The Camp Starlight Staff assembled for the first time at the flagpole on Sunday morning to kick off a record summer with the start of the week long staff orientation. A morning of introductions and icebreakers, including a duct tape challenge, helped introduce the 240+ staff members from around the world to each other and Camp Starlight. An afternoon of meetings and sessions was capped by an indoor campfire and welcome party! Everyone is enthusiastic and excited for the campers to in SIX more days!
June 17th, 2013
June 12th, 2013
There is something about returning to camp every summer. It starts on the drive, during which you mark the distance with landmarks rather than mile markers. There are the small markets, the diners, the signs for points of interest that tell you that you’re that much closer to being “there.” The second you see Alice’s Cow Palace, you glance to the side, looking for the sign for Starlight Lake Road. You turn and begin winding up the hill, anticipating that sharp turn and wondering if this road was this long last summer. It had to be, of course, but it’s these little details that you forget over the winter and which come back to you every summer almost the instant you spot the Camp Starlight sign.
As you drive up the camp road, it’s hard to look in any direction other than left, as you anticipate that first glimpse of Alumni Field. You wonder what has changed as you round the bend and see the “Welcome” sign at the foot of the staff parking lot. Inevitably something has changed, you tell yourself, for the better no doubt. This place just keeps getting better and better! Then you see the rink, the basketball courts, and the tennis courts. You catch a sparkle of water off the lake from just beyond boys camp through your peripheral vision and you realize that, whatever has changed, some things always stay the same—and that’s what you love so much about Camp Starlight. There is something about arriving on the Starlight campus for the first time, whether it’s the first time you’ve ever seen it or just the first time for the current summer, that transports you to another place. It truly is a unique and magical world that exists only within itself.
You unpack for another summer and settle back into the camp routine and wonder what fun surprises await you over the next couple of months. What new friends will you meet this year? What memories will you take away with you? You begin forming your bucket list for the summer, the accomplishments you want to remember years from now when you recall your summer of 2013 at Camp Starlight. You take yourself on a tour of campus, checking out the old and the new, and realize that ten months feels like ten minutes. It’s as if you haven’t really been gone at all.
June 10th, 2013
The sun was high and bright over Camp Starlight during Visiting Day yesterday, and the campus was teeming with a crew of enthusiastic new campers and their families. Everyone started gathering in front of the Office early in the morning. The day officially kicked off with a welcome brunch followed by games. Then an exciting scavenger hunt ensued that took campers all over the Starlight campus as they got to learn the lay of the land. Later, new campers got to enjoy their very first option period. It was hard to believe the day was already almost over when everyone sat down to an indoor cookout. Following the meal, everyone said their farewells for now and departed. It was sad to see everyone leave so soon, but after a day of getting to know the newest members of the Camp Starlight family, we’re even more excited for June 23rd to get here!
May 30th, 2013
You start almost every sentence with, ‘When I get to camp…’
An area in your room has been designated as the gathering place for things you intend to take to camp—and the collection is starting to grow rather large.
You find yourself imagining that moment on arrival day when you step off the bus and your camp friends come running toward you
You’ve pulled your camp trunk out of its winter storage location.
You’ve already started your visiting day treat list.
You and your camp friends have started speculating about the names of this year’s Olympic teams…and whether this year you will be wearing blue or white during Olympic week.
You and your camp friends have already started wagering about what this year’s camp songs will be.
You’ve started a mental “to do” list for the summer.
Staff has already started arriving at camp for the summer.
You chant Dining Room cheers at the kitchen table.
While reading this, you mentally tried to calculate how many more days there are until camp starts (24) because you can’t wait.
May 26th, 2013
You’ve accepted the position and completed the paperwork. It’s official! You’re about to spend your first summer as a camp counselor. Naturally, a lot of people experience a few nerves in the days leading up to camp. After all, even when you’re a grown adult, leaving behind your family and friends to spend the summer in a strange place is a big deal, especially if you’ve never been away from home for an extended period of time before. If you didn’t attend summer camp as a child, working at summer camp holds even more mystique because you’re not sure what to expect. If first time counselor nerves are haunting you, don’t be so quick to call up and accept that unpaid internship filing paperwork in a stuffy office all summer and, for goodness sake, don’t accept that job at the hot dog stand in the local park. Instead, follow these tips to kick your summer into gear now:
1.) Relax! You are NOT the only first time staff member coming to camp. If you know no oneelse going to camp or have never been to camp, that understandably may be a pretty difficult concept to wrap your head around right now. But trust us! When you get to camp, you will be in good company. If you’re feeling a little bit lonely when you first arrive, don’t panic and automatically assume you’ve made a mistake. The majority of people who tend to be drawn to work at camp typically have laid back, easy going and open personalities with an extraverted bend toward making new friends. Chances are that after your camp’s staff orientation period, you’ll have several new friends for life and wonder why you ever even doubted coming to camp.
2.) Like your camp’s Facebook page and staff Facebook page if it has one. Social media has arrived and most summer campsare completely aware that the easiest and most effective way to communicate with their camp staff is through means such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By liking your camp’s pages, you can make friends before camp, pick up a lot of useful tips, and even possibly connect with a rideshare if you’re looking for a way to get to camp. Most summer camps also now feature regular blogs. It’s a good idea to pop onto the camp webpage every now and then in the weeks leading up to camp to see what new blogs have been posted. Camps tend to post some blogs, such as this one, for which staff is the intended audience during the late spring and early summer.
3.) Don’t over or under pack. Packing lists are created by camp professionals who’ve spent enough summers at camp to know what you need to be comfortable for the summer. So read over the staff packing list, if your camp supplies one, when determining what to pack as well as what not to pack. Veteran staff members are also usually more than happy to field questions on staff Facebook pages, which makes them a good resource if you’re unsure about some items.
4.) Arrive with the right mindset; being a camp counselor really is the hardest job you’ll ever love. Camps tell prospective staff members this during the interview process…and they mean it. You are about to spend the summer working harder than you’ve ever worked in your life, and you will love most moments of it. There will also be moments during which you will question how in the world you ended up working at a summer camp and why you thought it was a good idea. Two things are essential to moving forward when these moments happen, and they’re actually most effective if you prepare yourself with them before you even get to camp. First, arrive with the right attitude. Yes, you’re there to work. You’re there to work hard. You’re also going to have a lot of fun creating amazing moments for and with your campers. Second, know what helps you alleviate stress or frustration and come prepared to engage in it should the need arise.
5.) Be in the moment. Yes, we spend our lives being told how important it is to plan. But at camp, it’s very important to bein the moment and be present with the campers. It’s how you’ll best appreciate the camp counselor experience as well. Summer camp lasts only a few weeks each summer, and things tend to move very quickly. On the first day, you’ll be looking ahead at a whole summer and thinking the end seems like a long way off. But on the last day of camp you will wonder where it went. Don’t find yourself with regrets on that day by realizing that you didn’t take advantage of every moment.
May 21st, 2013
As long as there has been summer camp, archery has been a part of it. Although the amount of available activities at summer camp has grown immensely since the early days of camp, archery still remains popular. It’s a classic outdoor sport that doesn’t require the stamina or athletic prowess of, say, soccer, but a good eye, good aim, and precision when firing. There is a certain amount of satisfaction in being able to see yourself move closer to achieving a goal. It’s not always apparent that your swim stroke has gotten better since the beginning of the summer, or that your baseball pitch has improved over the past couple of weeks. Although your counselors and friends may compliment you and tell you that you’re better than you used to be, there isn’t really anything tangible for you to immediately be able to tell for yourself. With archery, however, there is a target with a bull’s-eye on it. It’s not at all unusual for campers to begin the summer not even being able to hit the target and then, as the summer moves along, hit and then inch closer and closer to the bull’s-eye. The closer they get to that bull’s-eye, the more arrows campers want to shoot.
It seems like a small goal, and it is really. However, it’s still an exercise in goal setting. Hitting the bull’s-eye requires focus, and being focused requires you to survey your surroundings, determine where you need to aim, and then focus on the details as you attempt to hit your target. Being successful at archery requires this same effort from everyone. Campers have no advantage if they run faster, jump higher, or throw harder. Every camper enters the archery range on a level playing field with the same potential for hitting a bull’s-eye. Some get lucky, some work hard. Either way, archery promises a path to success for anyone who is willing to set a goal, take aim, and work hard. Perhaps that is why after decades of being a summer camp staple, archery remains one of the most popular activities.
May 16th, 2013
It’s hard to believe that spring is here and camp is only a couple of months away. If you haven’t started shopping around for packing list items already, chances are you’ll begin doing so soon. Of course, every parent is aware of what’s on the official list. But there is another packing list for camp, the unofficial one that includes items that come in handy for showing spirit, dressing up, birthday celebrations, and just taking advantage of opportunities to dress in silly outfits. Your child may have already handed you a list of these items, but lest you doubt or are the parent of a new camper, here is “The Other Camp Packing List…”
April 27th, 2013
Almost every week we hear from a former staff member, ” I really want to come back to camp, but I think I have to get an internship this summer”. All this talk about internships got us thinking about our leadership staff, their backgrounds in and out of camp, and how much we really do offer at Starlight in many fields and majors our counselors are pursuing. You don’t have to just be in education or recreation to benefit from a summer at Starlight. We reached out to our key staff community that includes teachers, nurses, coaches, accountants, business managers, human resources, recruiters, facility managers, operation, transport and program directors and many more and they were as excited as we are about sharing their knowledge with you. A program was born!
Beginning this summer, Starlight will offer internship opportunities in education, public relations, marketing, finance, human resources, food services, sports management, hospitality and more. As an Intern, you will be balancing your regular daily job responsibilities as a counselor first but will have an opportunity to work with an intern advisor to help complete your internship responsibilities. Starlight has the greatest leadership team with unmatched experience in all these fields and along with Allison Miller, our internship director, you will create a program to help achieve your goals for this internship. After the summer you will walk away with a tangible project and more importantly, real world, hands on, career building experience. This is a great way to have the best of both worlds. To learn more about how to network within our camp family and build your resume at Starlight, email firstname.lastname@example.org
April 22nd, 2013
Memorial Day is just around the corner and, soon after that, schools will be letting out for the summer. If you and your significant other are already taking bets on how many days into summer vacation your child will get before proclaiming ‘I’m bored!’ don’t fret. It may not be too late to combat summer vacation boredom with camp.
First, run–don’t walk–to your computer and submit that summer camp application that you’ve been meaning to submit since October. Although many camps are at capacity for this summer, some camps still have limited space or can place your child on a waiting list in the event of a last minute cancellation. But time is definitely of the essence now so don’t dilly dally anymore! If you’re still on the fence and wondering what summer camp do to fight off summer boredom that you, the local pool, or the latest videogame system can’t do, consider this:
For starters, does your local pool have a water trampoline or a rockit? How about a climbing wall or a rope swing? Does it offer tubing or paddleboarding? And can your child choose between a sailboat, canoe, or kayak? Does the park offer waterskiing? Didn’t think so.
But it’s not just the waterfront that makes summer camp “camp.” That’s a couple of hours of each day, of course, but there are ball fields and courts, too—baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, lacrosse, football, hockey…All in one campus! On any given day at summer camp, campers visit several of them. They don’t just play intramural games either. They receive instruction from knowledgeable professionals who work with children year round either as coaches or teachers or college students with significant playing experience a sport who hope to work with children when they graduate. Campers are challenged to improve their foul shot, learn a new swing, and maintain more control of balls while dribbling. Traditional summer camps are a virtual sports paradise. You’ll probably read about that when you receive your first letter from camp in which your child tells you that he or she is so NOT bored!
Away from the fields, there are some pretty sweet crafts, ceramics, and woodworking projects for campers who have a passion for all things that have a high potential to be messy. They’ll spend an hour or two everyday making a collection of new masterpieces to bring home to you and, when they do, you WILL find a special place to show it off, even if you’re not immediately sure what it is. It’s a pretty good bet that your child will spend at least two minutes of a phone call home telling you how much FUN it is to nail pieces of wood together or spin clay on a pottery wheel.
Without electronics, iPods, and videogames to retreat to after dinner, evenings can get kind of crazy. There are sing alongs, dance competitions, spirit competitions, talent competitions, and stage shows. If you’re having a hard time imagining your child taking the stage and liking it, don’t worry. We take photos. You can spend the entire summer hitting the refresh button on your computer screen while looking at photos of your child not being bored.
There is also square dancing, sports leagues, scavenger hunts, carnivals, cookouts, dances, outside entertainment, and campfires. We haven’t even mentioned out of camp trips to take in sporting events, catch a movie, or visit a local amusement park.
If you’re out of breath just reading this, so are we. And we haven’t even mentioned everything. In fact, there is so much to do at camp that on some days the hardest decision for many campers is what not to do. So make this summer the first of your child’s ‘funnest summers ever!’ by sending him or her to camp, where there is no such thing as “bored.”