Halloween is a blast every fall, and we’re sure our campers loved celebrating last week. Who doesn’t like expressing themselves with a wacky costume? At Camp Laurel South we’re fortunate to have so many opportunities to do just that. Camp is always encouraging creativity through crazy hair, stage make up or ridiculous outfits.
Our favorites include the Blue and Green everywhere for Laurel South Spirit Day, Team Day, Camo Day and the patriotic madness on the 4th of July. But those are just the beginning!
Counselors often shake it up with themes for Socials or Saco/Kineo IC periods. Evening programs such as Looneyville, Gold Rush and Where’s Waldo often incorporate costumes or themed ideas. And, of course, the entire camp shows off their Moose Bowl Spirit by dressing in Black to support the Black Bears or Red to show their allegiance to the Rattle Snakes.
The best part of dressing up isn’t always being out and about, but the enthusiasm for planning costumes back in the cabin with your closest friends. Camp is a reminder that you’re never too old and never too cool to dress up and be excited for what’s ahead, and that’s an important lesson for everyone!
Can it really be that we are still in the first week? You would never guess that by walking around camp and seeing all the action!
With schedules set, we’ve completed our first “A” Day and “B” Day rotation. How wonderful it is to witness all the action at the Waterfront, in the Theater, on the Ballfields and Courts, at the EquestrianCenter, in the Arts Studio…and did we mention the delicious aroma coming from the Culinary Center?
Intercamp Games and Tournaments have begun. And our 6th grade boys set the tone for our overnight trips, venturing to Mt. Blue. Today our CITs and 8th graders departed on their exciting trips: CITs on their way to conquer the rapids as they raft the Kennebec River. The 8th graders headed to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor! Wednesday is our first “S” Day! After our special S Day breakfast, each group will set off on their own amazing trips!
Each day is packed with fun and excitement at Laurel South, and we can’t wait to keep you updated in future blogs. Until then, rest assured that it will always be a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!
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.”
As the school year progresses, college students are faced with the question of where to work and what to do during the summer. While acquiring an internship can give you experience in your respective field of work, the benefits of working as a camp counselor are too large to ignore. For eight weeks, you’re working in a fast-paced environment with people from all different backgrounds. These eight weeks present rewards, challenges and an ability to maximize skills you may have never realized you had.
Living in a cabin day-in and day-out with campers and co-counselors is a unique experience. As a camp counselor, you’re presented with the task of nurturing each individual camper in order to establish strong relationships and ensure a safe and fun environment for all. The ability to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each individual is a valuable skill in any profession.
The environment at camp allows counselors to discover the best version of themselves. This environment of acceptance fosters the development of each counselor’s confidence and skill set. With higher confidence comes clearer decision making, better communication and stronger performance in many areas of life.
At camp, you’re both a coach and a mentor to the campers in your cabin, but also to the rest of the children at camp. Camp transforms counselors into leaders with the drive to be successful. The confidence established at camp can be carried over to all aspects of life; from going on a job interview to giving a presentation to your boss — having confidence allows for the highest success rate.
Team Building and Problem Solving
Working with co-counselors teaches valuable lessons both in teamwork and problem-solving. Although your co-counselors are close to your age, each individual possesses their own unique skill set. This diversity presents the opportunity for understanding and appreciating different cultures, working with varied experience levels and finding a common ground to resolve conflicts and effectively problem-solve..
Becoming a Leader
The combination of the skills learned as a camp counselor include communication, problem-solving, flexibility, individuality and confidence, all of which are key factors in being successful in any workplace. When faced with the decision to apply for an internship or a counselor at a sleepaway camp, take into consideration that in just eight weeks, skills will be developed that are beneficial for life.
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!
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?!
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?
It 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. To 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!!!
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.
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!