills near Elkins, Arkansas. Following the hayride, the girls learned how to use old equipment to remove kernels from the corncobs. While Gwen Tillery cranked the machine, girls inserted their cob of corn in the top and watched the kernels fall from the bottom. They then had the opportunity to use another old machine to make homemade apple cider. After watching Mr. Tillery grind up the apples and press out the juice, the girls were delighted at their treat. The fun was far from over, though. Using the husks from the corn, the girls made their very own cornhusk dolls. Each doll was unique to each individual girl and demonstrated her creativity. Throughout the day, Gwen Tillery emphasized the importance of giving one’s all in every task. In her home, the word “can’t” is not allowed. The girls learned Gwen’s favorite verse, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” found in Philippians 4:13. The group, as well as their new cornhusk dolls, then traveled to the next location: a bonfire. Each student roasted her own hot dog, complete with all the fixings. They followed that by heating up marshmallows to sandwich between graham crackers and chocolate. Through sticky fingers and full bellies, the girls remembered the many different lessons they had learned that day and thanked the Tillery family for their service. As Gwen said, “We are blessed to be able to serve.”
For more photos, check out our CWE365 Facebook page, HERE.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Great Pretenders 2013!

The following was written by Bentonville Ozone Director Cass Trumbo.
Camp War Eagle pursues several goals for our students every day – an appreciation for nature, for physical activity, for God and country. Each of us who work here have our own interest, the aspects of life we see emphasized most. I gravitate towards the arts, and like to bring games and get-togethers back to creativity and imagination.

That’s why Great Pretenders is so important to me.

Great Pretenders is one of a few big, all-city, all-previous-campers-please-come events that involve multiple buses, mountains of pizza and special post-camp reunions between campers and staff. It’s a performance driven night, involving eight lip-syncing acts that have been pre-selected by their peers to perform on the main stage. At Great Pretenders, these acts, populated with middle and high school students, attempt to out-choreograph, out-costume, and generally out-imagine the others with the use of jazz hands, fake singing and (this year) American flag waving.

Armed with a Hollywood-themed pre-party, we welcomed students on a red carpet, complete with screaming fans, intrusive interviewers and adoring paparazzi. After packing a triple-digit number of students into our offices, passing out pizza and fruit and encouraging students to engage in our peripherals (Get your nails painted! Get a tattoo! Wear a paisley tie like a ninja headband!), we led our students to a 300-seat chapel/performance hall. Between students, parents, and volunteers, the space was filled nicely.

The eight acts, as well as a director act and a guest performer, captivated for an hour and a half as performers exhibited the creativity that they’d been practicing so hard to nail. Highlights included Olivia Jordan’s “Check Yes Juliet,” an impressive flurry of precisely executed footsteps and hand motions, which won the prize for “Best Choreography,” and Hailey Grigg’s “Roar,” in which she dressed as a lion and used a jungle of streamers she had mounted to milk crates. Hailey took home the “Best Costume” prize. The cute level was through the roof.

Asked about the whole night, party to performances, Olivia Jordan thought it was awesome. “It felt great to hear people cheering my name,” she said. “Plus my grandmother and I made that costume from scratch.”

The winning act combined thoroughly planned choreography with matching outfits and a high level of energy from students who are not often the center of attention. This is the beauty of Great Pretenders – as with other aspects of Camp, Great Pretenders draws out latent or hidden talents from students who may not get the opportunity to shine elsewhere. The arts can be harnessed by anyone, given enough lack of inhibitions, and the winning group – the Sparklers, of Bentonville Summit, a team of three students and two leaders – leapt and laughed and flag-waved their way to a win, exhibiting absolutely zero self-doubt in their own creativity and imaginations.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bentonville and Rogers Ozones step up to the plate with Miracle League

Have you ever felt intense joy cheering on the first base line of your favorite team? What about when a beloved athlete scores big? On September 27th, our students had the chance to serve in a joyful environment with Miracle League, a baseball league for children and young adults with disabilities, and experienced all those stirring moments and more.
Among the host of opportunities we afford our students, serving the community is one of our favorites. It gives students and staff the chance to think outside themselves for a while, focusing more on the needs and fulfillment of others instead. Last year, Rogers Summit students assisted Miracle League and had a fantastic time. Creating a new tradition, we loaded up two vans and traveled south to Springdale for an evening of three consecutive Miracle League games.
While nerves and uncertainty started the evening, with students thinking “what exactly do I do?” and “what if I make a mistake?” the night quickly turned into a fun and nerve free way to serve. Students were matched with members of Miracle League teams, assisting them in running bases, hitting the ball and fielding. Others took turns as cheerleaders. At one point, four Bentonville High School students ran out to the stands to start “the wave” and a series of elaborate cheers. As they ran back to the first base line, a “victory tunnel” was formed for each batter to run to as they approached the base. They genuinely enjoyed strategically adding to the environment of the game. It was fantastic to see our 8th-12th graders step out of a comfort zone to aid in building laughter filled hours at the ballpark.
Courtney, an 8th grader from Pea Ridge who was matched with a young boy in a wheelchair during the first game, absolutely adored the chance to serve in this way. “The kid I got to help in a wheelchair, seeing him do it, it touched me. I want to do it again… Helping the kids who may not be able to do [baseball] without us is the best. Try it. Just Try it.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New Year, New Mentoring Matches!

The Camp War Eagle Mentoring Program is so excited to have 19 new matches this year! Twenty children were matched, including 10 elementary school kids, 6 middle school kids, and 4 high school kids. Mentors, mentees, and parents are ecstatic about the program and the endless opportunities it provides for students to be connected to a role model in their life.

Ann Marie Gonzales was recently matched with Allie Rohrbach. Eddie Gonzales, father of Ann Marie Gonzales, is “thrilled to for my daughter to have a female role model in her life.” One cool story about Allie and Ann Marie’s match is that Ann Marie rolled her eyes about college when they were first met. After only two weeks, Allie said Ann Marie began to say “so when I am in college…” Allie is so excited to continue to talk to Ann Marie about college through their meetings each week!

Another sweet story is the match between Raegan Loughridge and Molly McGehee. Both Raegan and Molly have Turner’s syndrome, a rare disease for girls. This common bond they share has brought them even closer. Molly loves hanging out with Raegan, whom she describes as a “little sweetheart.” Molly is excited to get to spend time with Raegan, and for the opportunity to pour into her life! 
Molly and Raegan

Another match to highlight is Jose Caballero and James Musick. Jose and James met this summer at Camp War Eagle’s Day Camp while James served as his counselor for two weeks. Now Jose and James get to spend time together each week! It is so cool to see how friendships from summer can continue to flourish throughout the year. 
Jose and James

Sydra Stanley and Suzanne Rinks also were matched this fall as well. They love playing basketball together. Sydra says “Suzanne isn’t super coordinated which is why it is so funny to play basketball together because Suzanne is so funny to watch.” The fun times they share have made for a great match! 
Sydra and Suzanne
Matthew Kressen, a future mentee of Enoch Graham, is also excited to be matched! Sylvia Kressen says: “I feel blessed. My goal is that Matthew would grow up to be a man of God, always putting God first in his life. Matthew needs a male to confide in that will teach him and help him make it through stages of life.” Sylvia loves the Camp War Eagle program and the great support it provides for campers like her son.

This years matches have been off to a great start! The CWE 365 Mentoring Program is thrilled for to see these mentor-mentee relationships deepen and the great memories that will be made each week as they hang out together.