Friday, December 20, 2013

2014 Summer Camp Registration OPEN

Laura, Joey and Michael look forward to another great summer of learning through adventure!!

Online registration for SolPlay camps is OPEN!!!!   Registration instructions and camp information can be found by visiting us at or emailing us at

Follow this link for a summary of all the exciting camps offered for the summer of 2014 and the registration forms. We hope you will consider SolPlay when making your selections for summer camps this year.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Last Akaway - by Gary Karton

We are happy to support and promote local author, our neighbor and friend Gary Karton and his book The Last Akaway.  The book just won the bronze medal in the 2013 Moonbeam Children's Book Award for Pre-Teen Fiction-Fantasy, and is also getting great reviews from kids of all ages – (reviews on Amazon). There was also a great story about Gary in The Washington Post.
The holidays are a big time, of course, so just wanted to let you know that if you know kids ages 5-14, the book and the spirit animal necklaces make great gifts. There are some special offers that are included in the attached flyer.
If you’re interested, you can get the book directly through the publisher or Amazon. Or, if you want Gary to sign it, just let us know and we'll help arrange it.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hello Camp SolPlay Fans!
First and foremost - Thank You!

Thank you to our campers and their families and to all our friends and supporters!
We plan to release our 2014 camp programs during the week of December 20th. 

It is such a pleasure to run into families, campers, and parents who have enjoyed SolPlay Adventure activities. We look forward to continuing to offer the absolute greatest summer camp experiences we can provide.
Explorers jul 25 2013

A special thanks to those of you rocking the SolPlay magnets on your car! It brings a smile to our faces to see one when we’re out and about in Arlington. Let us know if your car needs one, we have a few more.

While it’s impossible to pick a favorite moment of 2013, our highlight reel would have to include the summit of Old Rag Mountain, the Explorers night hike through Gunston Hall Plantation, and the Whites Ferry snack bar on the C&O Canal!


We are excited to bring back popular camp programs from years past, while building new adventures for next year! Some new 2014 camp ideas under consideration include: a backpacking trip, a canoe camping trip, and the addition of environmental education service projects. Feel free to send us your suggestions for activities and dates.
IMG_1577 3
We plan to release our 2014 camp programs during the week of December 20th. Detailed information will also be available on our website, along with links to registration.
We look forward to continuing to grow and appreciate that you are part of this adventure. Thanks for continuing to spread the word about SolPlay!

Have a great holiday season.

Let your SolPlay!

Laura Novak - Joey Skoloda - Michael Swisher

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pictures from Land Air and Sea!

 Campers who joined us for Land Air Sea Camp... 

Played in the water...

Slid on some rocks...

 And climbed a mountain!

C&O Canal Bike Trip a huge success!

We took five teenage boys the full length of the C&O Canal on a six day, five night adventure. For five days we rode our bikes apporximately 40 miles a day and covered over 184 miles.  

Enjoy our other photos from the week!

Our day of rest... 7 hours in a canoe! Ask these boys what they did at camp and they'll tell you they sat on their butts all week...  

We ate great food and met great people along the way.

And we explored the history of the canal...

And we had fun with nature.

Our bike mojo!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Coming down the pike - Land, Air, and Sea! (August 12-16)

We are gearing up for a week of fun and adventure at Land, Air, and Sea camp!

The week will consist of day trips and on-site camp activities around the themes of Land, Air, and Sea, all while tent-camping at Shenandoah River State Park.

We'll explore the heights and challenge our endurance on a climb up Old Rag, then enjoy a more leisurely hike, waterfalls and slides on the Oak Canyon/Cedar Run Trail. Finally we'll enjoy the traditional Thursday canoe float on the Shenandoah.

At camp the group will help decide among activities and crafts. Some possibilities include candle making, archery, orienteering, bird watching, tree identification, and...our vehicle challenge!

See our updated itinerary for more details. Be sure to share the Camper Letter with your son or daughter. Finally, be sure to consult the updated packing list too!

We'll see you bright and early, 8am on Monday, August 12; we'll return a tired, happy, and (hopefully a little) dirty child on Friday by approximately 4pm. Drop off and pick up is at the SolPlay Cul de Sac: 520 S Abingdon.

And finally, there are two forms that we need filled out:

SolPlay Waiver - This is our usual waiver for SolPlay.
ACA Waiver- For our canoeing trip.

See you soon!

The SolPlay Land, Air, and Sea Team:
Ariel Schwartz, Devan Smith-Brown, and Michael Swisher

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Up Next...Explorers Camp (July 22nd through 26th)!

We are looking forward to a fun week of exciting activities at our upcoming Explorers camp for 9-11 year olds!  
Everyone will learn new skills through a SolPlay matrix of challenge activities during two days of day camp, and during a three (3) day, two (2) night camping trip. 

Monday and Tuesday activities focus on building teamwork and introducing skill concepts. Wednesday through Friday, the group will experience traditional overnight camping at nearby Pohick Bay campground.  Explorers Campers will participate in activities such a night hike, a Park Ranger naturalist presentation, disc golf course, intro to orienteering, archery instruction and team challenge, and a day at the Pirates Cove park.   Return to Arlington on Friday is estimated to be around 4pm.

Monday and Tuesday drop-off location is Bluemont Park (601 North Manchester St.) between 7:30am and 8:30am.  Look for our welcome table from the main parking lot. Pick Up is between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm.  Please expect to complete our waiver forms prior to drop-off on Monday morning.   It will be very helpful for parents to sign the SolPlay Waiver and email a scanned copy back to

2013 Explorers Intinerary and Pack List.pdf
Parent Waiver and Authorization Form

We would like to help arrange carpools to Pohick Bay (6501 Pohick Bay Dr  Lorton, VA 22079) Wednesday morning, and home Friday afternoon.  If you are available to drive either day, please let us know.

Click here for a complete itinerary and pack list .

Monday, June 17, 2013

Packing for the C&O Canal Bike Camp

I know some of you have started to assemble your supplies for the C&O Canal Bike Camp (pack list).  I thought it might be useful to show you how I pack for this trip..

My sleeping supplies are a pad, sleeping bag (in a compression sac) and a small pillow. If you bring a fleece bag, plan on also bringing a liner (for cooler nights).

I always think I need more clothes than I actually do!  I have to remind my self to stick to the list... and I'm going to ask that you do the same.  The picture below shows my compression sack uncompressed!                                                                                                                                                                                       

Don't forget to pack a small bowl and spork for breakfast and fireside dinners!

And because everyone will help transport some group
 gear...  I've included a tent for demonstration purposes.

Everything is packed and I still have one completely empty pannier in which I can pack one or two of the items in the miscellaneous/optional category!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

C&O Bike Mojo

Let's have some fun with C&O Bike Mojo!!  

What is bike mojo, you ask?  Bike Mojo is a bit of personality - plastic cartoon characters, jewelry, rubber duckies, chili peppers, whatever - to help make your bike unique and expressive.     Take a look at these examples:

                     The Bartman

Don't go out and buy something...  I'm guessing the kids have little trinkets, etc. left over from a couple years ago that they just haven't gotten rid of yet.  Challenge them to find something!  Have fun with it. But please don't choose something that will leave them heart broken if it gets lost!!!  Attach the trinket with a zip-tie or other lashing material or glue.  

Look for more updates shortly!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Explorer Camp Update

Our youngest camp, Explorers, has added itinerary details:

Campers will participate in day-camp for two days, then enjoy 3 days and 2 nights of tent camping at Pohick Bay. Pohick Bay offers many activity benefits including Pirates Cove Waterpark! Explorers Camp activities will include a night hike, a Ranger’s naturalist presentation, disc golf games, intro to orienteering, an archery challenge, and a day at Pirates Cove Waterpark. SolPlay uses fun activities to present new learning opportunities for youth. Day-Camp drop-off will be at Bluemont Park. Camp is July 22-26, 2013 for age 9-11. 

There are a few slots available for adventurous youth to join us. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

C&O Canal Pack List

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer and a fitting time to touch base for our C&O Canal Bike Camp.  We are looking forward to a fun week (July 7-12) covering 184 miles for the full length of the canal, where we will explore places of historical and environmental significance.  We will also get a great workout! 

I am attaching a pack list for this camp.  Since we are packing everything on our bikes, it is important that we be prepared, but at the same time judicious in what we pack.  If you have questions about what to bring or not bring, feel free to contact me.  Because we can not control the weather, I suggest that you separate and pack clothes (and other items you want to stay dry) in gallon ziplocks and put sleeping bags in trash bags.  I will bring a couple extras of each so that if plastic bags get compromised along the way, I can replace them.   If you do not have panniers or a bike rack, check out Amazon where there are very reasonably priced options.  For other items, consider going to Casual Adventure and mention that you are with SolPlay to get a store discount.

PLEASE make sure you have a properly fitting mountain bike for this trip (if you don't have one, I'm sure you have a friend who does!)  I'm guessing everyone on this trip is tall enough to be on a 26 inch wheel or bigger.  (If you have a smaller bike with 24 inch wheels, I want to know)   Have the bike checked out by a bike mechanic and get it tuned if necessary. Check out Phoenix Bikes for reasonably priced for tune ups.   We will be scheduling a bicycle inspection and dry run pack date in the near future to be sure everyone is comfortable with their gear.  

Finally, we will be arranging carpools to Cumberland - if you are available to drive up Sunday morning, please let me know.  

PS - this camp still has a couple slots if you have friends looking for an adventure!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Camp for 2013 Summer

Land, Air and Sea Camp

August 12-16th!
Ages 11-14      

SolPlay's Land, Air, and Sea Camp is five days and four nights of high adventure! 
We'll scale the heights with rock climbing and repelling (AIR), paddle canoes down the Shenandoah River (SEA), and finish with a trek up Old Rag (LAND). Each day teams of campers will create a vehicle that can transport an object across land, over water, and through the air. Camping at the beautiful
will allow us plenty of opportunity for group games & challenges, night hikes, and space to test our vehicles. ($625) 

Join us for this great new adventure 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013