Wednesday, 29 April 2015

FUN = Foam, Friends & Freedom!

It's time for a fleeting glimpse at all the fun that's been going on this week at Sugar Bay:
At Monday's Foamy Auction, juniors had 30 seconds to transfoam their teammates into characters to impress the judges, a difficult task since those members of the Royal Foam Family can be pretty fickle. As you can see, campers went all out to make an impression!
Of course, cabin pictures are always a really serious affair where no silliness is allowed.
Fear of heights... what's that? Trying new things and overcoming obstacles is what camp is all about!
What would Foam Party Week be without some epic slip 'n sliding? 
Funny stories from Lucky are always a treat. 
This face says "I'm free, there's foam and I'm loving it!"
And the best part? It's only Wednesday!

Fancy joining us for the holiday of a lifetime at camp? The more the merrier is what we always say! Check out our rates & dates for information on our upcoming camps in July and August - you could be having just as much fun as these guys next school holiday! Also check out our YouTube videos to get a feel for what camp is all about. Hope to see you on Zinkwazi Beach really soon!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Mythbusting Madness!

We've been so busy popping molecules, busting myths, camping out and geeking out that we've only just noticed that it's already Wednesday! Which means it's time for a quick recap of the week so far, and since a picture is worth a thousand words (ooh - is that another myth to test?) ... here you go!

Myth #1: Blue icing makes every cupcake taste better...
 Looks like this one is CONFIRMED!
- - - - -
Myth #2: A surfboard will not work as a makeshift guitar for super divas.
 They seem to be doing just fine... Myth BUSTED!
- - - - -
Myth #3: There is only one Kid President in the world. 
BUSTED! We found another one right here at Sugar Bay!
- - - - -
Myth #4: This guy isn't scared of an encounter with a Drop Bear on the way to Camp Out. 
So clearly BUSTED!
 - - - - -
Myth #5: Camp is only fun for younger kids. 
BUSTED! These AC's (Advanced Campers) are loving all their special privileges!
 - - - - - 
Myth #6: Camp In is just as much fun as Camp Out.
These guys are as snug as bugs... Myth CONFIRMED!

If your camper is pulling their hair out because they missed all the myth busting action, stress less (and live longer!) We still have holiday camps running in June, July, August, October and December, so choose your pick and join us for fun in the sun! See the rates, dates and themes on our awesome website. See you soon!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Fish Eagle Family in Zinkwazi

Since it's Mythbusters Week and we're all about learning new things, here's a fun fact about the little village that surrounds Sugar Bay: Zinkwazi Beach is named after the Zulu word iNkwazi, which means Fish Eagle. And for good reason too. We're lucky enough to share our tropical paradise with many of these majestic creatures and are excited to report that there's a new addition to the family! And not only that, but our resident Fish Eagles have been seen teaching their young chick to fish in the lagoon!

Sugar Bay's Project Manager Charl often fishes from the lagoon launching site and was lucky enough to make the sighting.
On the shore opposite the launching site is an old dead tree that hangs over the water, known to all at Sugar Bay as the Wishing Tree. And it seems the eagles have claimed this as their favourite spot to spy their next meal. In fact, Charl has often found himself competing with the pair for the rights to the bream and perch that populate the lagoon waters. 

On one such fishing-expedition, Charl watched as both adults flew in and sat in a tree less than 30m away from him. And then a beautiful mottled adolescent arrived, just in time for what was soon to be revealed as the first lesson in Feeding-Yourself-101. Just then, one parent swooped down as if to catch lunch but, just before making the plunge, he skimmed over the surface, trailing his talons through the water. And then the second adult did the same as if to say “See son, this is how it's done!” The baby eventually caught on but unfortunately that was all he caught.

Don’t worry, Junior, you’ll get it right soon!

We think our Fish Eagles have got it made here in Zinkwazi: not only do they have beautiful hunting grounds, but sometimes they get lucky and have their food pretty much delivered to them!

Charl told us of another time he went deep-sea fishing with a friend and managed to reel in a bright yellow fish (he can't remember what kind). As it was undersize the fish was released, but just bobbed near the surface and wouldn’t dive down. Concerned, the men hung around waiting for the little guy to make good on his escape but eventually gave up. Just as they started to leave, one of the crafty fish eagles swooped in and carried the fish away – talk about an opportunist! Although we're all about table manners here at Sugar Bay and think the sneaky eagle could have at least said "Thank You", we know that we're privileged to be able to hear their beautiful cries, and that is thank you enough.

We'll be sure to keep you updated on any new sightings of the Fish Eagle family and would love to hear your stories if you've managed to spot them during your time at Sugar Bay. 

Another story by the Office Dweller

Friday, 17 April 2015

These campers made Sugar Bay history, and so could YOU!

The day was young, the sun still on its way,
The making of history was on the cards today.

With backpacks full and water at the ready,
They started their journey, slow and steady.
Armed with sleeping gear, headlamps and plenty of rope
Our two brave campers, also known as Nikita and Hope...

Hiked on the beach to learn something new
And reminisced on surfing yesterday with Iron Brew.
They did some team-building, and they walked even more,
Comparing notes on how to make the perfect s'more

Although much easier to just catch a cab,
They hiked on regardless, along with Tropika and Tab.
Eventually our campers saw a clearing ahead,
"Thank goodness" cried Nikita, "I'm ready for bed!" 

They crafted a shelter, and they made a warm fire, 
But soon our adventurers began to tire.
They took to their beds for a good long rest,
For tomorrow they’d need to be at their best.
As morning broke they took up the oar,
Ready for action, ready for more.
With Dave the Fearless leading the way, 
It turned out to be an amazing day.

They’ll never be the same again,
The Adventurous Journey milestone finally attained
They've left Sugar Bay with a sense of pride
Along with their Bronze Level and a smile wide.

Now it’s your turn to take the next step,
And we’re giving you plenty of time to prep.
Are you ready to sweat for your reward?
As you aim and achieve the President's Award.

Never heard of the President's Award? Don't worry, we've compiled plenty of information for you right here and here. If your camper would like to complete the Adventurous Journey here at Sugar Bay, see our website for details.

Here's a sneak peak into what the camp experience at Sugar Bay is like, and if you would like to see what takes place in some of our themed holiday weeks, have a look at our gallery.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

53 Camps & Counting ... We Must Be Doing Something Right!

Raaaaaw! How to Train your Dragon Week has just ended and we are all still flying around like Toothless on a sugar rush! It was an epic adventure filled with very delicious viking dinners and plenty of themed games and activities.

This particular week marked 53 weeks at camp for a special young lady, 15-year old Cassady Cassim. We got to chat to her on the Sugar Bay bus back to Johannesburg about all things camp.

SB: Hey Cass, how old were you at your first camp? 
Cassady: I was 6 years old.

SB: What was your very first camp like? 
Cassady: It was fun and exciting and a good experience.

SB:  So Cass, 53 weeks!That's over a year's worth of camp! We have to know, what's the reason you keep coming back? 
Cassady: This is my home, I come back for the people. I come back for the counselors and to make new friends. Everyone here gives me love and treats me well.

SB: What's the coolest thing about being at camp for you? 
Cassady: All the new people I get to bond with, the songs and the games, it's like a different happy world.

SB: What are your ultimate favorite activities at camp?
Cassady: Dancing, skating, sea swim, poi and arts and crafts.

SB: What's the one thing you've done at camp that scared you? 
Cassady: King swing. I did it because I was encouraged to, even though I was scared.

SB: What's the yummiest meal you've had at Camp?
Cassady:  Chicken ala king.

SB: Which was your favorite themed week? 
Cassady: Definitely Rio Week, my 50th week.

SB: Is there anything you would change or add to camp?
Cassady: Nothing at all, I like it just the way it is!

SB: What would you say to the kids out there who are thinking about coming to camp again, or those that are coming for the first time? 
Cassady: Be excited, make friends. Don't be scared,  the activities are incredible. And there's always help and support from the Sugar Bay staff.

SB: Thanks for the chat Cass, are there any words you'd like to leave the Sugar Bay team with?
Cassady:  Keep up the good work, keep smiling, thank you and live life! 

Cassady is one of many kids that continue to come back holiday after holiday - for experiences of a lifetime, to the place where being yourself is all you need to be.

Our campers are the heart and soul of Sugar Bay and we are all honored to have the chance to spend time with these incredible young souls as much as we possibly can.Thank you, all of you, for all the love and laughter you bring to camp and all the fun we get to have with you.

For all those campers going back to school, have a lovely term, study hard, learn a lot and remember to have fun! And fear not, July is almost here and we have 3 exciting holiday camps already planned.

For those campers still on holiday, we'll see you soon. Bring on Myth Busters week, yippee! 

This is Sugar Bay signing out...

Thursday, 9 April 2015

New Faces at the Bay

It's no secret that one of the best things about Sugar Bay is the weird and wonderful counselors. They make the Sugar Bay experience an unforgettable one, whether it be during Holiday Camps or School Bonding Tours. But just who are these staff members and how do we make sure they're not crazy in a bad way but only wacky in the good way?
I was lucky enough to spend some time with our 17 trainees last week and let me tell you, they are an exceptional group of people. And I'm not just saying that. This group of trainees astounded me. I've spent the past 4 summers in America dealing with over 50 international staff members each summer - I know staff - but hearing these trainees share their passion for camp and the difference it has made in their lives brought tears to my eyes. 
Camp Director Zoe Ellender wasn't without teary eyes either as she heard how her dream of creating an American-style summer camp right here in South Africa has touched so many lives, not only of the children who are campers here, but the staff members whose lives have changed for the better just from working or training at Sugar Bay.

They are an open, honest and inspiring bunch to be around and have gained so much from our welcoming family environment. 

Zoe recently attended a conference in Cape Town held by the Association of International Schools in Africa and one of the sessions concentrated on sharing a story. Everyone has one and it's important for people to be able to share theirs with others, be it their co-workers, campers or total strangers.

Many of our trainees attended camps as children, either Sugar Bay or other camps in South Africa and a few have even ventured overseas to American summer camps. Hearing their passion for wanting to work with children and wanting to help them achieve the changes they've personally experienced through camp - the increase in self-confidence, the understanding that you are who you are and that's perfectly acceptable, the self-belief they gained after tackling a challenge or improving at a new activity - it was nothing short of heartwarming. 

They may have silly names like Popeye, Jetty and Sharkbait (ooh ha ha) but their stories show how camp can shape a life, and we're excited to welcome them on board (get it? Because of our epic Rock the Boat Week?)
Needless to say staff training was a great success. Trainees were put through long hours of Emergency First Response tests, Child Psychology training and role plays that explain what not to do and why. They've now moved on to their 'shadow week' where they are constantly supervised and evaluated by senior staff members.

If you are interested in becoming a counselor here at Sugar Bay, check out the Staff page on our website and get in touch.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Do you Dare to Enter the Dragon's Den?

We're sure that even in the time of the vikings they knew that pictures were worth a thousand words. Be sure to check out our Photo Album on Facebook for all the pictures of How To Train Your Dragon Week, but here's a quick snapshot of the week so far...

As you can see there's been plenty fun in the sun with kayaking, beach games, dune jumping, sea swim and sand art. When they're not on the beautiful Zinkwazi beach, How To Train Your Dragon campers are enjoying paintball, high ropes and rock wall climbing, not to mention our epic evening activities. 
So far our Junior Dragons have had a Dragon Hunt, Camp Out/Camp In and Dragon Training, while seniors have tried their hand at being the Ultimate Dragon Chef, had an epic Vikings Evening and also went to Camp Out/Camp In. A few seniors even undertook an Adventurous Journey as part of the prestigious President's Award. For more details, see here.

If you happened to miss out on this April Holiday Camp, fear not fearless viking! We've still got 2 more holiday camps coming up: Myth Busters Week from 19-26 April and Foam Party Week from 26 April - 3 May. See more details here and follow this link to sign up. Don't forget there's a huge saving of R1900 per camper on all April Holiday Camps!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Say hello to CHEF!

With the recent news of 56 students being hospitalized for food poisoning in KZN (read the article here), we thought it would be a good time to introduce the person in charge of our kitchen and understand the strict hygiene practices we follow to avoid such instances of food poisoning or contamination. When regularly feeding over 150 children and staff members, it's something that we take quite seriously.
But first...Time to see your silly side!

What's the craziest food concoction you've ever heard of? I have 2 that I eat regularly. Ready for this? Toast. Butter. Syrup. Aromat. Delicious! The other one is Toast. Butter. Tomato Sauce and Marmite. Don't worry though, I won't be serving that at any meal times!
What's your favourite camp meal? KFC-style chicken. Just like Colonel Sanders, I've got my own secret recipe of herbs and spices! And NO I won't tell you!

What's one food you haven't tried yet? Mopane worms!

Our beloved Chef comes from Krugersdorp and has been involved in the industry since 2007, having completed a number of Kitchen Management, Hospitality and Staff Management Courses. Before starting this career, Chef wanted to be a teacher, so working at a children's summer camp has become the perfect blend to combine his love of food and children.  

Together with his 5 lovely kitchen ladies - Shortie, Oros, Pumba, Smie and Mama, Chef runs a tight ship and produces excellent meals that cater for every tastebud, no matter how fussy. In fact, parents have even called us to ask exactly how we make our vegetables, since their camper would eat their veggies here at camp but not at home. Not only do we serve wholesome veggies such as roasted butternut and flavoursome green beans, but there is always at least 2 delicious salads to accompany each meal: Chef makes a mean pasta salad and his tomato, onion and feta cheese salad is simply scrumptious.

Main meals include kid-friendly options such as spaghetti bolognaise, fish and chips, lasagna, build-your-own pizza or honey-mustard chicken dishes. Each cabin has a designated table at the dining hall and counselors eat with the campers to ensure everyone has enough to eat. Sugar Bay's kitchen is extremely accommodating of all dietary requirements and will do our absolute best to cater for any dietary restrictions be they related to religion, allergies or intolerances or lifestyle choices. Our kitchen holds a Halaal certificate for all chicken served and upholds all SARA standards.

Ever the busy body and living by his motto "Don't expect someone to do something if you can't do it yourself", when Chef is not cooking, cleaning or mopping in the kitchen he spends his time helping out in other areas of camp. This past week he helped out a frightened camper on the King Swing and let the campers invade his kitchen to create a fabulous Sugar Boat cake to go along with our Rock the Boat theme. Of course we're sure he didn't mind being the taste-tester for this rocking creation, but guess that's one of the many perks of the job!
Want to find out more about the meals we serve or how we're able to cater for specific dietary requirements? Give us a call on 032 485 3778. 

For more information about school or holiday camps, visit our website or check out our awesome Facebook page! You can even get a a sneak peek into what the camp experience at Sugar Bay is like!