Not only was it the Fourth of July, but it also happened to be an “S” Day! We began the day with an incredible breakfast of chocolate chip, M&M and blueberry pancakes, coffee cake, and other great treats. We then moved on to an amazing morning of bumper tubing and various other activities around camp. After lunch, we feasted on ice cream sundaes, but that was just the beginning! It was then time for our annual Laurel South Carnival filled with rides, games, snow cones, cotton candy and of course, a cook-out dinner. Once the sky grew darker — we were treated to one of the most amazing fireworks displays ever!!!
How quickly the first week flew by! Our first “S” Day was a smash. Saco and Kineo had the run of Splashtown and had an incredible time. Baxter and Allagash had an awesome trip to Sparetime, where they bowled, played games and Laser Tag. Seventh Grade Nation spent the day cruising around Old Orchard Beach. While all of this was going on, our 8th Graders saw some of the most beautiful sights in Maine during their trip to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. And, of course, the CIT summer was officially kicked off with the White Water Rafting trip on the Kennebec River.
While everyone had fun and made memories which will last a lifetime, camp is truly at its best when we are all together. Programming is back on track. Intercamp games and tournaments are rolling. And today, the first Fly Fishing expedition of the summer heads out.
It’s been only seven days on the calendar, but we pack as much fun into each day and every moment as possible!
Five days may seem like a short time in the “real world”, but at camp it’s amazing how action-packed that time can be! We have already finished our first two “A” and “B” Days. Intercamp games are in full swing. The cheers from the ballfields, the laughter from the Art Center and the smells from the Culinary Studio are all signs that say we’ve had an outstanding beginning to the 2016 summer at Laurel South!
The 6th grade boys had a blast on the first overnight camping trip of the summer. Our CIT’s headed off to the Kennebec River for an incredible White Water Rafting Trip and our 8th Graders headed out for their overnight trip to picturesque Acadia National Park. We always miss them when they depart, but we can’t wait to hear all their stories upon return.
Tomorrow will be our first “S” Day of the summer! After our traditional “S” Day breakfast, Saco and Kineo are off to Splashtown USA, Baxter and Allagash will head to Aquaboggan and our 7th Graders will spend the day at Old Orchard Beach. These trips are designed to add variety to the schedule and allow our campers to explore some of the beauty that Maine has to offer.
As you can see, we are in full swing, and the action never ends!
While memories of camp seasons gone by warm our hearts during the winter months, there’s nothing like the anticipation spring brings for another awesome summer in Casco. After weeks with our amazing Pre-Camp Crew and a week of Staff Orientation with our incredible counselors, nothing beats the excitement of Camper Arrival Day when we all meet at All Camp Cove and hear Roger say those words we’ve been longing to hear, “Good Evening Laurel South!!”
Yesterday was a time for rekindling old friendships and forging new ones, high-fiving our counselors and introducing ourselves to new staff members. We had our traditional Opening Night Cook Out before each campus broke off for their Evening Programs. Once back in the cabin, the campers and counselors became better acquainted and began building the cabin family dynamic.
Today is Moose Stomp: a combination of administrative tasks (Health Checks, Picture Taking, Theater Auditions, etc.) along with fun Laurel South favorites (S’mores at the Outpost, Bumper Tubing on Crescent Lake, Snow Cones at Downeast, etc.) By this time tomorrow, camp will be in full swing with programming, boats and skiers out on the lake, cheers from the Ballfields and creativity expressed in the Arts.
We say at camp the days are long because of all the fun we have, and the weeks are short because of how quickly it flies by. But one thing is for certain, we never take for granted the fun times we have, the memories we make or the understanding of how lucky we are to be here with each other!
What a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!
Camp sure seems quiet right now. After a week of fun games, bonding with friends old and new and learning about why Laurel South is such a special place, our staff is getting excited beyond words for Camper Arrival on Thursday.
Our counselors are hired for two separate, yet equally important roles: cabin counselor and activity counselor. Drew, Kari and our amazing Campus Leaders educate our staff about what makes a Laurel South cabin the warm, inviting family it is. Under the tutelage of Brad and Kasey, our incredible Area Directors, the staff learns about the high expectations we have for our programs and develop a wonderful curriculum for the summer.
We have an awesome group of young men and women, both returners and first timers, who just can’t wait for the summer of a lifetime!!!
Since before the training wheels were even taken off of my bike, I’ve been playing sports. My older brothers were all exceptional athletes which put a lot of pressure on me; I was constantly being compared to them and thus was always being pushed to run faster, train harder and jump higher. There was a lot of emphasis put on being the best. I won plenty of medals and trophies and was considered an MVP in most sports I played. I loved playing, but more than that, I loved winning. I lived for that feeling. I would do whatever it took to be on top and wouldn’t enjoy myself if I wasn’t the champion. Then I went to camp.
When I stepped on the camp fields for the first time I began with my usual intensity. It took a second for me to realize just how different the environment was from what I was used to. Usually I’d look around before a game and see serious, intense faces. At camp, I instead saw smiling, happy ones. I realized that while I played to win, my fellow campers had different motives. They enjoyed winning, but they played to learn something new, push themselves and spend an hour doing something they loved. They helped show me there’s a difference between friendly competition and unhealthy competition.
My competitive spirit came solely from winning and being the best. I learned that healthy competitiveness comes from improving and being your best self. Instead of being in competition with others, I began competing with my past self. This allowed me to focus on the skills I needed to improve on while still enjoying the game. When you can walk away from a sport and still have had a great time, win or lose, you’re a winner.
When I got home, I took what I learned and applied it to my sports teams. It was difficult for my dad to learn to calm down, stay quiet and stop focusing solely on winning, but when he saw how much happier I was and how much I improved, he started to come around.
I’m so thankful for Camp Laurel South and how they taught me to be a compassionate, helpful and less stressed athlete and person.
Alex, age 14
When you hear the word “camp,” you probably think of three things right away: campfires, friendship and the outdoors.
Without any of these essential elements, camp just wouldn’t be the same. Spending much-needed time in nature is what brings many of us back year after year, so it’s no surprise that hiking in the natural areas around Camp Laurel South is a very popular activity each summer.
There’s nothing like fresh air to remind us of the things that matter in life.
Did you know the average person only walks half as much as doctors recommend for a healthy lifestyle?
In today’s world this is especially true; between smartphones and tablets, time spent outdoors is seriously dwindling. But hiking isn’t just a serious workout. It is a way for campers and counselors to soak in the sun, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy each other’s company. Without realizing it, they are improving their physical, emotional and mental health – all while having fun in the process!
In the high-energy world of camp activities, hiking is the perfect opportunity to slow down. While the summit may be spectacular, the best part of hiking is the camaraderie and togetherness of tackling the trail. Campers have the chance to get to know one another and to experience the outdoors with people they enjoy.
Life is like a trail, and every journey begins with a single step. Whatever your dream may be, it’s waiting for you at the top of the mountain. The journey may be long… but there’s no reason to make it alone. Stick with your camp friends and you’ll be there before you know it!
Camp may be continually changing, but the traditional council fire has remained a constant for as long as anyone can remember. The mere mention of a council fire brings back a flood of memories for many campers; memories of friends gained, challenges overcome and a carefree time. Nothing captures the spirit of the camp experience quite like the “snap-crackle-pop” of a hot fire and the magical smell of freshly split logs waiting to get thrown on the flames. Camp simply wouldn’t be the same without council fires. After all, the traditional council fire represents more than just a nice way to stay warm on a brisk night, it represents tradition, togetherness and so much more.
For as long as anyone can remember, friends and family have gathered around fires to tell stories, play games and enjoy good food. It’s a way to connect you to the past, and to enjoy the present. Not only is sitting and enjoying a fire a great tradition, but building the fire is a chance to pit your wits against nature and enjoy a connection to “the old days” — before light bulbs, flashlights or smartphones. In an ever-changing world, this connection to the past is invaluable.
And of course, no mention of council fires is complete without talking about traditional camp songs, especially the kinds that involve audience participation. Even if everybody sings out of tune, the harmony comes from the camp community’s commitment to keeping the traditional melodies alive — even the completely goofy ones.
Another concept council fires represent is togetherness. Council fires are a time for winding down through songs, skits and stories. Many campers feel tired after a long day of activities, but you can count on this to be true: laughter flows freely by firelight.
…And of Course – S’mores!
Almost everyone’s favorite part of a campfire: S’mores! Crafting the perfect golden-brown marshmallow is an art as old as marshmallows and fires. Like any fine art, roasting a marshmallow to perfection is a tricky task that takes a bit of work and commitment. Whether you prefer a classic graham cracker and Hershey’s milk chocolate s’more or have your own special recipe, roasting marshmallows on a rip-roaring fire is something nobody forgets.
Surely, many of you have seen “The Hunger Games” films or read the books. For those who haven’t – imagine a post-apocalyptic world where 16 citizens are pitted against each other in a battle to the end. Everyone who has heard of “The Hunger Games” has surely thought about their own strategy and technique they would use when participating…but how would campers fare? From archery to camping skills, here are 5 reasons campers would definitely win:
1. They Use Teamwork
Campers know better than anybody that teamwork increases the odds of success no matter what you’re doing. Being comfortable working on a team and trusting in others to do their part takes guts; whether you’re fighting for your family in the Hunger Games or coming up with an act for the next campfire.
What do medieval knights, Hawkeye and summer campers all have in common? That’s right — unbeatable archery skills! Katniss might get a run for her money if she participated in a camp archery competition — some campers are seriously sharp shooters. Knowing how to use a bow and arrow is a rare skill in this day and age, but it’s no mystery to anyone who has gone to camp.
3. They’re Resourceful
One of the biggest challenges of “The Hunger Games” is making do with what you have, and using creativity to solve problems. Campers use their imaginations all the time; whether in theatre, crafts or in the cabin — creativity is abundant. Needless to say, being resourceful would be no problem for campers.
4. They Know How to Camp Out
As if being on the run and fighting defying odds weren’t enough, the contestants of the Hunger Games also have to survive for days on end in the wilderness — sleeping under the stars, making shelters out of branches, and always planning ahead so they have access to their basic necessities. Luckily there’s no real risk at summer camp, but campers still get to practice the fun side of wilderness survival skills. From learning to start campfires to exploring nature and wildlife, exposure to the skills needed to have a blast in the great outdoors is a huge part of camp life.
Last but not least, the biggest and best part of camp life: friendship. It’s friendship that saves Katniss at the end of the film (spoiler alert!), and it’s friendship that brings campers back to summer camp year after year. Katniss shows that she’s willing to give up everything for her friends and family. Campers learn that friendship isn’t just about taking — it’s also about giving back, volunteering, and always being ready to help others.
Summer camp isn’t just about campfires, sports and jumping in the lake. From ceramics to theater; jewelry making to painting and drawing, camp has activities available for anyone and everyone!
Art Offers Variety
Camp is a hands-on place, so it makes sense that the hands-on approach applies to all camp activities. Painting, ceramics and other studio arts give campers a chance to slow down, zone in and get their hands dirty in a creative environment. Camp is full of creative outlets and everybody gets a chance to try out different mediums until they find the one that speaks to them.
Theater is a great way for campers to practice team organization outside of a sports environment. The end product is usually a little on the goofy side (this is camp after all, not Shakespeare), but what’s really valuable about the activity is applying those team-building skills to everyday camp life.
The Arts Foster Creativity
No two campers are the same and thus it makes sense that no two pieces of art are the same. Whether drawing a picture, creating a necklace or molding a bowl, creativity is at work. There is something special about following the same instructions as the person next to you, but ending up with something completely different. This self-expression allows for campers to think “outside the box”.
Ultimately, the goal of creative activities at camp is to build confidence through self-expression. The arts have always been a safe place for campers to express what they have on their minds. No matter the discipline, every camper gets a chance to show their own unique creative spark.
Camp isn’t just a fun place — it’s a creative place too! So get creative in the arts. There’s no better time than summer to make something spectacular!