Our full staff arrive tomorrow, but our summer has been well underway with several Pre-Orientation programs. Laurel South’s administrative staff is made up of an almost entirely veteran crew, and this week is a great time to re-connect with colleagues and greet new staff for the first time.
The week leading up to Staff Orientation is also a special time for everyone to focus on what’s ahead and dive deep into what makes Laurel South so special. We’ve already welcomed our incredible group of Campus Leaders, waterski, riding and adventure counselors.
These groups of incoming staff are always happy and excited to arrive at Laurel South, and ready to learn about the summer ahead. Our waterski staff get some extra time on the water to familiarize themselves with our boats. The Adventure counselors go through specialized training focused on safety within their specific programs — outdoor tripping, climbing and challenge course. And the Campus Leaders go through their own training about how to lead incoming counselors and staff.
Everyone is smiling and loving the beautiful weather Maine has provided. We’re thrilled to welcome the staff and even more excited for camper arrival!
Camp is right around the corner. Sixteen days to be exact. Our first set of staff arrived and are busy getting everything ready for arrival day!! Our pre-camp crew is made up of about 30 counselors from all over the country. They spend the morning and afternoon mowing, painting, weed-whacking, setting up docks, moving ping pong tables and generally turning camp into our summer home.
But pre-camp is so much more than that. For the 2018 staff experiencing pre-camp for the first time, it’s about getting acclimated to Laurel South, exploring Maine during time off and forming some of the best friendships they’ll ever know. The confidence the pre-camp staff gain from being here early is noticeable. They’ve already made Laurel South their summer home. When the balance of the staff arrive by 13th, they’ll see this crop of pre-camp staff and assume they’ve each been at Laurel South for many summers. They instantly become a pre-formed welcoming committee.
The anticipation for camper arrival continues to build with each passing day, and this pre-camp season has already proved that Summer 2018 will be one for the record books. We can’t wait to greet all of you very soon!
Throughout all my years being a camper, what I really couldn’t wait for was my chance to be a counselor. Having grown up admiring and looking up to all my counselors, I wished one day, I too would be as cool as they were. Counselors always seemed to be the heroes of camp.
What I loved most about being a counselor was that I finally had the opportunity to be the hero. Guiding a group of campers was just as character-building for me as it was for them. I learned about responsibility, organization and a whole lot about myself from a fresh perspective. I saw myself in them, and therefore understood more about my own childhood.
Of course, there’s always something fun and empowering about calling the shots. If something came up that was unexpected, I had to think on the fly. It was exciting for me to know that my campers were looking up to me.
All in all, hanging out with my fellow counselors, being looked up to, and taking on new responsibilities were the greatest things about being a counselor for me. Having parents entrust their children to me was a great position to be in, because it called on me to become my best and strongest self, for the sake of the campers.
Life is always better with friends, and Laurel South is the ideal environment for children to make new friends and create lasting bonds. These are some of the best reasons Laurel South’s environment facilitates friendships.
Camp is 24/7
Friends can be made during playdates at home, but a friendship grows when children are also livin0g, eating, and brushing their teeth together. They share tasks and work as a team throughout the summer. This constant contact is conducive to making real, true, long-lasting relationships.
Shared experiences are another crucial element for friendship bonds. Camp friends are special because they share a unique commonality , experiencing everything together at camp. The memories created during three-and-a-half weeks at Laurel South are amazing. In part because of what’s happening, but also because who campers are sharing it with.
Some of the best elements of Laurel South are the traditions. Traditions that go back to our first summers and the mini-traditions that pop-up from summer to summer. By attending camp, campers develop shared traditions that help bond them together. They add a sacred element to friendship.
Camp focuses on the positive
At camp, there’s a big focus on harnessing moments and making them special and fun. This teaches children to have a great amount of flexibility both individually and with each other, and it also teaches them to remain positive. Positivity helps children remain in an open and accepting frame of mind.
Camp friends are definitely some of the most special friends. Friendships made at camp are bound by a commonality of experiences that may very well be cherished for a lifetime.
We often say being a counselor is “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” Being part of the Laurel South team is an incredibly fun way to spend a summer. And accepting a position comes with many responsibilities and opportunities for personal growth. The counselor position brings with it an opportunity to give so many children the confidence and independence needed to succeed in today’s world. Camp counselors provide an unforgettable experience for countless campers every day.
Camp counselors spend their summer interacting with campers and other counselors while being surrounded by nature. Counselors view life through the eyes of a child – an experience that will only feel further away as we grow older. Camp counselors not only teach, they also learn. They learn practical, social and problem-solving skills. They learn patience, trust, teamwork, time-management and how to have an impeccable work ethic.
You could work at the local mall, walk dogs, file papers or wait tables over the summer. But at the end of the day, what could be better than spending the summer as a camp counselor: positively impacting the lives of others, working as part of a team, singing songs around a campfire with friends…The list goes on!
When you’re thinking about what you should do over the summer, consider Laurel South. You’re applying for one of the most exciting and rewarding jobs on the planet. And that’s why we say it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.
The last thing children are thinking about as they are running, dancing, jumping, singing and playing at camp is what they want to be when they grow up. But parents of Camp Laurel South know the things campers experience and learn can directly impact the adults that they become. Spending a summer at camp fosters valuable life skills in campers that prepare them to enter the professional world.
One of the biggest benefits of camp is that campers learn how to work together as a team. Counselors lead by example and demonstrate practical communication skills, compromise, and listening skills. Campers learn to trust and encourage each other. Campers who feel confident working with others at camp build a solid foundation for teamwork in the workplace.
Time management is another important skill campers learn without even realizing it. With a variety of activities available for them to try, campers are responsible for planning their day so they get the most out of each activity. Campers – with a counselor’s help – learn to factor in things like travel time between activities or how much prep time is required between events. Learning the importance of being on time or early will help campers be successful in the real world. They’re also given opportunities to extend grace and courtesy to those who are running behind, and taught to exercise patience when things don’t always go according to plan. Campers learn to be flexible and understanding, while also learning how to prioritize important events during their daily routine.
For many campers, camp is the first time they share a private space with a group of people they don’t know. They quickly learn to organize their personal belongings in a way that makes them easily accessible and out of the way of others. Campers keep their personal space neat and tidy, and are respectful of the people who share their space.
Learning how to be organized at camp can directly transfer over to being organized at home and in future professional environments.
Spending a summer at camp is one of the best things you can do for the future of your child. It’s a fun way to build character and prepare children for the real world. Campers learn valuable life lessons on a daily basis at camp, all while having the best summer of their lives. Camp counselors focus on developing the whole camper, and embrace the opportunity to prepare each camper for success. When they eventually enter the workforce, campers will be prepared with the confidence and skills required to be successful.
Picture this: Some friends are out camping and come across a beautiful lake. It’s a warm day and everyone is in favor of cooling off. Some in the group approach the water slowly…dip their toes in…maybe go in to knee level. Little by little, they become more submerged. Other members of the group run to the water…laughing and screaming and cheering before diving in head first. Before long, everyone is swimming and having a great time. Just like camp!
While each individual is different, camp is the perfect place to dive in head first and be “all in.” With just 3-and-a-half weeks of camp, we pack so much into each summer. Campers and staff who dive headfirst and are “all in” will quickly find out what makes Laurel South their summer home:
Camp is the perfect place to show off the goofy, wacky, enthusiastic parts of your personality. Between Roger’s jokes at Cove, inside cabin jokes, playing outside with friends or having fun at an Evening Program, the sounds of laughter echo all over Laurel South!
Cheering and Singing
There’s no place where cheering is more prevalent than at camp. Campers sing for a camping trip or the fact that we have Chocolate Cream Pie for dessert. Or even that they got all their laundry put away during cabin time. At camp, even the smallest moments are immortalized in song and cheer!
The Laurel South spirit goes beyond giving it our best effort on the field. Camp spirit is about community; from the friends in your cabin to the counselors and administrators, all the way to Roger and Dagni. Enthusiasm and spirit at camp can be seen on the basketball courts, but the spirit is equally tangible at a Rocket Launch, Theatre Show, birthday party and more.
At Laurel South, there is no such thing as too much “camp.” That’s why most campers and counselors can’t help themselves from telling camp stories during the off-season. Campers and counselors agree life would be so much better if “11 for 1” was actually “1 for 11.”
Kids today have so much going on. The school year is full of schedules, deadlines, and commitments that can sometimes overshadow the importance of play. Maneuvering between school and team practices and recitals – their schedules keep them constantly on the go! Each setting has different expectations and before they know it, the days have turned to months. Camp is different. We want campers to enjoy every moment.
Camp strives to meet kids right where they are. It’s a safe place for kids to act like kids. Laurel South is serious about fun, and is a place where kids can be fully immersed in childhood play. They’re playing sports, laughing, chasing lightning bugs, playing games in the cabins, singing songs around a fire and putting on shows. Campers are being exactly who they are meant to be – kids.
Counselors join in on the fun as well: Mature enough to be caring and responsible, but not too old to have lost their childlike wonder. Counselors utilize their summers to embrace their inner child. They engage with campers every day.
The summer is a time where kids can relax and enjoy this fleeting time in their lives, so vital for their growing minds. As adults, we know how fast this time goes, and we should encourage the children in our lives to spend as much time as they can playing, laughing, trying new things and being with their friends. And that is exactly what Laurel South aims to offer every camper each and every summer.
At Laurel South, we create a culture where campers respect themselves and others. Camp gives campers countless opportunities to interact in a healthy and positive way with each other and their counselors. Every day, campers share their feelings, listen to others and communicate effectively; skills that are so vital in the world today.
Inclusivity is a foundational element at Laurel South, and from day one campers are taught the importance of teamwork. Everyone is welcomed with open arms, and a friendly attitude is instilled into everyday culture.
One of the coolest things about Laurel South is that the options for sports, arts, activities and adventures are endless. Laurel South is a place where kids with all different levels of abilities and strengths find a place where they belong. Everyone finds their place at camp, and is encouraged by other campers and counselors to be the best versions of themselves.
After a summer at Laurel South, kids head into the school year with an eye and a heart for others. The connections and relationships they build at camp are based on respect, communication and inclusivity.
Every Laurel South summer is unique and presents its own opportunities for forming friendships, creating memories and growing as a person. Each camper and staff member experiences moments that shape who they are.
Laurel South has many “big moment” events. Ask anyone who’s been to camp and they can reel off the list: Spirit Days…Carnival…”S” Days…Final Banquet…Theater Shows…the list goes on. These events create a buzz around camp. But every summer is more than the sum of its parts.
It’s the “in-between” moments that can impact us the most – like walking to an activity with a new friend. It’s as simple as having a great counselor who made bedtime awesome with the stories they’d tell. Or seeing a shooting star for the first time. It’s the jokes, laughter and shared experiences between cabinmates that truly define a camp season.
When we look back on what made the past summer so special – it’s about the people. The laughter and singing and cheering and inside jokes that only your camp friends understand…these are the little moments that make Laurel South our second home!