Staff Orientation has been amazing and the weather has been spectacular. With counselors now assigned to cabins, we are focused on learning all about our wonderful campers, learning the Laurel South culture, readying the cabins and program areas and bonding as a cohesive unit. Camp looks great. In fact, the only thing that could make it look better is the faces of 400 campers arriving this Thursday!!! We can’t wait to see you!
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.
Few people think of finding a summer job while bundled in scarves, coats, and gloves as they attempt to maneuver roadways and college campuses after the latest snowfall. However, whether 2011 is the first time you’re considering a summer camp position or you’re a seasoned veteran, February is exactly the time to start the process of securing summer employment, if you haven’t already done so. Many camps attend campus recruiting fairs in order to assemble the perfect staff. So why should you attend one of these fairs or complete an online application now? To begin with, a camp job is definitely fun, but also a lot of work…so be prepared! Where else can you get paid to play all day while building valuable job skills? Whether you work in a specific area and focus on a sport, activity or hobby you love or you work as a counselor who travels from activity to activity with campers, your day is full of exciting challenges and a probably even a few surprises, both of which will develop your problem-solving, critical thinking, and negotiation skills.
If you like working with children and aspire to a career in a field such as education, sports training, psychology or sociology, then you already have another reason to work at a camp. Camp is an excellent place to gain valuable experience and is impressive on a resume. Although camp seems lighthearted–and it is in many ways–working at camp requires a lot of responsibility, flexibility, and adaptability, all of which are very valuable characteristics sought by employers. Each day guarantees new challenges, many of them unexpected. Summer camp is often organized chaos. Yes, there is always a plan in place, but the unexpected is also inevitable. While this may seem scary the first couple days, it also brings an excitement and satisfaction that delivering pizzas or serving food (or even working at an investment bank) never could. Working at camp also requires a lot of communication and interpersonal interaction, two more transferrable skills that are highly valued by employers. At camp, you must effectively co-exist with your campers, co-counselors, and other staff members to be successful. You will also be able to tell future employers that you worked with people from all over the world and from many different socio-economic backgrounds. That you’ve overcome cultural, language, and social obstacles with others tells recruiters that diversity is not something you fear, but rather embrace.
Working at summer camp can also be very healthy for your bank account. You won’t become Donald Trump spending your summers at camp. However; camps provide housing and food in addition to a salary. It’s possible to live virtually expense-free for a couple of months. Many summer camp counselors take home all or most of their salaries at the end of the summer.
Finally, you will form lifelong friendships at camp. You may arrive alone and nervous in June, but you will leave in August with literally hundreds of friends from all over the world. Two months may not seem like a long time, but when one lives and works in close proximity with co-workers, it’s more than sufficient to form bonds that ordinarily would take years. There are always tears on the last day of camp, not only when saying goodbye to your campers, who will have secured a special place in your heart forever, but to co-workers—the ones you know you will see again as well as the ones you know you will not. Regardless, the world will seem like a much smaller place to you.
Though it may seem early to begin planning such a special adventure with so many possibilities, building a successful camp staff not only requires individuals who possess all of the qualities previously mentioned, it requires finding the right mix of personalities and talents. Such an endeavor, of course, takes time. Camp recruiters review literally thousands of applications each year and speak with hundreds of candidates to find those who are the best fit for their camp’s atmosphere, philosophy, and program. Starting your job search while the ground is still white and the tree branches still bare provides you with the advantage of a larger pool of positions from which to choose. By April, most camps have nearly completed their hiring and only difficult to fill or highly specialized roles remain.
So, after a winter of wading through piles of snow, are you ready for a summer full of adventure?
How would you describe the essential elements of a summer camp? Do the adventures of spending days with peers, learning new skills, trying new activities, bonfires and skits, great counselors— all the fun of the whole experience— first come to mind? These are definitely important elements of summer camp from a camper’s perspective, but there are a lot of other elements that have to be in place for a camp to be successful year after year. Have you ever wondered what it takes to set the scene and develop communities where good times can take place? I have.
The camp experience is part of the heritage and culture of the United States, and for generations, American families have sent their children to camp—about 10 million children last year alone! As you can guess, each camp has it’s own story and distinct cultural and physical environment, so each camp experience is unique.
The ACA is the professional organization that educates camp owners and directors in the administration of key aspects of camp operation, program quality, and the health and safety of campers and staff. The ACA also establishes guidelines for policies, procedures, and practices when running a camp. Each year, camp professionals gather for a national conference to discuss their work. Last year’s conference title alone, 20/20 Toolbox: Tomorrow’s Camps, Today’s Realities
The staff at Camp Laurel South works all year to make sure that facilities are maintained and prepared for when camp is in session. There are so many details to take care of— from making sure that buildings are cared for, to improving camp facilities, adding or updating equipment and ensuring that health and safety codes are met. Camp owners and managers also have to keep up with changing demographics and expectations from their clientele. So long before campers arrive, camp staff are learning about new practices, meeting up to date regulations, putting current ideas into practice and working towards providing the best of the best.
There are activities and events to plan, qualified counselors to recruit, ideas for even more fun than last year to implement and new campers to meet around the country. As camper’s needs and tastes change over the years, camp staff are dedicated to making each year as special as the last–and while traditions are an important part of camp life there is lots of room for fresh programs too.
Here’s some of what’s happening at Camp Laurel South. . .and what’s new for 2011. First things first. After the addition of a ten court Tennis Complex in 2010, and new Dining Hall and Kitchen in 2009, all the sports fields have been lighted for 2011 so campers can play games (Soccer, Basketball, Football and more) after the sun goes down. Laurel South has also upgraded its watercraft fleet with two brand new Mastercraft Pro Star 197 Championship Tour Ski Boats and a brand new 16-Person San Pan Fishing Pontoon Boat. Guess what – we also underground irrigated all our lawns and fields so we’ll be Laurel South Green all summer long!
How fast time passes when you’re having an amazing time! Wednesday evening, we were all captivated by the sensational performance of Grease! It was unbelievable! We can’t wait to watch our campers in Beauty and the Beast tonight!! Yesterday was our final “S” Day of the session and everyone had an awesome day at Funtown. Today and tomorrow are our final program days of the session and we have some incredible culminating activities planned: our 5th Graders day trip…Dance and Gymnastics shows…the Zip Line and Giant Swing at Adventure…the action goes on and on. Soon we’ll have our Final Banquet and Council Fire before Monday’s departure. We look forward to the next few days together…and the beginning of the countdown to Laurel South 2011!
It seemed like any other Friday lunch…campers were intermingling with friends, siblings and counselors when all of a sudden came a thunderous roar of cheers and songs as our incredible CIT group kicked of Spirit Days 2010. For the next day and a half, the Blue Wizards and Green Dragons competed on the ball fields and in the lake, with athletic prowess and an unending supply of team spirit. Just before lunch on Saturday, our CIT’s competed in the Chaos obstacle course while the entire camp cheered them on. After lunch was the Great Moose Relay as every camper competed in a single event. At our closing ceremony, the judges, known as Yellow Jackets, were amazed at the cheers, songs and plaques presented by each squad. At the end of the day, the final score didn’t matter as we once again united as one Laurel South family. Sunday morning, we received a well deserved rest, as we rose a little later and had an elective morning with bumper tubing, tennis, nature, climbing and more all available for our campers before our regular “B” day afternoon. Yesterday the entire camp took off for a spectacular day at Canobie Lake, where we enjoyed the rides, food, and, most importantly, time with our friends. It’s always action-packed at Laurel South. What a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!!
How quickly a week can fly by at camp! The Laurel South program is in full swing…the Ball Fields, Waterfront, Theater, Arts and Crafts Studios and Riding Rings are all abuzz with activity. Intercamp games and tournaments are in full swing. Our 8th and 9th graders returned from their Acadia and White Water trips. Saco and Kineo had an amazing day at Splashtown…our 7th graders had a blast at Sparetime…and our Baxter and Allagash Beach Party was truly one for the ages! The weather has been beautiful, and the fun never ends at Laurel South!
It’s been an amazing first week at Camp Laurel South! We have completed our first two “A” and “B” Days, and today is our first “S” day. Our 8th and 9th Graders are heading to Acadia National Park and Adventure Bound for White Water rafting!! The rest of camp will have a later wake up followed by our incredible “S” day breakfast of chocolate chip, M&M or blueberry pancakes, scones and cheese omelets. Saco and Kineo campers are off to Splashtown Water Park while our Allagash and Baxter campers will enjoy a cool beach party on Crescent Lake. Not to be left out, our 7th graders will head off to Sparetime for an afternoon of bowling. Tomorrow we will be back into regular program — baseball, basketball, tennis, waterskiing, archery, ceramics, horseback riding and so much more – and our 8th and 9th graders will be back with their summer family. The schedule is packed full of fun. Intercamp games and tournaments are in full swing, and the fun is non-stop in Casco!!
First Session was an amazing success, and just like that, Second Session has arrived!!! We had an incredible opening day as the staff enthusiastically welcomed our Second Session campers. Old friendships were rekindled and new ones began as the Laurel South family finally gathered as one. Today was our annual Moose Stomp Day…schedules were created…s’mores were devoured…we bumper-tubed on Crescent Lake…and we concluded our day with our Council Fire celebrating fun and friendship. Tomorrow, full activity and program will begin. The ballfields, courts, waterfront, theater and Challenge Course will come alive with activity. The fun and excitement has just begun at Laurel South!
How fast time passes when you’re having an amazing time! Wednesday evening, we were all captivated by the sensational performance of Beauty and the Beast, and we can’t wait to watch our campers in Grease tonight! Yesterday was our final “S” Day of the session…everyone had an awesome day at Funtown…going on exciting rides like Dragon’s Descent, playing games to win prizes, eating treats and enjoying time with their friends. Today and tomorrow are our final program days of the session and what incredible culminating activities are planned: Dance and Gymnastics shows, the Zip Line and Giant Swing at Adventure…5th Grade Day Trip…the action goes on and on. Soon we’ll have our final Banquet and Council Fire before Monday’s Departure Day…we can’t wait to meet the many families joining us on that special day, and we don’t look at it as the end of the session, but rather as the beginning of the countdown to Laurel South summer of 2011!