Camp Laurel South Blog

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Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

i-n2xKDhf-MHow 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!!

Spirit Days!!

SDWhen 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!” _U2C6136 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!

I Never Thought I Would…

img_2859A 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 dsc_0148-2she 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

img_4427Before 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 img_5627home. 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.

The Action Never Stops!

IMG_4238What 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!

IMG_4185Today’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!

Happy 4th of July!

4thYesterday, our 8th and 9th Graders returned from their trips to Acadia National Park and White Water Rafting on the Kennebec River.  They had a blast!  As great as it was, we’re all so happy to have the entire Laurel South family reunited in Casco.  We’re back in full gear with programming and excitement fills the air everywhere over Crescent Lake.  There are incredible dishes being created in our brand new Culinary Studio, the Athletics Instruction has been awesome, the creativity shown at the Arts’ Centers and Theater are second to none, and of course our Waterfront is always a hotbed of activity.

Our 7 Year Club had a great night out at dinner this week, reminiscing about camp over the past 7, 8, and even 9 years!  Where have the years gone?

We are hopeful Obwana will cooperate and the weather will allow us to enjoy the best fireworks show in Casco tonight.  Even if he doesn’t, a little liquid sunshine will never dampen the Laurel South spirit.

The fun never ends at Laurel South!

I Never Thought I Would…

_u2c2312It’s interesting how many times throughout the summer counselors are overheard beginning a sentence with the phrase ‘I never thought I would…’ Working at sleepaway camp is truly a collection of ‘I never thought I would…’ moments. All too often, those are also the remarks that speak for camp itself, because they’re epiphanies from the staff members themselves. Although the “I never thought I would…’ comments are as varied as the counselors, there are a few that consistently come up. From the mouths of the staff members themselves, ‘I never thought I would…’

Make so many new friends

Sure, I came to camp expecting to meet a few new people. But I’ve made dozens of friends this _u2c0845summer from all over the world. I feel closer to some of them than I do to people I’ve known for years. I never imagined that I could grow so close to someone in just a few weeks. I’ve wanted to travel abroad for years, but have been scared of going places where I didn’t know the language or the people. Now I can’t wait to go knowing that my new camp friends are going to be there waiting for me!

Be so enthusiastic about little things

One of the most awesome things about working at summer camp is that even the smallest of details are a big deal. The campers get excited and I can’t help but feel it too. Going to our favorite activity during the day; getting ready for an evening activity; walking into a meal and seeing that it’s my favorite; telling silly knock-knock jokes in our cabin at night; and, in particular, those moments when I really connect with my campers.

Like working so hard

_u2c2437Camp is hard work! I start early in the morning and end late at night. It’s TOTALLY worth it though! I’ve never had so much fun in my life. Sometimes I forget that this is a job and I’m getting paid. So much happens in one day of camp. At night, I lay in bed and try to remember everything that happened during the day just because I don’t want to forget.  I’ve started keeping a journal of my days at camp. This winter, when it’s cold outside and I’m missing camp, I’m going to read it. I’m so glad I decided to work at camp instead of accept an internship. This is SO much better than an office! Now I know I want to spend the rest of my life working with kids.

Talk a camper through something difficult

There are a lot of activities at camp and some of them require courage—especially if you’re a kid. I can’t imagine having the guts to maneuver a ropes course thirty feet in the air when I was ten. I really admire so many of my campers for trying brave and adventurous activities. The best part is being able to give the ones who are a little scared that extra push that they need to take on the adventure. There is nothing more gratifying than a smile and a high-five from a camper who just did something they thought they never could and knowing that I helped them do it.

Live so much in the moment

At camp, it’s simultaneously easy and impossible to forget about how short my time here really img_0616is.Every day just flies by, which is also reminder that the end of camp is one day closer. I find myself really wishing that I could slow down time, and I’ve started making an extra effort every day to savor each and every moment of camp. Doing so has made me very conscious of how much time I spend in my everyday life planning and thinking ahead. It’s really nice to keep things in the now. I hope to apply my new focus on living in the moment when I return home at the end of the summer, and stop spending so much time thinking about tomorrow.

Become so attached to my campers

I never imagined that I could become so close to a group of kids. I came to camp to be their leader. But it’s so much more than that. It’s impossible not to be attached after spending so much time with them at activities, at meals, in the cabin and getting to know them one-on-one. It’s blows my mind to think that I’ve become so attuned to their individual personalities in such a short amount of time. The summer isn’t even over, and I already know that I’m going to miss

Camp is in Full Swing!

IMG_2973What 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 CIT’s departed for their white water rafting trip.  They’ve checked in – everyone’s having a ball!  Our 5th Grade Day Trip to Aquaboggan was today as well.  Activities are in full swing.  From the Ballfields 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, and we’re excited for our Drive-In Movie tonight.  Tomorrow is our first “S” Day.  Saco and Kineo will head to Splashtown, the 7th Graders will spend the afternoon at Seacoast Fun Park, and Baxter and Allagash will have their awesome annual Beach Party. The good times just keep coming.  What a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!

Why Summer Camp is More Important Now than Ever

img_5320As the digital age in which we live seems to be accelerating, it’s easy to dismiss traditions that are not technology focused, such as summer camp. There is an argument to be made, however, for why summer camp is more important than ever for that very reason. There is a lot to be said for effort. While technology has done much to simplify our lives and make life more efficient than ever, it requires less and less effort from users. Increasingly, people are shying away from tasks that can’t be accomplished within a few keystrokes. Effort, however, not only requires certain qualities, it facilitates them as well. Effort requires energy. Energy, by definition, is the mental or physical strength that allows individuals to accomplish goals. Without physical or mental strength, energy cannot be generated. Without energy, there cannot be effort. Without effort, goals cannot be achieved. There are several very strong keywords to success linked together in those few sentences: effort, energy, strength, goals, accomplishment. At the very least, there is an implied relationship in the linking of these words. In such a sense, using technology to “accomplish” goals is merely a façade. In essence, users are not “accomplishing” anything. They’re merely led through a series of tasks to something that has already been completed for them in order to make their lives easier.

In “unplugging,” summer camp essentially provides campers with the opportunity to control the important 2outcome of their summer by requiring legitimate effort to accomplish goals. Perfecting a tennis serve cannot be done with a few clicks of a mouse. Pressing the “Return” key won’t finish a ceramics project. Communicating with friends is more than logging into an Instagram account. Campers must engage in their camp environment.

When given a challenge at summer camp, they can’t simply skip to the head of the class by typing a search into Google. They must apply their knowledge to come up with a solution. When solving a problem involves more than one camper, they must communicate in order to ultimately come to a consensus about which solution is the best and why. In short, they must apply themselves. Application of oneself not only requires, effort, energy, and strength, it generates them. Campers see firsthand the rewards of hard work. They not only learn how to legitimately achieve goals but to set them as well. They gain a better understanding of the reality of achievement. It requires work, a sharp mind, and the ability to communicate—lifelong skills that form the foundation for success.

img_7032 (1)Beyond the mental agility that children gain from summer camp, there is the literal aspect of activity. Children move around at camp…all day. It’s very easy in a technology laden world, where so many aspects of daily life have become virtual, to be complacent. The human body naturally preserves energy whenever possible. Summer camp showcases the payoff of physical effort on a daily basis by producing tangible results of campers’ efforts through sports instruction and competition as well as hobby programs. Camper self-confidence grows as the products of effort are realized.


Summer camp is not merely a break from technology for campers. It’s a reminder that life is best realized outside of technology.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the State of Maine!

blog photoOh, what a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!  It was another 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 back 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, bonding with their cabin mates and counselors.

Today is Moose Stomp Day.  Each cabin will have the chance to Bumper Tube, play some exciting, team building games with our incredible Adventure Staff, chill at the Downeast Lodge with snow cones, take photos for the end of the year Camper Books and getting to know each other even better.  Of course tonight will be our Opening Ceremony Council Fire. Tomorrow is our first “A” Day.  Each camper will have an individualized schedule, and camp will be in full swing.  The action is nonstop at Laurel South, and we are so excited to be back!!!

Two Days and Counting!

LSBlogOur Staff Orientation is well underway as we get ready for Camper Arrival this Thursday!  We can hardly wait.  Camp looks amazing and we’re so excited to see you soon!  The new Mastercrafts Pro Stars are set; the Fields are lined; the Courts are ready; the Art Studios are filled with supplies; the brand new Culinary Studio is spectacular; our  Ponies and Horses are trained;  the Cabins look amazing; the new girls’ cabin, Eastport,  is done and looks awesome.  All we’re missing now is the most amazing campers anywhere!! Thursday will be here before you know it.  We can’t wait to see you soon!

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