Camp Laurel South Blog

Taking the Camp Spirit Home

When camp comes to an end, you pack up your duffels and head home to get ready for another busy school year. When you leave, you leave with a lot more than you came with. Your journal’s full of memories, your phone (which stayed at home) is full of new numbers from all of your new friends, and you leave with a new sense of confidence and independence that you only get when you spend a summer at camp.

week3faves-105There are different ways campers bring a little piece of camp spirit home with them. You may find yourself humming one of the whacky camp tunes as you clean your room, which will bring back memories of campfires and canoeing on the lake.

You may find yourself digging through your laundry bag to find your super comfortable camp t-shirt, the one that reminds you of scoring the winning goal or laughing until you cry alongside your best camp friends. You may search your room for your beloved camp hat or sweatshirt, as the perfectly worn-in feeling brings back warm memories of summer adventures.

Your family members may notice that you come back with a new sense of confidence, a new passion for sports or the arts, or a brand new sense of independence. They may notice that you came home with the camp spirit still dancing inside of you. They may notice you are happier, more active, and more willing to try new things. A lot happens at camp that causes changes and shifts within you, and it’s impossible not to take those experiences and lessons back home. Shy campers may find it easier to make new friends, outgoing campers may learn to find comfort in quiet time and connecting with nature. Camp has this special way of exposing campers to a side of themselves that they may not normally see. This is the spirit of camp that comes home with each and every camper.week-3-favorites-7

And next summer, when you come back, you’ll be amazed at all of the new things you take home. Year after year, even after you think you’ve experienced everything camp has to offer, you still come home with something new each summer. You may learn that you don’t need to be constantly connected to Wifi to feel connected. You may learn that there is something special about spending time on a great lake in Maine. Every summer, campers take a little something extra home with them that stays with them for the rest of their life.

Lucky for you, a lot of the camp spirit that you take home with you, and carry with you for the rest of your life, won’t take up any extra space in that camp duffel.

Where I Go All Summer and Why I Look so Happy When I Come Back

Every summer, millions of students close their books, say goodbye to homework and depart for summer camp. For a month or two, they stay busy doing activities, exploring nature and making new friends. All that anybody hears from them is the occasional cheery postcard dropped in the mail between activities.

Weeks later, they return home smiling, suntanned and filled with enthusiasm, leaving everyone that stayed home wondering: what happened out there that was such a blast? Their peers who don’t attend summer camp are sure to look up from their phones when everybody gets back to school and ask two questions summer campers know well: “Where have you been? And, why do you look so happy?”

Challenge by Choice Helps You Believe in Yourself

Contrary to popular belief, the real attraction of camp isn’t that it’s easy, or “all fun and games.” The real attraction of summer camp is that it teaches you the rewards that come from new experiences and meeting new challenges. When you realize that challenging things can also be fun, difficulties like homework and making friends at school that used to seem scary and difficult become easy and engaging. You realize that just like any game, the secret is to enjoy playing win or lose. This is an important life lesson and a main reason campers tend to seem happy and energetic.

 Learning that Exercise Can Be Fun

Another reason for all the post-camp smiling might seem obvious to some: physical activity. Endless scientific studies have shown the negative effects that getting too little physical exercise can have on people, particularly young people who are still growing. So, it’s a good thing that summer camp is basically a crash course in exercise, introducing campers to tons of high-energy sports and activities.

Campers don’t just do activities at camp — they take skills home and pursue their passions independently, whether it’s playing for their school sports teams, joining a climbing gym or working on their tennis game.

In short: at camp, the endorphins are flowing!

Digital Detox Works Wonders

Technology isn’t all bad, but most parents agree that spending too much time playing SnapChat stories and scanning Instagram can have a negative social effect on children and teens. After all, can you imagine how different your childhood would be if you hadn’t spent most of it outside, making your own fun with your siblings and friends?

In our digital age kids feel a lot of pressure to stay “active” with a wide range of social media activities, and that can become incredibly stressful, not to mention invite bullying. Camp is a chance for campers to cut their ties to technology and concentrate on the things that make childhood fun. Namely, making new friends, discovering new things, and getting back in touch with nature.

What it All Means

Summer camp has a lot of fun activities, yet when people reminisce about summer camp they aren’t usually talking specifically about sailing, or basketball, or ceramics, or campfires. No, they always talk about “the summer camp experience” — that unmistakable mix of nature, friendship and activities that somehow turns fun and games into a chance for growth and self-discovery.

When you look through photos from time spent at camp, it’s always bittersweet; these are times that go by quickly and are memories that will last forever.

No matter their background, campers will all tell you that camp is a life-changing experience. Campers are introduced to life-long friends, given a chance to practice their real-world social skills, taught the value of unplugging from the digital world and focus on being present in the moment.

With all that summer camp offers, why wouldn’t you look happy when you come home?

Way Too Quiet

LS 1It seems like just yesterday we arrived in Maine, waiting for our Pre-Camp group to arrive and to start setting up for the summer.  In the blink of an eye, we have said our goodbyes to the greatest campers and finest staff anywhere.

We had such an amazing summer!  To our staff: Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.  To our families: Thank you for allowing us to spend 3 1/2 weeks with your wonderful children.  Please know that we recognize the tremendous leap of faith on your part and strive every day to earn the your trust.  And to our Campers: You are the reason we do what we do.  Seeing your smiling faces and listening to your laughter all summer fills our hearts with joy that we can’t sufficiently describe.  LS 2To our amazing CIT’s: Watching you grow through the years and become the fine young men and women who set the tone for all of our campers is incredible. You were a wonderful group, and you will truly be missed.  Please keep in touch, and we can’t wait to have many of you join our staff in the years to come.

And while we are sad the summer of 2016 has come to an end, the memories we made will last a lifetime.  We are pumped the countdown to Summer 2017 is now on!  Oh, what a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!

Down the Stretch They Come

Blog Photo 2 Just a precious few days remain in the summer of 2016 and we’re taking full advantage of every opportunity.

Yesterday we had an amazing time at Funtown! Between the rides, games, food, fun and friendship, our Final “S” Day was awesome. Today and tomorrow are our last two program days of the season.  All of the culminating activities will cap off another incredible summer. We’re so excited for tonight’s performance of Shrek, the Musical. The campers and staff have been working so hard, and we can’t wait to see these all camp productions. Tomorrow is Final Banquet, when we will feast on steak, lobster or vegetarian lasagna. The banquet is followed by our Final Social. Sunday night is our Closing Ceremonies, when songs will be sung, laughter will ring and a tear or two will be shed.Blog Photo 1

Monday is Departure Day. We can’t wait to see and hear the stories as families are reunited. While it always saddens us to say goodbye, we’re excited that the countdown to the summer of 2017 will officially begin!

One Week Left

Blog phot 2It’s hard to believe that we’re down to the final week of the 2016 camp season. A lot has happened since our last post. The 8th Graders had an incredible trip to North Conway, the 6th Grade girls had their own amazing overnight camping trip, Roger had a fabulous time at dinner in Naples with the 7 Year Club, and the 5 Year Club enjoyed their movie morning!

There may be little time left, but there is no shortage of excitement on the horizon! We’re eagerly anticipating Moose Bowl tonight. The idea to take a simple flag football game for our Rangeley boys and turn it into an all camp spectacle has grown every year. From the Blog Photo 3tailgate cook-out dinner, to the campers singing the National Anthem (ending with campers firing rockets into the air), the halftime show performed by our amazing camper dances, the tee-shirt slingshot, the cheering…it has truly become a Laurel South favorite! Our thespians have been working hard for Friday’s performance of  Shrek, the Musical. And we still await Funtown, Final Banquet and all of our culminating activities.

The fun, friendship and excitement will carry on!

Spirit Days 2016

Unknown-1We all knew Spirit Days was going to break soon. We had so many campers guessing. Would it be Wednesday morning at breakfast? Thursday morning? Everyone had their theory. But what no one could have guessed was that, at Tuesday’s Evening Cove, CIT Matty G would engage Roger in a seemingly innocent conversation about fishing that would serve as a distraction for the CIT’s to break Spirit Days at Cove. That’s right…Spirit Days 2016 broke at Evening Cove, and what an amazing two days we had!!!

The Blue Jedi and the Green Wizards squared off in the friendliest of competitions. From the ballfields to the waterfront, the sounds of games, cheering, singing and team pride was evident throughout. Our amazing group of CIT’s ran one of the closest KAOS races in history, and the Moosehead Relay was even closer! The songs, cheers and plaques were awesome. And, when Adam read out the final scores, the winner was… Laurel South, because at the end, we had a blast competing with each other and we were so glad to reunite as one Laurel South family. Closing Ceremonies concluded with an incredible fireworks display, and we went to bed exhausted but happy.Unknown

This morning, the 5 Year Club headed out on their annual trip, Intercamp games and Tournaments resume and camp is back to regular program. Tomorrow is our Beach Resort “S” Day! On Sunday, our 8th Graders depart for North Conway. Tuesday is Moose Bowl. As you can see, every day is packed to the brim with activity.

As always, it’s a beautiful day on the state of Maine!!!

At the Midway Point

UnknownIt seems like just yesterday we were greeting all of our campers. Today, we have hit the midway point of the session. We’ve had so many great times and still so much to look forward to.

We had a wonderful Arrival Day and Opening Ceremony…The 6th Grade Boys, Seventh & Eighth Graders had amazing overnight camping trips…The CIT’s had a blast White Water Rafting…Intercamp games and tournaments have been humming…Counselor Hunt remains an Evening Program favorite…Culinary Classes have satisfied our palates…Carnival was awesome…And we’re just getting started!

Unknown-1We have so much to look forward to in the two weeks to come. When Spirit Days will break is anyone’s guess…Moosebowl is coming up…Sixth Grade girls are going camping…our Eighth Graders will venture to North Conway…our incredible production of Shrek, the Musical is coming up…Funtown…the list goes on and on!

We’ve already had a great summer, and the best is yet to come!

One Week In

Blog Photo 1 How quickly a week at camp can fly by! Our first “S” Day was a smash. Saco, Kineo, Baxter and Allagash beat the summer heat with trips to water parks. Saco and Kineo had the run of Splashtown and had an incredible time. Baxter and Allagash has an awesome trip to Aquaboggan. Seventh Grade Nation spent the day cruising around Old Orchard Beach. While all of this was going on, our 8th Graders saw some of the most beautiful sights Maine has to offer during their trip to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. And, of course, the CIT summer was officially kicked off with the White Water Rafting trip on the Kennebec River.

Blog Photo 2Everyone had an amazing time on their trips, but we love to have the entire Laurel South family back together. Our intercamp games and tournaments are in full swing, and the cast of this summer’s theater production is going to a local performance tonight. Not to mention, our first Fly Fishing expedition of the season is taking off as we write.

As you can see, it may have only been seven days on the calendar, but we pack as much fun into each day and every moment as possible!

Let the Good Times Roll!

Blog Photo 1 What an amazing beginning to the 2016 season we’ve had! After an awesome Arrival and Moose Stomp Day, we began our normal “A” and “B” Program Days on Saturday. All around camp – from the Ballfields to the Waterfront, the Culinary Center to the Riding Arenas…the sounds of campers cheering, singing and laughing fills the air!

This morning, our 8th Grade campers took off for Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. At the same time, our outstanding group of CIT’s head out to white-water raft on the Kennebec River. These 3 day, 2 night trips offer our campers a chance to see some of Maine’s (and our nation’s) most beautiful destinations. While we will miss them greatly, we can’t wait to hear the stories about all of the good times they had!

Blog Photo 2Everyone’s excited for their first “S” Day of the session tomorrow! Each group has their own thrilling trip planned — a perfect day for a break as we complete our first week together.

We may have just begun, but the good times are already rolling in Casco!!!

And So It Begins…Arrival Day 2016!

Blog Photo 1 Yesterday was a time for rekindling old friendships and forging new ones, high-fiving returning counselors and introducing ourselves to new staff members. We had our traditional Opening Night Cook Out before each campus broke off for their Evening Programs. Once back in the cabin, campers and counselors became better acquainted and began building the cabin family dynamic.

Today is Moose Stomp: a combination of administrative tasks (Health Checks, Pictures, Theater Auditions, etc.) along with fun Laurel South favorites (S’mores at the Outpost, Bumper Tubing on Crescent Lake, Snow Cones at the Downeast, etc.) By this time tomorrow, camp will be in full swing with programming, boats and skiers out on the lake, cheers from the ballfields, creativity in the Arts, the list goes on!Blog Photo 2

We say at camp the days are long because of all the fun we have, and the weeks are short because of how quickly it flies by. But one thing is for certain, we never take for granted the fun times we have, the memories we make or the understanding of how lucky we are to be here with each other!

What a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!

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