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Spirit Day 2015!

IMG_7701 It started out as any ordinary morning. Campers and counselors strolled to the Dining Hall for a fantastic breakfast and left ready for another exciting day of activities. Suddenly the horns blared and the cheers rang out from all over camp. Our CITs had broken Spirit Days!!! For the next 2 days, the Blue Cavemen and Green Dinosaurs poured their hearts out on the fields, cheered loudly for each other, showed tremendous sportsmanship and exhibited Laurel South Spirit to the fullest! We’re so proud of our awesome CITs who take over the days and serve as role models to our younger campers. At the end of the night, the scores were tallied and the winner was: All of us, because at the end of it all, the score doesn’t matter. The real winner of any Spirit Day is Laurel South!IMG_7711

Tomorrow is our Carnival Day!! We cant wait! Saco and Kineo will spend the morning at Splashtown USA to make up for the rain-out on our first “S”Day. Intercamp Games and Tournaments are in full swing. We’re even participating in a Fishing Intercamp this afternoon! With just over a week left, we still have so much to look forward to. What a beautiful day it is in the state of Maine!!!

First Session’s Amazing First Half!

Blog Photo1 It’s hard to believe we’re at the half-way point for First Session! We’ve made so many wonderful memories and look forward to even more fun over the next two weeks. Yesterday, most of the camp traveled to Canobie Lake Park for a day of fun, games, rides and food! Everyone had an amazing time. The CIT’s spent the day on a Magical Mystery Tour seeing parts of Maine they hadn’t visited before like the Old Port section of Portland, Hacker’s Hill, Get Air Trampoline Park and, of course, the Dugout for Ice Cream. They too had a blast! This morning, all 103 members of our 5-Year Club spent the morning at the movies. Now that they’ve returned, about half of our camp (as well as friends from neighboring camps) are participating in the Annual Laurel South Color Run 5K. This event has truly become one of the many Laurel South traditions!Blog Photo2

As we reflect on the first half of the summer, we truly can’t think of a better start. At the same time, we have so much to look forward to: Spirit Days, Carnival, Funtown, 3-Year Club Party, Theater Shows, Final Banquet…and the list goes on and on!

We Control the Fun!

IMG_5048Obwana may control the weather, but we control the fun. Our “S” Day plans may have been altered, but we still had a blast!! Since Wednesday, we’ve had sunny skies and beautiful days and nights in Casco. It’s been perfect.

Our 8th and 9th Graders returned from their fabulous trips to Acadia National Park and White Water Rafting on the Kennebec River. We’re so glad they had a great time, but camp is best when the entire Laurel South family is together! Our 6th Grade boys are off this morning on their overnight camping trip as well.

Everyone is excited for the 4th of July. Our day of fun will culminate with the best fireworks show anywhere!! On the horizon is Monday’s first Out-Of-Camp “S” Day, as we all head to Canobie Lake for a day of rides, food, shows and fun! The action keeps rolling in Casco, Maine!!!

Camp in Full Swing!

LS BlogIt may seem as though camp has just begun, but the action is non-stop!!! A little liquid sunshine may have altered our 7th Graders plan to spend the night camping at Camden, but the next morning was beautiful, so the group had an amazing day-trip seeing the sights of one of Maine’s most famous destinations. This morning, the 5th Graders left for a day-trip to Aquaboggan, our 8th Graders departed for their incredible trip to Acadia National Park, and our awesome group of CIT’s headed out on the first of many memorable excursions… their exhilarating White Water Rafting Adventure!

Back at camp, the activities are going great. From the ballfields to the theater, the waterfront to equestrian, camp is filled with the sounds of children having the times of their lives! Intercamp games and tournaments have begun as well.

Tomorrow is our first “S” Day! Our Saco and Kineo campers will spend the day at Splashtown USA, the 5th and 6th Graders will have a wonderful beach party and our 7th Grade Nation will be off to Seacoast. Then we are right back into our A Day schedule, and by dinner, the 8th and 9th Graders will return with awesome memories that will last a lifetime.

As you can see, the action never stops at Laurel South. Oh, what a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!

Arrival Day!!

FBlog Photoinally: Arrival Day is upon us!!! Camp is now filled with the sounds of fun and laughter as campers and staff rekindle old friendships and forge new ones. We’ve been waiting all year, and we’re so excited to see everyone reunited at their summer home.

Tonight will be an awesome Cook Out dinner, followed by Evening Programs designed to help build cabin and group bonding. Tomorrow is Moose Stomp Day. We’ll mix some “getting to know camp” items with tons of fun. Campers will Bumper Tube, get Health Checks, Make S’Mores at the Outpost, audtion for our fabulous Theater Shows and spend time getting to know each other. By Saturday, we’ll begin our regular A and B Day schedules.

We couldn’t be more psyched for another fantastic Laurel South summer of fun, friendship, laughter and memories that will last a lifetime! Oh, what a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!

One More Night!!

Facebook Photo 2 What a beautiful day in the state of Maine! Staff Orientation has gone very well. The cabins are set, the fields are lined, the staff is trained. All we need now is our amazing campers. Everyone is now literally counting down the hours until the campers arrive! The weather looks spectacular for Arrival Day, and we can’t wait for the planes to land and for the buses and cars to pull in through the gates. We are all set to welcome our campers coming from 26 states and 16 countries. Soon camp will be filled with the sounds of campers and staff cheering, singing and having the time of their lives!!!

Staff Orientation in Full Swing!

Staff Orientation 2015Another magical Laurel South Summer is about to kick off! No camp, of course, can succeed without an amazingly dedicated staff. On Wednesday, 225 enthusiastic young men and women arrived to begin their week long Orientation. Over the course of the next week, they will learn about the culture that makes Laurel South such a special place. They will meet with the Directors and Campus Leaders to learn how we take care of children and work with the Program Director and Area Heads on curriculum and development. Most importantly, each staff member will hear that, whether in the cabin or out on the fields, we want to instill in each camper a sense of independence, community and pride.

We’re very excited to see the awesome returning staff members working with the eager newcomers.  The staff seems incredible, and they are counting down the days, hours and minutes until the campers arrive!!!

Sailing on Crescent Lake

DSC_0102 When you think about summer, most of the images that race through your mind probably include two things: sun and water. Whether it’s laying out by the lake or beach, running through the sprinklers, zipping through the waves on a boat or jet ski, or contemplating life’s mysteries while casting a line out to fish, the summer is meant to be spent in the sun and cooling down in the water. This is why so many campers enjoy sailing at camp. Sailing is an exciting water activity that allows campers to work as a team to reach a common goal. It’s also a great way to spend the afternoon, and creates a bond between sailors that can’t be created anywhere else.

Campers who learn to sail aren’t just learning how to maneuver a large vessel through the water — however, that’s a big accomplishment! Everything about sailing is a learning opportunity. Math and science are weaved into the fun and challenging sport of sailing. Sailors learn about the importance of aerodynamics when it comes to the position of the sail. They learn to “read the water” and become confident navigating their way to and from a destination without the help of the GPS on their smartphone. They learn to solve problems quickly, to be observant of their surroundings and find a new appreciation for mother nature. Campers who try sailing leave with useful skills and practical information that will help them for the rest of their lives.

IMG_2989Even if they never have to deal with air pressure or thinking about the curvature of a sail, campers will learn to work as a team, follow directions and appreciate the serenity of being on the lake. Sometimes children and teens have a hard time dealing with quiet moments, or feel anxious when they don’t have something to entertain them at every second. Sailing is good practice for just sitting back and enjoying nature, and is a great way for campers to learn to be comfortable in their own silence. All camp sailing adventures are guided and supervised by certified instructors, so everyone is kept safe while they’re having fun.

The beauty of Crescent Lake is a reason all on its own to take up sailing. The view from the sailboat can’t be put into words, and campers often write home how much they love spending their afternoons out on the lake.

Campers have hundreds of opportunities to try new things at camp and learning to sail is another great way to expose them to something they may never try at home. Sailing gives campers a sense of accomplishment that they can succeed at anything they put their mind to.

Food… Glorious Food

IMG_6043 One of the perks about sending your child to Laurel South is that a good chef may return home to you. Your child who only knew how to make a sandwich or had no idea how to boil water may come back as a baking, sautéing foodie who has a newfound appreciation for seasonings, sauces and the magic that can happen in the kitchen. This transformation begins when campers take advantage of the Culinary Studio at Laurel South. Led by our Head Chef and specialists who have a wealth of experience, our incredible, fully-integrated Culinary Studio gives campers the tools, appliances and space to create their favorite dishes and learn a few new ones.

Encouraging your child to explore their culinary side not only ensures you’ll get to try some of their creations once they return home, but also teaches them valuable life skills. Cooking is not just throwing ingredients together and waiting until it’s edible. Cooking is an art, and a way for aspiring chefs to express themselves. The thought, preparation, and emotion that goes into cooking is something many children find challenging but rewarding. They learn valuable skills such as time management, following directions and communication. Cooking also perfects math and science skills in a way that is fun and different.

IMG_7345When your child is able to start and finish a project in the kitchen, their self-confidence grows and they become more self-assured and willing to try new things that seem out of their comfort zone. When they are active in the kitchen and learn about the things that go into their food, they are also learning about making healthy choices when it comes to what they eat.

Cooking gives children a sense of purpose and something they feel they can contribute to the family. Once a camper’s family takes a bite of their famous mac and cheese or savory French Onion soup and can’t get enough, they’ll feel that they have a valuable quality to contribute to family functions. Even if they just learn basic cooking skills, the importance of cleaning up after yourself, and how to measure properly, they will be ahead of most of their peers.

Whether your child is a chef-in-the-making, or is just starting to show interest in the kitchen, cooking at camp is a great way for kids to explore culinary arts.

Camp: A Safe Place to be Silly

DSC_0087  Campers donning big, silly hats and oversized costumes can be found dancing and singing their hearts out on stage at Laurel South. You can see campers giggling in groups, and others transforming into super heroes and villains as their imaginations run wild. Of course, staff members get in on the action too, letting their inner-child emerge by singing, dancing and playing along with the campers. Campers and counselors feel safe at camp; safe to be silly, safe to use their imaginations and safe to just “let go.” They learn right away that camp is a judgment-free space, where they can be themselves and act like a kid. In a world where kids are exposed to adult themes in their TV shows, music and social media, it can be easy for them to lose the silly, magical, goofy part of themselves, in fear of looking “uncool” to their peers. Not at camp, though.

Laurel South encourages campers to be silly in a variety of ways. Programmed “free time” allows campers to explore and socialize with their friends in a way that is supervised, but not highly structured. This gives campers time to use their imaginations. Some campers like to put on skits or host a cabin comedy club. They are encouraged to do and say the silly, kid-like things that come so naturally to them.

IMG_0721During structured activities, kids are supported when they speak their minds, share their opinions and engage in discussions. They are taught to listen to and respect each other, which gives children the green light to do and say silly things without fear of embarrassment or ridicule. By exploring this side, kids develop a sense of humor. A good sense of humor helps children be spontaneous, to see different sides of a situation, enjoy the playful parts of life and not take themselves too seriously. These character traits are extremely helpful for kids who have a lot of stress and responsibility in school, sports and life back in the real world. A good sense of humor also increases their self-esteem, which is always a bonus!

DSC_0084Counselors are counselors because they like kids, and they enjoy seeing the world through the eyes of children. They are fun, relatable and great at being silly. They know they are role models for the campers, so they make it a point to set a good example. When counselors can sing, dance and act silly, campers catch on quickly and begin to feel safe to do the same. They are also a good example of knowing a “time and place” to be silly. They model how to calm themselves down when it is time to be serious, and teach campers how to differentiate between a place where it’s okay to be silly (free time) and a time when being calm and focused is more productive (quiet time in the cabins).

Children are expected to be focused and serious for a large portion of their day in the “real world,” so it is important to foster their childlike wonder and silliness whenever possible. At Laurel South, kids can feel safe to show off their silly side.

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