As Pre-Camp draws to a close, the action has picked up. Our Adventure staff concluded their Wilderness/First Aid certification and are embarking on a trip to all of the awesome destinations our campers will visit this summer. Our Waterski Staff has arrived, and they are already out on Crescent Lake testing the beautiful, new Mastercrafts. All our Campus Leaders and Area Directors are busy planning super new activities for the 2011 summer. The entire staff arrives tomorrow to begin Orientation, as the countdown continues until Arrival Day. We can hardly wait…
The big day is near. Soon, your child leaves home for a summer of fun, excitement and growth.
Scary, isn’t it?
Sure. New experiences usually are. But we’ve got some ideas to help.
Talk with your child. And we mean “talk honestly.” It’s great to chirp about the wonderful days ahead. But be sure to acknowledge that fears and worries are okay. They’re normal.. Let your son or daughter know that everyone – even you! – gets nervous before doing something different. Remind your child that directors, campus leaders, counselors and staff members know about nerves – and they’ll be there to talk, day or night.
Don’t say, “And if you get homesick, you can come home!” Though reassuring, it sends the wrong message. It focuses on the negative – and undermines the idea that you’ve selected that camp because you trust the directors and counselors so much. Emphasize instead that while homesickness is normal, it goes away – and everyone at camp will help make it disappear. (It’s also a good idea to not say too much how much you’ll miss your child – or how badly everyone will feel that they’re not at the annual 4th of July fireworks or family reunion.)
Prepare together. Read the packing list with your child. Go shopping with him or her. Your child will pick out items he or she really likes – while at the same time sharing a quiet, unhurried conversation about camp.
Reinforce camp policies on things like cell phones. You may want to give your child a phone to call home “just in case” — but that’s the wrong “call.” For one thing, it contradicts what you’re saying about the counselors’ and directors’ ability to help. For another, it encourages “bending the rules.” For a third, it shifts your child’s focus from having fun and making new friends, to sneaking off and being alone.
Don’t let your own anxieties affect your child. As a parent, you may feel trepidation too. You’ll miss your child – and fear you’ll miss out on his or her growth. That’s natural. But don’t burden your kid with those thoughts. Tell your spouse and friends instead!
Camp is a time of independence. Of spreading wings. Of making new friends, forming strong bonds and creating vivid memories in a non-family, out-of-school environment. The days leading up to camp may be anxious – for campers and their parents. But the rewards will be well worth a week or two of very normal nerves.
We can’t wait to see your son or daughter at camp!!!
10 Things to do before Your Children Leave for
10. Complete all of the camp paperwork. This provides the camp with valuable details about your child that they can pass onto their health center and counselors. Knowing your children’s interests before they arrive helps the camp place them into cabins or bunks in which they’ll thrive, provide them with the best program options, and be able to supply them with any medication they may require.
9. Buy stationary, pre-address and stamp envelopes for letters home. Many camps have specific time set aside in their daily schedules for writing home. Pre-addressed envelopes help ease the process of sending the letters campers have so lovingly written. This is particularly the case for younger campers. Also, familiarize yourself with your children’s camp policy regarding camp packages to avoid disappointment that may result from sending items that are undeliverable to your children.
Our hardworking Pre-Camp Staff has continued their great work. Each day, Laurel South looks better and better!! Last night, we all headed to Windham for a well- deserved night out for pizza and a movie. In just a few days, we will welcome our Adventure and Equestrian Staff for their training sessions. As we see camp shaping up, it only heightens our anticipation for the start of the 2011 season, when the entire Laurel South family will be reunited on the beautiful shores of Crescent Lake! We can’t wait to see everyone soon.
What do celebrities such as Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Aniston, Brody Jenner, Matt Damon, and Kate Hudson have in common? They’ve all fallen victim to the latest craze in water sports and fitness: Paddle Boarding. Paddle Boarding combines the tranquility of being on open water with the benefits of an incredible full-body work out that especially targets the core. The origins of Paddle Boarding, or Stand up Paddle Surfing (SUP), are ancient. Hawaiian kings have been practicing Ku Hoe He’e Nalu (to stand, to paddle, to surf, a wave) for hundreds of years. In the 1960s, Hawaiian surf instructors began using Paddle Boards in order to watch over large groups of students at one time. Not long after, surfing legends such as Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama started to take up SUP as a way to train when the waves were not high enough for surfing. Today, Paddle Boarding has been gaining popularity at breakneck speeds as celebrities, fitness gurus, surfers and countless others have touted its tremendous benefits.
One of the great things about SUP is that, unlike surfing, it is extremely easy to learn. Most Paddle Boarders become very comfortable standing on their board within an hour of getting on the water. SUP also has incredible versatility. You can think of it as either a competitive racing sport, a great workout, or a peaceful way to experience nature. Lately, Yoga on Paddle Boards has even been gaining in popularity. No matter what you’re interested in, Paddle Boarding is a fun and exciting activity that people of all ages should experience. This summer, Laurel South is adding Paddle Boarding on Crescent Lake as a new activity that we’re very excited about. Try it out, you’ll fall in love!
Our incredible pre-camp crew has begun the process of readying Laurel South for another amazing summer. Our crew of 30 counselors has been here for almost a week and they’re hard at work cleaning, painting, raking, mowing, moving, weedwacking and more. We’re excited about the new girls’ cabin on hillside – Robins. It looks awesome. The newly lit North Field will create a buzz about evening programs and special events, and our extended Equestrian Center will make our riding program better than ever!
In just two weeks our entire staff will be here for our week-long Orientation. We can’t wait to see all of our returning counselors and are so excited to have our fabulous new staff members join the Laurel South family. Of course, we are most pumped for Camper Arrival Day, which is just 3 short weeks away! We hope you have a great end to school, and we can’t wait to see you soon. As always, it’s a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!
Every summer you pack your children up and entrust them to the care of others for the summer. Have you ever wondered what sort of training is provided for your child’s summer camp staff? For summer camp staff members, the season begins at least one week before the campers arrive with Orientation.
What is Camp Counselor Orientation? Orientation is a week for camp counselors and other staff members to…
Become familiar with the camp’s expectations. Summer camp staff members participate in workshops relating to teamwork, camp policies, and child development. During this time, counselors are also familiarized with ACA standards and the importance of maintaining and exceeding these standards. It’s during this training that counselors are able to grasp that their new summer job, though fun, carries a lot of responsibility and 24/7 focus.
Familiarize themselves with their surroundings. Your camp wants counselors to understand the campus prior to your camper arriving. During Orientation, staff members are given every opportunity to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings, as well as which areas require special supervision.
Make new friends. Why is this important to you? Happy counselors make better counselors. As you well know as parents, having a proper support system in place is essential to the success of any parent. Those looking after your children this summer are no exception. Orientation is a time for summer camp staff members to become comfortable with their new co-workers and begin to get to know each other.
Attain necessary certification. Those staff members working in areas such as waterfront and outdoor adventure must have training and certification prior to supervising your children. For some staff members, this entails arriving at camp well before the camper arrival date in order to be fully prepared from the day the first camper sets foot on campus. Outside experts such as the Red Cross are often brought in to conduct lifeguard training. Outdoor Adventure and Waterfront areas also frequently utilize external professionals to train their staff.
Understand what it’s like to be a camper. Many camp orientation programs follow mock daily camp schedules and encourage staff members to participate in many of the same activities that their campers will throughout the summer. Most staff members live and function as members of groups during this period. The role play isn’t merely designed to give staff members an idea of what’s in store. It gives them the opportunity to embrace the camp’s traditions so that they can share in the enthusiasm with campers.
Receive very valuable and essential education to understanding and working with children. Summer camps take the well being of their campers very seriously and spare no expense in this area of Orientation. Big name speakers are brought in for lectures and workshops that educate staff members with the latest, most up-to-date childcare information and relevant laws. Counselors and other camp staff are left with no doubt or misunderstanding that the campers and their safety are the reason that they are there and, as such, come first.
Mentally prepare themselves for the arrival of campers. Even the most seasoned childcare professionals and educators can feel a bit overwhelmed when suddenly surrounded by hundreds of enthusiastic children who’ve waited ten months to see their camp friends again. By taking place on campus before the campers arrive, Orientation serves as a sort of segue from the camp counselors’ lives back home into their new summer lives by giving them some time to adjust to their new home and surroundings before the chaos that is summer camp ensues.
Finally, Orientation is an opportunity for Camp Directors and Senior Staff to assess how their staff interacts and identify individual strengths and weaknesses. This helps them assign camp counselors to cabins and bunks and age groups in which they’re likely to provide the best leadership.
So when you put your campers on the bus in June, you can bet that a very excited and well trained camp staff is waiting on the other end to meet your children and give them the best summer ever.
Finally, we close our trilogy of camp counselor tips with one last blog dedicated to you, future camp counselors…
Get ready to build your resume! Working as a camp counselor at a summer camp will provide you with some invaluable experience that will serve you well far beyond this summer. Many HR Managers in lots of different fields find summer camp experience very impressive because of the level of dedication and commitment required. Summer Camp also demonstrates that you can adapt well to new cultures, which is essential for success in many corporate environments. In fact, many corporate executives were once campers and/or camp counselors themselves. If you’re an education major, it goes without saying that experience working directly with children is a huge plus on a new teacher’s resume.
One final warning: As a summer camp counselor, you will act goofy, dress funny, and find yourself doing all sorts of crazy things you’d probably never ordinarily do…and you’ll have a blast while doing them. It’s what summer camp is all about. But what other job can you get where being an expert in painting faces, making signs, inventing outrageous costumes, and acting silly are all just part of your typical workday?
So there you have it! A few suggestions for preparing yourself for a great and successful summer. Have fun!
We’re proud to call Maine home. We’re just as proud to utilize the resources of the entire state and to give hundreds of campers an experience unequaled anywhere else.
At The Laurel Camps there’s more than enough room for an exciting depth and breadth of activities. Sports ranging from baseball, soccer, softball and lacrosse to volleyball, tennis and archery. Equestrian. Swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, wakeboarding, windsurfing and waterskiing on crystal-clear lakes.
But for campers and staff at Laurel and Laurel South, all of Maine is our playground. We hike tall mountains like Katahdin. We head into the pine forests for ropes courses, rappelling and mountain biking. We explore the coast and ocean-side sites like Acadia National Park, Ogunquit and Bar Harbor.
Campers come to Maine from across the country. Whether they’ve been here in the winter to ski, or have never experienced the wonders of the state, they quickly realize it’s an amazing, magnificent place – vast yet intimate, wild yet welcoming.
Parents love it too – particularly if they plan a day or three in the trendy city of Portland, with a side trip to Kennebunkport, Camden or (of course) Freeport to visit L.L. Bean!
It’s all part of the Maine camp experience – discovering new things, no matter what your age. And you never know…you may be lucky enough to spot a Moose.
Roger and Dagni
Camp Laurel South
The first thing you should know about the orientation is don’t sweat it. Yes, it’s intense. Yes, it’s a VERY busy week and there is a lot to get done. We know that, by the time months of anticipation for your new summer camp job to start come and you travel (sometimes for hours or even days) to get to the camp and find yourself actually there, even the most staunch start to feel the butterflies. Remember that everyone with whom you come into contact those first few days is probably feeling the same butterflies—even returners who’ve done all of it before. But relax. Orientation is also full of opportunities. Opportunities to learn more about your new surroundings, opportunities to learn more about your summer camp and embrace its traditions, opportunities to learn more about your summer job as a camp counselor, opportunities to change your mindset and grasp expectations, and opportunities to make friends.
Speaking of making friends, be ready to make LOTS of them from all over the world! Sure your summer camp job will only last for a couple of months. But a couple of months are plenty of time to make lifelong friends when you spend everyday together. You may even find that you don’t need the whole summer to bond. You’ll probably be planning vacations to visit some of your new friends during the winter before orientation is even over.
Don’t over- or under-pack. Yes, we know that you’re going to want to cram your entire bedroom into your suitcase or duffel.. But the fact is that camp housing isn’t exactly spacious. Most summer camps provide their camp counselors with packing lists. Of course you’re going to want to bring a few personal items, but don’t stray too far from what’s recommended and definitely avoid packing the “DO NOT BRING” items. In other words, make sure your camp permits camp counselors to bring outside food onto the campus before you pack a stash of Doritos and energy drinks. It’s also a good idea to make sure you read the camps guidelines about permissible items, particularly those related to swimsuits and shoes. Once you’re packed, inspect your suitcase one more time to make sure you remembered things that are often easily overlooked or forgotten by new summer camp counselors, like rain gear or bedding (if your summer camp requires you to bring your own).
Chances are that you’re going to get a very important email or envelope from your summer camp very soon, if you haven’t already. It’ll have some pretty important paperwork for you to complete. Be sure to pay attention to the specified deadlines for each form. For one thing, you’re not going to want to be bothered with it after you get to camp. For another, not filling it out on time may cause pesky delays in important things…like being paid!
Well that about covers the orientation. We’ve still got enough tips left for you that we’re going to make this one a trilogy. Be sure to come back in a few days for the final part of this series!