Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CFA Buildings Part 2

This is a continuation from our last blog post about the history of our buildings around camp. Hopefully you learned something new in our last blog. This blog will be no different. Here is part 2 of a 2 part series on the history of CFA's buildings:

The Flag Pole
The flag pole is kind of the center piece of a camp. We meet there every morning and nice to raise and lower the colors. It used to be located in front of Strong Hall and was moved over by the cabins a few years ago when Allison and the Summer '07 staff built this site. You can the remains of where the flag pole used to stand in front of Strong Hall near the GaGa pit.

Wheel & Wagon
Back in the 60's and before these were cabins that the boys stayed in. Later on in camp's life they were equestrian staff housing. Now they are used as the cleaning shed and the Ad Staff office.

Pioneer Health Lodge
Now used as the infirmary for the clinical specialists out at camp the Health Lodge has served many purposes out at camp. Ranging from a bath house to professional staff housing. The biggest debate going on about this building right now is that Ryne thinks there is an elk head stuffed in there but Bill thinks it is a axis deer.

Craft Shed
Before it became the craft shed in the late 90's it was the maintenance shop. Joseph, our current Property Manager, worked out of this until his shop was built at the front of the property. Now the craft shed is where Arts ad Crafts take place during the summer. It is cleaned out and not used in the offseason very often.

Equestrian Center
Not much is known about the history of the Equestrian Center. It has been located in the same place for quite some time now. About 20-30 horses call it home and it probably has the most animal and human traffic on camp.

Built in the summer 2010 by LITs, the LIT pit is the focal point for late night embers after the dance for Farrow, Ottawa and the LITs.

The Dining Hall
The facility was built in August of 1964. It is two stories and the bottom floor is used mainly for its restrooms and overflow. Little known fact about the dining hall is that there used to be a food elevator (a small pully elevator) that would take food from the kitchen to the bottom floor. Within the past 7 years it finally got air conditioning. No more sweating during meals. The dining hall used to be located down near the pool. Next to it was the tennis courts and trampolines, both of which have been removed from camp.

The Pool
The pool was built the same year as the dining hall (1964). It also had diving boards, which has since been removed because the design of the pool makes any type of diving dangerous. It also added a shade structure added to give the kids who don't want to swim a cool place to hangout and play games.

The Gaga Pit
Built in spring 2010 it quickly became one of camp's favorite places due to the game gaga, especially during snack time. It became so popular that we built another one and put it next to the pool for kids who didn't want to swim.

The Council Ring

We don't know when it was built (it shows up in pictures from the early 50's). It is home to our campfires. It is always filled with songs and laughter. If you know anything about the history of this place, let us know.

The Blakley Chapel

Now home to daily Pow Wows, the Blakley Chapel has been around for a long time, but little is known about its history. We are currently looking to renovate the site to make it as beautiful as it deserves. Let us know if you would like to help or if you know any history behind it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CFA Buildings Part 1

This is part one of a two part blog series. 

So I have a little history lesson today about CFA and its buildings. I just got done reading this article from ACA and it got me thinking about CFA. What were the buildings used for before and the history behind them. So take a look at the pictures and the history below them.

The Red Huts
Built in the early 1930s, there were actually 10 originally and they were white. Since 4 have been removed to make room for Strong Hall and their color has changed from white to red. They used to be boy cabins, but now are used for LIT housing and staff housing during the summer. The insides were recently renovated with new flooring and new walls.

The Concrete Slab
Mainly used for parking now, the concrete slab used to be a pavilion called the "Arrowplex" and had basketball courts and a place to go when it was rainy. It was taken down when Strong Hall was built.

 The Red Stone House
No one really knows when this house was built but it was the only building on the property when the land was purchased by the YMCA in 1927. It has served camp well over the years, being the camp office, staff lounge, nurses station and currently professional staff housing.

Strong Hall
The biggest building on camp has been at camp since 1998 or 2002 (Bill can't make up his mind). It currently has all the professional staff offices, staff workout room, meeting rooms, indoor gym and indoor climbing walls. It is one of the main buildings used when it is rainy or to meet for retreats. It also houses our radio station (you see the antenna on the left side of the roof). 

The Retreat Center or RC
It used to be the called the EEC (Environmental Education Center) when it was first built in the mid 1990s. Now it is used as a meeting place in the summer and during retreat season. It also was staff housing for 4 years when Bill and Allison arrived at CFA.

Girl Cabins
These actually didn't exist until the early 1970s. There were platform tents (wooden frames with concrete floor with a plastic roof and thick cloth walls) in place before then. They were built when CFA became Co-Ed in 1973 (did you know that is when it became Camp Flaming Arrow, it was called San Antonio YMCA Camp for Boys up until then). 

Boy Cabins
These came to camp during the 1980s. Boys stayed in the Red Huts until these were built. So it was boys on one side of the ravine and girls on the other until the 80s.

The Igloo
The Igloo (along with two other building that will be in part 2) was a bath house during the 1960s. Back then it didn't have a roof and was an open air shower house. Counselors had to hold flash lights for campers so they could see while they showered (I promise this does not happen anymore). Now it is used as a cabin during the summer ranging from LITs to rookie campers. It is only cabin at CFA with three sinks (all in different rooms) and two restrooms. It also only holds 10 people instead of 12 like the rest of the cabins.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Advice from a Saddle Club Pro

Dear CFA family,

Ryne and I have been asking for guest bloggers to write up some of their camp experiences to be published here at Hey Hey CFA. Jen is an amazing young woman and a camper of several years, who was my first volunteer to write about her Saddle Club experiences. I gave her a few pretty simple questions to answer, and she ended up writing this wonderful essay describing her summers at YMCA Camp Flaming Arrow. She also has some great advice for campers new and old. Read it and enjoy! I feel so blessed to teach riding students like Jen every summer— I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

— "MA"

        Hey, Hey CFA.....Hay is for Horses! My name Is Jen Alexander. I am fifteen years old and I live in San Antonio, Texas. I am a competitive swimmer and I am a brown Ragger. (Raggers is a special program at CFA.) I have been in Saddle Club for five years, since I started camp at the age of ten. The reason I choose to be part of Saddle Club is because I am one of those kids who love horseback riding, but I don't have the money to own a horse and I live in the suburbs of San Antonio. I am a horse lover so Saddle Club is that one week out of 52 that I get to live my dream as a horseback rider and I get to say that one phrase I love to say: "That's my horse". If you share the same story then Saddle Club will give you that experience. 
         I enjoy every part of Saddle Club. Saddle Club lets you experience being a horseback rider. You get to enjoy the ability to "own" a horse for a week. The games you do will be fun and teach good posture when you are in the saddle. The games help you become better equestrians. You also get to learn good horsemanship, how to brush your horse and put the saddle on your horse. You get to learn how to walk and trot on your horse. Trotting is a faster pace than a walk. Older kids may even learn how to canter. Cantering, or loping, is a faster pace than a trot. There is a special trail ride that the Saddle Club gets to go on. We get to ride our horses up to Mt. Vesper. Mt. Vesper is this cliff mountain that has a cross on it. The older kids get to eat s'mores up there. It's a pretty view. You can see all of the camp from that point. 
        I think all the horses are amazing. So don't worry about getting a crazy horse because they are all sweet and compatible. My favorite horses for beginner riders are Jb and Karat. Jb is a Spanish quarter horse. I rode him for 2 years. He is a pony but prefers to be called a small horse. He is sweet and gentle. He is the handsomest pony in the barn. He is a great listener and doesn't get super crazy. I love to put his long bangs into a ponytail. He makes funny faces when I do that. :) He has a fast yet smooth walk and his trot is fast. Karat is a pretty mare and she is a Arabian/Quarter horse. She is sassy girl but is honestly sweet. When you trot her she makes funny faces that are awesome to catch on camera. Don't worry if she does that because that's just her. She has a smooth trot and walk. She can ride both English and western so if you only know one way don't worry because she knows both. 
        For advanced riders that ride back at home but never have ridden at CFA, Marquee and is a fun horse for you. I rode him for two years. He is a Thoroughbred. He is the biggest horse in the barn. He has a nice slow walk and a really fast trot so he is perfect to do a posting trot on. He has a calm personality and listens well too. He has a fast canter that's rough but he's only eight, so he might become smoother as he gets older.  Last summer I got the privilege to ride one of the new mustangs named Indigo. He is so cute and calm. If you are an advanced rider you might get to ride him. He has a nice slow walk and a slow trot. When I rode him you liked to go anywhere he wanted to go but he listens well. He is a class clown. He likes to make funny faces and knock down things. He is a very curious little fellow. He doesn't bite or buck which was a surprise to me since he is from the wild. 
        Take my advice young Jedi, because it will determine your life or death here at CFA...I am just playing with you but I recommend you take it. I recommend boot cut or jeans that aren't tight because if you don't want to rip your favorite pair of super tight skinny jeans than I would pick up a pair of loose jeans at Target or Old Navy. Also, about jeans, I wouldn't wear jeans with holes in them because than you can get them caught on the fence or on hooks on the saddle. I would keep your riding clothes in a separate bag just in case if you fall into wild grass and you find out that you are allergic to it and get hives. Been there done that, don't want to have Mickey Mouse hands. I recommend you don't wear flats or TOMS because they don't do to well in mud and poop. At least you can clean tennis shoes and boots. You should have your parents come take you as early as possible so that you can get dibs on a bunk near the A/C. 
        Well, I am planning on coming to CFA this summer for my LIT year. I am also planning on being an WIT when I am 17 to become an assistant wrangler for CFA because someone has to fill those boots.  I will be returning for the epic summer of 2012. Don't forget to live, laugh, love, and look up!

 — Jen A., San Antonio TX
Here's Jen riding "Indigo," the mustang she refers to in her blog entry. She was the very first student rider to trot on Indigo, and even played a whole day of games on him!