Camp Laurel South Blog

Author Archives: Camp Laurel South

Water, Sports, Activities, Trips and More!

The first week of the 2012 season was packed full of action and fun. Our 8th and 9th Graders will soon be pulling back into camp after awesome adventures at Acadia National Park and White Water Rafting on the Kennebec River. We can’t wait for the entire Laurel South family to be reunited by dinner. Our first “S” Day was a rousing success as Saco/Kineo had a blast at Kahuna Laguna…the Allagash/Baxter campers spent the afternoon bowling, and the 7th graders had a ball at Sea Coast. Of course everyone enjoyed Bumper Tubing in the morning! It’s hard to believe we’re a week into the season, but we’re psyched about what still leis ahead!!

Another Great Day at Laurel South…

We have been at camp for just a few days, but the action is in full swing! Full program began last Friday and we had our first rotation of “A” and “B” Days. We can’t wait for our first in camp “S” Day tomorrow.
Our 8th Graders are heading out to Acadia National Park for an awesome camping trip…our CIT’s are getting ready for their unbelievable White Water Rafting trip…Intercamp games and Tournaments are beginning. Whether the sun is shining or we receive a dose of liquid sunshine, it’s always a beautiful day in the state of Maine! We’re having a blast!

Off and Running…

It’s always a beautiful day in the state of Maine, but Thursday was even more beautiful. As Staff Orientation concluded we excitedly welcomed our incredible First Session campers from all over the United States and around the world. After reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, the entire Laurel South family gathered at Cove as Roger and Dagni officially kicked off the 2012 summer! After a delicious cookout dinner, each campus had their own Evening Program. Friday was Moosestomp Day, as campers have the opportunity to create their schedules for the summer, eat S’mores, bumper tube on beautiful Crescent Lake and get to know each other. We concluded the day with our annual Council Fire. We are all eagerly anticipated Saturday when programming officially begins!!!

First Time Camper…

So you’re a first-time camper.

Congratulations! You’re in for an amazing summer.

Here’s something interesting to think about: Everyone at Laurel South was once a first-time camper. Everyone!

You’re in great company!

You may already know some things about camp. You’ll be met at your bus or plane departure area by Laurel Counselors who will quickly make you feel comfortable. They’ll help you out during the trip to camp. And on the way you’ll get to know the other Laurel South campers your age. Some of them will be first-time campers too.

When you get off the bus at camp, you’ll be met by Roger and Dagni and many counselors from your cabin and group. The counselors will take you right to your cabin.
Then, you’ll meet more counselors and campers in your group and get a tour of camp.

Your bags will be unpacked, your bed made. You’ll be ready to start camp right away.

You’ll adjust so quickly to the Laurel South routine. We’ve got a lot of traditions, from morning Cove to S-Day and the Spirit Days.

As the summer goes on, you’ll try new things. There’s new food (did you know we buy lots of stuff from local farmers?). New activities, like archery, lacrosse, wakeboarding, fitness and radio. Even comedy improv.

You’ll meet campers and counselors from all over the country.

At the end of the summer, your parents will be amazed at all the new things you’ve tried. They’ll love hearing about all the new things you’ve done and friendships formed.

And the summer after next, you’ll be one of the veteran campers showing new campers the ropes.

We cant wait to see you soon!!

Homesick and Happy…..Really?

Ah, summer camp. Sports. Waterfront. Arts and crafts. Campfires. Homesickness
That’s right. The bad news: Kids get homesick at camp.

The good news: That’s fine. It’s natural, part of the experience and not such a bad thing.

Camp is about positive energy, accomplishments, getting up on waterski’s for the first time, learning to trot in Equestrian. But there are times when even the best tennis or guitar lesson gets upstaged by thoughts of what mom and dad and the dog are doing back home.

As parents, hearing a homesick voice isn’t easy. As camp directors, handling homesickness is one of our most perennial – and important – tasks.

Michael Thompson may be one of the world’s foremost authorities on homesickness. He has just published a book on the subject…Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow (Ballantine).

Michael says that while it’s natural for parents to shelter their children from all negative emotions (like homesickness), that actually holds back their personal growth. Feeling homesick is a “major developmental milestone,” he writes. And when kids learn to work through those feelings – with the help of a well trained and very caring staff – they not only grow. They are transformed.

Michael’s book describes how living in camp’s multigenerational community, enjoying daily rituals with new friends, trying new things and testing new limits enables youngsters – even homesick ones – to grow in ways that surprise not only their parents, but even themselves.

Michael knows that children who are away from their parents can be “both homesick and happy, scared and successful, anxious and exuberant.”

His book is filled with practical advice and memorable anecdotes. He writes with warmth, passion and compassion. Its an interesting read for parents – even those whose children have long since lost their homesick blues.

The Joy of Quiet

A recent New York Times story calmly – but strongly — extolled “the joy of quiet.”

Essayist Pico Iyer noted that the average American teenager sends or receives 75 text messages a day. (Parents, don’t shake your heads: The average office worker spends no more than three minutes at his or her desk without interruption.)

Half a world away, Iyer said, “internet rescue camps” in South Korea and China try to save kids “addicted to the screen.”

Iyer said that “the urgency of slowing down – to find the time and space to think” – is both important, and timeless. He quoted a 17th century philosopher’s dictum, that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

Fortunately, teenagers do not have to travel to Asia to spend quiet time away from electronic devices, with all their beeps and buzzes and hypnotic power to keep us constantly tuned in, always wired, relentlessly “on.”

Camp offers a wonderful opportunity to experience “the joy of quiet.” In the mountains, by lakes, in cabins – for several weeks, the cord is cut.

As a result, youngsters – and staff members – enjoy “the joy of quiet.”

It may not be the “quiet” Iyer seeks. The quiet of camp includes raucous laughter. The thwack of a tennis ball. The roar of a waterskiing boat.

But it’s the quiet every human being needs, and so few find. It’s the quiet of spending plenty of time with friends you can actually talk to face to face. The quiet of spending plenty of time at one activity, uninterrupted, from start to finish.

And, sometimes, it’s the quiet of spending time truly alone. Those moments are not silent, of course – crickets chirp and bees buzz –
but they’re moments when “the joy of quiet” that Pico Iyer wrote about is the most profound sound around.
Oh, yeah. They’re the moments when birds tweet.

And human beings don’t have to.

Muhammad Ali and Maine

Maine is known for many things: Lobsters. Lakes. Moose. Pine trees. Summer camps.

It’s not often associated with professional boxing. But on May 25, 1965 Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston met in a rematch of their 1964 heavyweight championship bout. The site was one of the oddest in boxing history: Lewiston, Maine.

It was originally scheduled for Boston, six months earlier. But Ali underwent emergency surgery for a strangulated hernia; a Massachusetts promoter claimed the rescheduled fight was not properly licensed, and at the last minute it was moved to a junior hockey rink 35 miles north of Portland.

According to Wikipedia, Lewiston was the smallest site of a heavyweight title match since Jack Dempsey’s victory in Shelby, Montana in 1923. It’s still one of the most famous sports events in Maine history.

It’s also one of the most controversial boxing matches ever. Halfway through the first round, Liston went down with a thud. Hardly anyone had seen a punch. The referee – boxing great Jersey Joe Walcott – seemed confused when Ali stood over Liston and yelled, “Get up and box…!”

The normal 10-second count took twice as long. By the end, Liston had gotten up. But Walcott – after listening to a boxing writer who climbed into the ring – stopped the fight, and awarded Ali a knockout. That too was controversial: Ali had taken a long time retreating to a neutral corner, which is when the count should have started.

Nearly 50 years later, the Lewiston fight remains legendary. Did Sonny Liston take a dive? Was the 10-second count legitimate? Why was there so much confusion?

No one will ever know. But half a century later, the only heavyweight title bout ever to take place in Maine remains a story for the ages.

Top Five Reasons Why Fruit Break Is Wicked Awesome

5. A Ten minute break between activities, sports and programs to refuel, relax and laugh with friends in the shade.

4. An apple a day might not keep the doctor away like the saying goes, but studies have shown that with the right about of fruit and vegetables a day, it is undeniably great for your health and immune system. One apple qualifies as one of the five to ten servings of fruit and vegetables recommended by the American Cancer Society that help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and stoke.

3. Just one serving of fruit revives your system with essential vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and water to help you keep going while climbing the rock wall, swimming in the lake, or volleying in tennis.

2. Eating fresh fruit gets you in the habit of eating something more nutritious for a snack instead of choosing one that is unhealthy and filled with sugar. This habit will lead to a better, healthier and happier life.

1. Nothing beats the juicy goodness of a peach or plum and the crisp first bite of an apple or pear!

” Peaceful Easy Feeling…”

If you’re a child of the ‘70s you may recall the Eagles’ line from “Peaceful Easy Feeling” – the one about “a billion stars all around.”

It’s hard today to see stars. Between ambient light and air pollution, the night sky is no longer the marvel it once was.

In the 21st century, most kids don’t get a chance to see a billion stars all around. And their connection to nature is not much better during the day.

Between schoolwork, extracurricular activities and countless other demands, they’ve got little time to themselves. What free time they do have is often spent inside, in front of computer screens and video games. Not in the great outdoors.

Among the many unheralded benefits of camp, there’s this one. It’s a rare chance for children to encounter nature in its relatively wild state. Not in a city park, or a suburban lawn – but away from crowds, in hills, forests and fields, on rivers and lakes.

Human beings are hard-wired to need nature,” notes a recent documentary, “Play Again.” The film warns of the “consequences of a childhood removed from nature.”

Camp is one place where youngsters meet nature on its own terms. Hiking, fishing, boating, just running in a field of grass, boys and girls experience nature in all its peace, simplicity and glory.

Kids watch animals unfettered by cages. (And in Maine, they may be lucky enough to spot a moose.) They discover the wonderful smell of flowers, woods and fields. They feel rain, sun, and the cool breeze of an autumn evening.

And one night, they look up in the Maine sky. There – as if by magic – they see a billion stars, all around.

Free Play

The American Academy of Pediatrics endorses it. Hundreds of research projects over several decades affirm it. There’s even a scholarly journal devoted to it.

“It” is free play. Experts cite free play as essential to helping children develop.

Free play may be little noticed. Yet it’s a crucial part of the summer camp experience.

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls free play “unstructured activity that allows youngsters to use their imagination.” In addition to healthy brain development, the benefits of free play include:
• Using creativity to develop imagination, dexterity and other strengths
• Encouraging children to interact
• Helping kids conquer fears and build confidence
• Teaching youngsters to work in groups, learn to share and resolve conflicts
• Helping children practice decision-making skills.
Many forces – the growth of organized sports and other activities, changes in family structures, reduced recess and physical education time – have made free play an endangered species.
Except at camp.

We make sure to schedule unscheduled time. If that sounds like an oxymoron, it’s not.

“Downtime” allows campers to be creative. Some play jacks on the floor of the cabin; others strum guitars, make bracelets, trade stickers, play ping-pong, chess or wiffle ball.
Campers may organize their own games. Pick-up soccer or basketball is far different from organized games.

Kids choose their own teams, modify the rules, even call their own fouls. “Sandlot” sports are almost a lost art. At camp, they’re very much alive.

Free play can be fleeting, or turn into a tradition. Some involves large groups; some is best done in twos and threes.

Free play can produce surprising leaders – and showcase otherwise hidden talents.

Free play is many things. It’s important, creative and unstructured.

Most of all: It’s fun.

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