Camp Laurel South Blog

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Teamwork and Independence Go Together at Camp

I fondly remember my summers at camp: living in a cabin with 10 other boys and my counselors, playing sports for sunset to sundown, Intercamp games, Spirit Days, the list goes on. And while I remember those amazing summers like they were yesterday, they were almost 40 years ago! While I enjoyed camp in my time, kids today benefit from the experience more than ever.

Today’s world has become far more competitive when it comes to youth sports. In many cases, the chance to play many sports throughout the year is replaced by the need to focus on one sport. Children no longer play little league baseball until it’s soccer season until it’s basketball season. It seems that, at eight years old, children pick a sport to concentrate on and hope you are good enough to make the neighborhood traveling team. That’s a lot of pressure at a young age.

At Laurel South, children play every sport they want. Newcomers to a sport can learn the rules and fundamentals while experienced campers focus on improving skills. Everyone is met at their respective levels by talented coaches who share their passion of the game. Campers can be part of the team, get ample playing time and learn to love the game.

Children today are overly reliant on technology. Time playing outside with friends has been replaced with screen-time. Often times TV, computers and cell phones replace meaningful play time with others. Camp affords children the opportunity to unplug for the summer, enjoying interaction with their peers and counselors.

Campers also gain a new sense of independence and responsibility at camp. They help keep their cabin and area clean during the summer. They learn to make their bed, put away their clothes and work with their friends to keep the whole cabin clean. They learn to communicate with each to problem-solve. Many parents notice their children come home from camp more confident and independent.

All in all, camp allows children to take a deep breath, relax, have fun, grow as a person, foster friendships and create a treasure trove of memories that will last a lifetime!

Live in the Moment

Benefits of Being a Camp Counselor

You leave behind your comfortable life and embrace a new routine in a new environment. You hop off a plane into a situation you know very little about. It can be overwhelming at first. But, before you know it, life at Laurel South quickly becomes a little slice of heaven. The people who started as strangers become your best friends and you walk away having made a difference.

Becoming a camp counselor is one of the most beneficial and life-changing career choices a young adult can make. Working at a summer camp teaches you how to adapt to new environments, people and challenges. It teaches you to embrace the simple things in life; to unplug from the outside world and live in the moment.

It’s easy to get stuck in your personal routine, but continued growth is important in every aspect of our life. Where you’re uncomfortable is where you grow the most and part of growing as an individual is to accept that life is forever changing. We should strive to live the width of our life and not just the length of it. To be successful, you must learn how to develop with that change.

Being at camp encourages you to step away from technology and social media. The camp culture exemplifies how to enjoy the present experience and to appreciate the beauty of nature and friendships you make along the way. We have an instinct to look at our phone, texts, Snapchats, Instagram etc. Working at camp helps you develop the habits of “hellos” and high-fives. Instead of staring at your phone, you look up more and when the summer ends, you have an appreciation of being away from it all.

Being a camp counselor is the toughest job you’ll ever love. The hard work comes with an unbelievable pay off. A reward that is indescribable. The friendships and memories you make will last a lifetime. Spending the summer months in a place that allows you to wear silly costumes, dance to fun music and laugh a lot is awesome. It will positively change you as a person in ways you never thought possible.

Camp Brothers and Sisters

…More than tradition…

How do people develop into good role models? Are they easy to pick out? What character traits make them up? Like everything in life, being a good role model takes practice. It’s rarely a responsibility that anyone is initially prepared for, but Laurel South provides campers an experience that will help tremendously.

Campers in Katahdin and Rangeley (7th – 9th graders) have the opportunity to be Camp Big Brothers and Sisters. Their “little” will be their biggest fan! The relationship between camp brothers or sisters is more than just a tradition. It’s one of the first chances at making a difference in someone’s life.  And to be completely honest, it feels really good to have others look up to you!

Building the relationship is the first step in the process. Something as simple as going out of your way to say hi and ask them how they are doing is a great way to start. You could stop by their table at lunch to check in. Or seek them out during all-camp events. It only takes a few of these interactions before they feel connected and ready to be led in the right direction.

Being a role model at camp is so much more than being a good friend. It’s about following Laurel South’s philosophy of being “kinder than necessary”, choosing your attitude even when things may not go your way, and of course, having fun!

Camp Benefits Everyone

Camp is one of the great positive experiences that can truly alter the course of ones’ life.  Campers and counselors are exposed to new ideas, activities and situations that provide eye-opening opportunities. Campers can try a new sport that might become a passion resulting in making a high school sports team. Counselors might realize that working with children is their calling in life.

Campers from different regions are exposed to new programs and activities that may not be widely available in their area… wakeboarding, equestrian, stand-up paddling to name a few. They may discover a passion for cooking in the Culinary Center or the wide variety of artistic endeavors beyond painting.

Counselors experience new things as they learn to care for others. They’re afforded the opportunity to instruct and coach in their area of expertise. They meet peers and mentors from all over the world – creating a network of people with shared interests and goals.

Campers and counselors learn about kindness, patience and community as they share time, space and triumphs with their cabinmates and friends. Camp provides a place for all to unplug and mentally recharge. A place where we celebrate achievements and embrace learning opportunities. Everyone plays sports; everyone gets up on waterskis; everyone sings around the campfire. Everyone is challenged at the appropriate level and improves, whether in the arts, athletics, acting or adventure. Everyone has a place at camp.

Thank You

 

Camp is so quiet right now! Our campers and staff have departed, and it’s just the year-round team here, working from the camp office and enjoying some rest and relaxation after a busy but incredibly rewarding summer. This time of year affords us the opportunity to reflect on the summer and realize how lucky we are…each and every one of us…to have shared such a special experience.

To our amazing counselors: Thank you for the hard work and dedication you exhibited this summer. Your ability to work incredibly long hours is appreciated more than you know! The enthusiastic care you gave to your campers was truly a sight to see. We hope that, as you re-enter the real world of school or work, you look back fondly on the summer with a sense of pride in what you’ve accomplished.

To our wonderful families: Thank you for the leap of faith you took, sending your children hundreds or even thousands of miles from home to come to Laurel South. We understand what a tremendous honor and responsibility you have given us! We take this responsibility very seriously and base all our decisions on what is best for our campers.

And to our incredible campers: We hope you enjoyed the 2018 summer as much as we did! Seeing your smiling faces; watching you build friendships and creating long-lasting memories; seeing you become more independent and confident — that’s what makes it all worthwhile!

As we said at the end of the session, we’re not sad that the 2018 summer has ended. We look back on it with pride and joy, and we’re excited the 2019 summer countdown is underway!

Down the Stretch…

It seems like just yesterday our campers arrived and we kicked off the 2018 Laurel South summer. In the blink of an eye, though, here we are gearing up for our final “A” and “B” Days of the season. Wednesday’s performance of Peter Pan was truly spectacular! The campers and staff involved worked so hard, and we’re so proud of their efforts! Yesterday the entire camp ventured to Funtown USA, where we rode all the rides, played all the games, ate all the food, had fun with all of our friends and had an absolute blast!

Tonight is Final Banquet. Campers and staff will feast on steak, lobster or vegetarian lasagna, while sharing memories with their cabin mates and friends. Also tonight, our older campers have a chance to shine in the Theater, as they’re ready for their production of High School Musical. We can’t wait to see them perform! Moose Bowl has been pushed back until Saturday night, and the Rattle Snakes and Black Bears are so excited to show the entire camp the level of competition and sportsmanship that makes the evening one of our best traditions! Of course, Sunday night is our Final Ceremony. While we’re sad to see such an incredible season come to an end, we always choose to look at the positive, focusing on each moment we’re together. And, as you can see, we’re going to get every drop of fun out of these last few days!!

One Week to Go…

As we enter our final week of the session, we can’t help but look back on all the amazing moments we’ve shared so far: Spirit Days was awesome…Carnival was a blast…Our group of 8th Graders had a ball on their trip to North Conway…Our 6th Grade girls were excited to go on their overnight camping trip as well.

So here we are – one week left. One might think we’re running out of fun events, but nothing could be further from the truth: Tonight is Moose Bowl, pitting the Black Bears vs. The Rattle Snakes. While on the surface this might seem like just a Rangeley Boys football game, it’s truly become an all camp activity. After our Tailgate Cook-Out, campers sing the National Anthem, concluding with campers launching their rockets into the night sky. All of our talented Dance members have worked so hard for the halftime show!  We’ll also have the Slingshot T-Shirt Giveaways, S’mores for some lucky cabins and a night to celebrate the Laurel South Spirit! Looking ahead: Two phenomenal Theater Shows; Funtown; Final Banquet; Closing Ceremony and more!

Spirit Days!

Tuesday seemed like any other “A” Day. We left the Dining Hall after breakfast, ready to head back to the cabins before clean up, Morning Cove and first period. But our CITs let us know this would be no ordinary “A” Day. At that moment, they decided to kick off Spirit Days 2018! For the next two days and evenings, the Blue Sharks and Green Gators took to the fields to compete in the friendliest of competitions. From their very first summer, campers look forward to the day their CIT group has the opportunity to break and run Spirit Days, compete in KAOS (BTW, one of the closest ever), pass on the passion and set the standard for future CIT groups. It was truly a Spirit Days for the ages, and in the end the winning team was…Laurel South! We all had a marvelous time testing our skills in competition, and we were so excited to finally reunite as one camp family.

While we loved the competition, we truly left it all out on the fields. The next day, we fell right into our program schedule, well-rested and ready to tackle the day. Our 5-Year Club had an amazing time on their morning excursion! Our 7th Graders are spending the day at Ogunquit Beach where they’ll see some of Maine’s most beautiful coastline. Our campers in Adventure spent the morning at the Maine Wildlife Park. Inter-camp games and tournaments are cranking, and we have a lot left to look forward to: Moose Bowl…Theater Shows…Rocket Launches…Funtown…Carnival…the list is endless! Until next time, we hope your day is as beautiful as it always is in the state of Maine!

The Half-Way Point

Can it really be that we are officially half way through the session?  It seems like just yesterday we arrived, but the sounds of cheering and laughter from the ballfields to the Theater, Crescent Lake to the Equestrian Center, Adventure to Culinary lets us know that we are having another truly spectacular Laurel South summer! 

Yesterday was our first In-Camp “S” Day, and Brad once again hit it out of the park with our now annual Resort Day!  After a delicious continental breakfast and elective morning (including those awesome Bumper Tube rides on the lake) our campers had the opportunity to compete in the Tough Moose Obstacle Race (similar to a Tough Mudder competition), and everyone who participated had a blast!  The afternoon was filled with Saco/Kineo berry picking, a Baxter/Allagash Waterfront Party and special events for Rangeley and Katahdin, followed by boat tours of Crescent Lake.  Our CIT’s spent the day on their Magical Mystery Bus tour, and visited  sites all around Portland.  They had such an amazing day, and they were thrilled to be back home.

At Laurel South, we always accentuate the positives, so we choose to not look at the session as being half over; we look at it as being half full of amazing experiences:  Spirit Days…Theater Shows…Funtown…Carnival…Moose Bowl…Final Banquet, etc.  We’ve got so many things left to look forward to, especially making new friends and building memories that will warm our hearts all year long. 

One Week Down…So Much Left to be Done!

What an amazing first week we had! After our first “A” and “B” Day rotations, we celebrated our first “S” Day. Saco and Kineo made some waves at Splashtown USA, Allagash and Baxter made some more waves at Aquaboggan and our incredible 7th Graders had a ball at Old Orchard Beach. Everyone came back with smiles on their faces, stories to tell and memories that will last a lifetime! We were so glad to welcome back our 8th Graders from Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, as well as our CITs from their White Water Rafting trip. We love that they are able to see some of the most beautiful sites in the country, but we miss them while they’re gone. We’re always so happy to have the entire Laurel South family reunited!

While we’ve already done so much, there’s still so much left to look forward to: Spirit Days…Rocket Launches…Theater Shows…Intercamps…Funtown…Carnival…Resort Day…the list never ends! As always, we’ll keep you updated in future blogs about all the wonderful goings-on in Casco. And remember…It’s always a beautiful day in the State of Maine!

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