puppeteerJeff Domke Brings a Unique Experience to Children and Teens with Type 1 Diabetes at Camp Kudzu

One summer, Morgan, a Camp Kudzu camper, asked the puppet, Woodrow Weasel to be her date to the end-of-summer dance. Woodrow gladly obliged, but the day of the dance, due to complications from her Type 1 diabetes, Morgan had to stay in the infirmary. Woodrow overheard the news and decided to surprise his date at the infirmary. The 9-year-old girl was overjoyed and the moment was so magical that it’s hard to remember the man behind it, Jeff Domke, was even there.

Known as the “Puppet Dude,” this year will be Domke’s 15th summer creating special moments, such as the one above, with Camp Kudzu attendees. The nonprofit camp is dedicated to providing children and teenagers with Type 1 diabetes a camp experience that caters to their health needs. Their weeklong camps are filled with adventurous activities such as archery, fishing, kayaking,    zip lining and more.

Domke, who is a professional puppeteer and education program coordinator at the Center for Puppetry Arts, initially got involved with Camp Kudzu after the Center for Puppetry Arts received a grant to do puppet education at special needs camps. Having never been to summer camp himself, he fell in love with the experience it provides children. After losing the initial grant that brought him to Camp Kudzu, he continued to volunteer freely each summer. Now, a private donor funds Domke’s visits to the camp.

This summer, he will bring his professional puppeteer skills to Camp Kudzu’s third (July 9-14) and fourth (July 30-August 5) camp sessions. While there, he will lead puppet-building workshops, puppet shows, use puppets to teach children about cultures from around the world, and host the annual talent show with the help of his         co-host, Woodrow.

Domke assures that you don’t have to be a master puppeteer to bring joy to kids at Camp Kudzu, all you need is your time and dedication. As a nonprofit with a small yearlong professional staff, over 400 volunteers are needed each summer to make Camp Kudzu a wonderful place to learn and play. The staff will teach you everything you need to know to be a great volunteer. Plus, no prior knowledge of diabetes is required.

Want to volunteer and support puppetry throughout the year? Domke encourages people to volunteer as a docent at the Center for Puppetry Arts, or simply support the center with your admission to their amazing exhibits and shows.

Details: campkudzu.org, puppet.org


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By Carolyn O’Neil, M.S., R.D.N.

The island of Bermuda is set like a jewel about 800 miles off the coast of North Carolina. It’s easy to be on the beach by afternoon via a three-hour direct flight from Atlanta.

Long loved for its tropical, yet traditional feel (hello, Bermuda shorts), this British isle is blooming with brilliant new reasons to visit.

One shining example is Fairmont’s Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. For over 130 years, the Hamilton Princess hotel has welcomed guests to its tony in-town location planted perfectly next to the marina sparkling with yachts and harbor views.

The hotel’s Exhale spa offers treatments and fitness classes such as Core Fusion Barre, and Yoga. Or, jump in the hotel’s private transport to the Princess Beach Club to enjoy watersports and loll the day away on the pink sand with beach drinks in hand.

Details: thehamiltonprincess.com, gotobermuda.comtaste_of_bermuda

Taste of Bermuda

Bermuda’s mix of cuisines from the Caribbean, West Africa, Portugal, and jolly old England is deliciously diverse. When out on the island, look for local specialties such as Bermudian fish chowder and codfish cakes. The star of the show is certainly fresh seafood including spiny lobsters, black grouper and yellowfin tuna.

To bring the light and tropical taste of Bermuda to home cooking, slice lemons, limes or oranges in half and grill cut-side down. Grilling citrus mellows the acidic flavor and caramelizes the natural sugars in the fruit. Also, the citrus juice squeezes out more easily on top of grilled fish, chicken or vegetables and is a low-calorie, salt-free addition with a big flavor bonus. You could even grill fresh limes to add to Bermuda-inspired Dark ‘n Stormy® cocktails.

Sorbets Simplified

A cool and creamy frozen dessert can be summer’s best friend. Sorbet, also known as sorbetto in Italian, is simply frozen fruit with the addition of sugar. You can’t make a sorbet without sugar, which gives these icy fruit desserts their spoonable smoothness. But, look for sorbet brands with fewer than 30 grams of sugar per half serving. In 2018, new nutrition facts labels will add a separate line to reveal the amount of added sugar per serving. That way you know how much sugar is coming from the mango in a mango sorbet and how much is cane sugar added to the recipe.

Nutrition plus: Fruit sorbets can be a source of vitamin A and   vitamin C. Both nutrients are important for the health of our skin, certainly key with summertime’s revealing fashions!

Carolyn O’Neil, M.S., R.D.N. is the author of “The Slim Down South Cookbook: Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits and Bacon.” Her blog is oneiloneating.com.


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Believe it or not, what you need to achieve your fitness goals already lies within you. See how House of Payne Personal Training can help you tap into your undiscovered potential.

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Whether you enjoy taking in tunes laid back in a lawn chair or rocking out in a crowd, there is something in Atlanta for nearly every type of festivalgoer.

Jazz on the Lawn

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center presents its Jazz on the Lawn series. Talents new and old will unite from the Atlanta jazz and R&B community.

rhonda_thomasJUNE 16:
Rhonda Thomas
A staple in the underground Atlanta jazz scene for the past decade, this soulful singer has shared the stage with India Arie, Avery Sunshine, and Sam Moore.

JUNE 30: Joe Gransden
At only 42 years old, Gransden has toured the world, released
14 albums, and been compared to Chet Baker and Frank Sinatra.
He dazzles audiences with his raw vocal talent and hard bop
trumpet style.

JULY 14: Joey “Papa J” Sommerville
Influenced by years spent with B.B. King protégé Big Joe Burrell, and Phish, Sommerville brings his own new mix of contemporary jazz, rock, R&B, and classic blues.

JULY 28: Virginia Schenck and The World Jazz Trio
Known onstage as “VA,” Schenck has studied piano, voice, and dance. She fell in love with jazz after becoming friends with former Allman Brothers Band member, Jaimoe.

AUGUST 11: Bob Baldwin
Baldwin developed his affection for jazz from his father at a young age. He has since taken his skill set to the next level by composing and producing his own music. Most recently, he released “The Brazilian-American Soundtrack.”

Details: Tickets $20 online, $25 at the door. 980 Briarcliff Rd. NE., Atlanta; callanwolde.org

Sunset Sessions

Park Tavern is excited for the return of its free Sunset Sessions concert series. These burgeoning artists are sure to get you out of your music comfort zone.

JUNE 4: Jamestown Revival and Colter Wall
Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance are the rock duo that form Jamestown Revival. Their Americana sound is inspired by           Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, and The Rolling Stones. Colter Wall will also bring down-home country melodies to the stage.

JUNE 11: John Paul White and Lera Lynn
Originally a member of the Grammy Award-winning group The Civil Wars, White has now branched out on his own as a folk singer-songwriter. Lynn joins the ticket to share her experimental rock and pop noire.

JUNE 18: Meg Mac
This Australian local is known for her groovy, alternative R&B, and blues-rock featuring vocals and a keyboard.

JUNE 25: Surfer Blood
After the loss of Surfer Blood’s guitarist, Thomas Fekete, to stomach cancer, this band has rebounded with a new album that stays true to their beachy indie-rock feel.

AUGUST 20: Girls Guns & Glory and Cold Heart Canyon
Rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and classic country all find a home in the sound of Girls Guns & Glory, which pairs nicely with Cold Heart Canyon’s bluegrass sound.cold_heart_canyon

Details: 500 10th St. NE., Atlanta; parktavern.com

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River Through Atlanta’s Fly Fishing A-Z class is ideal for fishing newbies. The full day guided trip covers the fundamentals of casting, knot tying, surveying the water and more. After a few hours, put what you’ve learned to the test and fish for rainbow and brown trout. More advanced fishers can go on additional outings to pursue largemouth and striped bass, carp and trophy trout. A Georgia trout fishing license is required before attending either class.

Details: 710 Riverside Rd., Roswell; riverthroughatlanta.comreel_in_lee_morgan


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kayakGet ready to hit the water with REI’s Learn to Kayak class. For those looking to take up the sport, this class will help them get comfortable with kayaks, paddles, gear and proper clothing. After covering the basics, students will learn how to launch and receive an introduction to paddle stroke techniques such as forward, sweep, reverse and draw.

Details: 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain;

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paddle_om_yoga_sloan_bubba_caroline_johnTake your paddleboard skills up a notch with one of High Country Outfitters SUP Yoga classes now through August. Each 90-minute class is led by Caroline Sloan, an ACE PaddleYoga, World Paddle Association instructor certified by Key West Paddleboard Yoga. The goal of the class is to get reconnected with nature and the water with a flow that works your core.

Details: 200 Morgan Falls Rd., Sandy Springs, Morgan Falls Overlook Park; highcountryoutfitters.com


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scuba divingGet the feel of an authentic scuba adventure in a shallow water environment with Atlanta Scuba and Swim Centers’ Discover Scuba Experience. Learn how to get comfortable maneuvering equipment while experienced divers share step-by-step skills and safety rules. After instruction, move on to their Open Water Certification Course and start diving with the best of them.

Details: atlantascuba.com


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Not all water activities have to be strenuous. Take a relaxing one-and-a-half mile float down the Chattahoochee River on a raft or tube. Grab friends and family, pack a cooler and let Shoot the Hooch take care of the rest. A shuttle will take you to and from launch spots. Didn’t pack a bite to eat? Don’t worry. Hot dogs, ice cream, and drinks are on hand for purchase at a stand near the launch spot.

Details: Don White Memorial Park, Roswell; shootthehooch.comtube


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pexels_pink_sneakerRun through history on July 15 as a part of the 2017 Atlanta BeltLine Run.Walk.Go! Race Series. The Atlanta BeltLine Westside 5K takes runners on the original BeltLine path through one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods, West End. This family- and pet-friendly race combines nature and city scenery.

Details: beltline.org/events

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