Camp JC a hit with kids in Channahon, Minooka


Camp JC a hit with kids in Channahon, Minooka
  1. Camp JC a hit with kids in Channahon, Minooka
    morrisdailyherald.com
    Since she was 8 years old, JoLeigh Buchanan, now 16, loved to party plan and made each one of her own birthday parties special for her friends with gift bags, special treats and games, said her mother, Tara…
    Illinois (IL)

Since she was 8 years old, JoLeigh Buchanan, now 16, loved to party plan and made each one of her own birthday parties special for her friends with gift bags, special treats and games, said her mother, Tara Buchanan.

With her love of young children, and a flair for parties, JoLeigh offered Camp JC this winter break to girls in kindergarten through fourth grade in the Channahon and Minooka area.

“I wanted my girls to participate in Camp JC, because I knew the kind of interactions they would have with JoLeigh. She loves being around my girls, and she treats them with respect and makes each one of them feel special,” Christine Costabile of Channahon said. “JoLeigh is someone you just want to be around.”

JoLeigh had a similar camp in the summer and, afterward, parents asked her to host another. Because of the desire to raise money to go on a winter retreat with her church group, JoLeigh created this three-hour camp for a $5-per-child charge. She posted the idea on her own Facebook page with the hopes of 16 girls and two sessions.

“In an hour, I had 24 kids sign up, so I added another day so I had eight girls per day at camp,” JoLeigh said. “It’s a mix of church, neighborhood kids and friends.”

JoLeigh hit up Pinterest for age-appropriate ideas for each group. She had two kindergarten through second-grade groups and one second- to fourth-grade group. Because it was it was winter, she chose a snow theme, even though the week of camp, it looked more like spring with the rain and mild temperatures.

As each girl arrived, JoLeigh welcomed them, and they all gathered for a game of freeze dance and the name game to break the ice. Then the favorite (and most messy) part began and the girls made chocolate cookie balls dipped in white chocolate.

First, they all smashed the cookies in bags. Some used their hands or a rolling pin, but sisters Alena, Isabella and Emilia Costabile of Channahon and Maddie Sedorook of Minooka decided to use their feet.

“Crushing cookies was the best because we got to smash and crush them,” Maddie said.

After the crushing stage, JoLeigh paired the girls in groups of two and gave them cream cheese to mix into the cookie crumbs. The girls looked at their gooey hands and giggled, as using hands took precedence over using a spatula.

“Who needs Play-Doh when you have cookies and cream cheese?” Campbell Warren of Channahon said as she rolled the mixture between her hands.

After all of the cookie mess, the girls then rolled the mixture into balls and drizzled with white chocolate.

The rest of the afternoon was spent painting snowflake wands with paint, glue, glitter and sequins which flew all over the basement table and floor, and a few of the girls decided to paint themselves and JoLeigh. Then a class on paper snowflake making, marshmallow and toothpick building and snacks of berries,…

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