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!
Chelsea takes the subway to school every morning. Justin spends his weekends hanging out downtown with his buddies. Evan can walk to movie theaters, restaurants and museums from the apartment where he lives. These city kids spend most of their year surrounded by concrete, honking horns and tall buildings. And that is why they, like so many other kids from big cities, really look forward to coming to camp for a change in their environment.
Camp Laurel South is located in some of the most beautiful surroundings in the country. Tucked away amongst tall trees, gorgeous lakes and acres and acres of sprawling green fields, camp is the definition of natural beauty. When you’re here, you can really connect with nature and breathe in fresh Maine air.
The lake is a refreshing place to spend the summer, whether it’s fishing, swimming, stand up paddleboarding, waterskiing or sailing. The view of the lake changes throughout the day and gives off a different feeling depending on when you are. In the morning, the lake is a quiet and peaceful place to wake up to. In the afternoons, it’s an exciting water playground where campers jump, splash and play all day. And then in the evenings, the lake is a quiet and peaceful place to reflect and unwind. City kids may not get to experience such natural beauty in their everyday lives, making the beauty of camp even more special.
Waking up to a view of tall forest trees is a nice change for kids who are used to the hustle and bustle of a big city. The natural beauty of camp makes for the perfect backdrop to pictures that campers are sure to treasure forever. Waking up each morning and breathing in the crisp Maine air is good for the heart, mind, and soul!
Being immersed in the beauty of Maine is a welcome and unique experience. Spending the summer unplugged from technology, interacting with others and playing games fosters creativity. Once at home, campers have so many more options than their peers who are accustomed to spending long hours in front of the TV, computers and gaming systems. Campers are more apt to play outside with friends, building true relationships and getting exercise.
Camp exposes campers to things they normally wouldn’t see and experience back home. They learn to find excitement and joy in nature, and it awakens something in them that the city just can’t. Spending time outside has been proven to improve vision, encourage social skills, reduce stress and give kids the vitamin D that they need. Who knew spending all day outside at camp is actually good for kids?!
It seems like just yesterday we were greeting all of our campers. Today, we have hit the midway point of the session. We’ve had so many great times and still so much to look forward to.
We had a wonderful Arrival Day and Opening Ceremony…The 6th Grade Boys, Seventh & Eighth Graders had amazing overnight camping trips…The CIT’s had a blast White Water Rafting…Intercamp games and tournaments have been humming…Counselor Hunt remains an Evening Program favorite…Culinary Classes have satisfied our palates…Carnival was awesome…And we’re just getting started!
We have so much to look forward to in the two weeks to come. When Spirit Days will break is anyone’s guess…Moosebowl is coming up…Sixth Grade girls are going camping…our Eighth Graders will venture to North Conway…our incredible production of Shrek, the Musical is coming up…Funtown…the list goes on and on!
We’ve already had a great summer, and the best is yet to come!
Yesterday was a time for rekindling old friendships and forging new ones, high-fiving returning counselors and introducing ourselves to new staff members. We had our traditional Opening Night Cook Out before each campus broke off for their Evening Programs. Once back in the cabin, campers and counselors became better acquainted and began building the cabin family dynamic.
Today is Moose Stomp: a combination of administrative tasks (Health Checks, Pictures, Theater Auditions, etc.) along with fun Laurel South favorites (S’mores at the Outpost, Bumper Tubing on Crescent Lake, Snow Cones at the Downeast, etc.) By this time tomorrow, camp will be in full swing with programming, boats and skiers out on the lake, cheers from the ballfields, creativity in the Arts, the list goes on!
We say at camp the days are long because of all the fun we have, and the weeks are short because of how quickly it flies by. But one thing is for certain, we never take for granted the fun times we have, the memories we make or the understanding of how lucky we are to be here with each other!
Ah camp, with all its beautiful sounds — shining stars on a clear night, the whistle of the wind in the trees, the splashing of campers jumping in the lake — one thing you won’t hear: the gentle “ping” of Instagram notifications. A summer at camp means digital detox!
Depending on how technology-dependent a camper or counselor is, that’s either great news or serious cause for concern. Don’t worry — even if you miss checking Instagram every five seconds, you’re bound to benefit from a little analog “me-time”. After all, countless studies have shown that constant social media and internet exposure can have negative effects on things like concentration, memory and even basic happiness.
So here are a few tips for keeping sane without your phone in your pocket.
Keep a Journal
Journaling is your number-one weapon in the fight against digital withdrawal. People have been using journaling as a way of daily reflection long before Facebook’s “what’s on your mind” prompt or Twitter’s “What’s happening?” Think of it as a Facebook update for your future self.
Write Letters or Postcards
We often seem to forget that email isn’t the only way to keep in touch. Receiving a piece of snail mail in the mailbox brings a smile to anyone’s day. Just doodle a picture and throw in a “miss you!” on a postcard and drop it in the camp mail. Done!
Stay in the Moment
Staying in the moment is easier said than done. Being able to “quickly check Instagram” can turn your phone into a social crutch. Camp offers you a chance to let that bad habit go — and when you can’t look at your phone during down time, you’ll find yourself making real connections with the people around you. Next time you want to share “what’s on your mind,” try sharing your thoughts with a person instead of your Facebook.
Social media can be great and there’s a time and place for it; but you’ll be surprised at how great you feel when you take a little digital detox.