Connect with us

Miscellaneous

Most summer camps still on — for now

Region offers wide space of LGBT-affirming camps for kids of all interests

Published

on

summer camps, gay news, Washington Blade
Children perform ‘Star Force’ at last year’s summer Synetic Classic. (Photo courtesy Synetic Theatre)

Coronavirus concerns have closed or postponed many youth spring break programs currently underway, particularly in Maryland. However, registration continues for summer activities. Continue to monitor program websites for COVID-19 adjustments and updates. 

Brave Trails Camp is an LGBTQ youth-focused experience with sessions one-three held in California beginning June 20 and session four in the Catoctin Mountains of western Maryland from Aug. 11-20. The $1,500 tuition includes all meals and snacks, program materials, leadership training classes, lodging, health center access, a camp T-shirt and more. Financial assistance is available. 

Virtual Camp BT is planned for two weeks on the camp’s Instagram page. Find it at #virtualcampbt. Scavengr hunts, live classes, conversations, photo challenges and more will be available for all ages. Look at @bravetrails on Instagram for details. 

Continue to monitor bravetrails.org or call 323-300-4401 for updates and details. 

Adventure Theatre is a musical theater academy for D.C.-area youth with an integrated and nationally renowned professional family friendly theatre. Academy camps provide youth with theater experiences by working with teaching artists to learn new skills, rehearse material and perform for family and friends. Youth programming includes summer musical theatre camp for grades one-six at its Glen Echo Park location (7300 Macarthur Blvd., Glen Echo, Md.) and summer musical theater training program for grades six-12 at its Wintergreen Plaza location (837 Rockville Pk., Rockville, Md.). 

Costs start at $800 for the musical theater camp session one, which begins June 16. The musical theater training program starts June 22. Tuition is $1,350 and includes a one-day trip to New York City for training and to see a Broadway show. Scholarship applications and audition information is available at adventuretheatre-mtc.org

Current programming, including the Virtual Spring Gala, is postponed due to Maryland’s statewide COVID-19 precautions. Continue to monitor the website for updates regarding summer programming. 

Camp Rim Rock for Girls (343 Camp Rim Rock Rd., Yellow Spring, W.Va.) is a summer camp program for girls going to grades two-10. Two-week or four-week sessions feature horseback riding, performing arts, aquatics, arts and crafts, and sports activities. 

Mini Camp sessions for rising grades one-three is $1,600 and starts June 21; riding camp sessions for rising grades four-10 are $2,000 and also begin June 21; while general camp sessions for rising grades two-10 are $3,050 for two weeks, $5,600 for four weeks and start June 28. 

Coronavirus information is not currently posted to its website, but continue to monitor camprimrock.com or contact them at 347-746-7625 or [email protected] for updates. 

Circle Yoga (3838 Northampton St., N.W.) offers both a Teaching Yoga to Kids class April 24-26 for $595 as a way for parents to share yoga practice with their families and a Circle Yoga Kids summer camp starting June 22 for ages 6-12 at $420 per week and starting July 6 for ages 4-7 at $315 per week. 

Campers learn yoga, mindfulness and other stress-reducing activities in an environment free from competition, pressure and strict scheduling. Partial scholarship applications are available at circleyoga.com

Circle Yoga classes and workshops are currently cancelled through April 3 due to COVID-19 concerns; however, online classes are available using Zoom video conferencing.

Green Acres Camp (11701 Danville Dr., North Bethesda, Md.) offers age-grouped programming for pre-Kindergarten to grade seven with fees ranging from $349 per week to $3,125 for a seven-week session starting June 22. Camp programs include Kreative Kangaroos for pre-K, Junior Camp for Kindergarten to grade two and Senior Camp for grades three-seven. 

No COVID-19 restrictions or cancellations are currently posted to its website; however, continue to monitor headfirstcamps.com or call 301-881-4100 for updates and more information. 

The Lowell School (1640 Kalmia Rd., N.W.) offers a variety of summer camp activities for children ages 2-15. This year the school’s new offerings include an early bird mini camp open for age 2 to rising fifth graders, Camp Rock for aspiring musicians in grades four-six, and a summer stage production of “The Wiz” from June 22-July 17. 

Costs range from $455 for the one week Early Bird Mini Camp which starts June 15 to $1,335-$1,775 for summer stage and various specialty camps starting June 22. There currently is no COVID-19 information posted; however, contact the school at 202-577-2000 or at [email protected] or visit its website at lowellschool.org for updates. 

Silver Stars Gymnastics offers a youth gymnastics camp at their Silver Spring (2701 Pittman Dr., Silver Spring, Md.) and Bowie (14201 Woodcliff Ct., Bowie, Md.) locations. The Bowie location also offers a laser tag camp. 

According to their website, due to coronavirus concerns, starting March 16, all activities are suspended. Email [email protected] or call 301-352-5777 for updates or more information as the situation develops. 

Synetic Theater specializes in adaptation and ensemble work and offers two youth camp programs this summer. Synetic Classic is a traditional two-week program for “Young Artists” in grades K-five and “Thespians” in grades six-nine. Classes for this program start June 22 and cost $725. Synetic Remix is a new one-week program for both age groups and costs $375. 

This year Synetic will feature three different show opportunities depending on the session, “A Tale of Two Ghostbusters,” “The Wild and Wacky Wizarding World of Wiley Skylar” and “Star Force.”

A program representative emailed the Washington Blade that summer programming is currently continuing as planned and registrations are still being accepted. However, call 703-824-8060 or email [email protected] for updates and information and continue to monitor its website at synetictheater.org

Last year’s Adventure Theatre MTC Summer Musical Theatre Camp. (Photo courtesy Adventure)
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Miscellaneous

The evolution of the open house

The more sophisticated the advertising, the more the events flourished

Published

on

From car giveaways in the 1950s to today’s QR codes and virtual events, agents have used diverse strategies to draw buyers to open houses.

In the early 20th century, there were no exclusive agreements between a seller and a real estate agent. Any broker who knew of someone wanting to sell could participate in an “open listing” by planting his sign in the yard of that person and competing with agents from other brokerages who did the same. To the victor who obtained a buyer went the spoils of commission.

The rules began to change in 1919, when being a real estate broker now required a license. An agent might handle only one property at a time exclusively, but an “open for inspection” period could be used to introduce a model home or new community to the buying population. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, Dallas homebuilder, Howdy Howard, hosted one of the most successful open houses of all time in the 1950s. During the first 12 days of the event, an estimated 100,000 people attended, drawn by free sodas and the ultimate prize for the buyer – a new Cadillac.

Soon, brokers began hiring additional agents who could handle multiple properties. Unlike Howard’s marathon open house, agents would now host them for a few hours at a time, usually on a Sunday, to whet the appetite of the buyer pool. 

Classified advertisements with a description of a property would be placed in a local newspaper and potential buyers would review them with their morning coffee to decide which houses to visit later in the day. 

Marketing in newspapers went from a few lines of black and white text to a photo of a home’s exterior, to a multi-page spread that included both photos of houses and the agents who represented them.

The more sophisticated the advertising became, the more the open house flourished as a marketing tool, not only for the home itself, but also for the agent and the brokerage. It allowed agents to prospect for buyers for that home and others, and converse with neighbors who might want to sell their homes as well. 

Soon, the sign-in sheet was born, used by the agent to capture the contact information of a potential client or customer and to let the seller know who had visited his home. While sign-in sheets or cards are still used, some agents have gravitated to electronic applications, using a tablet computer instead of paper for the same purpose.

Fast forward to the early 2000s in D.C., when open houses became the primary source of showing property. An agent would enter a property into the multiple listing service (MLS) on a Thursday, entertain no showings until Saturday, host an open house on Sunday afternoon, and call for offers either Sunday night or Monday. The open house allowed agents to send their buyers rather than accompany them and serve multiple clients at once.  

The delayed showing day strategy referenced above has since been supplanted by the MLS’s Coming Soon status. Agents can now email or text links to upcoming properties to their clients in advance of showing availability and the clients can view photos, read property descriptions and disclosures, and schedule future visits accordingly.

Enter COVID-19. Due to the proliferation of the virus and the subsequent lockdown, the real estate world had to accommodate new public health requirements. 

One of the first things to go was the open house. Even agent showings were constrained, with visitors limited to an agent plus two people and additional requirements for wearing masks and disposable shoe covers and gloves. 

Overlapping appointments were not allowed, showings were limited to 15 to 30 minutes, and bottles of hand sanitizer sprung up on kitchen counters everywhere.

Ultimately, technology and ingenuity provided new marketing avenues for agents that included 3-D virtual open houses, Facetime and Duo viewings, videos, property websites and QR codes. Many of these marketing techniques remain, even though traditional open houses are coming back post-lockdown.

But are they really necessary? Certainly not for all types of properties. 

I believe the days of using a public open house to procure a buyer are limited. Agent security has become a concern and the desire for in-person viewings during a specific day or time has waned. 

On the other hand, Internet marketing and social media have a much wider reach, so much so that some people now feel comfortable buying a home – probably the most expensive item they will ever purchase – without even stepping into it until after closing.

After all, if we can work in sweatpants or pajamas while Zooming corporate meetings, how can naked virtual reality house hunting be far behind?

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

Continue Reading

Miscellaneous

D.C. homebuyers face hyper competitive market

Sellers in driver’s seat as region faces record low inventory

Published

on

housing market, gay news, Washington Blade

With job growth rising during a period of aggressive government spending and historically low mortgage rates, the spring 2021 market sits at the lowest level of inventory since 1983.

Homebuyers in the D.C. area continue to face an incredibly competitive market. This is truly a seller’s market.

Lack of Inventory: Washington, D.C. has been in a gradually worsening housing shortage since the Great Recession. The area hasn’t had a six-month supply of homes for sale for almost 12 years. Now, we add a global pandemic that seriously altered what homeowners want out of their home, Wall Street on fire, and insanely low interest rates and we get a surge in motivated homebuyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of homes nationwide reached a record low in December 2020, with just 1.07 million properties on the market. The DC metro area is even worse off than the national average with only one month’s supply of homes. That means if new listings were completely dried up, there would be no homes available in four weeks. On average, D.C. homes have been selling within 11 days, which is 15 days faster than this time in 2020.

Seller’s Market: The time is now for Washington, D.C. homeowners to seriously consider selling their homes if they have played with the idea. Experts predict 2021 will be another strong housing market with an increase in demand from existing homebuyers in search of larger homes and buyers who delayed purchasing a home due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Zillow forecasts a nearly 30 percent annual growth in homes for sale in 2021. This would be the largest home sales growth since 1983. Zillow’s annual report stated, “Home price appreciation will reach its fastest pace since the Great Recession, as the inventory crunch continues to pit buyers against each other, competing for a scarce number of homes for sale.”

D.C.’s Current Market: According to the NAR, in March of 2021, D.C. home prices had increased 4.1% compared to March 2020, for a median price of $635,000. There were 1,004 homes sold in March 2021, an increase from 842 at this time last year.

We are seeing many homes receive multiple offers within just a few days in the D.C. area. The average home is selling a little above 1% of the listing price and many hot homes are seeing large bidding wars and selling for 3% or more above the listing price; 42.7% of D.C. homes sold above list price in March of 2021. That is a 13.4% increase from last year at this time. Active inventory for March of 2021 was 1,457 homes, down 9% from March 2020. March 2021 also saw 991 homes sell in the D.C. area, an increase of 31% from February of 2021. March 2021’s total homes sold had a 19% increase from March 2020.

Buying a Home: In the current seller’s market, buying a home can be like playing a chess match. You need to know the rules and be strategic. It can seem more like winning than purchasing a home right now. If you find a home you want to buy, chances are you won’t be the only one making an offer. It is a seller’s market everywhere in the country right now and D.C. is no different. Be sure you know what you qualify for and what you can afford.

Conclusion: The NAR and the Mortgage Bankers Association both project prices of existing homes to increase 5.9% in 2021. This may mean buyers will have to be more flexible than in the past. For example, making an offer contingent upon the sale of a current home may be harder than before. It’s also possible you will pay more than the list price. The D.C. real estate market is on fire and many homes are off the market within 24 hours of listing. For sellers, if you have been thinking of selling your home there is no better time than the present.

 

Khalil El-Ghoul is Principal Broker for Glass House Real Estate. Reach him at [email protected] or 571-235-4821. Glass House Real Estate is a modern, more affordable way to buy and sell a home in the D.C. Metro area. Learn more about what makes us different at glassshousere.com.

Continue Reading

Miscellaneous

Kick-ass crossovers

Still the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms

Published

on

crossovers, gay news, Washington Blade

Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Crossovers keep wending their way into our driveways—and our hearts. After overtaking sedans, station wagons and minivans as the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms, crossovers are now taking aim at the most quintessential of American rides: the muscle car. With naughty looks and hepped-up engines, the two dynamite crossovers below are sure to blow your mind—and just maybe your budget.

DODGE DURANGO SRT HELLCAT
$81,000
Mpg: 12 city/17 highway
0 to 60 mph: 3.5 seconds

For more than 20 years, the Dodge Durango has been a solid if nondescript family hauler. But this year the automaker jazzed up its midsize crossover with brawnier styling and the latest tech toys. And for the first time, Dodge is offering a limited-edition Durango SRT Hellcat—a high-test model with the same hellacious Hemi V8 engine in the Challenger super coupe and Charger sport sedan. With 710 horsepower, this blazingly fast crossover can kick some serious ass, outrunning many a Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The upgraded suspension provides more dynamic handling and cornering, as well as selectable steering for better grip. For straight-line acceleration and to prevent nasty fish-tailing, I simply flipped the “launch control” toggle switch. The massive Brembo brakes also were stellar, with stop-on-a-dime performance and flaming red calipers on each wheel. Another plus: the iconic Hellcat exhaust rumble could be heard blocks away—music to the ears of any auto aficionado. As with all Durangos, this bruiser has best-in-class towing capacity of 8,700 pounds.

Inside, there’s plenty of space, including more room than expected for third-row passengers. The steering wheel, dash, and trim accents now have trendy Euro styling, though it’s more VW than upscale Audi. And you can opt for flashy seatbelts and premium seats in a color Dodge calls Demonic Red, along with black velour floor mats and a soft-touch headliner. Other features include heated/ventilated seats, a large 10.1-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone integration and the ability to pair two Bluetooth devices at once. Options include a 19-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and rear-seat entertainment with Blue-Ray player. Alas, this is a limited-edition model and all 2,000 of these speed demons quickly sold out months ago. But there’s still hope: Dodge allocated some of the racy Durangos to select dealerships, so you can call around to see if any are still available. And you can always try social media to find a lucky Durango Hellcat owner who just might be willing to sell this rollicking ride, if the price is right.

LAND ROVER DEFENDER X
$85,000
Mpg: 17 city/22 highway
0 to 60 mph: 5.7 seconds

For decades, both the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover have been ubiquitous in the United States. Not so the smaller and less ostentatious Defender, often seen as a work-horse vehicle in BritBox reruns or action flicks like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. But last year the Defender returned to these shores after nearly a quarter-century hiatus.

Available in two- or four-door models, both Defenders start around $50,000. My test vehicle was the new top-of-the-line Defender X, which added—yikes!—another $35,000 to the sticker price. The look on these crossovers is boxy chic, which allows for a ginormous amount of headroom, legroom and cargo space. Land Rover also added extra stowage areas and cubby holes, as well as transom windows and a sliding panoramic sunroof to keep things airy. While the cabin may be sparse and full of solid plastics, the walnut trim on the center console and door panels is quite elegant.

Land Rovers have a somewhat infamous reputation for less-than-stellar electronics, but the 10-inch touchscreen was crystal clear and synced up seamlessly with the infotainment system. Tricked out with a jet-black roof, hood, and side cladding, the press vehicle I test drove was painted a haughty Eiger Gray Metallic. It also came with thick all-terrain tires, adding to a slightly menacing vibe. A full-size spare is conveniently mounted on the vertical tailgate, which swings completely open like a refrigerator door for easy access. The Defender X may not be as lightning quick as a Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, but it’s still plenty fast. And this brute can tackle the toughest of terrains, thanks to locking differentials, hill-descent control and a standard air suspension that can raise the chassis 11.5 inches above the ground. Overall, the Defender X can’t quite hide its refined roots as a tony Land Rover. But as with the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, this burly crossover flexes some serious muscle.

Land Rover Defender X

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular