Camp Laurel South Blog

We Control the Fun!

IMG_5048Obwana may control the weather, but we control the fun. Our “S” Day plans may have been altered, but we still had a blast!! Since Wednesday, we’ve had sunny skies and beautiful days and nights in Casco. It’s been perfect.

Our 8th and 9th Graders returned from their fabulous trips to Acadia National Park and White Water Rafting on the Kennebec River. We’re so glad they had a great time, but camp is best when the entire Laurel South family is together! Our 6th Grade boys are off this morning on their overnight camping trip as well.

Everyone is excited for the 4th of July. Our day of fun will culminate with the best fireworks show anywhere!! On the horizon is Monday’s first Out-Of-Camp “S” Day, as we all head to Canobie Lake for a day of rides, food, shows and fun! The action keeps rolling in Casco, Maine!!!

Camp in Full Swing!

LS BlogIt may seem as though camp has just begun, but the action is non-stop!!! A little liquid sunshine may have altered our 7th Graders plan to spend the night camping at Camden, but the next morning was beautiful, so the group had an amazing day-trip seeing the sights of one of Maine’s most famous destinations. This morning, the 5th Graders left for a day-trip to Aquaboggan, our 8th Graders departed for their incredible trip to Acadia National Park, and our awesome group of CIT’s headed out on the first of many memorable excursions… their exhilarating White Water Rafting Adventure!

Back at camp, the activities are going great. From the ballfields to the theater, the waterfront to equestrian, camp is filled with the sounds of children having the times of their lives! Intercamp games and tournaments have begun as well.

Tomorrow is our first “S” Day! Our Saco and Kineo campers will spend the day at Splashtown USA, the 5th and 6th Graders will have a wonderful beach party and our 7th Grade Nation will be off to Seacoast. Then we are right back into our A Day schedule, and by dinner, the 8th and 9th Graders will return with awesome memories that will last a lifetime.

As you can see, the action never stops at Laurel South. Oh, what a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!

Arrival Day!!

FBlog Photoinally: Arrival Day is upon us!!! Camp is now filled with the sounds of fun and laughter as campers and staff rekindle old friendships and forge new ones. We’ve been waiting all year, and we’re so excited to see everyone reunited at their summer home.

Tonight will be an awesome Cook Out dinner, followed by Evening Programs designed to help build cabin and group bonding. Tomorrow is Moose Stomp Day. We’ll mix some “getting to know camp” items with tons of fun. Campers will Bumper Tube, get Health Checks, Make S’Mores at the Outpost, audtion for our fabulous Theater Shows and spend time getting to know each other. By Saturday, we’ll begin our regular A and B Day schedules.

We couldn’t be more psyched for another fantastic Laurel South summer of fun, friendship, laughter and memories that will last a lifetime! Oh, what a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!

One More Night!!

Facebook Photo 2 What a beautiful day in the state of Maine! Staff Orientation has gone very well. The cabins are set, the fields are lined, the staff is trained. All we need now is our amazing campers. Everyone is now literally counting down the hours until the campers arrive! The weather looks spectacular for Arrival Day, and we can’t wait for the planes to land and for the buses and cars to pull in through the gates. We are all set to welcome our campers coming from 26 states and 16 countries. Soon camp will be filled with the sounds of campers and staff cheering, singing and having the time of their lives!!!

Staff Orientation in Full Swing!

Staff Orientation 2015Another magical Laurel South Summer is about to kick off! No camp, of course, can succeed without an amazingly dedicated staff. On Wednesday, 225 enthusiastic young men and women arrived to begin their week long Orientation. Over the course of the next week, they will learn about the culture that makes Laurel South such a special place. They will meet with the Directors and Campus Leaders to learn how we take care of children and work with the Program Director and Area Heads on curriculum and development. Most importantly, each staff member will hear that, whether in the cabin or out on the fields, we want to instill in each camper a sense of independence, community and pride.

We’re very excited to see the awesome returning staff members working with the eager newcomers.  The staff seems incredible, and they are counting down the days, hours and minutes until the campers arrive!!!

Sailing on Crescent Lake

DSC_0102 When you think about summer, most of the images that race through your mind probably include two things: sun and water. Whether it’s laying out by the lake or beach, running through the sprinklers, zipping through the waves on a boat or jet ski, or contemplating life’s mysteries while casting a line out to fish, the summer is meant to be spent in the sun and cooling down in the water. This is why so many campers enjoy sailing at camp. Sailing is an exciting water activity that allows campers to work as a team to reach a common goal. It’s also a great way to spend the afternoon, and creates a bond between sailors that can’t be created anywhere else.

Campers who learn to sail aren’t just learning how to maneuver a large vessel through the water — however, that’s a big accomplishment! Everything about sailing is a learning opportunity. Math and science are weaved into the fun and challenging sport of sailing. Sailors learn about the importance of aerodynamics when it comes to the position of the sail. They learn to “read the water” and become confident navigating their way to and from a destination without the help of the GPS on their smartphone. They learn to solve problems quickly, to be observant of their surroundings and find a new appreciation for mother nature. Campers who try sailing leave with useful skills and practical information that will help them for the rest of their lives.

IMG_2989Even if they never have to deal with air pressure or thinking about the curvature of a sail, campers will learn to work as a team, follow directions and appreciate the serenity of being on the lake. Sometimes children and teens have a hard time dealing with quiet moments, or feel anxious when they don’t have something to entertain them at every second. Sailing is good practice for just sitting back and enjoying nature, and is a great way for campers to learn to be comfortable in their own silence. All camp sailing adventures are guided and supervised by certified instructors, so everyone is kept safe while they’re having fun.

The beauty of Crescent Lake is a reason all on its own to take up sailing. The view from the sailboat can’t be put into words, and campers often write home how much they love spending their afternoons out on the lake.

Campers have hundreds of opportunities to try new things at camp and learning to sail is another great way to expose them to something they may never try at home. Sailing gives campers a sense of accomplishment that they can succeed at anything they put their mind to.

Food… Glorious Food

IMG_6043 One of the perks about sending your child to Laurel South is that a good chef may return home to you. Your child who only knew how to make a sandwich or had no idea how to boil water may come back as a baking, sautéing foodie who has a newfound appreciation for seasonings, sauces and the magic that can happen in the kitchen. This transformation begins when campers take advantage of the Culinary Studio at Laurel South. Led by our Head Chef and specialists who have a wealth of experience, our incredible, fully-integrated Culinary Studio gives campers the tools, appliances and space to create their favorite dishes and learn a few new ones.

Encouraging your child to explore their culinary side not only ensures you’ll get to try some of their creations once they return home, but also teaches them valuable life skills. Cooking is not just throwing ingredients together and waiting until it’s edible. Cooking is an art, and a way for aspiring chefs to express themselves. The thought, preparation, and emotion that goes into cooking is something many children find challenging but rewarding. They learn valuable skills such as time management, following directions and communication. Cooking also perfects math and science skills in a way that is fun and different.

IMG_7345When your child is able to start and finish a project in the kitchen, their self-confidence grows and they become more self-assured and willing to try new things that seem out of their comfort zone. When they are active in the kitchen and learn about the things that go into their food, they are also learning about making healthy choices when it comes to what they eat.

Cooking gives children a sense of purpose and something they feel they can contribute to the family. Once a camper’s family takes a bite of their famous mac and cheese or savory French Onion soup and can’t get enough, they’ll feel that they have a valuable quality to contribute to family functions. Even if they just learn basic cooking skills, the importance of cleaning up after yourself, and how to measure properly, they will be ahead of most of their peers.

Whether your child is a chef-in-the-making, or is just starting to show interest in the kitchen, cooking at camp is a great way for kids to explore culinary arts.

Camp: A Safe Place to be Silly

DSC_0087  Campers donning big, silly hats and oversized costumes can be found dancing and singing their hearts out on stage at Laurel South. You can see campers giggling in groups, and others transforming into super heroes and villains as their imaginations run wild. Of course, staff members get in on the action too, letting their inner-child emerge by singing, dancing and playing along with the campers. Campers and counselors feel safe at camp; safe to be silly, safe to use their imaginations and safe to just “let go.” They learn right away that camp is a judgment-free space, where they can be themselves and act like a kid. In a world where kids are exposed to adult themes in their TV shows, music and social media, it can be easy for them to lose the silly, magical, goofy part of themselves, in fear of looking “uncool” to their peers. Not at camp, though.

Laurel South encourages campers to be silly in a variety of ways. Programmed “free time” allows campers to explore and socialize with their friends in a way that is supervised, but not highly structured. This gives campers time to use their imaginations. Some campers like to put on skits or host a cabin comedy club. They are encouraged to do and say the silly, kid-like things that come so naturally to them.

IMG_0721During structured activities, kids are supported when they speak their minds, share their opinions and engage in discussions. They are taught to listen to and respect each other, which gives children the green light to do and say silly things without fear of embarrassment or ridicule. By exploring this side, kids develop a sense of humor. A good sense of humor helps children be spontaneous, to see different sides of a situation, enjoy the playful parts of life and not take themselves too seriously. These character traits are extremely helpful for kids who have a lot of stress and responsibility in school, sports and life back in the real world. A good sense of humor also increases their self-esteem, which is always a bonus!

DSC_0084Counselors are counselors because they like kids, and they enjoy seeing the world through the eyes of children. They are fun, relatable and great at being silly. They know they are role models for the campers, so they make it a point to set a good example. When counselors can sing, dance and act silly, campers catch on quickly and begin to feel safe to do the same. They are also a good example of knowing a “time and place” to be silly. They model how to calm themselves down when it is time to be serious, and teach campers how to differentiate between a place where it’s okay to be silly (free time) and a time when being calm and focused is more productive (quiet time in the cabins).

Children are expected to be focused and serious for a large portion of their day in the “real world,” so it is important to foster their childlike wonder and silliness whenever possible. At Laurel South, kids can feel safe to show off their silly side.

Camp Leaders

IMG_9157Confident leaders aren’t born; they’re made. And great leaders are often made from spending time at camp. Campers and counselors alike leave camp with a better understanding of how to help others and act as positive role models for those around them.

From the first day they arrive, campers are placed in a group setting that, for most of them, is very different from what they’re used to. They eat with their peers, spend the day doing activities with their peers, and share their mornings and nights side by side with them as well. This is the perfect situation for campers to build leadership skills. Campers have countless opportunities on a daily basis to make good decisions to positively affect their camp experience and learn lessons for their lives ahead.

Campers’ involvement in sports helps foster strong leadership traits, such as being a team player, being fair, and winning and losing with grace. Team sports like soccer, lacrosse and baseball encourage campers to step up and be leaders of their team and to be a positive example for their teammates. Campers who participate in individual activities like waterskiing, climbing, archery, gymnastics and dance are leaders when they choose to make responsible choices regarding their involvement and commitment to the activity that they chose. Arriving on time, respecting their competition and their counselors, and doing their best every day are all great ways campers can act as leaders at camp.

A good leader is someone who can assist others well. Campers have plenty of opportunities each and every day to be helpful and kind to their peers. They are encouraged to support each other, communicate with each other, and be an honest and loyal friend. Even if they aren’t aware of it, the building of these characteristics is also building a leader in every camper.

DSC_0132-2Campers aren’t the only ones who leave camp as stronger and more confident leaders. Counselors who spend their summer at camp also learn valuable leadership skills in a much more obvious and intentional way. They are trained thoroughly on what it means to be a leader and positive role model for children. They are very aware that there are always young and impressionable eyes watching everything they say and do. Counselors learn very quickly that being a counselor doesn’t just mean making sure all of the kids follow the rules. They become teachers, big brothers/sisters, role models and friends. Camp counselors also get an opportunity to improve their time management, problem solving and multitasking skills. The training and education required to be a camp counselor prepares them for managing groups of children in a confident, patient and trusted way.

Whether they come to camp as a camper or a counselor, everyone leaves camp as a more confident leader. This confidence transfers over to their attitudes toward their siblings, friends, coworkers and teammates in the real world. The world is a better place with leaders like the ones developed at camp.

Tennis Anyone…

DSC_0044-2What do seeds, chips and double bagels have in common? No, they aren’t things you’ll find at the summer camp buffet. They are terms commonly used in one of the world’s most popular sport, that is enjoyed by hundreds of campers every summer: Tennis.

Tennis is fast paced, competitive and fun. It’s a great workout, as it keeps players constantly moving, running and swinging. For campers who prefer individual sports, tennis is a great option. It improves speed, agility and hand-eye coordination, skills that are beneficial for all kinds of sports. It improves leg strength, gross and fine motor skills, agility and flexibility, all while incorporating cardiovascular exercise.

DSC_0062Character and physiological development is another added benefit of playing the game. Tennis requires practice and commitment, and helps campers develop a strong work ethic and discipline. When new tennis players stick with the sport, even when it’s tough, they gain valuable life lessons about never quitting and persistence. Tennis is a great way to strengthen social skills, and helps campers learn to be good sports.

The ten tennis courts at Laurel South are surrounded by natural beauty, and serve as a safe, clean and professional space for tennis lovers and rookies alike. Tennis is taught by certified and experience coaches, who encourage campers to do their best and make them feel confident and excited about picking up a racquet. Most importantly, they make sure tennis stays fun for campers and that everyone feels included.

Tennis is a large part of camp culture. The benefits of tennis are endless, and campers who participate in the various tennis activities will walk off of the court with a sense of confidence and appreciation for the game.

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