Camp Laurel South is located near Portland, Maine in the heart of the Sebago Lakes Region. Its 150 unspoiled acres include woodlands, sports fields and open lawns. The camp’s 2500 feet of private shoreline along sparkling Crescent Lake features a magnificent natural sandy beach and access to more than 3 miles of exceptionally clear waters. The area is famous for warm, sunny days and comfortable nights and boasts 50 lakes within a 25 mile radius. Its location in the southern part of Maine makes Laurel South a most inviting summer retreat for campers and counselors alike.
Our campers come from all over the United States. While our largest groups come from the Northeast, South Florida, and California, campers join us from about 25 states each summer. We also have some international campers who travel from Europe, Canada, Asia, Central America and South America.
Our staff is made up mostly of college students, young teachers and coaches from throughout the United States. A few of our counselors come from abroad.
Our counselors are hired for two separate yet equally important tasks: cabin counselor and activity specialist.
In the cabin, counselors work with two or three co-counselors to oversee the physical and emotional well-being of the campers. The counselor spends a great deal of time with the children in the cabin: wake up, clean up, meal times, rest hour, evening programs and night-time routines are all great times to form long lasting bonds with campers. Each age group is overseen by Campus Leaders who are an important resource to help make the counselor as successful as possible.
Cabin counselors also work 6 periods a day in their specialty area: Athletics, Theater, Adventure, Waterfront, Tennis, Inter-Arts, etc. Since campers have individualized schedules, children attend activities in which they have an interest. Having a roster of eager, motivated campers makes the activity more enjoyable for the counselor. At the activity area, counselors are supervised by an Area Director who develops curriculum and supervises instruction. Saco and Kineo Specialists work more as “General Counselors” with our youngest boys and girls who require a more constant presence as they travel through the day from activity to activity. This provides a wonderful opportunity for counselors who love being and working with younger children, ages 7-10.
Our campers are extremely diverse; some are very athletic, participating in team sports all year long, while others are less competitive. Athletic activity periods focus on fostering a love for the game as well as basic tools needed to be successful. We also offer intercamp competition on a daily basis for campers in all age groups. We do not cut players or have an “A” team and “B” team. Any camper who would like to be a part of the team is welcome. Everyone on the team plays. Regardless of the final score, we play with great effort and sportsmanship.
Our campers are broken into six groups based on age and gender:
|Completed grades 2-4
|Completed grades 2-4
|Completed grades 5-6
|Completed grades 5-6
|Completed grades 7-9
|Completed grades 7-9
Each of these groups is supervised by a Campus Leader.
All of our counselors live with children in cabins. The cabins are comfortable and have electricity. Most cabins are bathroom equipped. Those that are not are steps away from a shower house. A typical cabin holds 8-12 campers with 3-4 counselors. All other staff live in either a private room with a bathroom or in cabins with other staff members.
Ignore the stereotypes you may have heard about camp food. The food at Laurel South is incredible! We have extensive salad bars, fruit available at every meal, potato or pasta bar at dinner, a hot vegetarian alternative at dinner and variety at most meals. Our chefs are experienced and take great pride in their homemade soups and desserts. Most campers and staff leave camp raving about the food.
Our campers are from predominately Jewish homes, but campers from all religions and faiths are welcome. Camp does not have religious services and the program is not geared toward any religion.
Boys and girls are housed on separate sides of the camp. Boys are never allowed in girls’ cabins and vice versa. This allows our campers to have an area where “boys can be boys” and “girls can be girls.” Our activity periods are age and gender appropriate. Athletics, for example, are single-sex. Activities such as Theater or the Arts are co-ed. We strive for a familial, wholesome environment for both campers and staff, free from many of the social pressures that affect children during the year.
Each camp day is unique, but there is a good deal of regularity to our daily schedule. The campers choose their individualized schedules on the first morning, and by the second day, we are into our activity periods. Below is a thumbnail portrait of a typical day:
Following wake-up and breakfast, campers and counselors return to the cabin for a brief clean up.
After clean up, everyone joins their campus for a morning “Cove,” a camp gathering of announcements of the day. From Cove, counselors will report to their activity area where they will teach 3 separate activity periods.
When the 3rd period is done, we have a buffet lunch followed by Rest Hour. The counselor who is on duty for the day will supervise the cabin group. Those who are not on duty can spend time with friends, play some organized sports or just relax.
After Rest Hour, counselors teach their regular 4th and 5th period activities. After 5th period, there is an elective period, called I.C. (individual choice) for all campers. Once I.C. ends, everyone goes back to the cabin to wash up for dinner.
Before dinner, the entire camp gathers for Evening Cove. This is a meeting of the entire camp family to sing, cheer, and talk about the events of the day. From Cove, we go straight into dinner.
After dinner, we have an evening program. This can vary from a single group getting together to play a fun game to a full camp activity such as a Theater performance or Council Fire. After the evening program, everyone heads back to the cabin to prepare for bed. Consistent, thoughtful evening routines are extremely helpful to the counselors. Once the cabin is settled, the on duty counselor stays with the group. Those counselors who are not on duty are free for the evening, but must sign in and be in their cabins no later than 1:00 A.M.
Our salary is based on age and year in school for our counselor staff. In addition to salary and travel allowance, staff members are provided with free room and board as well as 9 staff shirts and 1 sweatshirt.
We know that counselors need time off to take care of themselves and recharge their batteries in order to be effective. Each counselor will be scheduled to be on duty, after lights out, a couple nights each week. When a counselor is not on duty, he/she is free during Rest Hour to relax with friends, nap, read a book, etc. In the evenings, counselors not on duty may leave camp from around 10:00 P.M. until 1:00 A.M. when they must sign in and return to their cabin. For staff not on duty, but choose not to leave camp, we have a staff lounge with snack bar, ping-pong and large screen T.V. The lounge also has WiFi and a few computers for staff.
Staff shirts must be worn each day until evening Cove. Personal appearance is important. We ask that you wear clothing appropriate for your activity area. Sandals or flip-flops are not appropriate for teaching athletics. Piercing on body parts other than the ear must be removed prior to camp. Counselors must cover up any visible tattoos. We ask that staff not alter their hair color during the course of the summer.
We are happy to say that many of our staff return annually. Many recommend camp to friends or siblings who come to camp the following summer. We are also proud to say that our camper return rate is about 90 percent.
We often say that being a camp counselor is the toughest job you’ll ever love. The safety and well-being of our campers is our primary focus at all times. That being said, being a counselor can be an incredibly rewarding pursuit. The bonds you form with campers and fellow staff members can’t be justly described. If this still sounds interesting to you, please give this information careful consideration and submit an online application by clicking on “Apply Now”. We will contact you about the availability of a position and arrange a personal interview or telephone conference about becoming part of the Laurel South family.