Name of Entry:
Once Upon a Time: Camp Independent Firefly Tells Our Tale
What Should the Voters Know?:
Once upon a time, there was a truly magical place Camp Independent Firefly. Every year, the bravest kids in the kingdom of Las Vegas—along with the wackiest counselors—would gather together to share four days of adventure. In the year 2021, a great pestilence had spread throughout land forcing our heroes into a strange virtual camp, but with their theme of “Once Upon a Time” they were prepared to for many great quests. A fleet of volunteers delivered an overflowing green bag of supplies to each camper’s door at the start of the week and so the adventure began. Each day the whole camp would gather on zoom and vote on which two songs they would sing together. The singing was loud and glorious. The dancing was a sight to behold. Before the magic whisked each camper away to their cabin/breakout room for the day a theme was bestowed upon them by a host of fantastical creatures: fairies in sparkling gowns, Thing One (or was it Thing Two?), and on the final day, even Luna Lovegood herself called in from Platform 9 & 3/4! Our campers faced owl vomit and dragon drool alike, they battled in the infamous water wars, and so the plot thickened!
Each of our campers has a story to tell and Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada understands how vital the connection that comes from camp is to our children’s story. For our Once Upon a Time Camp in 2021, though virtual, we sought out many ways to build connections at every story. Each “cabin” had a book name instead of a cabin number and each camper received a package of “cabin decorations” from their counselors so the kids could decorate their rooms at home to feel more at camp. We held a bag reveal party on zoom with a custom coloring page for each kid to discover their cabin’s book theme. They also each got a journal to privately tell their own story. Inside their bag of supplies were four sealed envelopes: one for each day of camp. Impatient for the treasures inside, they would open the envelopes as a group after the special guest revealed the theme each day. From rock trolls and marshmallow Rapunzel towers for Fairytale day to magic riddles and secret slimes for Harry Potter day we kept the kids active, laughing, and imagining wild worlds outside their zoom screens. For us, the greatest compliment at the end was one we heard many times over from kids and counselors alike “it felt like camp.”