We’ve heard it so many times before…at every cove in fact. Roger beginning the evening with his catchphrase, “What a beautiful day in the state of Maine today!” And as Roger explains it, the statement has nothing to do with the weather, and everything to do with our attitude. But when we are given a gorgeous, 72 degree, sunny day; when we welcome our amazing campers to Laurel South; when we are reunited as a camp family; when we enjoy a cookout dinner followed by fun filled programs with friends (old and brand new alike), all you can really say is, “What a beautiful day in the state of Maine today!”
Today is our annual Moose Stomp Day. Programs are being created, S’mores being eaten, pictures taken for the end-of-year face books, bumper tubes ridden, and so much more. By tomorrow, our campers will be in their first “A” Day, schedules in hand, heading down to the Crescent Lake, out to the ballfields, into the theater and up to the stables.
We may have just arrived yesterday, but we’re already having a blast! We’re so happy to be home.
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!
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.”
There is a buzz in the air every morning at camp; a feeling that puts an extra pep in our step even before our feet hit the floor. Counselors wake up with a sense of excitement and readiness for the day. The energy of camp is hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Being surrounded by positive people is a natural stimulant that gives campers and staff a boost of energy every day.
It’s easy to be in a good mood when nature is everywhere. There’s the beauty of Crescent Lake, the forest and sprawling fields. It’s the soft breeze between the trees in the morning and the glow of the campfire at night. The beauty of camp is refreshing, and spending a few minutes appreciating the vast beauty is usually enough to get anyone going.
There’s also a beauty and energy in the people of camp. The relationships, activities and memories create a unique sense of contagious positivity. Campers can’t help but run freely across camp because there’s so much excitement surrounding them! Of course, not every moment is rainbows and butterflies, but campers feel upbeat, encouraged and excited for the majority of their time at camp.
Campers and counselors feed off the genuine energy and positive vibes of each other. There is something about camp that keeps the energy alive from sunrise to sunset. Spend a summer at Laurel South so you can feel it for yourself!
The 4th of July is an American camping tradition. For over a century, campers have enjoyed a special day at camp, filled with cookouts and fireworks shows. As if the day couldn’t get any more spirited, our CIT’s chose that very day to break Spirit Days 2017!!! To top it off, the break occurred before breakfast, leaving the entire camp in awe. Suffice to say: no one saw this break coming! For two days, the Green Army and Blue Navy took part in the friendliest of competitions, playing hard, cheering harder and demonstrating the kind of sportsmanship that makes Roger and Dagni so proud. In the end, we all won because everyone had an amazing time! The CIT’s displayed the kind of leadership that makes us beam. We were thrilled with the 2017 Spirit Days, but we were excited to be reunited as one big camp family!
We’ve crossed the halfway mark of the summer, and we still have so much to look forward to. Intercamp games and tournaments are going on every day. Today is our awesome Fly Fishing clinic, and tomorrow is our incredible Carnival Day!
We’re making the most of each and every moment we have together in Maine and look forward to all the wonderful events still to come!
Every summer, millions of students close their books, say goodbye to homework and depart for summer camp. For a month or two, they stay busy doing activities, exploring nature and making new friends. All that anybody hears from them is the occasional cheery postcard dropped in the mail between activities.
Weeks later, they return home smiling, suntanned and filled with enthusiasm, leaving everyone that stayed home wondering: what happened out there that was such a blast? Their peers who don’t attend summer camp are sure to look up from their phones when everybody gets back to school and ask two questions summer campers know well: “Where have you been? And, why do you look so happy?”
Challenge by Choice Helps You Believe in Yourself
Contrary to popular belief, the real attraction of camp isn’t that it’s easy, or “all fun and games.” The real attraction of summer camp is that it teaches you the rewards that come from new experiences and meeting new challenges. When you realize that challenging things can also be fun, difficulties like homework and making friends at school that used to seem scary and difficult become easy and engaging. You realize that just like any game, the secret is to enjoy playing win or lose. This is an important life lesson and a main reason campers tend to seem happy and energetic.
Learning that Exercise Can Be Fun
Another reason for all the post-camp smiling might seem obvious to some: physical activity. Endless scientific studies have shown the negative effects that getting too little physical exercise can have on people, particularly young people who are still growing. So, it’s a good thing that summer camp is basically a crash course in exercise, introducing campers to tons of high-energy sports and activities.
Campers don’t just do activities at camp — they take skills home and pursue their passions independently, whether it’s playing for their school sports teams, joining a climbing gym or working on their tennis game.
In short: at camp, the endorphins are flowing!
Digital Detox Works Wonders
Technology isn’t all bad, but most parents agree that spending too much time playing SnapChat stories and scanning Instagram can have a negative social effect on children and teens. After all, can you imagine how different your childhood would be if you hadn’t spent most of it outside, making your own fun with your siblings and friends?
In our digital age kids feel a lot of pressure to stay “active” with a wide range of social media activities, and that can become incredibly stressful, not to mention invite bullying. Camp is a chance for campers to cut their ties to technology and concentrate on the things that make childhood fun. Namely, making new friends, discovering new things, and getting back in touch with nature.
What it All Means
Summer camp has a lot of fun activities, yet when people reminisce about summer camp they aren’t usually talking specifically about sailing, or basketball, or ceramics, or campfires. No, they always talk about “the summer camp experience” — that unmistakable mix of nature, friendship and activities that somehow turns fun and games into a chance for growth and self-discovery.
When you look through photos from time spent at camp, it’s always bittersweet; these are times that go by quickly and are memories that will last forever.
No matter their background, campers will all tell you that camp is a life-changing experience. Campers are introduced to life-long friends, given a chance to practice their real-world social skills, taught the value of unplugging from the digital world and focus on being present in the moment.
With all that summer camp offers, why wouldn’t you look happy when you come home?
Wednesday morning started out like any other “B” Day. Everyone came to breakfast excited for the day. Little did they know how much excitement they were in for. In unison, our incredible CIT’s removed their sweatshirts and sweatpants to reveal their Blue and Green clothing hidden until just the right moment.
That’s right, Spirit Days 2016 had broken!!! For the next two days, the Blue Jedis and the Green Wizards battled it out in the friendliest of competitions. From the ballfields to the waterfront everyone had a blast! The cheers seemed endless, the plaques made by our campers were awesome, and the CIT’s set the tone for everyone. We even had one of the closest KAOS races ever.
When it was all over and the echoes of the final cheers faded in the night sky, Adam read the poem which revealed the Spirit Day winner. In the end, the winning team was…Laurel South, because everyone enjoyed their Spirit Days and were excited to reunite as one camp family.
We’ve passed the midway point of the summer, but there is still plenty of fun on the horizon! Stay tuned for future updates.
Camp may be continually changing, but the traditional council fire has remained a constant for as long as anyone can remember. The mere mention of a council fire brings back a flood of memories for many campers; memories of friends gained, challenges overcome and a carefree time. Nothing captures the spirit of the camp experience quite like the “snap-crackle-pop” of a hot fire and the magical smell of freshly split logs waiting to get thrown on the flames. Camp simply wouldn’t be the same without council fires. After all, the traditional council fire represents more than just a nice way to stay warm on a brisk night, it represents tradition, togetherness and so much more.
For as long as anyone can remember, friends and family have gathered around fires to tell stories, play games and enjoy good food. It’s a way to connect you to the past, and to enjoy the present. Not only is sitting and enjoying a fire a great tradition, but building the fire is a chance to pit your wits against nature and enjoy a connection to “the old days” — before light bulbs, flashlights or smartphones. In an ever-changing world, this connection to the past is invaluable.
And of course, no mention of council fires is complete without talking about traditional camp songs, especially the kinds that involve audience participation. Even if everybody sings out of tune, the harmony comes from the camp community’s commitment to keeping the traditional melodies alive — even the completely goofy ones.
Another concept council fires represent is togetherness. Council fires are a time for winding down through songs, skits and stories. Many campers feel tired after a long day of activities, but you can count on this to be true: laughter flows freely by firelight.
…And of Course – S’mores!
Almost everyone’s favorite part of a campfire: S’mores! Crafting the perfect golden-brown marshmallow is an art as old as marshmallows and fires. Like any fine art, roasting a marshmallow to perfection is a tricky task that takes a bit of work and commitment. Whether you prefer a classic graham cracker and Hershey’s milk chocolate s’more or have your own special recipe, roasting marshmallows on a rip-roaring fire is something nobody forgets.
Surely, many of you have seen “The Hunger Games” films or read the books. For those who haven’t – imagine a post-apocalyptic world where 16 citizens are pitted against each other in a battle to the end. Everyone who has heard of “The Hunger Games” has surely thought about their own strategy and technique they would use when participating…but how would campers fare? From archery to camping skills, here are 5 reasons campers would definitely win:
1. They Use Teamwork
Campers know better than anybody that teamwork increases the odds of success no matter what you’re doing. Being comfortable working on a team and trusting in others to do their part takes guts; whether you’re fighting for your family in the Hunger Games or coming up with an act for the next campfire.
2. They Know How to Hit a Bullseye
What do medieval knights, Hawkeye and summer campers all have in common? That’s right — unbeatable archery skills! Katniss might get a run for her money if she participated in a camp archery competition — some campers are seriously sharp shooters. Knowing how to use a bow and arrow is a rare skill in this day and age, but it’s no mystery to anyone who has gone to camp.
3. They’re Resourceful
One of the biggest challenges of “The Hunger Games” is making do with what you have, and using creativity to solve problems. Campers use their imaginations all the time; whether in theatre, crafts or in the cabin — creativity is abundant. Needless to say, being resourceful would be no problem for campers.
4. They Know How to Camp Out
As if being on the run and fighting defying odds weren’t enough, the contestants of the Hunger Games also have to survive for days on end in the wilderness — sleeping under the stars, making shelters out of branches, and always planning ahead so they have access to their basic necessities. Luckily there’s no real risk at summer camp, but campers still get to practice the fun side of wilderness survival skills. From learning to start campfires to exploring nature and wildlife, exposure to the skills needed to have a blast in the great outdoors is a huge part of camp life.
5. They’re Loyal to Their Friends
Last but not least, the biggest and best part of camp life: friendship. It’s friendship that saves Katniss at the end of the film (spoiler alert!), and it’s friendship that brings campers back to summer camp year after year. Katniss shows that she’s willing to give up everything for her friends and family. Campers learn that friendship isn’t just about taking — it’s also about giving back, volunteering, and always being ready to help others.