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.