Between the Sheets

November 3, 2011

My boyfriend is really sweet and sex has been pretty good, but I don’t like the way he kisses. Is there anything I can do?
— Cora, 62

You know how “they” keep telling you not to try to change someone, to just love them as they are? Well, that’s mostly true, but who says you can’t teach an old kisser some new tricks? In many ways, we do teach partners (and they teach us) to make love in a new way that is a melding of the two.

How about telling your boyfriend that you love having sex with him and you’d like to make it even better by trying new ways to kiss? Maybe make it a game and try a new kind of kissing each day. Or ask him to experiment with changing one particular thing, such as holding his breath or keeping his lips too rigid. The key here is relaxed experimentation and feedback. Talk about what you each like. For example, do you know if your boyfriend likes the way you kiss?

After touching, kissing is high on the list of what makes sex mysteriously work. Whether it’s your first kiss ever or your last kiss with your current love, kissing can be magical. Or it can become boring and routine. There are a million good ways to kiss. With the passing years, why stay with the same old, same old? Maybe you’ve always preferred a peck on the cheek, or perhaps deep, tongue “French” kissing got lost along the way while you were raising children or chasing a career. Many times, especially in long-term relationships, people can forget how much they used to like kissing and may become complacent lovers. There may be other reasons as well. For some people, kissing may be more intimate than intercourse and they are holding themselves back from feeling too vulnerable.

It’s never too late to change how you kiss. Play with kissing to see what works for you. Pecks, deep soul-kissing, the quickie, butterfly kiss — what do you like? If you always kiss in just one or two ways, try something new and see what happens!

Dr. Dorree Lynn is a Georgetown-based psychologist and life coach committed to helping people have better relationships fulfilling sex lives. She has appeared on “Good Morning America,” MSNBC, CNN, PBS and other major programming. She is the author of “Sex for Grownups,” available from Amazon.

In Search of America

When I first thought about the idea of driving all the way to California alone, I quickly recoiled at the thought. No way, I said. I’m past all that and I immediately recognized the vulnerability of my years and my gender. I Googled “driving across the country” and as I read the typical stories of young people finding themselves I thought, “no, this is crazy!”

I mentioned the idea to my son, who was getting married at the Reagan Ranch, known as the Western White House during the 40th president’s tenure. “No way, Mom!” he said. “I would worry about you the entire time. What if something happens to you?” Funny how we switch roles when our children grow up. I shelved the idea for a while but I kept going back to the computer and searching routes and thinking of the unimaginable beauty and what it would be like to capture some of it and that the opportunity may never happen again. Now I had an excuse and I was getting more motivated as I looked into the real possibility of how to make it happen. I had always wanted to go back to the southwest. At 20, I had flown into Albuquerque and drove to Los Angeles from there with a friend and fell in love with the stark landscapes and deeply saturated color that made me feel like a character in a Dali painting. I remembered shadows that stretched into infinity and skies that churned like a kaleidoscope of dark and light then cleared into the bluest blues and reddest reds I could imagine. Now I was a photographer and I wanted to experience it again through the lens of my camera.

I secretly mapped it out and planned the route. I would drive the southern route to Interstate 40 west to Albuquerque, NM, up to the grand Canyon and down Interstate 15 to LA and on to Santa Barbara, CA. My husband was leery of my plan and concerned for my safety but he was supportive, knowing it was something I had always wanted to do. I had wanted to do it with him but his response of “send me the video” let me know that my dream was not his. I think now it was just my fear of being alone and only secondarily desiring to share it with him. “Why not?” I finally thought. I wanted to stop when I felt tired and stop when I saw a picture and I knew that would drive him crazy. I had raised two children, been a wife, worked as a fashion photographer for many years and always put my family, career and friends first. I had to fight the guilt of feeling self-indulgent, irresponsible and foolish, as most mothers do when doing things for themselves. I persisted and finally I knew it would be a gift I would give myself that would yield much more that it would take. I searched for two weeks for just the right GPS with weather updates to avoid tornados in the plains and to keep me on track. I ordered audio books of my favorite authors, cultural and philosophic commentaries that I never had time to read, recordings of all my favorite Leonard Cohen music and a little poetry. I could refresh my imagination with concepts usually out of reach with my busy schedule as my eyes watched the reality and beauty of our country stream from my windows like a magnificent movie.

I left on April 10 this year. I was thoroughly familiar with the beauty of Virginia and though I loved every inch of it I was looking forward to the West because it was a landscape I had not experienced firsthand since that brief experience at 20. I drove about 500 miles the first day and the second. One day I drove 700 miles. I stayed in local motels and avoided chains. When I entered Texas I was incredibly inspired, knowing there were so many miles of unfamiliar territory for me to see and absorb. I had taken the interstates up to that point but now I wanted to see every mile of it up close that would reveal another side of the heart and soul of this myriad nation, its people and the landscapes that captured the imaginations of so many artists that had gone before me. I wanted to be steeped in the authenticity of an identity defined by the values of the people who lived there. I stopped at remote diners and listened to the locals talk about fences that needed repair, sheriffs that arrested the teenagers who drank too much or drove too fast, hippie artists that made jewelry and the battle over the mining rights where they found their turquoise and silver. I talked to waitresses who loved their remote lives and listened to their stories, looked at the snapshots of their children tacked to the walls and studied the faces of men who sat in rusty chairs with lined faces and wistful glances. One woman in the hills of New Mexico told me that she woke up one day to the sound of rattlers and saw a very large and deadly Mojave rattlesnake curled up next to her bed and watched it crawl away.

I thought of the images of travelers going west during the Great Depression. I wondered what held these people here and imagined what it would be like to be one of them. As the miles passed I couldn’t resist the temptation of stopping every few miles and snapping a few pictures. I only wished I could be there for a longer time, knowing that there were many more beauties to behold if the light were right and I could wait for just the right time. I had to press on so all the pictures were taken from the window of my car or just a few steps away from it. I jealously thought about Ansel Adams and the many years he had trekked up mountaintops and waited for the perfect season, time and light to capture the most profound and enduring images to be had of his experience with light and landscapes.

What struck me was the endless variation of mountains and their shapes and textures. Of course I love the golden hour of light in the evening before the sun sinks out of sight and the first light of morning, but I never expected things to be so excited all day long. I actually had to pull over a few times, almost breathless at what I was seeing, and almost hit a tree when I drove into Grand Canyon National Park and suddenly drank in my first glance at the canyon. I had seen pictures, but the reality was so arresting, I almost couldn’t take my eyes back to the road. I simply had to stop and there on the rock where so many others had the same experience it was written in small letters: “Only God.”

Finally there was the desert. I had packed gallons of water, oil, food and various other survival-type gear, remembering the many miles where there was nothing. I had chosen an even more remote route. I loved the old junkyards where all the cars of the ’50s and ’60s still remained and looked like an old Bogart/Bacall movie set. There were trains and old motels from the ’50s with their original signs brightly colored and prevailing in the desert where the weather is dry and things don’t deteriorate as they do in the East. I couldn’t believe how many structures still stood intact and were simply abandoned. My daughter Noelle had joined me for the last part of the trip out and she was as adventurous as I was, so we took a few risks, like driving through some of the reservations some locals thought were ill advised. We stopped and spoke to the Native Americans and though they seemed genuinely surprised to see two women alone in a sky blue Jaguar, they were incredibly gracious and accommodating. Some of the most memorable landscapes were of a sandstorm swirling around the setting sun behind the volcanoes of northern Arizona. It reminded me of an old black and white movie of a spaceship landing. I was certain we were about to be stolen by aliens.

We stopped for the night in the next town and would arrive in LA the next afternoon. I had done it! Santa Barbara! Of course, the wedding is another story in itself, much too exciting to talk about in a few lines, but soon it was over and I dropped off my husband and daughter for their journey home and set out again on Route 15 to Las Vegas and on to Interstate 70 east through Nevada, Utah and on into Colorado. I got stopped by a ranger in a park in Utah who wondered if I had been drinking because I kept stopping in the middle of the road to take a picture and there was no shoulder to pull off the road. I thought I was the only one there but he let me go after a stern warning about stopping on curves and using the scenic pull-offs designed for observing the vistas. Did he not get it? I had to get that shot of light and shapes and that didn’t necessarily happen where the designers of this road had deemed appropriate. I tried to obey him, but I confess I did steal a few more frames of those forbidden places.

The trip back was no less adventurous or delightful. I saw wild burros that blocked the road and were utterly unconcerned about this person and their car and took their time moving out of the way as I snapped on. I passed through ghost towns where cactus flowers bloomed and valleys surrounded by random sculptural shapes looked like crowds of people laughing and I felt like I was taking an ink blot exam that I could interpret according to the preferences of my imagination. As the roads swirled horizontally and suddenly climbed vertically seasons of winter and summer changed with the elevation. It was winter in Vail, CO, but the landscape emptied into spring and summer by the time I reached the plains. I wished it would never end. When I entered Missouri, I stopped in St. Louis to see old friends and headed home on Interstate 64, where I had driven many times before. Washington, 36 miles! I had done it! I felt empowered, charged and as I downloaded all the photos and saw them I could relive it. What’s next? I want to go back and do it all again — only this time with grant money and a book in mind. What is the prevailing thought? We can, in most cases, do things we think we can’t and becoming one with ourselves makes us more capable of giving, receiving and experiencing life and joy. [gallery ids="99157,102894,102899,102904,102909,102914,102919,102924,102929,102934,102889,102884,102955,102951,102859,102947,102943,102864,102869,102874,102879,102939" nav="thumbs"]

Trip to the ‘Hawaiian’ Beach at Twilight Polo

Don’t have plans for Saturday night? You do now.

Green Meadow’s Twilight Polo events are “the place to be on a Saturday night,” says Margaret McCann, Great Meadow’s promotional manager.

There is nothing better than watching horse and rider race up and down the field battling to get the ball into the goal, even if you don’t have any clue about horses.

“It’s exciting, fast action,” McCann says. “It’s even good for a novice.”

Yet at Twilight Polo, fans get more than just two exciting sports matches, because at Great Meadow there are theme nights, a mascot for kids and the option to tailgate. Twilight Polo offers something for everyone and is family friendly.

This Saturday’s theme is Hawaiian beach party, which is a popular theme since it ties in well with tailgating, McCann says. Great Meadow uses the theme nights as a way to get everyone involved.

Fans dress up, and Twilight Polo even offers games based on the theme.

“The gays love Flamenco night, as it gives them a chance to get all dressed up,” McCann says.
Different polo teams come to compete and “a lot of them are huge polo families around here.”

Last week, Twilight Polo hosted a large crowd of 1,800 people from nearby counties in Virginia and from the city.

“It’s an exciting way to socialize where you’re not stuck in a crowded bar or restaurant,” McCann says.

Especially since the night also offers dancing under the pavilion after the two matches. It’s also the only place in the area with a DJ.

“I left at 12:30 a.m. and people were still dancing,” says McCann.

Kids are even welcome on the dance floor, particularly because Polo Bear, Twilight Polo’s mascot, may be dancing the night away. Polo Bear also hands out candy during the night and plays games, such as tug-of-war and potato sack races, between the matches.

Fans are welcome to bring in their own food, wine and alcohol, and also have the option to purchase barbecue from Boss Hawg BBQ or wine from Boxwood Vineyards.

Twilight Polo offers two matches each Saturday at Great Meadow Foundation, located at 5089 Old Tavern Road, The Plains, VA. The gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the first match starts at 7 p.m. The cost is $30 per carload or $10 per individual ticket. The 2010 season’s last night is Sept. 18 and there is no event Sept. 11.

Great Meadow was founded in the 1980s by the Arundel family, who purchased the land so it would not be developed, according to McCann. It’s the only arena polo facility in the area and serves multiple uses.

The area is now home to the Virginia Gold Cup event, rocketry and other community events. Their Fourth of July celebration hosted over 40,000 people this year.

Visit Great Meadow’s website for more information.

In Country Calendar Items

July 16
Doc Saffer Summer Series Outdoor Movie Night
Come to the third annual outdoor movie night, showing “G-Force” on the ball field. Begins at 8:30 p.m. at the Middleburg Community Center, 300 Washington St. If inclement weather arises, the movie will be shown in the main building of the community center. For more information, contact 540-687-6373.

July 17-18
Daylily & Wine Festival
Head to Andre Vinette Farm & Nursery in Fisherville, VA, for a two-day festival that offers food, beer and wine from over 80 vendors. The festival also includes live entertainment and children’s tents. For more information and an event schedule go to

July 24
Fourth Annual Summer Crab Boil
Come for an all-you-can-eat crab boil dinner at the Chateau O’Brien in Northpoint on July 24 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dinner is $75/person. Live entertainment will be provided. Must be 21 years of age and reservations are required. For more information go to

Aug. 7
Taste of Spain
Willowcroft Vineyards in Leesburg, VA, will serve six Spanish wines from well known Spanish regions with tapas and sangria from noon to 5 p.m. on Aug. 7. The event costs $10/person. For more information, go to

Sept. 19
National Sporting Library & Fine Art Museum Benefit Polo Event
Save the date for a polo match, luncheon and silent auction to benefit the National Sporting Library & Fine Art Museum in Upperville, VA. The event will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 at the Virginia International Polo Club and will feature prominent players from Argentina, Chile and the U.S. Tickets and tailgate spaces are available starting at $100. Contact Kate Robbins at 540-687-5053 or for more information.
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Exercising This Summer? Drink This

A client of mine was thrilled when, after a recent run outside, he lost several pounds. He figured, as he put it, “losing any weight is good!” I hated to burst his bubble, but had to inform him, under no uncertain terms, that losing weight during exercise is caused by water loss and is not only unhealthy and hurts performance, but can kill.

I work with many athletes to improve their tennis game or their running, for instance, in preparation for an important match or a marathon, and find that avoiding water losses — among other things — effects a huge improvement in their performance, and increases their energy levels and recovery time.

Ignoring your hydration and nutrition needs as an athlete is a huge mistake. There have been many reported cases of teenage and adult football players who have died from heat stroke, which is excessive water loss caused by exercising without proper rehydration or cooling off. Football players are particularly vulnerable because of the heavy equipment and clothing they wear while playing outside in the heat. Sadly, simple measures can prevent these tragic deaths.

I witnessed these techniques firsthand last year when I was assisting in the emergency medical tent at the Marine Corps Marathon. A couple of women staggered into the tent, their temperatures were taken and it was determined they were experiencing heat stroke. Their body temperatures were about 105 degrees; they were so disoriented, they didn’t know their own names or birthdates. Emergency measures had to be taken there and then. Luckily, the tent was equipped with absolutely everything needed, including some of the most compassionate, experienced and dedicated doctors I’ve ever encountered. The heat stroke victims were immediately dunked into one of the many ice water tanks in the tent and given IV fluids until their body temperature came down to the point when they could be rushed to the hospital emergency room. It took some time and a lot of hair-raising screaming. But it saved their lives.

It’s important that all athletes have access to cooling areas, plenty of fluids and ice water tanks. These measures save lives, and they’re so simple.

How you can avoid danger:

Nutrients don’t only come in the form of food; water is the most important, and often most forgotten, nutrient. You can last a long time without food, but only days without water. Your lean body mass contains about 70-75 percent water, with fat containing much less, or about 10-40 percent water. Because of increased muscle mass, men’s and athletes’ bodies contain more water than women, overweight or older persons, because of their proportionately lower muscle and higher fat content.

Water is:

• The solvent for important biochemical reactions, supplying nutrients and removing waste

• Essential for maintaining blood circulation throughout your body

• The maintainer of body temperature. As you exercise, your metabolism and your internal body temperature increase. Water carries the heat away from your internal organs, where it can do serious damage (leading to heat stroke and even death), through your bloodstream to your skin, causing you to sweat. As you sweat and the sweat evaporates, this allows you to cool off and maintain a healthy body temperature, optimal functioning and overall health.

Daily water intake must be balanced with losses to maintain total body water. Losing body water can adversely affect your functioning and health. Once you are thirsty, you’ve probably lost about 1 percent of your body water and are dehydrated. With a 2 percent water loss, you could experience serious fatigue and cardiovascular impairments. It’s important to note that individual fluid needs differ depending on your sweat rate, the temperature, clothing, humidity and other factors.

It is important that you:

• Drink enough water to prevent thirst.

• Monitor fluid loss by checking the color of your urine. It should be pale yellow and not dark yellow, too smelly, or cloudy

• Begin exercise well hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids the day before and within the hour before, during, and after your exercise session

• Supplement water with a sports drink that contains electrolytes and 6-8 percent carbohydrates any time you exercise in extreme heat or for more than one hour.

• Avoid alcohol the day before or the day of a long exercise bout, and avoid exercising with a hangover

• Consider all fluids, including tea, coffee, juices, milk and soups, as acceptable sources of hydration (excluding alcohol, which is extremely dehydrating). The amount of caffeine in tea and coffee does not discount the fluid in them, even if they have a slight diuretic effect, according to the most recent report by the National Academy of Science’s Food and Nutrition Board

• Eat at least five cups of fruits and vegetables per day, which all contain various levels of water.

• For those who experience high sodium losses during exercise, eat salty foods in a pre-exercise meal or add salt to sports drinks consumed during exercise

• Rehydrate following exercise by drinking enough fluid (water or sports drinks) to replace fluid lost during exercise. Replace fluid and sodium losses with watery foods that contain salt (soup, vegetable juices). Replace fluid and potassium losses by consuming fruits and vegetables.

• Determine your individualized need for fluid replacement using the following method:

During heavy exercise, weight yourself before and after exercise. If you lose weight, you’ve lost valuable water. Add 3 cups of fluid for every pound lost; use this figure to determine the amount of water you’ll need to prevent pound loss during exercise in the future. Drink that water before exercise and sip throughout the exercise until you find the best formula for determining your personal water needs.

Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D. specializes in customized, easy and enjoyable athletic, weight loss and medical nutrition therapy programs for individuals and companies. She is the author of “Diet Simple: 192 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations,” and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Visit or call 202-833-0353. Mention this column and receive a special 20 percent discount on your initial consultation!

Thanksgiving: A Life-giving Holiday

The coming of the holidays, for each of us, is symbolized by different events and moments: the first turning of leaves, a bracing snap of cool air, relaxing with a good book, a hot cocoa or a glass of wine in front of a blazing fireplace. For me, it’s Thanksgiving which marks the beginning of regular family
and friend get-togethers, cozy rituals which give us excuses to relax a little, and spend time with the people we care most about and don’t often have time for during the year.

Thanksgiving dinners started as early as the 1600’s by either the pilgrims in 1621 or the Jamestown settlers, as their version of the ancient British “Harvest Home Festival.” But it wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Based on this heritage, it isn’t surprising that the foundation of a traditional Thanksgiving meal consists of an amazing variety of health-giving foods.

Turkey: The turkey, a “true original native of America,” according to Benjamin Franklin, has been eaten in America since at least the 1500s by early explorers. It’s an exceptionally lean meat – lower in calories, cholesterol and fat than even chicken.

Sweet Potatoes: A major superfood, sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber, low in calories, and full of immune-boosting, cancer- and heart disease-preventing nutrients. Starting with beta-carotene, which provides the deep orange color. Beta-carotene is critical for your immune system, your skin, your vision, bones, reproduction, and more. Studies show that people who eat foods high in beta-carotene and people with high blood levels of beta-carotene have a lower incidence of certain cancers.

Greens: The most powerful food of all, deep green leafies, as we call them – such as spinach, collards, beet greens, kale – have the highest antioxidant score of all vegetables. They are high in many nutrients, including beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, but are uniquely high in a compound called lutein. People who ate greens 2-4 times per week had a 46% decrease in risk of age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of preventable blindness) compared to those who consume these vegetables less than once per month. They also experience a lower incidence of cataracts. This is attributed to lutein, in the carotenoid family. Absorption of carotenoids—yellow/orange-colored phytochemicals found in orange and yellow fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens—is increased by cooking and by the presence of fat (cook in a little healthy olive or canola oil).

Cranberry Sauce: Cranberries, because of their potent flavor and deep color are one of the highest fruits on the antioxidant list, surpassed only by blackberries and blueberries. They contain compounds which act as antioxidants, stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation,
enhance cancer-fighting enzymes, influence hormone metabolism positively, have antibacterial and antiviral effects and may even reverse some aspects of brain aging. The tannins in cranberries may be responsible for helping to prevent urinary tract infections, stomach ulcers, gum disease and even ear infections in children. Cranberries are also effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria,
and 20 percent of urinary tract infections are resistant to antibiotics. The tannins work by blocking the disease-causing bacteria and preventing it from adhering to human cell walls.

Giving Thanks: Giving thanks for this bounty is an essential part of the Thanksgiving
tradition. Most places of worship have services on Thanksgiving day. And there are many institutions which could use volunteers. Also, to help yourself relax and enjoy the day, start a new tradition and take a walk with your family members and friends – in the morning, after the feast – or both. We live in one of the most beautiful and walkable cities in the world. Walking along the Potomac River, on the National Mall, or in Rock Creek Park is free and open for everyone. Try a yoga class: Down Dog Yoga has a traditional Thanksgiving Day class from 10 am to noon. Both Down Dog Yoga and Spiral Flight Yoga in Georgetown have classes the days before and after Thanksgiving.

Visiting your place of worship to connect spiritually, volunteering for the needy, taking a walk or a yoga class are great ways to relax, center yourself and remind yourself of everything you have to feel grateful for.

Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D. will customize, an easy, enjoyable weight loss, athletic or medical nutrition therapy program for you or your company. She is the author of “Diet Simple: 192 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations,” and National Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Contact her at or 202-833-0353.

Steeplechase Races

Following is a sampling of the race meets and point-to-points scheduled for the spring of 2010. For a complete list of Virginia’s 2010 steeplechase events, visit the Virginia Steeplechase Association’s Web site at

Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point
Saturday, March 13, 12:30 p.m.
Airlie Race Course
Warrenton, VA

Piedmont Fox Hounds Point-to-Point
Saturday, March 20, 1 p.m.
Salem Course
Upperville, VA

Bull Run Hunt Point-to-Point
Sunday, March 21, 12:30 p.m.
Brandywine Park
Culpeper, VA

Orange County Hunt Point-to-Point
Sunday, March 28, 1 p.m.
Locust Hill Farm
Middleburg, VA

Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point
Saturday, April 3, 12 p.m.
Ben Venue Farm
Washington, VA
540-364-4573, 540-636-1507

Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point
Sunday, April 11, 12:30 p.m.
Oatlands Plantation
Leesburg, VA
703-777-8480, 540-338-4031

Middleburg Spring Race Meet
Saturday, April 17 1 p.m.
Glenwood Park
Middleburg, VA
540-687-6545, 540-687-6595

Fairfax Hunt Point-to-Point
Sunday, April 18, 1:30 p.m.
Morven Park
Leesburg, VA

Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point
Sunday, April 25, 1 p.m.
Glenwood Park
Middleburg, VA
540-454-2991, 540-687-6069

Virginia Gold Cup Race Meet
Saturday, May 1, 1 p.m.
Great Meadow
The Plains, VA

Raising Change

When it comes to educating the nation’s children, the talk always comes back, boomeranglike, to the almighty dollar — funding from the state, from the federal government, funding per student and household, funding for teachers and administrators.

The volatile combination that makes up the education debate — that is, students and how best to budget their scholastic upbringing — sparks some of the most heated name calling and bluster in the public forum.

Snips over the District’s public school budget have kept the newspapers working hard lately (as evinced the city council’s recent spat with DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee) but what you won’t hear about is the daily challenge for some schools to foot their own bill, that is, without help from taxpayers.

Enter the world of private education.

While the phrase conjures images of blazers and bookish upper-crusters, many private and parochial schools — which nationally are responsible for educating around 10 percent of students — operate on a lean budget, and aside from non-profit tax breaks and D.C.’s now-frozen voucher program, receive no public funding from the government. The business of keeping cash flowing freely, then, is a big one, and most of the nation’s private institutions have whole departments devoted to it.

Their job is to think of ways to drum up the dollars when tuition revenue won’t quite pay all the bills. And while most private schools are happy to accept donations from the general public, advancement departments usually have a few target markets in mind, with alumni and parents naturally serving as primary benefactors.

Most schools set a fundraising benchmark in the form of an annual fund, which aims to reach a certain dollar amount by the end of the school’s fiscal year. Annual funds are easy to donate to, are trackable — many schools keep a running tally on their websites — and can be tailored to commemorate a significant individual or date, say, the school’s centennial. They’re lucrative, too: Gonzaga College High School and St. Albans School report around 10 percent of their operating budget comes from annual fund revenue. In only 15 years, Woodley Park’s Maret School has increased its annual fund earnings from $250,000 to $1.6 million. Figures at other schools are smaller, but across the board annual fund revenue is cited as a gap-bridger when tuition, as it often does, only covers 80 to 85 percent of operating costs.

But advancement departments don’t just serve as liaisons for deep-pocketed alums. Most are composed of talented fundraisers with a knack for making donations worth the benefactor’s while. That means events — auctions, galas, golf showdowns and the like — which form a nicely symbiotic arrangement to earn money while fostering a lively social scene within the school community. Think of Washington’s storied gala scene on a smaller scale — and with higher-caliber small talk.

St. Albans, for example, is home to an active parents association that conducts the annual Christmas House Tour of five stately homes in Cleveland Park. The houses are typically owned by alumni or relatives of students, and through ticket and sponsorship proceeds, the tour has raised an average of $350,000 annually since 2004.

The yearly effort is contributed to the school’s Centennial Campaign, which is aiming for a hefty $80 million goal by the end of the year.

Sidwell Friends, the prestigious Quaker school with the Obama family bragging rights, recently passed — a year ahead of schedule — the $56 million benchmark for its Call Us Friends campaign, begun in 2002. The project was a grassroots effort by the school and over 150 volunteers (parents and students alike) to fund a new athletic center and fill out financial aid coffers for needy students.

The school’s annual auction and book club also directly benefit the Dollars for Scholars program, which has proved so successful that Sidwell Friends averages a guarantee of two-thirds tuition for its aid recipients — generous, given the school’s $30,000 price tag.

Many schools also maintain a long-term planned giving program, in which a lump sum is contractually placed in trust and supplies annual payment to an agreed-upon party. Georgetown Visitation’s Charitable Gift Annuity arranges for annuities to be paid to the donor for the duration of their life; afterward the original gift is bequeathed to the school. Opposite that is a Charitable Lead Trust, in which the school receives annuities for a slated amount of time before the gift is returned to the donor. Gonzaga, National Cathedral School and Maret School all conduct similar programs.

Talk about a step up from the bake sale.

2010 Summer Camp Guide


-Ah, summertime — the apogee of every kid’s year. The quarter-long punctuation of an existence measured in semesters and three-day weekends. The annual big kahuna of all vacations.

Adults living in Washington think of it as something of a dreadful time. You still go to work, you pay bills, you race around — just the same as any other season, only sweatier, and perhaps with a twinge of bitter animus that you, too, could once clear your schedule from Memorial to Labor Day, and you thought it endless.

But that is the great allure of summer: that children, who in many ways are always wise beyond their years, somehow convince themselves with astonishing zeal that it will never end, which is maybe what makes the experience so formative and special.

With the innocence of youth in mind, we’ve selected some of our favorite summer camps around the city and region. They have a funny way of making these hot three months fly by, but you can be sure the memories will endure.

Audubon Naturalist Society, 301-652-9188
Where: Headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD; the Society operates two other camps in Leesburg and Clifton, VA.
When: The first programs begin June 21 and extend through mid-August. Full-day (9-4) or half day programs are available, depending on the child’s age and schedule. Overnight trips are available for older students.
How much: Classes start at $165.
Offering unique programs for children aged 4 to 15, Audubon’s camps are designed to foster environmental awareness among the nation’s youth. They feature direct experiences with our natural world through hands-on activities, games, crafts, experiments, and explorations. Campers can expect to spend most of their time outdoors, but every camp has an indoor classroom to use as a home base.

Levine School Music and Arts Day Camp, 202-686-8000
Where: Campuses in D.C. (2801 Upton St., Van Ness), Bethesda’s Strathmore Center and Arlington (Ballston).
When: Full-day (9:30-3:30) and half-day (9:30-1:30) programs available from June 28-July 16 and July 19-August 6.
How much: $1044 for full-day students, $720 half-day.
Levine’s summer camp has a loyal following, with many campers returning each year. Levine nurtures the total musical child in a supportive and stimulating environment. Through singing, dancing, playing instruments and sharing artistic experiences, children develop skills for creative expression and aesthetic awareness that will last their entire lives.

TIC Summer Camp, 703-241-5542
Where: GWU’s satellite campus at 2100 Foxhall Road. Classes also available in Bethesda and McLean.
When: 8:30 to 3, five days per week. Four sessions are operated throughout the summer, the first beginning June 21. Each lasts about a week and a half.
How much: $800 per session.
Total nerd camp this isn’t: from the beginning, campers are divided into two age groups, juniors (6th grade and younger) and seniors (7th grade and older). Each day, one group takes technology courses geared for kids, while the other is immersed in an athletic program; after lunch the groups switch places, so that each camper gets three hours of technology instruction and three hours of sports each day.

Camp Arena Stage, 202-554-9066
Where: Georgetown Visitation School, 1524 35th St.
When: 9-4, five days a week. The camp offers a four-week intensive session beginning June 28 and a two-week half session beginning July 26.
How much: $1600 for full session, $900 half
Camp Arena Stage empowers young people to express themselves more fully through art by encouraging them to make art that speaks with their own voices. Campers create their own schedules, choosing from a host of classes in theater, music, dance, media and visual art. They can try unfamiliar art forms and/or pursue current artistic interests: it’s up to them.

Camp Shakespeare, 202-547-5688
Where: STC’s rehearsal studios, 516 Eighth St. S.E.
When: 10-5 daily, sessions begin June 21.
How much: $695. And yes, the T-shirt’s included.
This two-week day camp aims to enhance the understanding of Shakespeare’s language through the exploration of movement, text, improvisation and performance. Young people ages 9-18 will analyze and interpret Shakespeare’s text, create dynamic characters with their bodies, voices, and imaginations and explore the art of stage combat. Camp will culminate with a performance for friends and family onstage at the Lansburgh Theatre.

Georgetown Day School’s Hopper Day Camp, 202-274-1683
Where: GDS’ lower school, 4530 MacArthur Blvd.
When: Week-long sessions from 8:30 to 3, beginning June 21. Half-day options available.
How much: $395 per week, ages pre-K to 11.
For the youngsters. Start the day with 4 classes (arts, sports, drama, science, cooking & more) & spend the afternoons on water play, talent shows, field trips, Olympics and more. Each group of 5-10 campers will travel with a junior counselor; experienced teachers will lead each class.

Sheridan School’s Shenandoah Summer Camp, 540-743-6603
Where: Sheridan Mountain Campus, Luray, VA.
When: All-day sessions beginning early July. Most last five days, but older students may opt for two-week programs.
How much: Sessions start at $565. High school-level “Ironman” programs run around $1300.
For the adventurer in every family, Sheridan’s classic outdoor camp centers on community building, mastering outdoor skills and back-to-nature basics. You also can’t get a more idyllic setting: the 130-acre campus borders the Shenandoah River and Shenandoah National Park near Luray (not to mention its famous caverns). Campers will have their pick of opportunities to view wildlife and woods, and certainly make a few friendships along the way.

Georgetown University Summer Day Camp at Yates Field House
Where: Located right on Georgetown University at Yates Field House and Kehoe Field
When: Six weeks offered with the first program beginning June 21 and the last program beginning July 26. Camp hours are from 9am to 4pm. After care is available until 4:30pm.
How Much: Weekly tuition for Yates members is $275. Non-Yates members $375. Register online.
Yates Summer Day Camp is celebrating their 30th year as a comprehensive day-long camp at Yates Field House and Kehoe Field. Campers ages 6-10 years enjoy activities such as arts and crafts, indoor and outdoor games, swimming, movies, talent shows and much more.

At School Without Walls, A Theatre Without Limits

As the old adage goes, “Those who can’t do, teach.”

However, this is not quite the case for Tyler Herman, the 23-year-old theatre instructor of Washington’s acclaimed magnet school, School Without Walls.

Referred to by students and faculty as “Walls,” the institution is well recognized as the best public high school in the District, and one of the best in the region. Established in 1971, SWW is of a certain Montessorian ilk, helping students to expand their education beyond the classroom “Walls” and turn the nation’s capital into an equal player in their intellectual cultivation. With a student body of less than 500, the students are afforded plenty of individual attention to help shape their futures.

Backed by new principal Richard Trogisch and Chancellor Michelle Rhee, the school has recently been restructuring itself to achieve higher academic standards in an ever-expanding, open-ended classroom environment. The new building, in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, forgoes lockers to keep the school looking less like an institution, and more like a welcoming environment for children to learn.

SWW has a partnership with The George Washington University to provide classes free of charge for qualifying juniors and seniors. The newly established GW Early College Program offers students the opportunity to achieve an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts while they’re still in high school, granting them access to all the educational amenities that GW has to offer. The school’s Gilder Lehrman Initiative funds historic field trips around the region with visiting historians serving as guest lecturers and seminar leaders.

The list of student electives — of which they are free to take plenty — rivals some colleges, and there are mandatory internships within the city for graduating seniors.

Yet, as of last November, there was no theatre department. Enter Herman.

A recent graduate of Cornell, Herman came back to the area, having grown up in Silver Spring. With a degree in theatre and dance, and a minor in music, he didn’t have much intention to teach upon graduation. “I wanted to be an artist,” he says.

Picking up small work in a number of local theatres, he began instructing youth theatre programs part-time at Round House Theatre and other local high schools. “I had heard a lot of horror stories about public schools,” says Herman. “Students are unruly and uninterested.” But when Walls approached him to take on a position in their theatre program’s maiden voyage, he was surprised at what he found.

“A 99 percent graduation rate, and a 95 percent college-bound rate,” he exclaims. “These kids are smart. And they want to learn.”

Still, Herman maintained that he didn’t want to simply be a teacher. He laid out his objective in starting the theatre program as a working actor. “I’m big on creating work,” he says. “I am a working actor in this town, so I want to bring it around to the community, create a mindset of not just fun, but a career.”

Herman’s mission is to use the school’s fresh program as a way to reach out to the community, producing relevant work with as much input from the students as possible. The productions are not just for the public, but are inspired from within the public.

As SWW’s first main-stage production, Herman chose Molière’s “The Miser,” a satirical comedy about a rich moneylender and his children who wish to escape his penny-pinching household (allude away, my fellow metropolitans).

However, the copy Herman had was a translation from the 1950s (Molière was French), which, according to Herman, “Felt stuffy, not very timely or relevant.” So Herman, fluent in French, took it upon himself to re-translate the show, change a few characters around, put in a song and dance break, and fill in plot holes from the original script.

The style of theatre is actor driven, the leads played their own instruments, most being members of the high school band. Herman even decided to have the students play their own songs, which they began improvising onstage, creating a different theatre experience every night.
In many sections of the new text, Herman would merely write down framework and recommendations, then had the students “Create their own moment.”

“They made the show their own by crafting the characters they were creating, making it genuinely funny for them and the audience every night. Taking ownership of the theatre … I come in with my ideas, and they take it and do their own thing, and sometimes it’s even better. So, encouraging that creativity has become a huge part of the process.”

He wants his students to tell their own stories. “I don’t want to create high school-level work,” he says. “I want to create real work that’s done by high school students.”
Herman is now looking to get certified as a teacher — no teaching degree, just to be clear, but a vocation degree.

As far as his own work is concerned, he is working through the summer with Young Playwrites Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, and Round House Theatre. He will soon be appearing in “In Faction of Fools” with Welders Theatre Company.

A year out of school, and Herman is entrenched in theatre. He is beginning the framework of a winter festival at SWW with work primarily written by his students. A Shakespeare drama in the fall, a musical in the spring, all while working on his own theatre projects outside the classroom.

If the old adage had come about with Herman in mind, it would surely read a little differently: “Those who teach, do.”

Farm Dogs

In the morning he would explode from the stable doors, a chaff-colored blur of lolling tongue and drumming footpads and ears all aflutter. As he ran he flung little clods of grass in every direction, meandering through the field as if it were an airy forest of his own design. Behind, the wood barn, light brown, stained with rain and standing in the shadow of quiet limestone mountains. Below them, the coal shelves and the strange subterranean reaches of mystic Appalachia.

But none of that was on Peanut’s mind. The sun was out, he was free, and if you thought it impossible for a Labrador to smile, you’d have been mistaken. Five years later, the Georgetown pooch has since graduated to more celestial pastures, but the Shenandoah Valley barn remains with a standard roster of around 25 canine guests. The boarding facility is the property of Country Dogs, started by Mark and Victoria Cave, who found their first customer in Peanut. The lab now graces the front page of the company’s website. “I spoke with [Peanut’s owner, a Georgetown resident] a year ago or so and said, ‘You know, we’ve never taken down that picture of Peanut. He was our first boarder.’ She was tearing up … We still have those real solid relationships with our old customers,” Mark Cave says.

It isn’t surprising. After all, it’s not always easy for vacationing dog owners to find a place to stay for their best friend, let alone a door-to-door service that carts dogs between the Washington
metro area and the 17-acre farm just south of Front Royal, converted in July 2004 to accommodate dogs. Cave and his wife — both former teachers at the Maret School in Woodley Park — got the idea from Josh Tuerk of Puppy Love Petsitters, who mentioned the high demand among dog lovers for boarding that wasn’t, well, dungeonlike.

That’s the draw of Country Dogs. After the shuttle ride from the city, boarders are led to spacious,
oversized stalls in what was once a barn for horses. Each dog is let out, off leash, into a giant fenced run for four to six hours a day and is free to explore the pond and fields with other furry guests.
Sounds like summer camp, only without the cafeteria food.

For the Caves, that’s exactly what makes their business unique. They eschew the concrete
paddocks and noisy corridors of traditional kennels in favor of a healthier, more peaceful setting, one that affords their boarders some freedom — and a chance to shake off the stress of being away from home.

“I don’t try to cut people down who are in the industry who are doing it other ways,” Cave says. “But we do believe strongly in the idea of fresh air and exercise.”

It’s catching on. Although the Caves count Washington as their original target market, they have since expanded to serve New York and Philadelphia with a 69-acre farm in Bethel, PA. Another facility serving Boston is in the works.

Both farms are designed for long-term boarding, with an average stay of 13 days. Some canine companions drop in for only a weekend, but Cave says the farms have hosted canine companions for six months or more.

He warns that customers can expect limited availability during the holidays— the D.C./Northern Virginia farm is booked for Thanksgiving and Christmas — but says last-minute spots do open up occasionally. Naturally, reservations are more easily obtained during the post-holiday lull.
Which, as any smart traveler knows, is the best time to leave town anyway. But don’t forget
your dog just might be having more fun.

Country Dogs charges a boarding rate of $35 per night, with a $22.50 transportation fee each way. Find out more at [](