Things are off to a wonderful start in Casco this session! We’re almost a week in now, and having a ton of fun! From the Dining Hall to Cove, the Stables to the Waterfront, the Ballfields to the Arts Studios, the sounds of campers laughing and cheering fills the air!
Pod Programming has been amazing – as campers and staff have enjoyed activities as a grade, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Some of our favorite traditional Laurel South activities are coming up soon including Counselor Hunt tonight and Drive-In Movie tomorrow! We all have so much to look forward to moving ahead: CIT/LIT White Water Rafting, Katahdin Cup and Moose Bowl, Beauty and the Beast and Wizard of Oz…the list goes on and on!
We’ll keep you updated throughout the coming weeks of all the goings on at Laurel South. Until then, just know that it is and always will be a beautiful day in the state of Maine!!
How quickly a summer flies by! On Sunday, we bid farewell to our incredible First Session campers. We had such an amazing summer together and can’t wait to see them next year!
But life moves pretty quickly around here, and before we knew it, we were gearing up for our awesome Second Session arrival! What a great day we had…greeting friends (old and new), bonding with counselors, and getting to know each other. We’re off to another incredible start!
Yesterday was Moose Stomp Day, and we loved the S’mores and snow cones and (of course) Bumper Tubing on Crescent Lake…followed in the evening by our Opening Ceremonies Council Fire. Today we began our pod schedule where we travel to all of our programs and activities in grade pods, getting to know everyone in our age group, not just in our cabin. We hope to successfully resume our regular, guided-choice scheduling in the near future.
We’ll keep you updated on all of the goings-on in Casco in future blogs. Until then, please know that it is a beautiful day in the state of Maine today…and every day!
As each summer ends, we tell ourselves not to be sad the current summer ended, but rather to be excited because the countdown to next summer has officially begun. And while it may seem like yesterday we bade farewell to our summer home, it’s with incredible excitement we say: “Welcome to Laurel South Summer 2019!”
From the back-to-school days of the fall, through Thanksgiving and the Winter holidays…from the turning of the calendar to the flowers blooming in Spring…from arriving at Pre-Camp to Staff Orientation…the excitement and enthusiasm builds to a crescendo that culminates today with the arrival of 400 of the greatest campers in the world!
Our staff had an amazingly fun and productive Orientation week, and they’re thrilled to welcome our campers from 27 states and 17 countries! For the next 3 ½ weeks, we’ll have a ball. From the ballfields to the waterfront, equestrian center to the theater, adventure to arts, out camp family will have the opportunity to form friendships and create memories that will last a lifetime. We’ll unplug in one of the most beautiful settings.
We’ll blog all summer to keep you current on all the fun in Maine. As Roger frequently says: “It’s a beautiful day in the state of Maine today!”
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!!
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!
How 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.
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!!!
Since before the training wheels were even taken off of my bike, I’ve been playing sports. My older brothers were all exceptional athletes which put a lot of pressure on me; I was constantly being compared to them and thus was always being pushed to run faster, train harder and jump higher. There was a lot of emphasis put on being the best. I won plenty of medals and trophies and was considered an MVP in most sports I played. I loved playing, but more than that, I loved winning. I lived for that feeling. I would do whatever it took to be on top and wouldn’t enjoy myself if I wasn’t the champion. Then I went to camp.
When I stepped on the camp fields for the first time I began with my usual intensity. It took a second for me to realize just how different the environment was from what I was used to. Usually I’d look around before a game and see serious, intense faces. At camp, I instead saw smiling, happy ones. I realized that while I played to win, my fellow campers had different motives. They enjoyed winning, but they played to learn something new, push themselves and spend an hour doing something they loved. They helped show me there’s a difference between friendly competition and unhealthy competition.
My competitive spirit came solely from winning and being the best. I learned that healthy competitiveness comes from improving and being your best self. Instead of being in competition with others, I began competing with my past self. This allowed me to focus on the skills I needed to improve on while still enjoying the game. When you can walk away from a sport and still have had a great time, win or lose, you’re a winner.
When I got home, I took what I learned and applied it to my sports teams. It was difficult for my dad to learn to calm down, stay quiet and stop focusing solely on winning, but when he saw how much happier I was and how much I improved, he started to come around.
I’m so thankful for Camp Laurel South and how they taught me to be a compassionate, helpful and less stressed athlete and person.
When you hear the word “camp,” you probably think of three things right away: campfires, friendship and the outdoors.
Without any of these essential elements, camp just wouldn’t be the same. Spending much-needed time in nature is what brings many of us back year after year, so it’s no surprise that hiking in the natural areas around Camp Laurel South is a very popular activity each summer.
There’s nothing like fresh air to remind us of the things that matter in life.
The Healing Power of Nature
Did you know the average person only walks half as much as doctors recommend for a healthy lifestyle?
In today’s world this is especially true; between smartphones and tablets, time spent outdoors is seriously dwindling. But hiking isn’t just a serious workout. It is a way for campers and counselors to soak in the sun, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy each other’s company. Without realizing it, they are improving their physical, emotional and mental health – all while having fun in the process!
The Journey is the Destination
In the high-energy world of camp activities, hiking is the perfect opportunity to slow down. While the summit may be spectacular, the best part of hiking is the camaraderie and togetherness of tackling the trail. Campers have the chance to get to know one another and to experience the outdoors with people they enjoy.
Life is like a trail, and every journey begins with a single step. Whatever your dream may be, it’s waiting for you at the top of the mountain. The journey may be long… but there’s no reason to make it alone. Stick with your camp friends and you’ll be there before you know it!
1. You Want to Play Outside No Matter the Weather The rain-or-shine attitude is something that sets campers apart. Whether you are going rock climbing or waterskiing, you sure aren’t going to miss out on the time of your life because of a little liquid sunshine!!
2. You Always Want to Work as a Team Summer camp is a crash-course in teamwork and quickly turns even those with “quieter” personalities into leaders and team players. From meals to playtime to campfires, campers do everything together and quickly discover that the more you collaborate, the more fun you can have.
3. You’re Always Singing and Clowning Around You can take the camper out of camp, but you can never take the camp songs out of the camper. Repeat-after-me melodies are a tradition as old as camp itself that turn goofy rhymes into songs that get stuck in your head forever…for counselors and campers alike. 4. You Don’t Mind Getting a Little Dirty Summer camp is all about having fun in the great outdoors, and that means running around in the woods, jumping in the lake and getting grass stains on your jeans. Especially for campers coming from the big city, getting comfortable with mud, bugs and insects means getting out of your comfort zone… and having a blast while doing so.
5. You Get Along with People Who are Different than You Diversity is strength, and camp is one of the most diverse places around. You never know who’s going to be in your age group, and no matter where everyone comes from, you all have to work together both in and out of activities.
6. You Love to Send “Snail-Mail” Just like the owl post over breakfast in Harry Potter, mail time at camp is exciting for everyone! Parents love getting updates from camp, and campers love getting a little piece of home. In a world where paper is being used less and less, there’s nothing like getting a post card in the winter from your best camp friend.
7. You Know How to Start a Fire (and Roast a Perfect Marshmallow!) Not everyone knows how to start a fire in the digital era, but as a camper you know a thing or two about getting that tinder to snap, crackle and pop. Chances are you even have a great campfire story and know a thing or two about crafting the perfect s’more!
8. You Want to Be a Counselor When You “Grow Up” The number one sign of a lifelong camper is when you’ve been going to camp for so many seasons that you become too old to be a camper — so you become a counselor! Being a camp counselor is one of the best jobs in the world and a chance to share all your years of camp wisdom with the next generation. You’re more than just a camper…you’re a role model!
You know that “first day of school” feeling? I’m sure you do. Some people love it while others find it quite scary. The chance to explore a new place, try new things, and make new friends can be simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying.
How about that “first day of camp” feeling? I’m going to be honest with you, I was a shy kid, and the first day of camp I was worried. So many new faces! So many new activities! You mean we’re staying here for three-and-a-half weeks?!
Making Friends at Camp is Easy
Well, it turned out my fears were completely unfounded; I quickly learned that it’s practically impossible not to make new friends at camp. From the team games to the intimate campfire circles, sticking to yourself isn’t really an option. There are no TV shows or computer games to distract or isolate you!
But camp doesn’t just teach you how to make friends; it teaches you how to keep them.
Learning to Be a Good Friend
Summer camp is a crash course in socializing. Spending weeks together with the same group teaches campers how to interact with each other in ways that you can’t really learn at school. You aren’t just playing games at camp; you’re learning how to live communally. That means sharing, communicating, and understanding different perspectives. In a sense, camp helps teach kids to be a good friend to their peers.
Learning to be a good friend means learning to give as much as you take. Everyone has rough days, and camp is no exception. Cheering up a friend who doesn’t feel like playing games or joining in the campfire can be tough, but every camper does it. Why? Because they know that their camp friends would gladly lend them the same support.
Friends that Last Forever
The camp experience is as intense as it is fleeting. Similar experiences don’t come around often, so it’s no surprise that campers often become life-long friends. When you find yourself missing summer, your camp friends are always there to remind you that you aren’t alone. Only someone who was there with you can truly understand what the nostalgia is all about — it’s an experience that links you forever.
The one sad part about camp friendships is that when camp is over, you have to say goodbye. While goodbyes may be tough, next summer is always right around the corner!