Camp Small Hands

Where Tiny Fingers Make the Tightest Knots


School will be out soon. The kids will need something to do. It's time to think about summer camp. I do not harbor romantic notions of unstructured summer vacations where kids just get to be kids, running wild around the cul-de-sac like a bunch of Kool-Aid fueled savages. Nope. Idle hands, especially small ones, are the devil's workshop. That's why I'm sending my kids to Camp Small Hands. It'll be a summer they'll never forget. Here's the description printed in the camp's brochure:

"Nestled in the remote woods of central Wisconsin, Camp Small Hands is a    coeducational sleepaway camp for children ages 7-12 that specializes in teaching the ancient art of carpet weaving. Grounded in the classical Persian, Turkish, Indian and Caucasian weaving traditions, Camp Small Hands will show your child the ins and outs (and ins and outs and ins and outs) of making fine hand-knotted Oriental rugs. 

Upon arrival, campers are divided into small groups of 4-5 "loom mates," under the supervision of a "loom monitor," who leads the group start to finish through the process of creating unique handmade rugs (which you can later purchase as a souvenir through our factory-direct rug outlet.) 

Students are first given a primer in the differences between traditional designs such as Tabriz, Mohajahan, Karabagh and Shirvan. They learn how to mix their own vegetable, aniline and chrome dyes. (We provide each camper with a complimentary pair of rubber surgical gloves--please let us know if your child has a latex allergy.) Campers are then given an intensive basic-skills tutorial in Senneh, Ghiordes and Jufti knotting styles. This is followed by a course in essential loom maintenance. In order to foster self-reliance and responsibility, campers will be responsible for maintaining their own equipment throughout their stay. 

Then the real fun begins! Campers spend 10-12 hours a day absorbed in the Zen-like process of tying the thousands upon thousands of tiny knots that will eventually become a work of art they can be proud of all their lives--if you're smart enough not to miss your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy your child's handiwork at our amazing, below-wholesale prices!  

Of course, carpet weaving is not just about making tight, efficient knots. Mathematics, especially counting, is a big part of our educational program. Campers are routinely required to check and re-check their progress with timed knot-counting exercises. Don't be surprised if your child comes home from camp habitually counting everything in the house. You'll thank us come fall when she blows her classmates away with her rocket-fast addition skills! 

Another of our goals is to help children learn to make good nutritional decisions. Campers are wholly responsible for the rationing and preparation of their own food. Every Monday each each "loom group" is given a 5lb. bag of rice, which they must make last through the whole week. Typically, the first week is always a little rough, and there are some grumbly tummies by Sunday, but they quickly learn proper portion control. You'll be amazed how far your little camper can make a bag of rice go! 

But above all of these valuable lessons, we want campers to have fun. The games never stop at CSH. Our counsellors go out of their way to make each day as thrill-packed as possible. With games like "fastest knotter gets to run outside for a drink of water" and "good counters eat twice," campers are kept in a constant state of focused excitement. Campers are also given fun production challenges where they can earn "Bidjar bucks," which they can spend on "special treats" like sleeping mats, pillows and salt. 

The cost is $500 per camper, per week, with a minimum four-week commitment. Sure, it's expensive, but we guarantee this is a one-of-a-kind summer experience, you won't find another like it, anywhere. Our staff is of the highest quality, if not better....Still too much? OK. Look, we like you, and we shouldn't do this, but we'll take 25% off the price, and we'll even throw in a free pad for your camper to sit on. No other camp can give you a deal like that. So why don't you take this brocure home and think about it for a day or two and then give us a call. But don't wait too long, my friend, spots are filling up fast. 

Image Source:Carpet [India] (14.40.725) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Copyright 2013 Paul J. Rasmussen