Book 'Em, Danno

By Silvana Clark

Naturally your camp is on the cutting edge as far as safety, staff training and child psychology. But are you on the cutting edge of the latest craft phenomena?


Do the terms acid free paper, Flip Flop Fasteners and cropping mean anything to you? Welcome to the world of scrap booking. The New York Times recently stated that "Scrap booking is the fastest growing sector of hobby related industries. The two billion dollar a year industry is expected to grow by 40-70 percent in the next five years."

There are now close to 4,000 retail scrapbook stores in the U.S., along with nearly 2,000 manufacturers, tens of thousands of direct sales consultants, and hundreds of Web sites. It makes sense your campers would like to be a part of this popular craft.

Define & Conquer
The official definition of scrap booking, according to Fun Facts Publishing, is "the art of safely and creatively showcasing photos and memorabilia in albums using archival, acid-free albums and products."

For most camps, the definition is more like, "Let campers decorate photos with stickers and fancy papers." Yes, you could get involved in buying acid free paper and sheet protectors, but most campers are happy with ordinary paper they can put in a notebook or an inexpensive journal found at dollar stores, though there are a number of companies that cater specifically to camps that you ought to check out.

The idea is for campers to take a picture of themselves having a great time at camp and glue it on a piece of paper. Oh, but there is so much more!

Perhaps they'll add a sticker of a canoe next to the picture. Then they'll use colored pencils to sketch their best friend, along with writing a caption for the picture. Let's not forget adding a polka-dot frame and a fancy border around the whole piece of paper. There you have it… one scrap booking page completed!

Scrap booking can be a week-long process, with campers working on pages on a daily basis. When sending information sheets to campers ahead of time, ask them to bring 10-15 photos to camp. Supplement these with photos taken at camp to make a scrapbook that reminds campers of the great time they had that summer. This is also a project that parents cherish. Mothers are sure to give you positive word of mouth publicity by showing all their friends the adorably cute scrapbook their child made. (I don't think my non-smoking mother showed anyone the lopsided ashtray I made at camp.)

Here are a few basic supplies needed to start a scrap booking program at camp:

  • Scissors

  • Glue sticks

  • Construction paper

  • Colored pencils

  • Markers

  • Rulers

  • Assortment of stickers

Check your local craft store or Wal-Mart for scrap booking supplies. You can buy packages of 100 sheets of paper that are decorated with stars, seasonal pictures and fancy borders.

Campers then cut (or crop) their pictures to add on the papers.

Scrapbooks themselves can be the journals found from dollar stores or simply 9" x 12" sheets of construction paper put into an inexpensive binder.

Have a few scrapbook sample pages available so campers can get an idea about the project. Be sure to let them know there is no right or wrong way to scrap book.

Some campers are happy adding a border around a picture and writing, "Mike and I went on the rope swing. We had fun."

Other campers get more involved by adding stickers, various papers and long descriptions. You'll find teenage girls enjoy making scrap books for each other. Be sure to have glittery stickers and hot pink papers for this age group!

If you want more elaborate scrap book projects, many manufacturers make complete kits, specific to certain themes. You could purchase "Summer Fun" kits, complete with summery stickers, and other embellishments.

Looking for a way to get free scrap book supplies? Talk to the manager of a local craft or scrap booking store. So often scrap bookers get carried away and buy more supplies than they'll ever need. See if the store would set up a box that says, "Please Donate Extra Scrap Book Supplies to Camp Firwood." You'll end up with scrap booking embellishments guaranteed to add interest to campers' scrap booking projects.

Scrap booking encourages creativity. There's no pressure to create a "perfect" scrap booking page. A simple photograph bordered with a red, white and blue frame glued to a piece of paper surrounded by flags creates an instant Fourth of July page. Even non-crafty campers get a feeling of accomplishment from seeing their completed scrap book pages.

Scrap booking is big business for retailers. Cruises designed for scrap bookers sail the Seven Seas. Some stores offer "Crop Till You Drop" classes where people work on scrap books past midnight.

You can even attend Scrap Booking University if you become a die-hard scrap book fan! While most camps simply offer scrap booking as a craft option, many resources are available. Check out some possibilities to get ideas for how you can capitalize on this popular activity.

Silvana Clark has over 20 years experience helping thousands of children create arts and crafts projects and is a frequent speaker at camp and recreation conferences.