Five Reasons Kids Should Attend Summer Camp

At the end of the school year, many parents start thinking about how they will keep their children active and entertained during the summer months. Finding babysitters can be a hassle, and ultimately you just want your child to be safe and enjoy their time away from school. For anyone who was experienced summer camp, they know it’s a great option for both kids and parents during the summer. There are so many lasting benefits of summer camp on a child that it should be an obvious choice. If you’re not already convinced, here are the top five reasons you should encourage your kids to attend camp.

1. They Build a New Skill Set

From growing plants and vegetables in a garden to working on their backstroke in the pool, summer camps offer children the opportunity to learn new skills and gain confidence in their ability to try new things. Many children find new hobbies during their time at camp that will continue after camp is over. Being able to flourish outside of their academic environment can be a rewarding experience for a child, and camp provides kids ample opportunities to take on new challenges and practice their skills.

2. They Make New Friends

Learning how to meet new people and make friends in any setting is a skill that will help your child throughout their life. One of the greatest benefits of summer camp is meeting a new group of kids who share similar interests without the stress of competing academically. Shared experiences can create strong bonds among children, and these relationships can turn into lasting friendships that will enrich your child’s life for years to come.

3. They Stay Active

With the overwhelming amount of toys and electronics kids have access to these days, it can be difficult to get your child out of the house and moving around. To maintain their health and overall well-being, it’s crucial that kids participate in sports and physical activity. Summer camp is a great place for kids to stay active and form habits and positive memories around exercise and playing outside.

4. They Become More Independent

In their daily lives, most children have their decisions and schedule made for them by their parents or teachers. Camp gives kids the opportunity to practice independence and guide themselves to a decision in a comfortable environment. Kids have the ability to put themselves out there in a safe space a thrive in a unique environment, which can build their self-esteem in other areas of their life including school and sports teams.

5. They Make Lasting Memories

Last but not least, camp is a place to simply have fun. Your child will return home with great stories and funny anecdotes from a day full of new experiences and activities. These stories will turn into fond memories of their summer with a lasting impact on their life. While playing Nintendo on the couch might sound like fun, nothing compares to the skills, friendships, and memories a child makes during camp.

White Water Rafting Adventure – 7 Tips For Taking the Ride of Your Life

A whitewater rafting adventure, have you ever thought about jumping in with both feet? The beginner can have just as much fun and excitement as the seasoned expert. The following 7 tips will help get you safely prepared to take the ride of your life.

Tip 1. Make Reservations. There are whitewater-rafting sites that will take walk-ins but it is best to make a reservation, especially during peak season. Decide what river you would like to experience then go online and search the available Whitewater Rafting companies. I know firsthand that the rafting outfits near Blue Ridge, TN do a great job meandering down the Ocoee River. I highly recommend Ocoee Rafting, LLC which is located about 2 ½ hours north of Atlanta.

Tip 2. Allow some extra time. If you are not familiar with the area you may want to allow some extra time before your appointed trip time. Make sure to get good directions before you leave home. We ended up at the wrong rafting company but had plenty of time to correct the error and arrive at the right location with time to spare. FYI: Be sure to take your reservation number and info with you.

Tip 3. Eat a light meal. With all of the waiting, preparation, mini-safety lessons and actual run down the river expect to be gone anywhere from 4 to 6 hours for a half day trip. Eat a small meal right before you go, normally food and drink are not allowed on the raft.

Tip 4. What to wear? Everyone in the raft will get wet! With that said make sure you wear clothing that dries quickly. For example: a bathing suit under surfing shorts for ladies, swim trunks and a t-shirt for men. For your feet water shoes work the best, no flip-flops in the raft. The rafting company will provide life jackets, helmets and an oar. River trips run rain or shine and you are guaranteed to get soaked either way.

Tip 5. What to take? Take a set of dry clothes and flip-flops to change into after your white water rafting run. Be sure to take a towel for each person. A waterproof disposable camera that can clip onto your shorts is a nice extra. Most rafting companies will have a photographer take pictures at some point on your run. These photos will be for sale when you return (Hey, they gotta make money somehow). The pictures come out pretty nice. Ask ahead of time if you don’t want to fool around with your own waterproof camera.

Tip 6. What not to take? Do not take valuable items. Do not take sunglasses and if you really don’t need your eyeglasses to make the run, leave them in your car or bring a head strap or buy a set of goggles that go over your glasses. If you sit at the front of the raft your glasses will get so wet that it is hard to see out of them. Do not wear your best sneakers. Lastly, leave your car keys at the whitewater rafting office.

Tip 7. Who should go? Anyone seeking something to do that is just a little out of the ordinary should definitely check it out. Children have to be at least 12 years old with most whitewater rafting companies. Those under 18 need their parents signed permission. Everyone in the raft needs to sign a liability waiver. If you are in reasonably good health then I say go, go, go. You will have the ride of your life and good memories to share with your family.

If you enjoy the ride with your guide, be sure to thank them and leave a good tip when you return to the white water rafting center.

Remember to laugh, listen to your guide, have fun with it, enjoy your whitewater rafting trip and above all take in the magnificent view.

Traveling – The Adventure Of A Lifetime

Adventure is a part of life and some say life itself is an adventure. Many people travel for having an adventure. There are different ways to have fun when you travel to some place, whether domestic or international and one way certainly is to have some kind of adventure. This may include outdoor activities like sports or even going to a place with some kind of an extreme climate and even traveling to some place with a lot of perils like a dangerous jungle.

What is mundane to one can be an adventure to another, and when it comes to traveling, there is no exception to this. Some may find cycling or driving along a very thin and dangerous mountainous road to be adventurous. Others may find that rather commonplace in comparison to surfing on the sea. Still others may consider only extreme adventure sports like bungee jumping and kayaking to be capable of generating the thrills.

It matters in a big way where you come from. If you come from a very small town, and have never really traveled to a big city, visiting a metropolis can be compared to the experience that someone from the city has when he travels to a small hilly town where one has to take risks daily to get things done.

So adventure does not have any fixed definition in this context. Traveling has become quite cheap. Thanks to the availability of cheap tickets, accommodations and travel offers someone with not too much money also can have the adventure of a lifetime by traveling to a place which has some unique experience in store for him.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

As of January 23, 2007 the new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires all travelers to and from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda to present a passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer’s identity and nationality in order to enter or re-enter the United States. The goal is to strengthen border security and facilitate entry into the United States for U.S. citizens and legitimate international travelers.
Under this law the following documents are be acceptable to fulfill document requirements:

• U.S. Passport: U.S. citizens may present a valid U.S. passport when traveling via air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda, and may also use a U.S. passport when traveling via sea and land borders (including ferry crossings).

• The Passport Card (also referred to as the PASS Card): This limited-use passport in card format is currently under development and will be available for use for travel only via land or sea (including ferries) between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. Similar in size to a credit card, it will fit easily into a wallet.

• DOS and DHS also anticipate that the following documents will continue to be acceptable for their current travel uses under WHTI: SENTRI, NEXUS, FAST, and the U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty traveling on orders will continue to be exempt from the passport requirement

The passport requirement does NOT apply to U.S. citizens traveling to or returning directly from a U.S. territory. U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory are not considered to have left the United States and do not need to present a passport.

U.S. citizens traveling from U.S. territories need not to present a passport to re-enter the United States. As long as the territories are a part of the United States. U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory are not considered to have left the U.S. territory and do not need to present a passport. U.S. territories include the following: Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Children are also required to present passports under the rule. Yes, children will be required to present a passport when entering the United States at airports. More information on obtaining a passport for a minor can be found at

Here’s what will happen to you if you attempt to re-enter the U.S. without a passport or an alternative travel card. Under the law, the new documentation requirements may be waived under certain circumstances. These exceptions include individual cases of unforeseen emergency and individual cases based on “humanitarian or national interest reasons.” In addition, the State Department has processes to assist U.S. citizens overseas to obtain emergency travel documentation for those with lost or stolen passports. There was a time when if a U.S. Citizen lost or their pass port was stolen you could go to any U.S. Embassy and get a new one issued right on the spot.

For the general public, people who apply for entry but do not have appropriate documentation will be referred for secondary screening at the port. In secondary, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers will evaluate any evidence of citizenship or identity the individual may have and will verify all information against available databases. However, to prevent delay at the ports of entry, they encourage all U.S. citizens to obtain the appropriate documents before they travel.
What impact recent legislation may have on the deadline of implementation for the land and sea phase is unknown.

While recent legislative changes may permit a later deadline, both the Departments of State and Homeland Security are working to put all requirements in place to implement the land and sea phase by the original deadline of January 1, 2008. Advance notice will be provided to enable the public to meet the land/sea border requirement.

Over 70 million U.S. citizens hold valid passports, an estimated quarter of the eligible population. The number of passport applications and issuances continues to grow. In fiscal year 2006, the U.S. Department of State issued over 12.1 million passports.

DHS has prepared a separate economic analysis, known as the Regulatory Assessment (RA), which is summarized in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published August 11, 2006, and is available in full for review and public comment from the Federal Register docket. DHS has determined that the benefits – facilitation of travel and increased security in the air and sea environments – justify the potential costs. A complete and detailed “Regulatory Assessment” can be found in the docket for this rulemaking: [;] see also For further information, please contact DHS.

Registration at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate (in the country you are visiting) makes your presence and whereabouts known, in case it is necessary for a consular officer to contact you in an emergency. During a disaster overseas, American consular officers can assist in evacuation were that to become necessary. But they cannot assist you if they do not know where you are.

Registration is particularly important for those who plan to stay in a country longer than one month, or who will travel to:

*A country that is experiencing civil unrest, has an unstable political climate, or is undergoing a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a hurricane.

*A country where there are no U.S. officials. In such cases, you should register at the U.S. embassy or consulate in an adjacent country, leave an itinerary with the Consular Section, ask about conditions in the country that you will visit and ask about the third country that may represent U.S. interests there.

If you are traveling with an escorted tour to areas experiencing political uncertainty or other problems, find out if your tour operator is registering your trip through the State Department’s travel registration website . If it is not, or if you are traveling on your own, you can still register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website .

In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare or whereabouts may not be released to inquirers without your expressed written authorizations. Registration through the website is not considered proof of citizenship. Remember to leave a detailed itinerary and the numbers or copies of your passport or other citizenship documents with a friend or relative in the United States.

Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid a certain country. The countries listed below are currently on that list. In addition to this list, the State Department issues Consular Information Sheets for every country of the world with information on such matters as the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, any areas of instability, and the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country.

Côte d’Ivoire 06/01/2007

Iran 05/31/2007

East Timor 05/11/2007

Nepal 05/07/2007

Eritrea 05/02/2007

Yemen 04/30/2007

Philippines 04/27/2007

Uzbekistan 04/25/2007

Congo, Democratic Republic of the 04/24/2007

Sri Lanka 04/05/2007

Afghanistan 04/04/2007

Algeria 03/22/2007

Central African Republic 03/06/2007

Liberia 02/16/2007

Kenya 02/06/2007

Burundi 01/24/2007

Nigeria 01/19/2007

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza 01/17/2007

Haiti 01/10/2007

Indonesia 01/09/2007

Lebanon 12/22/2006

Saudi Arabia 12/19/2006

Pakistan 12/05/2006

Chad 11/20/2006

Syria 11/13/2006

Sudan 10/05/2006

Iraq 08/28/2006

Somalia 06/05/2006

Bosnia-Herzegovina 03/30/2006

Colombia 01/18/2006

US Airways – International Travel Tips