Camp Laurel South Blog

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We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do…

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!

The Beauty of Camp

cover-photo-7 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.

social-media-8Waking 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?!

Where I Go All Summer and Why I Look so Happy When I Come Back

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?

Way Too Quiet

LS 1It seems like just yesterday we arrived in Maine, waiting for our Pre-Camp group to arrive and to start setting up for the summer.  In the blink of an eye, we have said our goodbyes to the greatest campers and finest staff anywhere.

We had such an amazing summer!  To our staff: Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.  To our families: Thank you for allowing us to spend 3 1/2 weeks with your wonderful children.  Please know that we recognize the tremendous leap of faith on your part and strive every day to earn the your trust.  And to our Campers: You are the reason we do what we do.  Seeing your smiling faces and listening to your laughter all summer fills our hearts with joy that we can’t sufficiently describe.  LS 2To our amazing CIT’s: Watching you grow through the years and become the fine young men and women who set the tone for all of our campers is incredible. You were a wonderful group, and you will truly be missed.  Please keep in touch, and we can’t wait to have many of you join our staff in the years to come.

And while we are sad the summer of 2016 has come to an end, the memories we made will last a lifetime.  We are pumped the countdown to Summer 2017 is now on!  Oh, what a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!

Down the Stretch They Come

Blog Photo 2 Just a precious few days remain in the summer of 2016 and we’re taking full advantage of every opportunity.

Yesterday we had an amazing time at Funtown! Between the rides, games, food, fun and friendship, our Final “S” Day was awesome. Today and tomorrow are our last two program days of the season.  All of the culminating activities will cap off another incredible summer. We’re so excited for tonight’s performance of Shrek, the Musical. The campers and staff have been working so hard, and we can’t wait to see these all camp productions. Tomorrow is Final Banquet, when we will feast on steak, lobster or vegetarian lasagna. The banquet is followed by our Final Social. Sunday night is our Closing Ceremonies, when songs will be sung, laughter will ring and a tear or two will be shed.Blog Photo 1

Monday is Departure Day. We can’t wait to see and hear the stories as families are reunited. While it always saddens us to say goodbye, we’re excited that the countdown to the summer of 2017 will officially begin!

One Week Left

Blog phot 2It’s hard to believe that we’re down to the final week of the 2016 camp season. A lot has happened since our last post. The 8th Graders had an incredible trip to North Conway, the 6th Grade girls had their own amazing overnight camping trip, Roger had a fabulous time at dinner in Naples with the 7 Year Club, and the 5 Year Club enjoyed their movie morning!

There may be little time left, but there is no shortage of excitement on the horizon! We’re eagerly anticipating Moose Bowl tonight. The idea to take a simple flag football game for our Rangeley boys and turn it into an all camp spectacle has grown every year. From the Blog Photo 3tailgate cook-out dinner, to the campers singing the National Anthem (ending with campers firing rockets into the air), the halftime show performed by our amazing camper dances, the tee-shirt slingshot, the cheering…it has truly become a Laurel South favorite! Our thespians have been working hard for Friday’s performance of  Shrek, the Musical. And we still await Funtown, Final Banquet and all of our culminating activities.

The fun, friendship and excitement will carry on!

At the Midway Point

UnknownIt 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!

Unknown-1We 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!

Let the Good Times Roll!

Blog Photo 1 What an amazing beginning to the 2016 season we’ve had! After an awesome Arrival and Moose Stomp Day, we began our normal “A” and “B” Program Days on Saturday. All around camp – from the Ballfields to the Waterfront, the Culinary Center to the Riding Arenas…the sounds of campers cheering, singing and laughing fills the air!

This morning, our 8th Grade campers took off for Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. At the same time, our outstanding group of CIT’s head out to white-water raft on the Kennebec River. These 3 day, 2 night trips offer our campers a chance to see some of Maine’s (and our nation’s) most beautiful destinations. While we will miss them greatly, we can’t wait to hear the stories about all of the good times they had!

Blog Photo 2Everyone’s excited for their first “S” Day of the session tomorrow! Each group has their own thrilling trip planned — a perfect day for a break as we complete our first week together.

We may have just begun, but the good times are already rolling in Casco!!!

Just a Week Left

Blog Photo 1How quickly a session can fly by? It seems like yesterday we were greeting our campers, creating our schedules and starting First Session. In what seems like the blink of an eye, we enter our final week. We’ve shared so many good times and created so many memories, but the final week has much more in store!

The 5-Year Club enjoyed their special morning trip this week. We also brought in a professional Fly Fishing instructor to teach advanced lessons for those who had already done the beginner’s course at LL Bean. We aim to be a top Fly Fishing destination for campers who want to learn and perfect their craft! The 8th Graders spent an amazing two days in beautiful North Conway, New Hampshire. They had a blast! Intercamp games and tournaments allowed our campers to compete against friends from our neighboring camps. Last night was another awesome Council Fire. And the list goes on and on.Blog Photo 2

Everyone is pumped for the 6th Annual Moose Bowl this evening. We still have our all-camp trip to Funtown on the horizon. Before you know it, we’ll have our Final Banquet, Final Social, Final Council Fire and complete our First Session.

While we’re sad to see the session starting to come to an end, we’ll be forever grateful for the memories made, friendships built and all of the wonderful times we have spent together!!!

Spirit Days 2016!

Unknown-1Wednesday 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.Unknown

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.

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