Sunday, July 5, 2020

Monthly Archives: May 2020

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Dear Parents and Campers,

We’re here to announce that Summer Camp is happening! These past few months have affected us in more ways than we ever could have imagined. Kids have been indoors for months, and are longing for summer camps where they can connect with friends, play in the open air, and have new adventures.

Under normal circumstances, going to camp requires significant preparation — both from our staff and families. In this new world, it takes even more time to consider the many precautions for the safety and well-being of everyone involved. All of us here at Trackers Earth have spent these past few months working around the clock to anticipate what safe summer camp will look like this year. As our state releases new guidelines, this thoughtful analysis has proven to be valuable. We are grateful for your continued patience and understanding with our process.

What’s Next?

Re-opening timelines vary by state, region, and county. Oregon released their official guidelines for day camps on Friday (May 15). We review each area’s guidelines and regulations the minute they come in. During this time, we’ve kept our full-time staff on board so that we can quickly shift and evolve our plan. We’re continually brainstorming as a team, meeting with health authorities and camp organizations, and doing all we can to prepare. One thing is for sure: we will adapt and continue to create safe ways to provide engaging, educational — and fun! —  camp experiences, no matter what.

While we continue to adapt our programs, here’s what we know so far:

Overnight Camps We are anticipating possible new guidance for Oregon overnight camps and we will let you know more about them as soon as we can.

Day Camps will continue according to Oregon Health Authority guidelines:

  • We plan to have small, stable groups of the same kids for our day camps – working under essential state guidelines.
  • Each group will remain together throughout the day and the camp week. Campers will space themselves much as possible, which is much easier outside!
  •  We will provide hand sanitizer and hand washing stations, working to make sure each camper and staff uses them often throughout the day.
  • We ask parents to take their child’s temperature every morning. If your child has any symptoms of being sick, please stay home for the safety of everyone. Trackers will credit you for that time. We are also planning an efficient and in-depth daily health check for staff and students at drop-off each day
  • Check-in and check-out times may be staggered. This may result in minor shifts in camp times. To follow Oregon Health Authority guidelines to maintain stable groups for our campers, we do not plan on currently offering after camp.
  • At this time, our buses will be limited to a stable cohort to ensure social distancing. That means Trackers will use more vehicles and also adjust which programs and the number of days we transport for. The positive result, less time on buses and more time for activities.
  • To spread out check-in, we may add more pick-up and drop-off locations near our primary drop-off areas – especially for SE Portland. We will notify you of updated locations as we secure them.

What Else Are We Exploring? 

We are considering neighborhood camps that start at 9 AM and end at 2:30 PM. In Neighborhood Summer Camp, kids would be led by teachers on safe adventures using walking friendly paths and areas. We are also exploring family and friends’ camps and even Camp Shares where a Trackers Teacher comes to your home for camp with a group of siblings and kids you choose. Finally, we have a goal of offering a limited scholarship tuition and programs for children of essential workers in need of financial assistance.

Trackers Spark also offers online classes for those continuing to stay home. These are interactive, small group webinars with a familiar guide and tons of activities. This is a chance for kids to connect with other kids in classes from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Join Captain Nick in recovering the lost idol. Quest with the Realms of Cascadia, where you create your character to adventure as an elf, wizard or more. There’s even online classes for adults.

Connection & Community

Trackers is about community and personal connection. This is not a time for one-size-fits-all thinking. It is a time for personal action and responsibility. We will work with each of you to make sure your kids have the best possible camp experience this summer. During the next several weeks, our teams will reach out personally to parents signed up for camp. This is our quest to better understand your particular needs, and answer any questions you might have.

Please, if you have urgent specific needs for your children and circumstances (ie., essential workers, specific health concerns, etc.) feel free to contact us as well. Personal connection is part of our core values, and we will do our best to find personal solutions for those who need them. Again, we appreciate your patience and understanding through this process.

PLEASE SEE OUR Q&A HERE

Connecting kids to nature in inspiring ways is central to our mission. We are an organization that exists to support kids and parents and provide real and awesome camp experiences. Everyone at Trackers remembers what it’s like to be a kid. We look forward to helping your kids learn and build lasting memories – while giving parents a break, too.

If your situation has changed, we hope that you can still support Trackers by accepting a future camp credit that will be good through 2022. If a credit does not work for you, please contact us, and we will do our best to help your individual needs.

We thank you for your trust in Trackers and look forward to speaking with each of you soon. Please stay healthy and safe, and we can’t wait to see you at camp!

See you in the forest,
Molly & Tony Deis

Trackers Earth
Founders & Parents

Springtime and dandelions go hand in hand. Especially where we live in the foothills of the western Cascades in Oregon. Dandelions are among our first spring flowers. We’ve had lots of fun making these videos as a family and are excited to share the final recipe with you.

Dandelion Donut Recipe

Also called dandelion fritters this recipe calls for dandelion flower heads.

*makes about 20 donuts *

Pick about 20 dandelion flower heads, careful to avoid the stem and remove as much of the bitter green underside, or bracts, as you can.Ready 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a pan on medium-low heat. To make the batter. We used:

1 cup whole wheat flour (any flour will do)
1 tsp sugar (or equivalent sweetener)
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk (+ a little extra as needed. Any kind of milk will do)

Stir until the batter is not lumpy, but smooth. Add additional milk as needed to achieve desired texture. Coat entire dandelion flower with batter and drop into the hot oil. Be careful around the hot oil & pan. Fry until golden brown, flipping over as needed. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Eat & Enjoy!

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From Molly, Trackers Founder & Mom

We all are getting quite a bit of special family time these days. Moms (and all parents) now do work, school, and play! The “new norm” of leisure includes 10 minutes of uninterrupted: shower, cooking, sleep, thought, or the online multi-user dungeon (MUD) that I play.

I’m experiencing an interesting side-effect with my patience level. The daily affirmations said under my breath seem to be helping. Along with lowering my standards.😉I find myself getting less frustrated about things. Tony cooked me breakfast this morning. Good for him.

Counting to 10 goes both ways. To buffer my reactions to my kids or for getting them to do a thing. This week the girls cut sleeves off their dresses to make them more “summer-ready” in the hot weather. My sweet-toothed child has been hoarding cups of sugar around the house. The youngest hides whenever it’s time for chores.

It’s all part of being a parent. From one mom to other parents, Happy Parent’s Day. I hope we’re hanging in and I’m looking to the light beyond this—as long the kids get outside the house. Take the day to enjoy a little “new norm” and play with your wonderful and sometimes aggravating loved ones.😸

See You In The Virtual Forest,

Molly Deis
Trackers Earth
Founder & Mom

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By Molly Deis, Founder & Mom

Surprise! I’ve been working from home… along with more than half the world. You know who else has been working from home? My three kids. Non-stop. Unrelenting… Help me!

The Sharpie graffiti on the fireplace was interesting, but not cohesive with the brand. Marketing has been unable to take it down (Tony scrubbed for hours). During their monthly review, I let them know watching Phineas & Ferb was not a relevant performance metric. I’ve worked to teach my kids better self-management, empowering them to take ownership of their work. But it’s unprofessional to share an office and still be in your pajamas by noon, playing the Harry Potter soundtrack without coworker consent, or yelling for breakfast when they could email. Plus, all attempts to use the cat as a stapler must stop! Just because I’m their manager (er… parent), I should not need to schedule meetings and organize work priorities for them.

It is an HR nightmare with no concept of personal boundaries. One sits right next me to belch the alphabet while I’m on a spreadsheet. Another raids the office refrigerator, using an entire stick of butter marked with my name—just for one bowl of popcorn. I’ve been in a staff Zoom meeting when someone crawls into my lap to snuggle. Maxine has been with us four years, she should have read the policy manual. No matter how often I file a complaint, Human Resources is ineffective with my kids. I reported it to our COO and she said, “I have a teenager, get over it.”

You can often fix performance issues by outsourcing to the Grandparent’s office. But there is currently a freeze on internships. At this time, recruiting for new children is not an option as in-person interviews are a must. On rare occasion, I regret offering room and board as part of the benefits package. Yet, in all honesty, this goes beyond overseeing their academic experience, it is an opportunity to guide them in real world adulting.

I know my real job to help our kids become collaborators for the future of our family and the wider community we serve. With patience and a little bit more hands-on and heart-felt management, I have seen gradual performance improvements such as: washing dishes, feeding the donkeys, and mocking up graphic designs on whiteboards instead of the masonry. Maybe one day, in their career as professional humans, they can be promoted to greater responsibility. And even, we can only hope, understand the cat is not a stapler.

See You On The Virtual Office,

Molly Deis
Trackers Earth
Founder & Mom


P.S. Kid Assist Needs?
Get Trackers Spark!
Check out Trackers Connect our new $5 Spark channel featuring short camps with movement, play and social connection. We also still offer growing favorites such as the Adventures of Captain Nick, School of Magic, the fantastical Realms of Cascadia, academics in the Backyard Classroom and much more!