Camp Laurel South Blog

Summer Flying By

How quickly the summer is flying by! Another Spirit Day has come and gone and it was a great one. In the end, all we remember is the fun of the competition. We have gotten right back into programming. Intercamp games and tournaments have been awesome. Camping trips are going strong all over the state of Maine. From tennis to rocketry to waterskiing, horseback riding, climbing and lacrosse, our campers are doing it all.

Everyone is excited for tomorrow’s 2nd in-camp “S” Day. From the elective morning to the Camper Variety Show to the famous Laurel South Carnival, the day couldn’t be more exciting.

Our campers have never looked happier. They’re participating, making friends, acquiring new skills, developing existing talents and trying new things. Everything’s fantastic in 04015!

Spirit Day 2013

Tuesday started like any other day at camp. Morning activities were going great. All over camp, the sounds of Laurel South spirit filled the air. Just before lunch, Roger called for a camp meeting. As he made his way through announcement, a roar erupted from the lake. The CIT’s, dressed in Blue and Green, announced the arrival of another amazing Spirit Day!!!

For the next day and a half, the Blue Knights and Green Vikings will battle it out in the friendliest of competitions. We’ll play hard, but never lose hold of the fact that even during Spirit Days, we are one big Laurel South family.
Once Spirit Days conclude, we have so much to look forward to: the 4th of July, the action on beautiful Crescent Lake, intercamp games and tournaments, The Lion King & Hairspray. We can’t wait to keep the action going in Casco!

Anatomy of a Summer Camp

Summer camp is often thought of as a whole, a single place where campers convene for several weeks each summer.  Few think of summer camp in the context of its smaller parts.  Yet, for campers, the special memories that make up “summer camp” in their minds are not merely the product of a whole, but a collection of memories related to its various parts.  The overall experience of summer camp not only comprises a special place in the heart of campers, but the memories connected to favorite spots on campus.  What are these parts, and why would do campers find them so dear?  They’re places that, without, summer camp just wouldn’t be summer camp.

Cabins/Bunks: Some camps call them cabins.  Other camps call them bunks.  What they have in common is that they are private spaces that a handful of campers at each camp have in common.  They live in their bunks, sleep in their bunks, and attend activities with their bunks.  Every bunk has its own playlist, inside jokes, special nicknames for each other, and unique games that it enjoys.

Dining Hall/Dining Room: At home, the dining room is just a place for campers to eat. But at camp, it’s such an important place that it’s spelled with capital letters.  The camp dining facility is not only a place where the camp convenes for meals, but a place full of song and cheer.

Lake: The lake is the hub of a summer camp waterfront.  It’s the place where campers go to swim, boat,waterski, tube, and socialize.  It’s so special that, at most camps, every camper goes there at least once a day. Lots of friendships are formed and memories are made on the docks and beaches of the camp lake.

Flagpole/Campfire: Every camp has a special place where the entire camp convenes in the morning and/or evening to officially kick off or end the day.  This is where sports and competition wins are celebrated and special occasions are marked, and each camp does something just a little bit different to inflict personality into its assembly location to make it a memorable place for campers.

Fieldhouse/Rec Hall/Playhouse: This is another facility that goes by a different name from camp tocamp, but is home to memories of camp shows, sing-alongs, athletic events, evening activities, and just about a million other activities.  For all intents and purposes, it’s a campus all-purpose building, the place where the entire camp gathers to celebrate activities that are as indispensable to the camp experience as to the camp itself.

Of course, as merely buildings, these locations make up just a fraction of summer camp campuses.  But they’re so full of literally decades of memories that the spirit of the camp emanates from them, and every camper has a nearly endless list of memories that involve them.  Not just summer camp, but the anatomy of it is essential to the summer camp in the making of camp memories.

First Week Finishes with a Bang

It’s hard to believe we’ve been at camp for over a week. “Time flies when you’re having fun,” and that couldn’t be more true in Casco, Maine. Our program days are filled with action. Basketball, Tennis, Climbing, Sailing, Lacrosse, Soccer, Crafts, Ceramics, Fitness, Gymnastics and more. Nights are filled with amazing evening activities and special events. Our 7th, 8th and 9th graders all returned form incredible overnight camping trips. We’ve had our first two S Days (in and out of camp) and they were phenomenal. The fun never stops, and it is always a beautiful day in the state of Maine!

An Amazing First Week of Camp!


It’s been an amazing start to another magical summer at Laurel South! Arrival Day couldn’t have been nicer as campers arrived from all over the country and world to rekindle existing friendship and plant the seeds for new ones. Friday was Moose Stomp Day. We chose our schedules for the summer, made s’mores at the Outpost, had individual and cabin pictures taken and enjoyed everyone’s company.

Our Opening Council Fire was incredible. Our “A” and “B” program days have been outstanding — you can feel the Laurel South Spirit from the Ballfields to the Waterfront to the Equestrian Center and our brand new Arts Center! Our 7th grade boys and girls had a blast in Camden. Our 9th graders are white water rafting on the Kennebec River and our 8th graders are camping at Acadia National Park. Our remaining campers are anticipating our first “S” day tomorrow. The action never stops in Casco, Maine!

Exploration at Summer Camp

Adventure, tradition, fun, and nature are all words that come to mind when one mentions “summer camp.”  One word that doesn’t instantly come to mind, however, is “exploration.” Summer camp is an exercise in exploration.

There is, of course, literal exploration.  Traditional summer camps are primarily located in rural areas, away from the city and suburban settings in which most campers live the remaining ten months of the year.  The natural surroundings are the perfect environment for exploring nature and the outdoors.

There is the exploration of new things.  Summer camp, by design, is conducive in trying the untried.  Campers inevitably try something new at camp: new food, new activities, new ways of doing things.  Some of the newness breeds ongoing new interest while some highlights the joys of routine and tradition.

The exploration of self, while slightly more esoteric is also an important aspect of summer camp.  Campers learn how to be independent at summer camp.  Sure, they’re surrounded by their friends, and camp is a largely social environment.  Being away from parents for several weeks, however, helps children learn how to make decisions and gain confidence in themselves.  From their newly gained independence, they begin to see and understand the value of individuality.

Exploration of culture and tradition is also a prevalent theme of summer camp.  Summer camp is an amalgam of cultures.  Many campers and staff come from all over the United States as well as the world.  Exposure to people from geographic regions outside their own provides an open forum for exploring the subtle nuances that distinguish various cultures and their traditions.

Freedom of exploration is an important aspect of child development, and no place provides more of an open forum for exploration than summer camp.

Camp: Great Preparation for What Lies Ahead…

Camps in Maine offer many sports team opportunities. From in-camp competitions to games against other camps, youngsters learn important lessons about working together, overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. That’s pretty obvious.

Less obvious is that throughout each camp season – every day, in many ways – those lessons are being reinforced far from the athletic fields.

A cabin represents the ultimate “team.” From the first day of camp to the last, groups of boys and girls form bonds, create friendships and share experiences that make each individual stronger – and, ultimately, help the “team” succeed.

Cabin-mates learn to share many things. They share space in their cabins. They share games, books, “stuff” from home.

They share stories and experiences. They share their hopes and dreams (and disappointments). They share their time.

They learn to put the best interests of the group above themselves. They learn to compromise. When it’s time for the group to do something they have advocated for, they learn to make the most of that opportunity.

They learn to follow the directions of others. They also learn to lead.

They learn to move outside their comfort zone, trying things they’ve never done before. They learn to assess new situations, make quick decisions, and realize that actions have consequences. When things don’t go as expected, they take comfort in being surrounded by people who can help. Other times, they’re the ones providing assistance.

Campers learn to look ahead. There’s always something to plan for and be excited about. But there’s also the joy of looking back, reliving common experiences (many of which grow astonishingly, with each re-telling).

Over the course of a summer, boys and girls at camp learn what it means to live together. They learn the importance of trust, the power of common laughter, the exhilarating feeling of being part of a “team.”

And – though they don’t know it at the time – those lessons prepare them to be better siblings, roommates, co-workers and spouses, long after their summer camp “team” moves on.

The “Special” Experience of Summer Camp

Actress Jami Gertz, a summer camp alumni, once said, “There is something very special about being away from your parents for the first time, sleeping under the stars, hiking and canoeing.”  Although on the outset this seems like just another quote about summer camp, the use of the word “special” makes it standout.  “Special” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “distinguishable,” “superior,” or “of particular esteem.” Every camp, when planning the summer, strives to create an experience that sets it apart from other camps.  To those whose exposure to summer camp is limited to Hollywood’s interpretation of it, there may seem to be little that distinguishes one from another.  However, to those who attend or have attended summer camp, each one is unique from others.  For campers and staff alike, to think of the more than 12,000 summer camps throughout the United States as a collective summer experience is to think of all pizza as having the same flavor.  Sure the basic ingredients are the same.  Most pizza pies even look similar.  But, depending on which toppings you add, one pie might taste very different from another.  It’s that special flavor of each camp that gives it that “esteemed” place in the hearts of those who have called it their summer home.  Choosing a camp is more than simply deciding to send your child.  The values, traditions, activities, facilities, staff, and even the duration all play a role in deciding at which summer camp your child will find the most success.

In a couple of weeks, another summer will start, and thousands of young campers will taste summer camp for the first time.  They’ll spend their first night sleeping in a bunk/cabin with fellow new campers.  They’ll bond with favorite counselors.  They’ll try at least one activity for the first time.  They’ll make new friends, learn new songs, and, for the first time, experience life away from their parents.  As Jami Gertz said, it will be “special” as they begin gaining the independence, self-reliance, and self-confidence that are all-important ingredients in creating a life that is “distinguishable.”  Ultimately, however, the role that summer camp plays in the successes of the lives of campers as children and, as they mature, in helping former campers meet the challenges of adulthood does not simply come down to experience but also in the choice of summer camp.  So whether you’re just starting to consider summer camp, have begun searching for a camp, or will be one of the thousands of prospective families touring summer camps this year, be on the lookout for the right mix of ingredients that will create that “special” experience for your child.

 

5 Tips for First Time Counselors

You’ve accepted the position and completed the paperwork.  It’s official!  You’re about to spend your first summer as a camp counselor.  Naturally, a lot of people experience a few nerves in the days leading up to camp.  After all, even when you’re a grown adult, leaving behind your family and friends to spend the summer in a strange place is a big deal, especially if you’ve never been away from home for an extended period of time before.  If you didn’t attend summer camp as a child, working at summer camp holds even more mystique because you’re not sure what to expect.  If first time counselor nerves are haunting you, don’t be so quick to call up and accept that unpaid internship filing paperwork in a stuffy office all summer and, for goodness sake, don’t accept that job at the hot dog stand in the local park.  Instead, follow these tips to kick your summer into gear now:

1.)    Relax!  You are NOT the only first time staff member coming to camp.  If you know no one else going to camp or have never been to camp, that understandably may be a pretty difficult concept to wrap your head around right now.  But trust us!  When you get to camp, you will be in good company.  If you’re feeling a little bit lonely when you first arrive, don’t panic and automatically assume you’ve made a mistake.  The majority of people who tend to be drawn to work at camp typically have laid back, easy going and open personalities with an extraverted bend toward making new friends.   Chances are that after your camp’s staff orientation period, you’ll have several new friends for life and wonder why you ever even doubted coming to camp.

2.)    Like your camp’s Facebook page and staff Facebook page if it has one.  Social media has arrived and most summer camps are completely aware that the easiest and most effective way to communicate with their camp staff is through means such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  By liking your camp’s pages, you can make friends before camp, pick up a lot of useful tips, and even possibly connect with a rideshare if you’re looking for a way to get to camp.  Most summer camps also now feature regular blogs.  It’s a good idea to pop onto the camp webpage every now and then in the weeks leading up to camp to see what new blogs have been posted.  Camps tend to post some blogs, such as this one, for which staff is the intended audience during the late spring and early summer.

3.)    Don’t over or under pack.  Packing lists are created by camp professionals who’ve spent enough summers at camp to know what you need to be comfortable for the summer.  So read over the staff packing list, if your camp supplies one, when determining what to pack as well as what not to pack.  Veteran staff members are also usually more than happy to field questions on staff Facebook pages, which makes them a good resource if you’re unsure about some items.

4.)    Arrive with the right mindset; being a camp counselor really is the hardest job you’ll ever love.  Camps tell prospective staff members this during the interview process…and they mean it.  You are about to spend the summer working harder than you’ve ever worked in your life, and you will love most moments of it.  There will also be moments during which you will question how in the world you ended up working at a summer camp and why you thought it was a good idea.  Two things are essential to moving forward when these moments happen, and they’re actually most effective if you prepare yourself with them before you even get to camp.  First, arrive with the right attitude.  Yes, you’re there to work.  You’re there to work hard.  You’re also going to have a lot of fun creating amazing moments for and with your campers.  Second,  know what helps you alleviate stress or frustration and come prepared to engage in it should the need arise.

5.)    Be in the moment.  Yes, we spend our lives being told how important it is to plan.  But at camp, it’s very important to be in the moment and be present with the campers.  It’s how you’ll best appreciate the camp counselor experience as well.  Summer camp lasts only a few weeks each summer, and things tend to move very quickly.  On the first day, you’ll be looking ahead at a whole summer and thinking the end seems like a long way off.  But on the last day of camp you will wonder where it went.   Don’t find yourself with regrets on that day by realizing that you didn’t take advantage of every moment.

Eye on the Bullseye

As long as there has been summer camp, archery has been a part of it.  Although the amount of available activities at summer camp has grown immensely since the early days of camp, archery still remains popular.  It’s a classic outdoor sport that doesn’t require the stamina or athletic prowess of, say, soccer, but a good eye, good aim, and precision when firing.   There is a certain amount of satisfaction in being able to see yourself move closer to achieving a goal.  It’s not always apparent that your swim stroke has gotten better since the beginning of the summer, or that your baseball pitch has improved over the past couple of weeks.  Although your counselors and friends may compliment you and tell you that you’re better than you used to be, there isn’t really anything tangible for you to immediately be able to tell for yourself.  With archery, however, there is a target with a bull’s-eye on it.  It’s not at all unusual for campers to begin the summer not even being able to hit the target and then, as the summer moves along, hit and then inch closer and closer to the bull’s-eye.  The closer they get to that bull’s-eye, the more arrows campers want to shoot.

It seems like a small goal, and it is really.  However, it’s still an exercise in goal setting.  Hitting the bull’s-eye requires focus, and being focused requires you to survey your surroundings, determine where you need to aim, and then focus on the details as you attempt to hit your target.  Being successful at archery requires this same effort from everyone.  Campers have no advantage if they run faster, jump higher, or throw harder.  Every camper enters the archery range on a level playing field with the same potential for hitting a bull’s-eye.  Some get lucky, some work hard.  Either way, archery promises a path to success for anyone who is willing to set a goal, take aim, and work hard.  Perhaps that is why after decades of being a summer camp staple, archery remains one of the most popular activities.

Watch Our Films Daily Photos & News, Camper Email Summer Camp Contact Info Winter Camp Contact Info Email Summer Camp
Close Menu
Watch Our Films Quality Maine Camping
Maine Summer Camp Locations
close

Need help? Email Us or call 800-327-3506