Naturally Curious in October

October is a sensory month in New Hampshire; the summer has ended and hints of cooler weather remind us that winter is on its way. There is a flurry of natural activity! Let’s take a look.

Look up! Approximately 500 species of land birds leave their northern breeding ground for southern wintering grounds every year. Migratory flocks of birds travel during the day and at night. Night fliers call back and forth to one another to maintain contact. Listen — do you hear them?

Look down! Wooly bears are on a mission to find their winter shelters, and Eastern chipmunks are busily collecting nuts and seeds to store for winter. Chipmunks collect and transport their winter food supply in two large cheek pockets. Watch — do you see them?

Listen! The woodlands are alive with the dropping of deciduous tree leaves and the dispersal of many seeds. Plants rely on wind, water, animals, and gravity to distribute their seeds to distant locations. Some plants grow all over the world because the wind does such a good job of moving their seeds. Can you feel the wind?

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Mary Holland’s book Naturally Curious is a month-by-month journey through the fields, woods, and marshes of New England; a truly phenomenal resource for nature education. Check out her blog: Naturally Curious with Mary Holland.

Fun and Friends at Family Camp

Each fall, Camp Lincoln opens it’s doors, cabins, and activity areas to families for a long weekend. We call it Family Camp, and it is exactly as it sounds. Children, parents, grandparents and friends settle into lakeside cabins, unroll their sleeping bags onto wooden-framed bunk beds, pull on their wool socks and hats (or bathing suits!) and enjoy and challenge themselves at camp activities. From kayaking to hiking, pumpkin carving to campfires, families enjoy a relaxing and fun weekend at camp!

Thank you to the ten families who joined us for a beautiful weekend at camp! Family Camp 2014 was a great success. We look forward to seeing all of you again next fall.

Does this sound like your cup of tea? Learn more about Family Camp at Camp Lincoln, and join us in 2015!

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Friday Morning Walk

Today I treated myself to an early morning walk along Swasey Parkway during pre-work hours. It was high tide, the moon was still hanging tough in the sun-filled blue sky. The wind was a tad gusty bringing in an ocean scent.

How I love Exeter. The river, skyline of steeples and historic places just shouts of quaint New England.

A new YMCA Facility is soon to be added on Linden Street. It is not as if Exeter is missing anything, but this new Y will certainly enhance the Exeter area. Almost like that perfect piece of jewelry adds a bit of sparkle to your favorite outfit.

The Y will offer health, wellness, a stronger community and so much more.

What a wonderful morning walk imagining the possibilities!

~Bev Bowles

The Right To Play

At the YMCA, we believe the pillars of a healthy family home are eat healthy, play every day, get together, go outside, and sleep well.

Now that school is back in session and kids will spend much of their day indoors, we encourage parents to help their children spend time outside. Protect your children’s right to play! Parks and playgrounds are wonderful environments for unstructured outdoor play. They provide opportunities for children to test out their abilities as they climb, slide, swing and hang. Parks are also good environments for parents to watch but not hover as children interact with one another in a safe setting. Having the opportunity to explore, problem solve and resolve the occasional conflict will help your child develop a healthy sense of independence. Balance independent exploratory time with your own efforts to be active with your child.

There are incredible resources for families looking for information and ideas to support their healthy family home. The YMCA website is a great place to start!

Download this quick start kit to help your family accomplish Healthy Family Home goals to play every day!

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FUN With Your Family

August is Family Fun Month! There are only a few weeks left before school starts. Here are some fun and creative ideas to have fun with your family. How many can you complete this month?

1. Visit a local park: Go for a walk, toss a frisbee, pack a lunch, and don’t forget your picnic blanket!

2. Host a dance party: Turn your living room into a party zone by dressing up in funky clothes, dimming the lights, and turning on your favorite dance music. Disco ball is optional!

3. Beach outing: We are lucky to live in an area close to the beach, take full advantage while there is still a little bit of warmth! Take your kids out to the beach and let them boogie board while you soak up some sun and relax.

4. Book Night! You don’t always have to leave the house to have fun. Take a trip to the local library and check out some books so you can huddle up with your family and read. You might want to include a longer novel where everyone can read a chapter or two.

5. Scavenger hunt: Give your kids a list of things that they will need to find around the house or in your neighborhood. Have some prizes ready for the person who finds all items on the list!

6. Backyard movie night: Why not watch a movie in your own makeshift movie theater? Play your family’s favorite movie using a projector and a blank wall. Make sure to pop some popcorn!

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Friendship Day

Today is Friendship Day! We think about friendship daily at the YMCA as we watch children and staff creating bonds, learning together, and building community.

Considering the valuable role friends play in our life it was deemed fit to have a day dedicated to friends and friendship. The United States Congress, in 1935, proclaimed the first Sunday of August as International Friendship Day. Since then, celebration of Friendship Day became an annual event. The idea of honoring the beauty of friendships caught on with people worldwide and Friendship Day has become a hugely popular festival in many countries.

In 1997, the United Nations named Winnie the Pooh as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship.

How will you celebrate Friendship Day?

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Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries… Oh My!

Many people wonder why New Englanders love living here, why we suffer through months and months of cold and snow and mud. One of the best reasons to live in New England: berry season. Now is the time, my friends. Don’t hold back. Pick as many of these delicious fruits as you can, share them with your family and friends, hide some in your freezer for fall smoothies or winter pancakes, and take some time to let the sun on your face while you enjoy the sweet taste of fresh picked berries.

Did you know that eating blueberries can protect against memory loss? Learn more about these healthful fruits!

Where do you go berry picking? Seacoast Harvest, a project of Seacoast Eat Local, offers a searchable index of local farms. If you want to pick berries, make sure to search pick-your-own. If you want to visit a farm to buy berries, simply look for local farms that offer the product you want. You can also find fresh berries at your local farmers market!

What are your favorite berry recipes? How do you incorporate them into your meals or snacks?
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