For older campers, one of the most profound and lasting advantages of camp is the opportunity they have to focus on being boys and girls. Many summer camps also strengthen the safety of the camp setting by offering exclusive programs that help teenage campers gain a better understanding about how to best grasp the transition from being girls to being women and from being boys to being men. Such programs provide non threatening forums for teenage girls and boys to address sensitive issues and topics as well as help them prepare for their later teen years as they near college and adulthood. These programs also have their own rites and traditions that serve as progress points for individuals as well as groups and as the basis for the point at which camp friends become a lifelong support network.
Many camps, even co-ed ones, also operate separate programs for boys and girls regardless of age. They have their respective sides of camp, their respective program areas, and their respective activities. However, they come together for meals and many evening camp activities. Many believe this approach is a bit part of why children are afraid to relax and even be silly while at camp. Being with children of the same gender frees them of stereotypes that may be placed on them elsewhere. Spending exclusive time with other girls or boys creates a non threatening environment, particularly for adolescents and early teens already going through awkward changes as they begin to maneuver the sometimes tumultuous teen years. Girls can get down and dirty in an intense game of flag football and boys don’t feel the need to look over their shoulders while bouncing around in the camp’s gymnastics area or putting together some choreographed moves in the dance studio because it’s all just a part of camp.
The first week of the 2011 season has been packed full of action and fun. Our 8th and 9th Graders will be pulling into camp soon, after awesome adventures at Acadia National Park and Whitewater Rafting on the Kennebec River. Our first “S” Day was a rousing success as Saco/Kineo had a blast at Splashtown, the Allagash/Baxter Beach In-Camp “S” Day and Beach Party was one for the ages and the 7th graders had a ball at Sea Coast Fun Park. Of course everyone enjoyed Bumper Tubing all day long with Roger driving one of the Mastercrafts. We’re on for a great “A” Day tomorrow: Baseball, Tennis, Lacrosse, Mountain Biking, Climbing, Crafts, Crew, Theatre, Fitness and so much more! It’s hard to believe that we’re a week into the season…and there’s all kinds of fun ahead!
Even though we arrived just a short time ago, the action is in full swing at Laurel South! After our annual Moosestomp Day, we were knee-deep into full program. We had our first rotation of “A” and “B’” Days, and we can’t wait for our first in-camp “S” Day!!! Tomorrow, our 8th Graders head out to Acadia National Park for an awesome camping trip…our CIT’s are getting ready for their exhilarating White Water Rafting experience…Intercamp games and Tournaments have begun and, of course, the sun is shining. It’s a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!
Another Amazing Laurel South season has begun!!! After an incredible First Session, we were excited as could be to greet our wonderful new and returning campers for Second Session. Thursday was Arrival Day, and what a day it was. Campers arrived in cars, buses and planes from all over the United states and the world until, finally, we were reunited on the shores of Crescent Lake! After an awesome Cookout Dinner, each campus headed out for their own active Evening Program. Friday is Moose Stomp Day. Schedules will be created, bumper tube rides will be given, auditions for the two camp musicals will take place as well of a host of other activities. Of course, the best part of the day will be spending time with old friends and meeting new ones. The day will be capped off by our Opening Ceremony Council Fire celebrating fun and friendship. Saturday programming will begin and the summer is on!!! Oh what a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!
We had an amazing First Session! It’s hard to believe so much fun and excitement could be packed into less than a month. Departure Day was wonderful, as many of our families had the chance to visit with us and meet friends, campers, cabin-mates and counselors. While we were sad to see our First Session campers depart, the excitement for Second Session couldn’t be higher. We’re counting down the hours until our Second Session family is reunited on the shores of Crescent Lake. See you soon!!!
There is something about singing that brings people together. Perhaps that’s why singing (and music in general) is such an important part of camp. The silly or sometimes sentimental words of a “camp song” can set a mood, evoke a feeling, and create atmosphere. Music is a universal language that everyone understands. Perhaps this is why so many American summer camps open and close their summers with sing-alongs. Sing-alongs are fantastic ways to say both “we’re together again” and “until next time.”
Ask campers to name some of their most favorite moments of summer camp and, most assuredly, they’ll name more than one that involves singing in some way…that first exciting night of camp, campfires, zany and often spontaneous dining room rituals, fun times with fellow campers and counselors inside the bunk, and saying goodbye at the end of the summer. More importantly, ask any current or former camper to sing his camp alma mater and he’ll do it as if it’s second nature. The words of a camp’s alma mater are magical—a way to instantly transport one back to camp and those summers filled with fun and friends.
Many parents say that their children even sing camp songs constantly throughout the winter as a way of remembering their time at camp. Some of them even admit that they can’t resist the temptation to join in.
Tuesday night was one of the best nights of the summer….our First Moosebowl!!! This exciting football game between the Rattlesnakes and the Black Bears of Rangeley became far more than just a game. It was an event to match the Super Bowl! While the two teams battled it out on the field, we tailgated, had balloon animals, tee shirt slingshots, dancing, singing, half time contests and more. In the end, the Black Bears prevailed 18-13, and the men of Rangeley all felt victorious knowing they were the pioneers of a game which will only grow in stature for years to come!!!
Wednesday was our first ever Laurel South Invitational 5-K, as friends from many camps arrived to race the fastest campers Laurel South has to offer. We all enjoyed ourselves and raced admirably. Thursday we headed to Funtown for our final incredible “S” Day of the Session. We are down to our final “A” and “B” day of the season and busy preparing for our Dance and Gymnastic Shows. Where did the time go?
What an amazing day we all had at Canobie Lake Park! The weather was beautiful, and we all had a blast. From the exhilarating rides (Untamed was awesome!) to the snacks, from the musical entertainment to spending time with friends, an awesome time was had by all. Sunday was the 5 Year Club Trip, and they all enjoyed lunch and a movie. Tonight is our second Council Fire, and we are so excited to showcase the talents of both campers and staff. Tomorrow…it’s Baseball, Soccer, Tennis, Waterskiing, Crafts and so much more!! It’s hard to believe First Session is over in a week…
Parents, do you ever log onto your computer to check out the camp photos for the day, see your child painted in blue from head to toe or maybe wearing a crazy wig and big nerdy glasses and wonder, ‘What in the world?’ The answer probably has something to do with your summer camp’s special events and evening activities. For fifty plus nights (and some days) summer camps entertain your children with some of the zaniest games and wackiest contests that they can come up with. Why? Because it’s fun to be painted in blue from head to toe…seriously. Or at least it is when your cabin is performing a dance to the Smurfs theme in front of the entire camp and you’re Papa Smurf—or Smurfette. And seeing images of your children and their counselors slipping, sliding, and splashing around in what appears to be multi-colored goo…it’s a camp thing…a really fun camp thing. Eye patches are always fun. So is spending a day pretending to be pirates and searching for buried treasure. Becoming a secret agent and collecting clues to decode a message or pretending to be wild animals is also a great way to spend that occasional non-program day. From trivia contests to talent contests and everything in between, some of the greatest moments of summer camp happen during the crazy days and wacky nights!
If you know Camp Laurel or Laurel South, you’re familiar with Mount Vernon or Casco. You might think of them as way stations on your way to or from camp – but they’re much more than that.
Mount Vernon is a gem in the Kennebec River valley. The tiny beach next to the community center; the former church with Victorian stick-work; the 200-year-old gristmill; the brick general store selling everything you could possibly think of (from bait to pesto) – all make it worth more than drive-through on the way somewhere else.
Filled with artists, writers, educators, farmers and retirees, it’s got a quirky, eclectic but very real community feel. It’s also got plenty of history. Elizabeth Arden built a health spa here. Her guests included Eleanor Roosevelt, Judy Garland and Ava Gardner.
Mount Vernon has a “hippie sensibility” – really a spirit of independence and self-reliance – that dates back to the 1700s, Downeast Magazine has written. With only 1,500 residents – along with moose, deer and bald eagles — the town packs a lot into its hilltop meadows, wooded valleys, ponds and lakes.
If you have time for only one thing in Mount Vernon, head to the Olde Post Office Café. It’s the unofficial town center for breakfast or lunch. You won’t regret it.
Casco, in the Sebago Lakes Region, also dates its founding to the 1700s. It too was a mill town. In the 1840s, steamboats on Sebago Lake and the canals carried tourists and freight. The lake – since 1938, part of a state park – helps shape the town’s character, and provides plenty of recreational opportunities.
Point Sebago Resort offers many of the amenities of Laurel South (for those who are not of camp age), while the town itself – about the same size as Mount Vernon – has a variety of good restaurants. One of our favorite stops is Webbs Mills Variety just down the road from camp. It’s meatloaf sandwich is a favorite. And how about Crescent Lake? It is truly one of southern Maine’s most beautiful. There’s really nothing like it.
You also can’t leave Casco without a quick stop at Blacksmiths Winery for a sip on the famous Porch or in the Tasting Room.
Casco’s not far from Portland – providing a nice counterpart to city and ocean tourism for anyone heading back and forth from Laurel South.
So, join us at camp this summer for a visit…and get a taste of the local color in Mt Vernon or Casco.