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5 tips for choosing the right summer camp for your child



Overnight summer camps are great for developing your child’s interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, independence, and confidence. They also allow your little one to enjoy the beauty of nature and develop healthy lifestyle habits like being active and playing sports.

Are you thinking of sending your child to an overnight camp this summer? If so, here are a few tips on how to choose the right one to ensure your child has a fun, stimulating, and enriching experience.

1. Focus on your child’s expectations
You probably want to send your child to a summer camp they’ll enjoy. Therefore, it’s important to find out what types of activities your child likes or wants to try. For example, do they want to learn another language, develop their cooking skills, improve their gymnastics or participate in outdoor activities? Answering these questions will help you find a camp that’s well suited to their interests.

2. Establish your selection criteria
On top of finding a camp that offers interesting activities, it’s important to choose one that’s within your budget, time frame, and geographical area. In addition, you may want to look for a camp that caters to your child’s unique needs and dietary restrictions.

3. Do your research
Once you know exactly what you’re looking for, do your research to compile a list of summer camps that might be a good fit. You can also visit to find overnight summer camps across the United States. This website allows you to refine your search based on the state you live in and the types of activities your child is interested in. You can also search the internet to find private camps that meet your criteria.

4. Evaluate your options
To learn more about the summer camps you’re interested in, visit their websites and social media accounts. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the camp directly for more information. Remember to ask your child for their input and be prepared to make some compromises, especially if it’s their first experience.

5. Tour the camp
Some camps offer free tours, either by appointment or at an open house. Find out if any of the camps on your shortlist offer this option. In fact, touring the property can help you plan your child’s future stay and ease any fears you or your child may have.

Finally, remember that it’s important to start looking for camps as soon as possible. Overnight summer camps are popular, and spots tend to fill up quickly.

Do you have several children with different interests? If so, send them to different camps so they can all do something they enjoy.


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Final Preparations: 3-Weeks to Christmas



Tackling the Key Tasks for a Seamless Holiday Celebration.

With Christmas just three weeks away, the festive season is reaching its peak. This is the time to focus on finalizing preparations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable holiday. From confirming guest attendance to choosing the perfect party outfit, the tasks this week are all about fine-tuning the details of your holiday celebration.

1. Finalize Guest Confirmations: Reach out to everyone you’ve invited to your Christmas gathering to confirm their attendance. This step is crucial for finalizing catering counts, seating arrangements, and other accommodations. It’s also an opportunity to answer any questions your guests might have and to communicate any important details about the event.

2. Choosing Your Festive Outfit: Your Christmas party is an occasion to dress up and enjoy the festivities in style. Visit local boutiques or formalwear rental outlets to find an outfit that makes you feel festive and fabulous. Whether you opt for a classic look or something more contemporary, remember that comfort is key to enjoying the night.

3. Curating the Perfect Party Playlist: Music sets the mood for any party. Spend some time creating playlists that complement each phase of your event. A softer, mellow playlist is ideal for cocktail hour and mealtime, while upbeat tunes are perfect for dancing and celebrating. Tailoring your music to the flow of the evening will enhance the overall experience for you and your guests.

4. Gift Wrapping: Dedicate some time to wrapping the presents you’ve so thoughtfully chosen. Creative and thoughtful wrapping can make your gifts even more special. Consider setting up a wrapping station with all the necessary materials – paper, ribbons, tags, and decorations – to make the process efficient and enjoyable.

As Christmas draws near, completing these tasks can significantly reduce last-minute stress, fully immersing yourself in the joy of the season. This week’s efforts in finalizing details, from guest confirmations to wrapping presents, pave the way for a festive and memorable holiday celebration.

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Crafting Love: 15 Handmade Gift Ideas for a Thoughtful Christmas



Personalize Your Holiday Giving with Creative, Handcrafted Presents.

As the festive season approaches, the quest for the perfect Christmas gifts begins. In an era where online shopping reigns supreme, handmade gifts offer a deeply personal touch. Creating a gift with your hands is an expression of creativity and a testament to the love and thought you put into each present.

Here are 15 heartwarming and creative handmade gift ideas that cater to a range of skills, from crafting to cooking, ensuring there’s something special for everyone on your list:

  1. Knitted Accessories: Craft cozy knitted items like throws, scarves, or slippers – perfect for keeping your loved ones warm during the winter.
  2. Homemade Alcohol: Brew your own gin, beer, or wine, adding a personal touch to a classic gift.
  3. Handcrafted Jewelry: Design unique bracelets, rings, or necklaces, making a fashionable and memorable present.
  4. Bath Bombs: Create soothing bath bombs for a relaxing spa experience at home.
  5. Scented Candles: Make candles with delightful fragrances to add a cozy ambiance to any room.
  6. Decorative Picture Frames: Craft personalized picture frames to preserve cherished memories.
  7. Jams and Spreads: Prepare homemade jams or spreads, perfect for foodies.
  8. Christmas Decorations: Create festive decorations like wreaths or baubles to add holiday cheer.
  9. Tasty Marinades: Mix up flavorful marinades – a great gift for grilling enthusiasts.
  10. Custom Spice Mixes: Blend your own spice mixes tailored to your recipient’s taste preferences.
  11. Clay Pots: Fashion clay pots for plant lovers to showcase their greenery.
  12. Potpourri: Blend a fragrant potpourri as a delightful sensory gift.
  13. Fancy Soaps: Make artisanal soaps with unique scents and ingredients.
  14. Homemade Body Care Products: Create creams or exfoliants for a luxury skincare touch.
  15. Cork Drink Coasters: Craft stylish drink coasters from Cork for a practical and chic gift.

Handmade gifts are not just items; they are a showcase of time, effort, and personal attention. This Christmas, embrace the joy of making and giving something unique. These gifts will bring smiles to your loved ones’ faces and support local shops where you can buy all the necessary materials. Get creative, spread joy, and make this holiday season one to remember with your heartfelt creations.

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Green Holiday Cheer: Five Eco-Friendly Tips for a Sustainable Christmas



Embrace Eco-Conscious Practices to Celebrate a More Environmentally Friendly Holiday Season.

The holiday season is traditionally a time of joy and generosity, but it can also bring about excessive consumption and waste. This Christmas, there’s a growing need to balance the festive spirit with environmental responsibility. By adopting eco-friendly practices, you can celebrate a green Christmas that’s joyful and kind to the planet.

1. Conscious Gift-Giving: Rethink your approach to presents by choosing sustainable and meaningful gifts. Opt for experiences, homemade treats, or eco-friendly products. When it comes to wrapping, use recycled or reusable materials such as brown paper or fabric, reducing the amount of waste generated.

2. Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree Options: For a greener tree choice, consider a live, potted Christmas tree that can be replanted after the holidays, continuing its life cycle. Alternatively, an artificial tree made from recycled materials can be sustainable if used for several years.

3. Energy-Efficient Decorations: Illuminate your home with LED lights for your Christmas tree and decorations. LEDs are more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent lights, helping to reduce your energy consumption during the festive season.

4. Sustainable Food Choices: Plan your holiday meals with a focus on locally sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients. This supports local farmers and reduces the carbon footprint associated with food transport. Also, creatively repurpose leftovers and compost any unavoidable food waste to minimize your impact on landfills.

5. Reuse and Recycle Practices: Encourage guests to bring reusable containers for leftovers, cutting down on single-use plastic waste. Additionally, set up designated recycling bins to ensure recyclable items from your holiday celebration are properly sorted and disposed of.

Celebrating a green Christmas doesn’t mean sacrificing the joy and warmth of the season. By incorporating these eco-friendly tips into your holiday traditions, you contribute to a healthier planet while still enjoying a festive and meaningful time with loved ones. This Christmas, let’s make choices that cherish the environment as much as we cherish our holiday traditions.

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The Final Stretch: Your 4-Weeks to a Merry Christmas



Embrace the Festive Spirit with These Essential Pre-Holiday Tasks.

With just four weeks until Christmas, the holiday atmosphere is in full swing. Stores are filled with festive tunes, and a noticeable chill is in the air, signaling that the most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner. This is an ideal period to immerse yourself in holiday preparations, ensuring everything is set for a joyful celebration. Here’s a list of tasks to focus on in this crucial month leading up to Christmas.

1. Christmas Tree Decoration: One of the most cherished traditions of the holiday season is decorating the Christmas tree. Gather your family and spend an evening adorning your tree with lights, ornaments, and tinsel. This is a wonderful opportunity to create lasting memories and enjoy quality time together.

2. Gift Shopping Adventures: Continue your quest for the perfect gifts for your loved ones. With the shops decked out in holiday decor, browsing for presents can be an enjoyable experience. Keep an eye out for special deals and unique finds that can bring smiles on Christmas morning.

3. Outdoor Decorations: If the weather cooperates, start decorating your outdoor decorations. Whether stringing lights along the roofline or setting up a festive yard display, these decorations contribute to the neighborhood’s holiday spirit.

4. Preparing Freezable Meals: The holiday season can be hectic, so preparing some meals in advance is a great idea. Cook dishes like lasagna or meat pies that can easily be frozen and reheated later. This foresight will ease your cooking load on busier days closer to Christmas.

5. Writing to Santa: For those with young children, help them write and send their letters to Santa. It’s a magical experience that captures the wonder and excitement of the season for little ones, filling their hearts with joy and anticipation.

As Christmas approaches, these activities help get your preparations done and immerse you in the holiday spirit. By tackling these tasks now, you’re setting yourself up for a more relaxed and enjoyable Christmas, where you can focus on celebrating with family and friends rather than last-minute to-dos.

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Championing Community Spirit: The Joy of Local Holiday Shopping



Twelve Reasons Why Local Shopping is the Gift That Keeps on Giving.

As the holiday season approaches, shopping lists grow, and the search for the perfect gifts begins. Amidst this festive hustle, a growing trend is reshaping the way we shop: buying local. This movement is more than a fad; it’s a celebration of community, craftsmanship, and sustainable living. Let’s explore the myriad benefits of local holiday shopping and how it positively impacts not just our gift-giving but our communities at large.

1. Unique, Handcrafted Gifts: Local artisans offer a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind gifts, enabling you to express your individuality and thoughtfulness. These handcrafted items, unavailable anywhere else, truly show your loved ones how special they are.

2. Boosting the Local Economy: By shopping locally, you ensure that more money stays within your community, fostering a thriving economy, job creation, and a robust community spirit.

3. Personalized Customer Service: Local shops excel in offering personalized, heartwarming customer service. They’re not just selling products; they’re building relationships.

4. Helping the Planet: Local businesses often source their products locally, reducing transportation distances and championing eco-friendliness, thus contributing to a healthier planet.

5. Bonding with Your Community: Shopping locally means engaging with the people in your neighborhood, strengthening community bonds, and enhancing safety and security.

6. Embracing Local Culture: Local businesses reflect the unique cultural heritage of your area. Supporting them means celebrating and preserving these traditions.

7. Supporting Local Charities: Many local businesses give back to the community by supporting local charities and organizations, meaning your purchases have a broader positive impact.

8. Better Quality and Freshness: Local producers and artisans offer fresh, high-quality products that elevate your festive feasting experience.

9. Investing in Entrepreneurship: Supporting local businesses means nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship, which can lead to the growth of groundbreaking new ventures.

10. Preserving Main Street Charm: Local shops add character and charm to your community’s streets, contributing to your town’s overall attractiveness and appeal.

11. Flexibility and Customization: Local businesses often provide more personalized services, from customizing products to exceptional customer care.

12. Securing Future Options: Supporting local businesses ensures a diverse and vibrant commercial landscape for future generations.

The act of local holiday shopping goes beyond mere transactional exchanges; it’s a meaningful gesture that celebrates community, sustainability, and personal connections. As we embrace the holiday spirit, let’s remember the power of our choices and the profound impact they can have on our local ecosystems. This season, make your shopping count for more than just the gifts you give.

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Holiday Countdown: A 5-Weeks to a Stress-Free Christmas



Plan Ahead with These Essential Tasks for a Relaxed Festive Season.

With five weeks left until Christmas, the holiday season is inching closer. This is the ideal time to start ticking off tasks from your holiday to-do list. Addressing these chores now can help you minimize the usual last-minute frenzy, allowing you to embrace a more leisurely and enjoyable approach to the festive preparations.

Decorating Your Space: Begin by infusing your home with the spirit of Christmas. Now is the perfect time to buy new decorations for your house’s interior and exterior. Explore your local Christmas markets for unique and special items that can add a fresh touch to your festive decor. Finding those perfect pieces early means less scrambling as the holiday draws nearer.

Gift Planning: Compile a list of all the people you wish to buy presents for, including any party hosts you might want to thank. Organizing your gift-giving list ahead of time allows you to think thoughtfully about each person and avoid the stress of last-minute shopping. This also ensures you don’t overlook anyone in the hustle and bustle closer to Christmas.

Catering Arrangements: If you’re planning a holiday feast and considering catering services, place your order now. Caterers get booked quickly during this season, so early orders guarantee you won’t be left scrambling for options. Plus, this step takes a significant load off your shoulders in terms of meal preparation.

Early Shopping: Beat the rush by starting your holiday shopping now. Purchasing gifts early not only ensures better selections but also allows for a more relaxed shopping experience. You can take your time to choose the perfect gifts without the pressure of crowded stores and dwindling stock.

Preparing for Christmas doesn’t have to be a race against time. You set the stage for a relaxed and joyful holiday season by accomplishing these tasks with five weeks to go. This proactive approach means that when Christmas does arrive, you can focus more on enjoying the festivities and less on last-minute tasks.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:


Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Mountain Creative Consulting

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Jamboree LLC

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Treatment Center

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jean’s Jewelers

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Arc of Warren County

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal, VA
7:16 am4:50 pm EST
Feels like: 34°F
Wind: 12mph NW
Humidity: 58%
Pressure: 30.12"Hg
UV index: 1
52°F / 32°F
59°F / 34°F
59°F / 43°F

Upcoming Events

5:30 pm Free Holiday Meal @ Trinity Lutheran Church
Free Holiday Meal @ Trinity Lutheran Church
Dec 6 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Free Holiday Meal @ Trinity Lutheran Church
If one has read the Surgeon General’s 2023 report on America’s epidemic of loneliness and crisis of disconnection, one can then understand the significance that a Holiday Meal can have on the community at large. [...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 6 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
8:00 am Breakfast with Santa @ Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department
Breakfast with Santa @ Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department
Dec 9 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Breakfast with Santa @ Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department
Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department is having a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 9th, from 8:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. Adults are $10.00 Kids are $5.00 Children 5 and under are free!
12:00 pm Christmas Lunch for Kids, Vets a... @ Front Royal Elks Lodge
Christmas Lunch for Kids, Vets a... @ Front Royal Elks Lodge
Dec 9 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Christmas Lunch for Kids, Vets and Seniors @ Front Royal Elks Lodge
The Front Royal Elks Lodge will hold it’s annual Holiday Lunch for Kids, Veterans and Seniors on Saturday, December 9. Festivities will begin at 12 noon. Mr. and Mrs. Clause are said to be coming!
4:30 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 9 @ 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA’s Jet Propulsion[...]
7:30 pm American Legion Community Band C... @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
American Legion Community Band C... @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
Dec 12 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
American Legion Community Band Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel at R-MA
The American Legion Community Band, located in Front Royal, Virginia, was formed in 1986 and has been playing concerts in the area ever since. The conductors and band members are all volunteer musicians from the local[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 13 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
7:00 am Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Dec 16 @ 7:00 am – 10:00 am
Pancake Breakfast @ Riverton United Methodist Church
Join us for pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits, sausage gravy, and juice/coffee! All are invited for this FREE event. Offering will be accepted.