Camp Laurel South Blog

Camp: Memories For A Lifetime

Duffles are unpacked. School is once again in full swing. Summer ­ and camp ­is far on the horizon.

But throughout the school year ­and for the rest of their lives ­campers will draw upon, and draw strength from, the positive experiences of the past summer.

Dr. Christopher Thurber describes some of the transformations we witness every summer at camp. A clinical psychologist, he notes that many children head to camp with “core fears.” These include being judged, looking “less than cool” and being alone.

Fearing judgment can come from many reasons: one’s background, body size or perceived lack of physical skills, for example.

At camp, the staff — and the environment they create — gives each camper a chance to show off his or her special talents and skills in an emotionally safe place. There’s nothing like positive judgment to make a child’s summer.

The fear of not being successful can cause some campers to shy away from trying new activities. That’s why it’s so important for staff members to lead by example and try new things. We call it “modeling,” and we emphasize it over and over among our staff AND campers. Modeling behavior can sometimes make one look goofy ­ but it sends the message that there’s nothing wrong with being silly, trying new things and taking safe risks.

Camp is a place where caring, committed, compassionate adults provide stability and warmth. It is this environment and community that gives children and teens the strength and confidence to say, “I am going to go for it. I can overcome this. I can do this.”

When campers return home each year, they talk about activities, friends and counselors. They remember fun and funny moments. They seldom verbalize the fears they’ve had, and how they’ve met them head on. But that is as much a part of any camp experience as swimming, cookouts or Spirit Days. And confronting these fears is what builds self-esteem, develops a greater sense of self, and allows our children to take safe risks and thrive far beyond the fishbowl of camp.

LAUREL SOUTH…Summer 2012

Now that our campers have all returned home and they transition back from being cabinmates, Spirit Days leaders, Rainbow Games-warriors into neighbors, students, and classmates you may notice they seem just a little different. Sharing a communal living space at Laurel South instills a sense of responsibility to those around them and empathy for those friends and counselors living and learning with them everyday. Our team sports build a sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship that teach our campers what the game is really about – the unity of the team will always be more important than any single win.
Many campers perform on stage, whether in a musical or at an evening program, for the very first time and are empowered with a sense of bravery and accomplishment at having the courage to do so and the knowledge of a new skill learned. At camp, children have the freedom to choose their friends and what they like to eat and even some of the things they love to do…and they do it with great success. They come home with a new found sense of independence and confidence. While it’s always a little bittersweet to watch your children grow up quickly, we are grateful to be a part of their growing process and we, too, love seeing how much they flourish and mature each summer at Camp Laurel South.
This was a fantastic summer for all of us, we hope you’re enjoying hearing all of your campers’ stories, and we cannot wait to do it all again next year!

Thanks For A Great Summer!

As Summer 2012 comes to a close, we want to thank all our amazing campers for being part of the Laurel South family. From “S” days to Spirit Days, Intercamp Games and Tournaments to Theater Shows, we’ve created a lifetime of unbelievable memories. No memories, though, are greater than those of the friendships made while at Laurel South. We want to thank our wonderful CIT’s for their years at Laurel South. To the rest of our summer family, we can’t wait to see you back next summer on the shores of Crescent Lake. While we’re sad to see the 2012 summer end, we’re psyched the countdown to the 2013 summer has officially begun. It’s been a fantastic summer in the great state of Maine!

The Beat Goes on…

Oh what a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!! On Tuesday night, our Rangeley men took to the gridiron for an exciting Moose Bowl. The tailgating was wonderful, the half-time dance show was unbelievable, and the Laurel South spirit of friendship and sportsmanship was on display in abundance. Last night was our incredible theater performance, “Schoolhouse Rock!” Tomorrow night we’ll gather to watch our second show, “Mama Mia.” Today we had an awesome time at Funtown: the rides, the food, the friendship, the memories. We are gearing up for our final “A” and “B” days of the session and getting excited for all the culminating activities. While we are sad that the summer is coming to a close, it has been another magical one at Laurel South!

It’s August…

Every August, days grow shorter. And it’s not just hours of daylight. The time between now and the end of camp gets compressed too. Each night, the end of a magical summer draws closer.

Finally, we all go home. It’s a bittersweet time for everyone. Packing seems so final.

But not everything a camper brings home fits in a duffel. Certain things are impossible to stow.

Independence. Your child may have been gone for a month or two….but he or she comes home more than several weeks “older.” Away from parents, siblings, familiar teachers and hometown friends, campers gain a sense of independence that serves as an important springboard for the coming year.

Skills and confidence. Kayaking. Acting. Tent-putting-up. Lacrosse. Stand-up Paddleboarding. Your child returns home with a bag full of new tricks. She may not kayak again until next summer, and he might not try out for the school play. But every September, campers know they can do things they never thought possible way back in June.

Friendships. It can be strange hearing stories about youngsters you don’t know well. Suddenly your child talks about other towns, schools and states. Your cell bill may include calls all over the country. Camp is a great way to make new friends. And those friendships are far deeper and real than anything on Facebook.

Relationships. More than friendships, campers develop real relationships. Living together 24/7, they develop bonds – and not just with peers. Campers live with and learn from young adults, and older directors. The unhurried pace of camp life nurtures many strong relationships.

Strong bodies and a healthy glow. Sure, kids wear hats and sunscreen. But nothing beats summer days, spent in the water and out of doors.

Memories. You can’t stow memories in luggage. You can’t ship them home. But they belong to every camper, and they’ll never be lost.

One Week to Go and the Action is Non-Stop!

With one amazing week left, the 2012 summer continues to be action-packed!!! Saturday began with Movie Morning, as each camper chose an age-appropriate film. After lunch, we were impressed with the talent on display at the Camper Variety Show, as campers sang, danced, told jokes, performed skits and, of course, the day concluded with our incredible Laurel South Carnival. Tonight, the entire Laurel South family will gather for a Council Fire. Tomorrow night is the 2nd Annual Moose Bowl. Our 2 unbelievable Theater Shows are right around the corner. And, of course, in between there’s tennis, skiing, basketball, baseball, ceramics, rocketry, lacrosse, fitness, crafts and more! The good times never stop at Laurel South!

Casco Fun Never Ends…

What an amazing summer we’re having! Our 6th Grade boys just returned from their amazing overnight camping trip at Wolfe’s Neck. The 8th Grade Boys and Girls are excited for their overnight trip to beautiful North Conway, NH tomorrow. Intercamp games and tournaments are in high gear. Saturday, the entire Laurel South family will enjoy Movie Morning, our awesome camper Variety Show and, of course, the famous Laurel South Carnival! The weather has been excellent, and the fun, activity, instruction and friendships never end at Camp Laurel South!

Spirit Days, Canobie Lake and More Fun…

Friday started out as any other “B” Day. Campers and counselors enjoyed their morning activities before heading off to lunch. Everything changed during lunch, however, as our amazing CIT’s broke Spirit Days 2012! For the next day-and-a-half, the Blue Justice League and the Green Avengers battled it out in the friendliest of competitions. The highlights included the CIT’s running CHAOS and the entire camp participating in the Moosehead Relay! In the end, we all reunited as one – the Laurel South family. Yesterday, the entire camp had an amazing time at Canobie Lake. We all enjoyed the rides, food and especially the friendship. The weather is gorgeous and we look forward to another amazing “A” Day tomorrow filled with Tennis, Riding, Waterskiing, Baseball, Ceramics, Basketball, Hockey, Rocketry and more!

Contagious Fun, Fun, Fun!

The first week of the 2012 season has been packed full of action and fun. Our 8th and 9th Graders will soon be pulling back into camp after awesome adventures at Acadia National Park and White Water 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 Party was amazing, and the 7th graders had a ball at Sea Coast. Of course everyone enjoyed Bumper Tubing in the morning! And regular program is off the charts: from the Tennis Courts to the Zip Line to the Soccer and Lacrosse Fields and the Crafts Shops…we’re doing it all. Basketball, Ceramics, Crew, Waterskiing, riding, Stand-up Paddleboarding, Fitness, Dance and so much more. Everyday is an adventure of instruction, spirit and fun! We’re a week into the season…and things are hummin’!!

Second Session in H-I-G-H Gear

We have been at camp for just a few days, but the action is already in full swing! Tennis, Skiing, Riding, Ceramics, baseball, Theatre, Lacrosse, Fishing and More!! after our annual Moosestomp Day, programming began and it’s been non-stop ever since.
We had our first rotation of “A” and “B” Days, and we can’t wait for our first in camp “S” Day! Our 8th Graders are heading out to Acadia National Park for their camping experience. Our CIT’s are getting ready for their amazing White Water Rafting Trip…and Intercamps and Tournaments begin tomorrow. The weather has been absolutely fantastic…it’s always a beautiful day in the state of Maine! We are so happy to be on the shores of Crescent Lake!

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