Camp Laurel South Blog

Moosebowl and More…

There may be less than a week left in the Laurel South 2013 summer, but the fun hasn’t slowed a bit. The 8th Graders had a fabulous time on their trip to North Conway! Today, Roger and Dagni took all 90 members of the Five Year Club to town for a movie morning! Tonight is the 3rd Annual Moosebowl and the Rattlesnakes and Black Bears are set for action. This is truly an all camp affair, as we have our traditional tailgate cookout dinner, the singing of the National Anthem, tee shirt slingshots, half time dance shows and sooooo much more.

The good times just keep on rolling at Laurel South!!!

End of Summer

It’s hard to believe another summer at Camp Laurel South has nearly come and gone, but here we are. In just a few weeks, the camp season of 2013 will be a memory and school buses will once again be a regular sight around many neighborhoods. There is always a feeling around camp at the end of the summer that someone pushed a fast-forward button. Right about now, campers and staff begin reflecting on where the time has gone. But something happens in that reflection; they remember EVERYTHING they did over the summer.

Moments at camp happen so fast. The days are packed full of adventure. When campers and staff begin to inventory their summer memories, they’re often in awe of the amount of things they achieved in such a short period of time. In retrospect, the summer seems endless. There were the big adventures; trips, all camp events, campfires, shows, performances, leagues, Spirit Days. There were the daily activities; swimming, playing sports, arts and crafts, theater, nature, fishing, etc. Those are the memories that seem to make the summer go on forever. Then there were the moments and events that stick out as really special; being with friends, creating that special craft project, riding a zipline for the first time, hitting a bullseye in archery, making a foul shot in basketball, getting up on waterskis. Those are the memories that freeze time. They’re the ones that make the summer of 2013, “Summer 2013” in hearts and memories. Those are the moments behind teary goodbyes, repeated camp stories, and the countdown for next year. Memories are a great dessert after a filling summer, and like every great dessert, everyone wants more.

Program continues to Shine in Casco

We had an incredible time at our amazing Spirit Days 2013 competition. For a day-and-a-half, the Blue Knights and Green Vikings battled it out in one of the most spirited, evenly matched Spirit Days yet.

We are so proud of our wonderful CIT group who led the camp through this 36 hour period. They were awesome and their spirit was truly infectious. We all had a ball!

After a late wake up this morning, we are right back into our “A” Day schedule. Our 6th graders are headed out on their camping trips and our 8th graders embark on their trip to North Conway on Sunday. Intercamp games and tournaments continue full steam ahead.
We may be half way done, but there’s no halting the
fun and friendships of a Laurel South summer!!

Spirit Days…

Yesterday was an amazing Out of Camp “S” Day. Our CIT’s headed out on a Magical Mystery Bus Tour for a day of exploring the fun, sights and beauty of Maine. For the rest of us, the day at Canobie Lake couldn’t have been any better. What a great time we all had on rides, playing games. Picnic lunch and spending time with friends.

Today seemed like an ordinary “A” Day. The weather was perfect…breakfast was great…first and second periods were a lot of fun.

Once the Fruit Break dance party began, before we knew it, the CIT’s were breaking Spirit Days!! For the next day and a half, the Blue Knights and Green Vikings will battle it out in the friendliest of competitions. We will compete hard and cheer out loud. We’re so psyched for Spirit Days 2013! Its gonna be awesome!

Laurel South Shines…

What an amazing first week we had on Crescent Lake. Our 8th and 9th graders have returned from their incredible trips to Acadia National Park and White Water Rafting on the Kennebec River. They pulled into Casco just in time for our awesome Laurel South Drive-In Movie night. Everyone enjoyed the pre-movie dance party before settling in with snacks to watch The Emperor’s New Groove.

Roger and Dagni had a great dinner with the members of our 7 Year Club. Thirty one campers who’ve been with us for 7 years or more.
What an incredible group!

Activities are in full swing – climbing to fitness to dance, wakeboarding, crafts, lacrosse, gymnastics and more! Intercamp games and tournaments are an everyday occurrence. Camping trips are ‘outta sight. The weather has been great…and we are having a blast!

Sports, Waterfront, Arts, Trips, Intercamps and More…

Second Session 2013 is off to an amazing start! It’s hard to believe we’ve been here almost a week! We’re well into our first rotation of “A” and “B” days and the program is humming! There’s a tangible excitement coming from all over camp: from the ball fields to the theater, the Equestrian Center to Crescent Lake, the sounds of fun, excitement and enthusiasm ring out. Intercamp games and tournaments are in full swing: tennis, basketball, lacrosse, climbing, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball and swimming.

Tomorrow is our first “S” Day of the session. Our 8th graders will head to Acadia National Park while our 9th graders will tackle the Kennebec River on their whitewater rafting excursion. Saco and Kineo are off to Splashtown USA for an incredible day and our 7th Graders will head off to Seacoast. Allagash and Baxter (5th and 6th Graders) will have camp all to themselves for an awesome beach party!!!
The good times never stop at Camp Laurel South.

Elasticity

Elasticity is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the quality of being adaptable.” By definition, elasticity is not merely a description of successful campers and staff, but a description of summer camp itself. Summer camps have existed for over a century and are generally considered a piece of Americana.   With well over 12,000 summer camps across the United States (and a collective enrollment in the tens of millions), however, summer camp is anything but a thing of the past. It’s a strong “tradition” that continues to attract families from all over the world.

One might be tempted to ask what quality of summer camp enables it to continue to thrive. Undoubtedly, that quality its elasticity. While summer camps are rooted in tradition, they’re also in tune with the contemporary needs of children. Summer camp was originally a place where parents sent their children to escape from the health hazards posed by the increasing industrialization of cities. Now, it’s a place where children are sent to escape the automation of society. Camp is no longer merely a place to reconnect with nature but with each other as well. Summer camps have expanded their activities to reflect this evolution. In addition to sports, camps offer activities such as outdoor adventure, which include rope and obstacle courses designed for team building.

Summer camps have also tapped into the rising de-emphasis of the arts in public schools and embraced programs that encourage campers to explore their creative sides. In addition to traditional arts & crafts, many camps now provide campers with options in cooking, music, magic, and even circus arts. The generous availability of these programs attracts families who want their children to have the opportunity to explore their artistic sides.

In demonstrating a clear understanding of how campers benefit from attending camp, summer camps have been able to adapt by translating the voids created by advancements in society into meaningful and timeless activities.

Second Session Kicks Off…

What an amazing Arrival Day we had!!! We’re so excited our Second Session campers have finally arrived from all over the United States and the world. Yesterday was spent catching up with old friends and making connections with new ones. Today is Moose Stomp Day – we’re making schedules, taking photos, cooling off with Ice Pops and Bumper Tubing on beautiful Crescent Lake!!! Tonight is our Opening Council Fire and tomorrow is our very first full program day of the session. The good times have just begun at Laurel South. What a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!

Farewell for Now…and Hello…

We had an incredible First Session!! We played, ran, sang, hiked, skied, laughed, smiled and enjoyed the summer like never before. While we’re sad the First Session campers have departed, we choose not to say, “Goodbye”, but rather, “See you next year!”

We’re already gearing up for an equally amazing Second Session and counting the minutes. We can’t wait to see our campers on Thursday!!

Healthy Competition

“Healthy Competition” is a term that is often used at summer camp.  While they also offer a wide selection of niche and hobby type activities, traditional summer camps focus heavily on sports.  The emphasis, however, is more about encouraging campers to be active and improve their skills.  This is not to say that campers do not participate in sports matches.  In fact, many camps not only facilitate game play through intra camp leagues, but inter camp leagues as well.  Thus, “healthy competition”, as it is used at camp, is an expression to describe contests with positive encouragement, regardless of the outcome, and not merely a synonym for “no competition.”

Po Bronson, co-author of Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing believes that the camaraderie that results fromh healthy team competition encourages children to learn at a faster pace and alleviates the stress of learning a new skill or attempting to improve existing abilities on one’s own.  Another aspect of camp competition that makes it healthy competition is that it’s limited in scope and time.  It takes place only as long as camp lasts and does not extend beyond the camp environment.  This, according to Bronson, is a key element of “healthy competition, “In finite games, you compete and then you let it go, and you have rest and recuperation – that’s actually really important for kids,” said Bronson. “It’s the continuous sense of pressure that is unhealthy for them.”

The stress of not making a team or of underperforming is not a pervading force in camp athletics.  Says Bronson, “What kids do need to learn is losing is not that big a deal. They need to learn to lose and go ‘Oh, whatever,’ and move on and keep playing…You want to get them to turn up the work ethic in order to win.”  At camp, losing is not a big deal, because every summer is a new summer–new tryouts, new teams, and new possibilities.  The constant rearrangement of groups also helps campers shrug off losses.  Another day brings another activity and a new group with which to compete.  A loss in one activity does not translate to a closely monitored record that eventually defines a team and, sometimes, individuals.  The teams are constantly changing and so are the competitions.

The break between summers also makes growth measurable for campers.  When children constantly train and participate in a sport, it’s more difficultfor them to see themselves improving, even when they are.  The ten month gap from one summer to the next provides campers with the time and distance necessary for improvements to be noticeable.  The distinct parameters of camp that restrict it to a single season—summer—also remove the constant pressure of advancing skills as quickly as possible so as to always be able to perform at peak level.  Every summer is a new summer–new tryouts, new teams, and new possibilities.  As a result, campers tend to maintain a healthy attitude about camp sports, which makes them naturally receptive to the idea of genuinely healthy competition.  At camp, it’s not so much about winning and losing as setting goals and measuring one’s progress from summer to summer.

“What kids need more than anything is not to win or lose but a close race, a fair competition where everyone feels like they’ve got a fighting chance,” says Bronson.  “Where everyone feels like they have a fighting chance” is exactly what summer camp is, and why it’s an environment naturally conducive to healthy competition.

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