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“Sports Camp” Isn’t Just a One Sport Term

It’s no secret that summer camps offer campers the opportunity to sample many different sports, but what may not be evident is why this may be preferable to sending children to a camp at which the focus is exclusively on one sport.  Dr. Jared Wood, a sports psychologist, believes children should be encouraged to try many different sports in order to find their favorites.  He warns that focusing on one sport too early in youth often “unnecessarily limits a child’s interest and skill development.”

Many child development experts recommend that children be given the opportunity to try out a sport before committing to it because it’s important for them to develop their self esteem prior to joining a team and engaging in intense training.  When children enter a sport with confidence, they’re more likely feel that they can do well and, therefore, strive to do well.  Many summer camp sports programs subscribe to this recommended combination of skill instruction and giving children the opportunity to use those new skills on the field or court.  Summer camps also emphasize skill development over winning or losing.  Campers learn sports skills in a supportive atmosphere and are taught by specialists who are proficient in their respective sports  Many summer camp sports programs are headed by college or high school coaches who lead counselors who played at the high school and college level.  This type of approach permits campers to try out various positions and get comfortable with the rules and general flow of a sport without feeling pressured to do well by overly zealous parents and coaches.

Another benefit of summer camp sports programs is that they offer a healthy mix of team and individual sports.  Child experts point out that some children prefer and perform at their best as part of a team while others are happier and better off playing individual sports.  By being able to simultaneously sample tennis and lacrosse, for instance, campers can get a feel for which one leaves them feeling the most motivated to further develop their skills while still being able to have a healthy appreciation for the other.

The variety offered at summer camp also gives campers the opportunity to try sports to which they may never have been exposed or would not otherwise have the opportunity to try.  Many a camper has tried a sport for the first time at summer camp and then gone on to play on a travel team, high school team, or even a college team.  Sports psychologist and author, Richard Ginsburg, Ph.D., suggests that children should be at least “12 or 13” before being encouraged to commit to one sport.  Dr.  Wood agrees, “It’s pretty clear that early specialization is much more likely to lead to burnout than it is to a scholarship or Olympic medal.”

So when you’re determining which type of summer camp is right for your child.  Consider the benefit of a summer camp that offers a diverse array of sports that will permit your child to sample a variety of choices.

Our Program Rolls On…

The action never stops at Camp Laurel South! This morning our 8th Graders departed for their all new, exciting trip to North Conway, NH. They will ride a train to the top of the mountain for lunch and hiking, spend the afternoon at Kahuna Laguna Indoor Water Park, eat a delicious dinner at a local restaurant featuring farm-raised, organic ingredients, and spend tomorrow sightseeing in beautiful North Conway. Our 6th Grade girls left for their overnight camping trip as well. Both trips will return on Friday, just in time for our Saturday “S” Day with Carnival Afternoon. Intercamp games and tournaments are in full swing, and there is never a dull moment on the shores of Crescent Lake!!!

Spirit Days!!

It appeared to be any other casual lunch on Friday afternoon. As we were eating, little by little strange things started happening. All of a sudden, the water turned Green and Blue. Out of nowhere a Pirate and a Ninja began dueling in the Dining Hall and out on the lawn. Suddenly, a roar was heard from all over camp: It was our CIT’s breaking 2011 Spirit Days!!! For the next day and a half, the Green Ninjas and Blue Pirates battled it out in friendly competition. From CIT CHAOS, to the Moosehead Relay, the Tug of Ohana to the Closing Ceremonies with Songs and Cheers, an amazing time was had by all. In the end, as the campers’ put so well in their cheers, “Blue and Green were one big team!” Today, the entire camp is off to Canobie Lake for a great S-Day. We are psyched!!

A Special Place for Boys and Girls

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.

Our First Week Was Awesome!

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!

All Systems Go!!

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!!!

Here We GO!!

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!!!

First Sessions Wraps….and We Gear Up for Second Session

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!!!

Sing, Sing a Song

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.

Moosebowl!

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?

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