Rochester Garden Club Gives Outdoor Camp Scholarships

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Chace catches a "keeper"
Chace catches a “keeper” (from Kristen Browe)

The Rochester Garden Club has initiated a new scholarship program for elementary school students in the Rochester area this year. As a part of its mission, the club supports environmental education and is especially interested in helping students of all ages experience the natural world. Graduating seniors receive scholarships toward college degrees in environmental studies, middle school students are sent to a weeklong 4-H sponsored sleep away camp for environmental education and now elementary students can attend the “Nature Discovery Camp” hosted by the City of Rochester Hills.

In late June, Chace Browe (age 7) enjoyed his outdoor experience with the help of naturalists at Bloomer Park. He had great fun observing “the biggest crayfish” in the water and wanted to pet the wild turkeys they found (he was not allowed). But his favorite experiences were fishing and tie dying tee shirts. When asked if he learned anything new, he remarked “Yes. I forgot but I know I learned something I didn’t know.” Chace hopes he can go back next year.

Chace’s parents, Kristen and Nick Browe are grateful for the opportunity for Chace to get outside and experience nature first-hand, and are glad there are programs available for the younger students.

As a local nonprofit, Rochester Garden Club is pleased to offer these experiences to encourage our future environmentalists. In addition to scholarship programs, the club serves the community in the areas of conservation, education, horticulture therapy, and civic improvement. Funds for these projects come from sales at the annual Gifts and Greens Market. Due to the covid restrictions, this year the market will move online. Holiday arrangements and handmade gifts can be purchased between November 15 and 25 with pick up for all items on December 4 and 5 at the Rochester Fire Department on Second Street. Go to www.rochestergardenclub.org or Facebook for details.

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James McColley, former summer camp employee at Westfield YMCA, accused of photographing 5 female counselors and volunteers changing in bathroom

A former employee at a Western Massachusetts summer camp was charged last week with secretly recording multiple female staffers while they were changing in a bathroom, according to police.

James McColley, who worked at Camp Shepard at the YMCA of Greater Westfield, has been accused of recording five counselors and volunteers while they were undressing in late July and early August, authorities said.

The victims’ ages ranged from 14 to 22 years old, according to court records from Westfield District Court.

He was arraigned Friday afternoon from jail at the Ludlow House of Correction on 15 charges, including both misdemeanor and felony sexual surveillance, unlawful secret recording, posing a child for sexual photographs and possessing child pornography, officials said.

The 20-year-old Longmeadow man was expected to be released on $10,000 personal surety and is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing in October, Westfield Police Capt. Michael McCabe told MassLive.

Officers investigated a report on Aug. 3 that McColley used his phone to record a camp counselor while she was changing inside a women’s bathroom out of her bathing suit into dry clothes, according to court records.

While changing her clothes, the counselor looked toward the ceiling and saw a cell phone with the camera pointed at her, police said.

McColley had allegedly reached over the wall from the men’s bathroom into the women’s bathroom with the phone in his hand, according to authorities.

On the same day, McColley agreed to speak with Westfield police officers but later called to say he would not be coming, court records said.

Police received a warrant to seize McColley’s iPhone, but the suspect refused to come to the door or to talk with authorities. His mother gave investigators the phone, which was processed a day later by Massachusetts State Police, according to officials.

Through processing the phone and interviewing witnesses and victims, authorities learned McColley had allegedly taken several photographs and videos of five different girls or women in states of undress. Three were older than 18, and two were not, court records said.

The images were taken without the female staffers’ consent in the same bathroom where they expected privacy, police noted.

It was later discovered that McColley searched how to make photo albums password-protected on the iPhone after he was allegedly caught photographing the counselor on Aug. 3, according to authorities.

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The Top 5 Most Essential Gear For Your Camp Kitchen

When you go on a camping trip, you would set up your campsite to be a comfortable space for you to sleep, cook and eat – just like your home. Setting up a camp kitchen is easy, just as long as you know which gear are the most important. In the future, you can add more items to your outdoor kitchen but for now, here are the top 5 that you need:

Stove

A portable stove is a must-have for any outdoor kitchen. You can choose to cook all your meals over a campfire but that would call for a longer cooking time and you might tire yourself out. A stove will help you cook food quicker and more conveniently.

Fuel

Your stove won't run without fuel so be sure to check your stove's fuel levels before you leave for camping. Always have extra fuel in hand just to be sure. One thing to keep in mind is that more fuel is consumed when you're at a higher altitude or when the weather is cold.

Cooking Gear

The goal when packing for a camping trip is to pack light. All you really need is a compact pot and a cast iron skillet to start, especially if you're tight on space. But this may not be enough if you're cooking for a larger group so if space permits, add a few more pots and pans (or just bring a couple of large ones). Don't forget the smaller items that are essential in cooking – a spatula, a ladle, knives, cutting board, colander, measuring cup scissors, food containers, garbage bags and some bowls and plates to serve food in.

Cooler

A cooler has more use than keeping your drinks cold. When filled with ice, it's a great space to store food that you'll cook for your trip as well as leftovers to keep them from spoiling. It's ideal to keep most food in a sealed container so as not to attract scavengers to your campsite.

Camping Lantern

It could get really dark out in the woods and cooking can get hard. It's not ideal to rely on the campfire for light. While a flashlight will do the job, it will tie down your hands. Invest in a good quality camping lantern that will assist you in cooking, washing dishes and even provide light when you're eating.

Check all these items from your list and you'll have the 5 most essential gear for your camp kitchen!

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