2016: Expecto Patronum!
"A Patronus is a kind of positive force, and for the wizard who can conjure one, it works something like a shield, with the Dementor feeding on it, rather than him. In order for it to work, you need to think of a memory. Not just any memory, a very happy memory, a very powerful memory… Allow it to fill you up... lose yourself in it... then speak the incantation " Expecto Patronum "
Our third year of camp found us at the Fairhope United Methodist Church, where we turned the top floor of the Christian Life Center into Hogwarts. Our theme for Year Three was Expecto Patronum! We were inspired by J. K. Rowling's third Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, in which Harry learns how to produce a Patronus in order to protect himself. He also meets some new friends, and learns more about the magical world. We translated themes and events from the book into fun new events at camp.
In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry learns more about his background and the dire events of the night of his parents’ deaths. He meets a new ally in the form of Professor Remus Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts. Because of the danger of Sirius Black, a dangerous criminal who has escaped from the Wizarding prison, Azkaban, the Ministry of Magic has placed Dementors at Hogwarts to protect the students. These fearsome magical creatures literally suck the happiness out of an individual and although they have been told to look only for Black, they are unnaturally attracted to Harry. When he is attacked by Dementors during a Quidditch match, nearly falling to his death, Professor Lupin gives Harry extra lessons in how to protect himself using a special spell called Expecto Patronum, which creates a sort of psychic barrier made of positive energy generated by happy memories.
Classes for 2016 included:
Transfiguration – Children learned basic cooking skills and safety by helping to make fresh snacks for the entire camp.
Defense Against the Dark Arts – We made patronus artwork, Marauder’s Maps, and played countless games of Boggart in the Closet.
History of Magic – We had our annual Magic the Gathering™ tournament. Making reference to Sirius Black’s wanted posters in the movie, History of Magic Professor Erza abu Boog put bounties of House Points on several staff members based on their skill at the game. The campers were allowed to challenge these members to a duel and received extra house points if they were victorious. Wanted posters were posted all over camp and really added to the ambience!
Spell Play – Campers learned our new camp song, Expecto Patronum! and Professor Katydid Myriadfae taught us new verses to add to our camp silly song.
Charms – The campers made animal sculptures to represent their patronuses. We also made owl pendants in free time out of salt dough.
Quidditch – The annual Quidditch tournament had more drama than usual this year as we had severe thunderstorms during the last few days of camp. A drizzly rain added a new dimension to the semi-finals, and then the sun came out for the finals. StoneDragon once again won the Quidditch Cup!
Herbology – Campers learned the properties of common herbs by making tea and having tea parties. These proved so popular that Herbology Professor Felinia Southpaw had to host extra tea parties during free time!
Care of Magical Creatures – Campers learned all about owls, including getting to dissect owl pellets. We also had a visit from real live owls thanks to the outreach program at the Nature Center at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.
Calligraphy - Campers learned to write their names in traditional English calligraphy as well as learning to write their house names in Chinese calligraphy.
Witch Stitchery – in a new class this year, campers learned the basics of sewing as they made cute felt owls.
Dueling Club – The campers focused on combining movement with the names of spells as they emulated the duels in the story by choreographing their own duels.
Magical Inscriptions (script writing, teens only) – The House Elves wrote a script based on something that was not in the books. Sirius doesn’t reveal many details of his escape from Azkaban. What if Harry asked Sirius to tell the story, perhaps over a nice cup of tea?
Photomancy (cinematography teens only) – The House Elves used their imagination and ingenuity to turn the Christian Life Center into Azkaban Prison to show the details of how Sirius Black escaped!
Every day the campers had a choice of free time activities including playing Magic the Gathering™, learning to crochet and working on their other art projects, playing magic-themed board games, and going on “field trips” to Fairhopers Park.
Like all Third Years at Hogwarts, Harry and his friends are able to visit Hogsmeade, the only exclusively Wizard village in England. However, Harry runs into a problem when his guardian, Uncle Vernon, refuses to sign a permission slip for the visit. In true Potter fashion, Harry dons the Invisibility Cloak he inherited from his father, intending to go, with permission or not. The Weasley Twins, Fred and George, help him out by giving him another magical item, the Marauder’s Map, which not only shows secret passages, but also the location of people.
Our campers had a much easier time getting to Hogsmeade, which we recreated on the second Monday of camp. They were able to visit several wizarding establishments, including Zonko’s Joke Shop and Honeyduke’s sweet shop.
During free choice time every day, many campers chose to hang out with our Witch Stitchery Professor Braelynn O’Penguinny to work on their projects. She also taught them a bit about crochet and the forms they made from donated yarn were used in September for a city-wide yarn bomb event to support the Eastern Shore Art Center.
Here were the 2016 service projects each House worked on:
PhoenixFire: Created a fire safety awareness presentation along the lines of a public service announcement which they performed for their fellow campers and families at the final presentation on the last day of camp.
StoneDragon: Collected food and supplies for the animals at The Haven animal shelter in Fairhope.
WindHorse: Created everyday greetings cards for the elderly in assisted living.
WaveRider: Collected canned goods and nonperishable food items for distribution through the Ecumenical Ministries in Fairhope.