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Week SEVEN

It’s hard to believe that the final week has come and gone. Week seven was full of good times and large smiles all around.On Monday, we started off the afternoon with the egg drop contest. Campers are told to build a contraption that will sustain an egg’s fall from the top of the playground. Then, if their egg survives the first drop, we slingshot the eggs down the tall hill into the field. Campers are given one uncooked egg, and supplies like coffee filters, straws, corks, and newspapers to protect the egg. At the end, all of the surviving eggs are taken out of their encasement and put into the slingshot. Every kid loves watching eggs splatter across the field!

Later in the week we had the first, and last, bullseye during archery. Aaron, one of our campers, showed off his skills by hitting the center of the target. Abby, our director, promised that any camper who hit the bullseye was allowed to dump a bucket of water on her head at campfire. When Thursday night rolled around, Abby prepared herself to be soaked by Aaron. But instead, he showed how kind he truly was and dumped the bucket of water off to the side, not on Abby’s head. Thankful for his mercy, Abby gave Aaron a huge hug! It’s times like these we remember how great it is to be working with such wonderful kids. 

Week SEVEN was entirely sponsored by Ronald McDonald House of Eastern New England. Thank you, RMH ENE!

On behalf of the entire Dream Day Staff, we would like to thank everyone for making the Summer of 2014 so incredibly special. Thank you to all of our helpful volunteers, we couldn’t have done it without you! And of course, thank you to all of the families who joined us for a spectacular season. Lastly, good luck to all of the amazing people running for Dream Day at the Falmouth Road Race this Sunday, August 17th! 

We can’t wait for Dream Day 2015!

Week SIX!

Week six brought in many days packed full of laughter and good times. On Monday was the first whale watch of the week. Fortunately, for those prone to sea sickness, the water was smooth as glass. We ran into dozens of whales during their feeding time. The kids were fascinated with the whales gaping mouths scooping up as much fish as they can. We even saw a whale breach for us!

Swimming at Flax Pond in Nickerson State Park was great for all of the kids. The cool water was incredibly refreshing during the hot day. Being able to swim in the pond gave huge smiles to the children who aren’t able to walk. There were quite a few mermaids spotted in the water this week. And of course, no beach visit would be complete without building sandcastles.

On Thursday, Dream Day welcomed four service dogs from Blue Cross Blue Shield. The campers were in love with the dogs as soon as they arrived. Some of the dogs were able to perform a few tricks for us as well. Nico, a black pomeranian, would jump on his hind legs and rub his front paws together when told to do “pretty please.” Along with the dogs from BCBS, one of the families brought their dog from home. Milka, a puggle, is currently a service dog in training. Everyone had a blast during the talent show when Milka performed many tricks like sit, stay, kiss, and fetch. 

The indoor campfire on Thursday was fun for all of the families. The campers really enjoyed being able to see all of our skits close up. Many children participated in the songs as well. During camper awards, the Dream Day staff decided it was only appropriate to give Milka the “Cutest Camper” award. 

As week six closes, we are so excited to bring out as much energy as we can to have a delightful and sunshine-filled finalweek!

Week FOUR!

Week four of Dream Day returned to the normal family schedule after having a blast during day camp week. The rain on Sunday couldn’t stop the happiness and laughter from flowing through the campers and counselors. Our indoor campfire was a huge success. We introduced a new skit called “beauty salon.” By the time it was over, a few counselors were doused in baby powder and smothered in red lipstick. Although made in the oven, the Sunday s’mores were just as delicious as they would have been if they were made outside. No amount of rain could prevent these Dream Day families from getting their summer dose of marshmallows.

Tuesday turned out to be a beautiful beach day at Crosby. With the tide out, kids scoured the flats for critters to play with. One of the campers even found a massive hermit crab. A fellow beach goer came over and showed our campers a horseshoe crab she had found. The kids were fascinated by the prehistoric looking creature.

This week, kickball and whiffle ball were a huge hit on our “Field of Dreams.” We included everyone in our games, especially parents. One of our young campers in a wheelchair was overjoyed being able to participate in whiffle ball by being pushed around the diamond by one of the counselors.

Thursday night was definitely a night to remember. Campers and counselors dressed up as their favorite characters for Hollywood Night. Famous celebs like Katniss Everdeen, the Minions, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Harry Potter were all spotted by the “paparazzi.” We set up a photo booth for all the starlets to take a picture with their families. Then, everyone sat down to have dinner with the Dream Day Board of Directors who cooked an amazing meal for camp dinner.

As the Dream Day summer reaches week five, it’s hard to believe we are half way through. We want to thank again all of the families that come out to share an amazing week with us. We look forward to a spectacular second half of the summer!

Week three of Dream Day was the annual Cape Cod Day Camp Week. We hosted five separate groups from the local area. Each group brought dozens of children at a time, all with smiles on their faces as they got to enjoy a break from their usual schedule. 
 
The campers were showed around Rafe Pond. Many fish were caught, along with Urtle, unfortunately. When our snapping turtle gets caught on the line, it can be frightening, but as always, the campers were calm and the counselors handled the situation with grace. Some visitors even got the chance to go canoeing for the first time. The breezy conditions added for a refreshing cruise on the pond. 
 
Up at arts and crafts was “Pet Rock” making. With beautiful exemplars from a camp volunteer, it was easy for the kids to paint the rocks in a creative fashion. Googly eyes were then glued on to really make the pet rocks come alive. At the end of the activity, every camper left with a new friend to play with. 
 
The last activity the campers got to enjoy was archery. They were able to use our handmade crossbow stand to shoot at the target. The stand makes it much easier for children with disabilities to be a part of something they wouldn’t normally be able to do. A lot of the enjoyment came from when the kids realized they were doing a sport they had only seen in the movies. All of the campers smiled when the counselors called them Katniss Everdeen or Merida. 
 
We would like to give so many thank you’s to Cape Cod Collaborative, the Cape Cod Challenger Group, Monomoy Schools, Nauset Schools, and the Latham Group for making day camp week so enjoyable. And to the United Way of Cape & Islands for sponsoring the week! It was wonderful to see the local families and children being able to be a part of Dream Day. This Sunday we are back in the routine bringing in another eight families for a week of fun! 

Week TWO!

It’s hard to believe week two was six days long- time flies when you’re having fun! The beginning of the week was brought in by an amazing whale watch out of Barnstable harbor. With three families in tow, the Dream Day group encountered many whales, and even dolphins, on a wonderful boat trip through Cape Cod Bay. All of the kids were beyond excited to learn about the whales, and being able to witness the gentle giants in their natural habitat.

On Tuesday was a trip to Crosby, one of Brewster’s bay beaches. However this week was different from the first. The campers and their families were able to enjoy the low tide and the flats to walk on. The sunny day allowed for fantastic sand castle building conditions.

Fishing and boating was also a huge success this week. Counselors were able to help the campers overcome their fears of facing the open water. Some kids truly showed how brave they were when faced with challenges with the turtles in the pond. Trying to fish around the turtles without catching them is an obstacle in itself.

Week two was the first time Dream Day ventured to the National Seashore in Eastham. Coast Guard beach welcomed us on a Thursday afternoon. The campers were seen having so much fun running out to the sandbars and splashing in the small pools of salt water. Some families took the plunge into the cold Atlantic water. Jumping over the waves was also a kid favorite activity at the beach.

As the staff said goodbye to families on Friday morning, we were reminded of the true meaning of what Dream Day stands for. Watching the smiles on all of the children leaving camp shows us that with fun and silliness, we can bring a ray of sunshine to these families. Thanks for a great week everyone!

DSCN0891Week one of the 2014 Dream Day Summer has been deemed a success! The week opened up with the first campfire of the season. The campers laughed and played along to Dream Day classics, like Moose Juice and Banana Pudding. Some kids couldn’t wait to share their very own made-up jokes!

The fun continued to Tuesday with a beach trip to Crosby, one of Brewster’s best bayside beaches. High tide allowed families of all abilities to take a swim in the refreshing ocean. As the tide retreated, sandcastles were built on the shore using damp sand, seashells, and some pretty rocks the campers had found themselves.

Later on in the week was the Dream Day Talent Show. Campers Kassidy and Kayla sang and danced together to their own rendition of Frozen’s Let it Go. Another highlight was a skit of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with handmade masks and all, put together by campers Leighton, Jamison, and Charlie. Even some counselors joined in at the request of the campers.

Paint the Counselor was also a huge hit this week. A handful of staff were covered head to toe in bright colored paint. By the end of the activity, the majority of kids, and parents were doused in paint. This was definitely a camper favorite.

Looking back on this first week of joy and sunshine, it is clear that many campers were exploring out of their comfort zones. Facing fears of canoeing out on Rafe Pond, and pulling back just a little bit further on their archery bows, campers became braver than they could have ever imagined. The staff witnessed first hand how children of all ages became stronger and more courageous every day at camp.

Goodbyes were hard on Friday morning, but with full hearts we welcome in week two families and the rest of an amazing Dream Day Summer.

Families are confirmed. Our waitlist is growing. Staff are making plans to head to Brewster at month’s end for orientation. If we close our eyes, we can almost smell the campfire! Soon enough, twelve staffers will come together and start creating the summer 2014 program during their orientation and training week! Shortly thereafter, eight families with eight entirely different stories, will arrive at Nan-Ke-Rafe. We’ll show them to their cabin and direct them to the bathhouse. We’ll give them an activity schedule and tell them about meal times. And those of us that have been at camp for a while will smile in a knowing way. Families may not know it, nor do new staffers – but what is about to unfold in coming days at camp is nothing short of magical! We’ll kayak and canoe. We’ll fish and sing silly songs. Whale watches and baseball games – beach and pond trips – a little tie-dye thrown in for good measure. Simple family fun. Friendships will be forged among the most unlikely. Collectively, we breathe a little deeper, smile a little wider, and feel a little lighter. 

And then, we do it again. And again. And again – refreshing with 8 new families each week until mid-August.  We can’t wait. 

Until then, the incredible amount of work that has been done by our loyal volunteers is unprecedented and must be acknowledged. Since late winter, volunteers have worked tirelessly and continue to work to prepare the facility. 

A grassroots nonprofit like Dream Day relies on volunteer support. And twenty years of successful operation has everything to do with our committed Board members, our volunteer facilities workers, our event volunteers, and our camp volunteers. Thousands and thousands of hours have been logged over the years on Dream Day’s behalf: giving hearts giving forward. 

Today we recognize those we GET to serve and those who make it possible FOR us to serve. 

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