Camp Laurel South Blog

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The Importance of Being Creative

Arts and Crafts at summer camp is more than just stringing together a few beads to make a bracelet or gluing some spray painted macaroni to a cardboard picture frame.  It’s a program that gives campers the opportunity to explore their creative interests in several different types of art by offering a diverse array of age appropriate projects.  Of course there are the traditional projects that are just plain fun, like paper mache and tie-dying.  However, many summer camps also offer campers the opportunity to try things that are not only artistic but could be useful skills or even careers, such as metal work, jewelry making, calligraphy, cartooning, or soap and candle making.  Just like sports programs at camp, many campers have discovered a passion in their summer camp’s Arts and Crafts programs that they later pursued further.

Another way in which summer camp Arts & Crafts programs benefit campers is by providing a creative outlet for children who are being given fewer chances to explore the arts in their school programs.  Ashfaq Ishaq, PhD, argues that without being given the appropriate opportunity to explore their creative sides, children will not learn how to combine creativity with acquired knowledge to reach their full potential.   Art encourages spontaneity and exploration, two things that allow us, as people, to be innovative and prolific in our thinking.  Creativity also refines problem solving skills by helping us understand how to think “outside the box” when traditional solutions aren’t practical.  All three qualities are considered crucial to success in a child’s education as well as their adulthood careers.  Summer camp Arts & Crafts programs also give campers the opportunity to try some projects that might not be available in traditional school art programs, such as throwing clay on a pottery wheel.

For many campers, summer camp has become a way of maintaining tradition in environments that are ever changing.  Faced with a fast paced, changing world in the winter, children can still depend on summer as a way to fall back on activities and hobbies that may not be greatly valued in conventional schools anymore but are useful and bring satisfaction.  Arts and Crafts may be a dying art within American school systems.  But it’s thriving within American summer camps.

MOOSEBOWL

Tuesday night was one of the most exciting of all time at Laurel South – it was 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 had tailgating, tee shirt slingshots, dancing, singing, half time contests and more. In the end, the Black Bears prevailed, but all of the men of Rangeley felt victorious in knowing they were the pioneers of a game which will only grow in stature for years to come!!! We also hosted the first ever Laurel South Invitational 5-K, as friends from many camps arrived to race the quickest 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” Day and “B” Day of the season and busy preparing for the Dance and Gymnastic Show. Where did the time go?

The Fun Never Stops!

What an unbelievable “S” Day we had. We started off with an incredible breakfast followed by an awesome movie morning. After Rest Hour, we were amazed by the level of talent of our campers in the Camper Variety Show and we topped off the day the incredible Laurel South Carnival!!! Tomorrow night is our First Annual Moosebowl Game, pitting the Rattlesnakes against the Black Bears in Rangeley Flag Football Game. The entire camp will be on hand to witness the game, enjoy the entertainment of the Laurel South Dancers, have a great Tailgate Party and spend time with friends. We may only have one week left, but there is plenty of excitement to be had!!!

What I Learned at Camp

Summer is winding down. Wait – we just got here!

That’s how fast camp goes. One day a kid boards the bus with nervous anticipation. The next, he heads home on the same bus with a smile and a lifetime of memories.

They don’t even realize that – in addition to having tons of fun – they’ve grown a lot.

The other day, we asked a few of our campers what they learned this summer. Here’s what they shouted – er, said:

  • Counselors are cool. We talked about everything.
  • Before I went to camp, people said the food stinks. It didn’t.
  • I learned I could swim a lot farther than I thought. But the waterfront guys told me I could do it all along.
  • It’s impossible for my counselor to pack everything back up the way my mom did before camp.
  • It’s okay to wake up early if you don’t know what time it is.
  • I’m not sure, but I may ask my parents if I can do yoga when I get home.
  • Sometimes when people say “hurry up, you’ll be late,” they really mean it. Sometimes they don’t.
  • I always thought I liked lacrosse better than soccer. Now I’m not sure.
  • I saw my sister less this summer than I do at home. But it was still nice having her here.
  • No one will clean up your cabin for you, except you.
  • It’s really nice if your parents write a lot, even if they don’t say much in their letters.
  • It’s hard to canoe when your paddle falls in the water.
  • I have eight new best friends.
  • When they tell you to bring a sweatshirt and a blanket, they know what they are talking about.
  • I was positive I couldn’t live without my cell phone. Now I forget where I put it in my room before I left.
  • How come no one ever told me that waterskiing was so much fun?
  • It’s good to go on trips away from camp. And it’s good to come back.
  • I like my new nickname a lot.
  • When I came to camp I missed my dog. When I go home I’m going to miss my horse.
  • Maine is an awesome state!
  • It feels like I grew five inches, but the nurse says only one.
  • I still can’t sing, but our play was amazing anyway.
  • My goal in life is to come back as a counselor.

“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!!!

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