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Down the Stretch We Come!!!

Time really does fly when you’re having fun! It seems like just yesterday we gathered on the shores of Crescent Lake, not fully knowing what was in store for the 2021 season. But thanks to the cooperation of our wonderful camp families before camp and from our incredible staff and amazing campers after arrival, we were able to stay safe AND have an amazing summer!

We’ve had so much going on this week. Our Rangeley men played in the 10th Annual Moose Bowl, and the game did not disappoint, a back and forth contest that came down to the final minutes! The entire camp loved the games and the tailgate cookout, the campers’ rendition of the National Anthem, the concessions and s’mores, and the halftime dance show. It was, as always, a magical evening! Not to be outdone, our ladies of Katahdin took to the soccer pitch in front of the entire camp, and played (and bested) an All-Star team made up of our staff! Both the Moose Bowl and Katahdin Cup teams truly demonstrated the Laurel South philosophy or play hard, play clean and have fun!

Tuesday night was our camper’s spectacular performance of Beauty and the Beast. The campers worked so hard and put on a performance to remember! And we can’t wait for this evening’s performance of The Wizard of Oz! We may be winding the summer down, but the fun will not let up until Departure Day. It’s been a magical summer so far…and 2nd Session is just around the corner!

It is a beautiful day in the state of Maine today!

Days of Spirit and So Much More…

So there we all were – eating our delicious evening meal, laughing with friends, talking about the day. All of a sudden a ruckus broke out. Not sure what was going on, we all congregated in the middle of the Dining Hall, where we were surprised to learn that Spirit Days 2021 was upon us!

For the next two days, the Green Dragons and Blue Knights competed on the fields and in the water, through plaques and cheers, silent dinner and closing ceremonies. Everyone competed hard and showed exemplary sportsmanship. In the end, we had one of our most closely contested Spirit Days ever! And at the conclusion, we all gathered as one camp…excited for the fond memories we created but also thrilled to unite once again as one big Laurel South family. As we say every year, “Blue and Green are one big team!”

But wait…there’s more! Just after Spirit Days’ Closing Ceremony, we all hopped on charter buses and spent the evening at Funtown-Splashtown USA! We rented out the entire park to make for a safe trip. With no lines in sight, we were able to ride and eat and play games and laugh and spend time together!

We may be less than a week away from Departure Day, but the fun times won’t let up! Still on the horizon: Moose Bowl, Beauty and the Beast, an amazing new “S” Day, Wizard of Oz, Final Banquet…and so much more! The good times never let up in Casco!

The New Awesome!

It’s been an amazing session so far in Casco! And as with most incredible summers…we blink, and before we know it, we’re more than halfway through.

Programming is running full steam ahead. Our CITs and LITs return from their awesome white water rafting trip tonight. Today is our first Fly Fishing program of the summer, and our participating campers LOVE their Laurel South Fly Fishing Club hats and shirts. “All Around Camp” campers and staff have been showing a new level of enthusiasm…and there’s so much more to come in the next two weeks!

Spirit Days are just around the corner (or are they??). Our 10th Anniversary Moose Bowl game is coming soon. Rehearsals for both Theater shows (Beauty and the Beast and The Wizard of Oz) are ramping up to two sure-to-be-epic performances.

Here’s to another day at Laurel South – The New Awesome!

Having a Blast in Casco, Maine!

With pods long in the rearview mirror, our campers are thrilled to be back into our typical, guided-choice scheduling. From Crescent Lake to the Ballfields, Equestrian Center to the Culinary Studio, Challenge Course to the Arts Studios…we’re all experiencing what we now refer to as The New Awesome! We’ve managed to experience not one — but two — incredible “S” Days! First was the Amazing Race, in which each campus, equipped with their own “passports” traveled from “continent to continent” working together to complete tasks and win prizes! We also had our traditional favorite…The Laurel South Carnival. Games were played, faces were painted, prizes were won, snow cones and cotton candy consumed…and a great time was had by all!

Of course, a Laurel South summer would not be complete without our 4th of July Celebration, culminating in the greatest fireworks show anywhere! With beautiful weather and a sense of fun, we’re back into programming. Tomorrow our CITs and LITs head off on their exhilarating White Water Rafting Trip. For 3 days, they’ll raft the Kennebec River and spend time bonding and reflecting on their time as campers. But there’s so much more to come…from Funtown to Moose Bowl, Theater Shows to Banquet Night…the fun just won’t let up!

As always, it is a beautiful day on the state of Maine today!

Having Fun in the Summer Sun

We’ve had an amazing start to Summer 2021! After all the anticipation, we were so excited to have our entire summer family reunited on the shores of Crescent Lake for the first time since we said our goodbyes in 2019.

Our campers and staff have been amazing! Our “pod programming” schedule worked great, with campers cohorted by grade (rather than cabin), allowing the opportunity to interact with the most friends in a safe way. And it sure did work! After our second round of in-camp testing, we’re thrilled to announce we had ZERO positive cases which means – drum roll, please – WE ARE NOW IN REGULAR “A” DAY, “B” DAY, “S” DAY PROGRAMMING!

Our campers were thrilled to receive their schedules, and we are now full steam ahead! The cheers and laughter coming from the ball fields, arts centers, adventure areas and waterfront let us know the 2021 summer will be one for the ages! We’re so excited for what’s top come: Carnival, 4th of July, Spirit Days, Rocket Launches, Theater Shows…the list goes on and on.

We’ll keep you updated in future blogs, but until then, remember that it’s a beautiful day in the state of Maine!

The Anticipation Grows…

It’s hard to believe that Arrival Day 2021 is upon us! After waiting far too long, we are so thrilled to finally hear Roger utter the words we’ve been waiting for: “It’s a beautiful day in the state of Maine today!” And those words have never been more true!

We’ve all been waiting less than patiently for this day to come. The year-round team and pre-pre-camp crew arrived in early May. A few weeks later, the pre-camp crew arrived and was hard at work – raking, painting, mowing and cleaning…making sure camp looks as beautiful as ever. Our Adventure staff, Equestrian crew and Waterfront team soon followed for their respective trainings. Next came Staff Arrival and a wonderful Orientation Week in which everyone learned about the history, traditions and philosophies of Laurel South while also training for their roles as cabin counselors and area instructors. 

With each new arriving team, the anticipation grows and grows, and here we are…finally! We can’t wait to see our campers back on the shores of Crescent Lake. 

We hope everyone is ready for the summer of a lifetime!

Only at Camp

At the end of every summer, I can’t stop talking about camp. The stories are endless, and it’s impossible not to share them. The anecdotes are often specific enough to qualify for ‘you had to be there’ moments. From grand events like the break of Spirit Days to tales of campers realizing their goals to the crackle of a mid-summer campfire. There’s something special happening every hour of every day.

We often remind our counselors “Little moments have a big impact.” And that’s true. Like how a camper created a song and it became a year-after-year tradition. Or how a staff member turned brushing teeth into a game that campers would look forward to each morning and night. Stringing the anecdotes together paints a bigger picture of Laurel South: a camp becoming a community. Campers who two weeks prior were strangers begin to function like a family. Campers who have been together summer after summer (after summer!) start appreciating their amazing time at Laurel South in a new way.

In between the stories I tell, I realize how gratifying the larger dynamics of camp are. And it makes me even more eager for the upcoming inside jokes, anecdotes and another summer in Maine!

Camp Creates Confidence

The impact of a Laurel South summer is unique for every camper and counselor. Everyone at camp is engaged and active in the moment. Campers focus on having fun or trying something new, rarely realizing the character-building and social skill development that’s naturally taking place. Campers are constantly working together and encouraging one another. It makes them more empathetic, responsible and kind.

Campers are also getting out of their comfort zones in the best way. They are encouraged to take ‘safe risks’ like learning to waterski or ascend the climbing wall. Well trained, highly skilled counselors reassure and encourage campers to overcome challenges. Campers begin to understand that skill development doesn’t always come easy. It takes practice and patience. Campers rebound from mistakes and stretch their abilities and interests to new places.

Self-confidence comes naturally to some, but it’s also a trait that can be developed. Summer camp offers a chance for campers to develop these traits naturally. Campers view themselves as capable when they succeed and resilient when they persevere. They perceive themselves as fun and interesting due to the relationships they create in their cabins and around camp. In short, campers discover and establish the best version of themselves. And that confidence sets the foundation for the individuals they become.

A Job for the Summer, Skills for a Lifetime

Summer is a few months down the road and college students throughout the country are searching for summer jobs and internships. Every year students compete for positions hoping to get a foot in the door for their future careers. While corporate settings can offer great opportunities, few summer jobs are as beneficial as working at camp. Here are some of the many benefits for working at Laurel South.

Finding Your Voice

Being a Laurel South counselor is a great job for anyone who wants to lead. Counselors lead campers of different ages and skill levels from the moment they step off the bus. They’re forging bonds, leading activities and communicating constantly with their co-counselors and Campus Leaders. On top of that, counselors are utilizing their creativity all summer long to create memorable experiences.

Maine and the Great Outdoors

Crisp, fresh air. A loon call in the night. There’s nothing better than Maine in the summertime. You won’t find a better ‘office’ than working on Crescent Lake. Beyond the beautiful setting, camp facilitates movement all day long. No wonder many counselors say they’ve never felt better than the summertime!

Little Moments, Big Impact

Camp is a natural place to become a mentor. Campers are constantly looking up to their counselors, and it’s often the little moments that create the biggest difference. Being a positive influence for campers every day has a cumulative effect, and many campers remember their counselors forever. Counselors, though they might not know it when they arrive for Orientation, will learn and benefit from their campers all summer long, too.

Living in the Moment

Shining stars on a clear summer night. A gentle breeze whistling through the trees. The call of the loon in the evening or a robin chirping in the morning. A summer in Maine reminds us to slow down and cherish every minute. Of course, those aren’t the only sensory sensations of the summer. Camp is alive with energy every day from echoes at Cove to cheering on the Fields to laughter and splashing in Crescent Lake and songs rehearsed in the Theater. Laurel South’s spirit can be seen and heard from one end of camp to the other!

One thing you won’t hear throughout the summer: the ping of an Instagram notification or the buzz of a phone. A summer at camp is the perfect place for a digital detox. There are numerous studies about the benefits of staying unplugged: increased concentration, better short- and long-term memory, improved conversation skills and higher self-esteem are among the many perks of getting away from digital devices.

It’s easy to quickly double tap a friend’s post, update your own status or clear the notification bar. But, just as easily, it can take us out of the moment. Camp is the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button. Campers find themselves making genuine connections with their peers and counselors. They also have the opportunity to exercise their minds in a more ‘analog’ way by writing letters home and reading books.

Digital advances have made our world easier and more accessible in many ways, but campers (and counselors!) will be surprised by how great they feel after time away from their devices.