What an amazing start to the 2014 camp season!!! The campers may have arrived less than a week ago, but the action has been nonstop. Our 8th Graders left this morning for their awesome three day trip to Acadia National Park and our CITs departed for their White Water Rafting Trip. They’ve checked in, and everyone is having a ball! Our 5th Grade Day Trip to Aquaboggan was today as well.
Activities, sports and programs are in full-swing. From the Ball Fields and Courts to the A&C Center and Riding Rings, the new Culinary Studio to the Waterfront, the sounds of happy campers ring out everywhere. Last night was our first Social, an we’re excited for our Drive-In Movie tonight. Tomorrow is our first “S” Day. Saco and Kineo will head to Splashtown USA, the 7th Graders will spend the afternoon at Seacoast Fun Park, and Baxter and Allagash will have their annual Beach Party.
The good times just keep coming. What a beautiful day in the state of Maine!
It’s hard to believe that another summer is almost half over. It seems like just yesterday that campers were arriving, excited for another summer. Time passes so quickly at summer camp that it’s sometimes impossible to not miss some things. But there are certain things that, no matter how busy, chaotic, or crazy things get at camp, remind us of camp and are a big part of what it’s all about.
Campfires—Every camp’s campfire has a unique significance to it. Campfire traditions, songs, and activities vary from camp to camp but one theme is consistent from camp to camp: the campfire has a sacred relevance and, as such, is a very special event at camp. So special, in fact, that the campfire is symbolic of summer camp itself. The fire embodies camp life, and the smell of burning embers raises an immediate reminder of sylvanian settings in which camps are located.
S’mores—What’s a campfire without s’mores? Anyone and everyone who has ever been to camp craves the gooey delight of melted chocolate and marshmallows between two graham crackers. S’mores are so distinct to camp that biting into one instantly harkens memories of camp.
Sing Alongs—Sure, karaoke is a popular activity for get togethers. But there is nothing more harmonious than an entire camp—counselors too!—singing their camp’s favorite tunes together. Camp sing alongs are more than just time spent together singing songs, however. They’re a way of bringing everyone together to celebrate the place that has brought them all together.
Cabins—As the saying goes, ‘If only walls could talk…’ And, oh, the stories so many summer camp cabins could tell. Cabins are more than just places where campers and their counselors sleep at night. Cabins are facilities in which campers become families. They are also places in which the vast size of sleepaway camps shrink to an intimate setting in which friendships are nurtured and memories are made. Each cabin family is unique, with its own jokes, songs, traditions, etc.
Arts & Crafts—According to the American Camp Association, Arts & Crafts is one of the five most popular activities at camp, and for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to spend a portion of each day in an area stocked with beads, lanyard, glitter, paint, glue, markers, scissors, and just about any other craft supply one can dream up? The possibilities are endless in Arts & Crafts. The relaxing atmosphere gives campers opportunity to decompress and reflect while still being social. Arts & Crafts is an activity that allows campers to spend time with their friends.
Bugle Calls/Bells—There has to be some way to move campers through their program day at camp. Whether it’s bugles or bells, campers know instantly what each unique sound is telling them to do from waking up in the morning to turning out the lights at night, and everything in between.
Camp Shows—Those who are not familiar with camp may wonder what makes camp shows different from other types of shows. Anyone who has ever been involved in a production that goes from auditions to performance complete with full sets and makeup in a week or less knows that this is precisely what makes camp shows a camp entity all unto their own.
Crazy Wardrobe Choices—We mean C-R-A-Z-Y—as in more is definitely more when it comes to showing spirit or “dressing up” for a special camp occasions. In fact, camp is probably the only place at which one is complimented for arriving at a function wearing body paint and/or temporary tattoos, bright colors, a tutu, crazy sunglasses or hats, a wig (or two) and mismatched socks.
Oh, what a beautiful day in the state of Maine!! It was an amazing Arrival Day. The weather was gorgeous, camp looked great, and, by the end of the day, the entire Laurel South family was reunited!
Old friendships were rekindled and new ones were forged. All around camp you could see and hear how excited everyone was to be at their summer home. We all gathered for our traditional, first night cookout dinner followed by exciting Evening Programs. At the end of the day, each cabin wound down, spending time bonding with their cabinmates and counselors.
Today is Moose Stomp Day. Each cabin will have the chance to bumper-tube, play team building games with our incredible Adventure Staff, chill at the Downeast Lodge with snow cones, audition for our two theater shows, make S’mores at the Outpost, take photos for Camper Books and get to know each other even better. Tonight is our Opening Ceremony Council Fire.
Tomorrow is our first “A” Day and camp will be in full swing. The action is nonstop at Laurel South and we’re so excited to be back!!!
What an amazing First Session we had!! The campers and staff built friendships and created memories that will last a lifetime. We only wish it didn’t go by so fast. While we are sad to see the First Session come to an end, we are so pumped to welcome our Second Session campers tomorrow! The staff is spending the day setting up cabins and planning awesome activities for the session. Get ready for the summer of a lifetime!! We can’t wait to see you tomorrow!!
In their book True North, Bill George and Peter Sims challenge readers to examine the qualities and influences that have made them great leaders through a series of motivational chapters complemented by interactive surveys. In the survey that follows the first chapter, readers are asked: “During your early years, which people had the greatest impact on you?” This is a very significant question to anyone who either attended camp as a child or who works at a camp as an adult.
It only takes a single summer to influence a camper for a lifetime, but the majority of campers attend summer camp for seven summers or more, which exponentially increases the chances of camp counselors having a lasting impact on their lives. Add the community environment of camp in which campers and staff live together 24 hours a day, and it’s nearly impossible to imagine that each camper’s life is not greatly impacted by at least one member of the camp staff. Such a conclusion is evident by the amount of former campers who state the influence of former staff members as one of the primary reasons they chose to return to camp as camp counselors themselves.
George and Sims challenge readers to “discern passion through life experience.” Such an intense task puts the role of camp counselors into a new perspective. Not only do counselors have the ability to greatly impact a child’s life, but to inspire passion in them through the experiences they provide at camp. This is an interesting concept because it is not one about which most camp staff tend to reflect throughout the summer. Camp is a temporary environment that is structured with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Combine this with the fast pace of camp, thinking tends to steer in the opposite direction. Yet, many campers –and even counselors– are so influenced by their camp experiences that they take away a passion for camp as well as the traditions and values they are taught there.
When examined from such a perspective, the role of camp counselors becomes so much more than a summer job, whether a staff member spends one summer or many summers at camp. When counselors pack their bags each summer and head off to camp, they are taking on the tremendous responsibility of inspiring children to become so deeply invested in the camp experience. It’s neither a small nor insignificant challenge. Yet the hurdles of living up to such high expectations is exactly what draws so many camp counselors to their summer camp roles each summer—and what makes them return in subsequent summers. In this regard, the campers have as much influence and inspire as much passion in the counselors as the counselors do to them. The two roles are interdependent.
It’s easy to go through one’s daily life without slowing enough to properly contemplate the potential influence each of us has over others. But when the concept of influence is examined through the perspective of camp, it’s very easy to see how little time is needed to influence someone for a lifetime.
Yesterday was our final “S” Day, and Funtown USA certainly lived up to its name! The entire camp enjoyed the rides, the games, the food, and, of course, time spent creating memories with friends. The next two days are our final Program Days of the session, filled with shows and exhibitions to demonstrate amazing skills learned in just a few short weeks.
Just because we’re close to the end does not, for a moment, mean the fun is over. After our younger campers dazzled us with their performance of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, tonight is our older campers turn to wow us with their performance of Thoroughly Modern Millie. This will take place immediately after our Lobster, Steak and Veggie Lasagna Final Banquet.
And, Tomorrow is Moose Bowl Day! This 4th Annual all-camp event includes our awesome Tailgate Cookout Dinner, Sling Shot Tee-Shirt giveaways, Dance Performances and cheering for our favorite team. Our campers competing on the field will display their athletic talents while embodying the Laurel South spirit of sportsmanship! Go Rattle Snakes, Go Black Bears, Go Laurel South!!!
How quickly a session can fly? It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming everyone back to our summer home, and yet here we are, heading into the final week of the first session – and what an unbelievable session it’s been! Our 8th Graders had a fabulous time in North Conway! Intercamp games and tournaments are still in full swing. The debut of the Culinary Center has been awesome! Our annual Carnival was a blast. We were completely wowed by the talent on display at the Camper Variety Show.
This final week will be jam packed with even more incredible events: Two Theater Productions (Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Thouroughly Modern Millie), the 4th Annual Moose Bowl, Funtown, Final Social, Banquet, Closing Ceremonies…the list goes on. The action never ends at Laurel South!!
When we woke up on Wednesday morning, no one had any idea that Spirit Days would break. In the next few hours, Spirit Days broke in stunning fashion. It was amazing! For the next two days, the Blue Space Rangers and Green Cowboys squared off in the friendliest of competitions. The ball fields, waterfront and all areas in between were filled with Laurel South Spirit and Pride. At the end of the two day contest, we reunited as one, because, as the cheer goes: “Blue and Green are one big team!” At the conclusion of our Closing Ceremonies, we were able to have the most amazing fireworks display in all of Maine!!! While we were disappointed to not have them on the 4th of July, it was an awesome way to end Spirit Days!
After a well-deserved late wake up, we are right back into our “B” Day schedule. We have two separate Tennis Intercamps today and a Climbing competition hosted by our friends at Camp Laurel. Tomorrow is another “S” Day which means our talented campers will amaze us with the Camper Variety show followed by the famous Laurel South Carnival! Sunday, our 8th Graders are off to North Conway for an exciting two day, one night trip to the White Mountains.
It’s been a memorable summer already, and it just keeps getting better and better!
A recent blog shared some of the most popular counselor ‘I never thought I would…’ thoughts. Counselors aren’t the only ones from whom this phrase is commonly heard as the introduction of wonder throughout the summer. It’s heard just as often from campers. Here are some of the most popular perspectives of camper exclamations that begin with, ‘I never thought I would…’
Learn to play the guitar
I’ve never played an instrument before in my life! But my camp’s guitar instructor is amazing. He really loves music and he knows how to teach us chords in a way that is really easy to remember. Sometimes I wish I could spend all day at guitar. But then I think of all of the other stuff that I would miss. Instead, I asked my parents if I can take guitar lessons when I get home in the last letter I wrote to them.
FINALLY get my back handspring!
I’ve been working on my back handspring at camp since last summer. This year, I finally got it! I started a couple of summers ago on the tumbling track with my cabin counselor, who was also a Gymnastics specialist. She knew one of my goals was to learn how to do a back handspring, so she worked with me on the tumbling track, which is a really long trampoline. By the end of the summer, I could do a back handspring pretty well on the tumbling track, but I couldn’t do one on the floor without being spotted. I don’t take gymnastics during the winter, so this summer, when our camp’s gymnastics coach asked me if I was ready to learn how to do a back handspring on the floor, I was nervous. We did a couple on the tumbling track, then he/she spotted me while I did them on a mat. By the end of my next gymnastics activity period, I was doing back handsprings on the floor—by MYSELF! The best part of all is the camp photographer got a picture of it. I can’t wait until my mom sees it!
Become friends with my cabin mates so quickly
This is my first summer at camp, and I was SO nervous because I didn’t know anyone. I met my new cabin mates as soon as I got off the bus. It felt like we already knew each other. We’re already BFFs. We do EVERYTHING together! Our counselors taught us how to make friendship bracelets. Then we all made one and traded them with each other.
Swim in a lake
Before coming to camp, I’d only swam in pools. I was super nervous about swimming in the lake, especially since we had to take a swim test in it. I was so scared to jump in the first time. Then my friends and counselors convinced me to get in. The lake at camp is really just like a giant swimming pool. It was especially fun to jump off the water trampoline while holding hands with my camp friends for the first time after passing my swim test.
Make my own pasta
I love spaghetti. When I found out we were making our own pasta in Cooking, I was SO excited! We had to roll the dough a lot, but it was so much fun to see how pasta is made. Fresh pasta is so much better than the pasta you get in a box. I’m going to ask my parents if I can make homemade pasta when I get home after camp.
Be in a show
I’ve always wanted to be in one of my school plays, but have never tried out because I didn’t know if I could get up in front of lots of people. After being in my camp show this summer, I’m totally going to try out for one of the school plays next year. Being in the camp show was so much fun! It was a lot of work. We had to practice a lot. But my counselors worked with me every day to help me memorize my lines. When it was finally time to perform my part in front of the whole camp, I was ready and so excited to get on stage and show everyone what I could do that I didn’t even think about being nervous!
Score a soccer goal
I’ve been trying and trying and trying to score a soccer goal ever since I made my club team at home. This year, I told my soccer instructors at camp that I wanted to be able to tell my club coach that I’d scored a goal when the fall season starts. They gave me lots of tips during our instructional periods. I got to play forward on my division’s team, and I scored the first goal of my first intercamp game!
Act so crazy on purpose
At school, I’m really conscious about how excited I get about things. I’m always wondering what my classmates will think. Camp is completely different! At camp, it’s so easy to just go crazy because all of my camp friends do too. I love being able to be myself without wondering what all of my friends are thinking.
What an amazing “S” Day we had yesterday! The majority of camp traveled to Canobie Lake Park and we all had an awesome time! The rides, the games, the fun and, most importantly, the time spent with our cabinmates and counselors couldn’t be beat. Meanwhile, our incredible group of CIT’s had a Magical Mystery Bus Tour that took them to such exciting destinations as Hacker’s Hill, Quaker Ridge, Old Orchard Beach and Old Port, Portland. They truly had a wonderful time seeing the beauty of Maine while reminiscing about all of the memories created over their lengthy camp careers!
Today’s “A” Day has been packed with excitement as well. We had our first ever group venture to LL Bean in Freeport to take a Fly Fishing class. Advanced Golf hit the local links early today for a round. And Intercamp Games and Tournaments are in full swing.
It’s hard to believe we are reaching the half-way point of the session, but we’re excited there are so many wonderful times ahead. The action never stops in Casco!