Miss Starlight 2014

July 30th, 2014

One of the best parts of working at summer camp is that one frequently has the opportunity to participate in activities and events in which one wouldn’t necessarily engage at home. One such “opportunity” for male counselors at Camp Starlight is the Miss Starlight Pageant. Yes…You read that correctly: MISS Starlight Pageant. For anyone who has ever wondered what would happen if roughly a dozen girls were unleashed onto a male staff member–makeup, wigs, costumes, and props in hand to transform into the best looking semblance (kind of) of a female beauty contestant that they can, the Miss Starlight Pageant would definitely be a “can’t miss” activity at camp.

The remainder of this blog should probably be prefaced with a disclosure that nomale staff members were–or are ever–harmed in the making of the Miss Starlight Pageant. In fact, they volunteer…happily. Being crowned Miss Starlight is a BIG deal for both the girls bunks and their adopted “contestants.”

Once the contestants are beautified (term used loosely…very loosely), they take the stage to compete in a series of rounds to convince a panel of judges, as in traditional beauty pageants, why they should be crowned Miss Starlight. Following the initial Evening Wear round, the contestants are whittled first to ten and then finally to five before the winner is crowned. The first runner-up, of course, has big shoes to fill in the event that Miss Starlight cannot fulfill her–er–his role.

Unlike traditional beauty pageants, however, the Miss Starlight pageant is not reserved for the young. All ages, nationalities, and races are represented and competitive. In fact, one of this year’s semi-finalists was a granny who required a walking stick. Celebrities and pseudo-celebrities are also drawn to the Miss Starlight pageant. “Ellen Degeneres” danced her way across the Miss Starlight stage and into the semi-finals in this year’s competition…and she didn’t even have to wear a dress to do it.

Bamela Anderson–not to be confused with Pamela Anderson, though as similar in appearance to Pamela Anderson as a 20 something male lifeguard wearing a long blonde wig and a red Baywatch style swimsuit can be–was a pseudo-celeb who clearly showed up to win. Though her CPR talent demonstration was easily one of the most CPR demonstrations ever presented and elevated her to the status as the one to beat, she faced some tough competition from “Berica,” a purple loving weight lifter.  In the end, however, Bamela’s fun loving attitude and passion for her life as a lifeguard secured her the crown and the title of Miss Starlight. As for the Lakehouse, her sponsoring bunk, well…they get the bragging rights of having “created” Miss Starlight 2014.

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Catching Up with Tennis Head Craig Cooper

July 30th, 2014

The Camp Starlight tennis program is always one of the largest and most popular programs on camp each summer. This year,Craig Cooper, a 25 plus years veteran coach, is at the helm. We recently caught up with Coach Cooper to learn more about him, his background, an coaching philosophy.

Although he hails from Ohio and attended Ohio State University, Coach Cooper has traveled the world coaching tennis. It was during his college years as an elite athlete, however, that he first decided that he wanted to become a coach. “It’s a profound profession,” he says.

He was drawn to camp because he finds the experience of working as a coach at camp  ”enlightening, challenging, and fun.” He also appreciates the relationships he has formed as a result of working at camp. Coach Cooper said he chose Camp Starlight because of it’s amazing reputation and because he had a really good feeling about the opportunity after speaking with camp Owner and Director David Miller.

During the winter, Coach Cooper trains athletes throughout the Midwest–including his home state of Ohio–and Florida, though his coaching efforts aren’t confined to tennis. He is also a professional lacrosse coach. He says his favorite things, so far, about his debut summer at Camp Starlight are the new relationships he has formed with both staff and campers. Relationships are very important to Coach Cooper. He believes that a good coach is an overall life coach. In fact,  being a mentor and forming lasting relationships with his athletes as their tennis skills develop are what he loves most about coaching.

When he’s not coaching tennis or lacrosse, Coach Cooper enjoys golfing, fishing, cycling, and watching movies. Those who are familiar with Coach Cooper’s intensity when it comes to sports might be surprised to learn that he’s also a thespian who loves theatre and acting and has “dabbled” (as he says) in the industry.

Here’s to a successful first summer at Camp Starlight for Coach Cooper!

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Name That Tune Camp Siblings

July 30th, 2014

S-Days are already special days, but when one concludes with music, excitement and ice cream (for the winners), they’re extra special. And an extra special occasion the most recent S-Day was. A special Camp Starlight edition of Name That Tune brought camp siblings together to test their knowledge of all things  Starlight in categories such as Dining Room Songs, Starlight Playhouse and Sports Anthems.

For anyone wondering who–or what–a camp sibling is, campers are brought together in groups of threes at the beginning of camp and attend designated sibling activities throughout the summer as brothers and sisters. Older “siblings” function as mentors for younger campers.

At Name That Tune, siblings were given a snippet of a song and had to guess the song name and artist. Hearing songs like “I’m a Believer” from the recent all camp show Shrek the Musical brought campers to their feet for lots of dancing. The theme of teamwork echoed throughout the night. “It felt good to win because I was working with my friends and camp sisters,” said Junior Lindsay S. And there was an extra special surprise for campers at the conclusion of the competition: The two teams with the highest scores were whisked off to everyone’s favorite ice cream shop, Alice’s Cow Palace.

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Photo of the Day

July 29th, 2014

Our photo of the Day is often selected from the campers of our digital photography option period. Today our seniors were feeling nostalgic and decided to use Polaroid film cameras.  Polaroid seems to be making a comeback and our digital photography option is right on trend. Campers can snap and print photos instantly for memories that will last a lifetime.

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Wayne County Update

July 29th, 2014

Boys Soccer vs. Chenawanda

The 4th grade boys were on the road for their championship final game against Chen-A-Wanda, a team they beat 3-0 in 2013.  A great start saw Starlight take the lead within five minutes, a lead they increased steadily throughout the game.  Some good individual performances, but more importantly, a great team performance saw Starlight end up convincing winners 5-0. Jackson F. in goal was almost a spectator as Starlight put on a master class for their opposition.  Charlie G. at the back was a rock dominating the Chen-A-Wanda forward line, while in the middle of the park Adam B. and Sawyer W. continually made some fine forward runs towards and into the opposition’s 18-yard area.  The 4th graders had a great summer season finishing as champions without conceding a single goal while scoring 17.  A very exciting team to watch, hopefully this is the first of many championships to come in future summers.

Girls Tennis vs. Camp Tioga, July 27

All three singles players. Jordyn B., Emerson P. and Heather G. won their matches going away with strong ground strokes and serving (6-0), (6-0), (6-0). Well done ladies! Both doubles teams of Samantha S. and Hannah J. and Danielle A. and Hannah S. were a little more than tested and come through with victories (6-2), (6-1) respectively. The team moves on to the finals with a very strong play by the entire team. Congrats 5th grade and under girls moving forward in Wayne County Competition. ‘

Final Score 5-0, W

Coaches Craig Cooper and Amanda Gilberg

Boys Tennis vs. Chen-A-Wanda, July 27

The 6th grade boys fell in the semifinals to a more experiences Chen-A-Wanda team 4-1. Blake S. at #1 singles fell 8-2 playing many long points but losing out on the critical points. Milo K. and Jacob P.  had their hands filled with tough opponents falling (8-4) and (8-1) respectively; both again played well. The lone victory came at the #1 doubles spot with Alex E. and Harrison G. holding on in a very tight contested match 8-6. Jack T. and Andrew R. played a strong consistent team played their hearts out. The entire team competed valiantly and displayed great sportsmanship. Congrats to the 6th grade boys.

Coaches Dave Willford and Liam Brierton

Boys Tennis vs. Camp Wayne July 27

The 7th grade boys played a tough match against Camp Wayne, but fell 3-2. At #1 singles Abe W. played well, but fell 8-3. Josh M. at #2 singles played a great match against a very strong opponent and came through 8-5. Josh M. is very dependable and won with class. At #3 singles Cooper G. played a tight match striking the ball well, but again had a tough time on the big points and was defeated 8-4. The #1 doubles team of Ethan W./Lance L. played with great effort but were defeated 8-2. The #2 doubles team of Kyle F. and Jordan K. played consistently and closed the net well with good communication as partners and won 8-5.  This was a very strong team all in all. The entire team competed strongly and should be proud of their results. Congrats 7th grade boys.

Coaches Craig cooper Jack Cooney

Final Score 3-2, L

Gymnastics Invitational , July 28

Starlight Gymnastics was awarded 5th place out of 11 teams at the Wayne County Junior Gymnastics Championship meet.  Maddie S.  came in 4th all around.

Coaches Victor Randazzo, Maxine Irvine , Sally Hawkridge

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Recipe of the Day

July 29th, 2014

A couple of days ago, the cottage smelled of everyone’s favorite snack, pizza rolls. Ally L. in the Cottage kitchen helped to make this special treat.  Judging by the smiles, cooking is still one of the most popular events at camp.

Recipe of the Day: Pizza Rolls


Pack of Puffed Pastry

Tomato Sauce


Olive Oil (optional)


1.       Preheat oven to 345 degrees. Unroll the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out.

2.       Take a knife and cut the roll into 10 equal slices.

3.       Spread a layer of tomato sauce over each peace, leaving a border around the edges. Next, add mozzarella cheese

4.       Starting at one end, roll the pastry as tight as possible.

5.       Lay them flat on a non-stick baking tray. Brush each pinwheel lightly with olive oil. Bake of 12-15 minutes until the pizza rolls are puffed and golden.

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Wayne County Update

July 27th, 2014

Girls Tennis vs. Chen-A-Wanda, July 26

The 9th grade lower seniors are moving forward towards a finals match-up with a solid 5-0 victory against Chen-A-Wanda. All the singles matches were won handedly by Ella S., Juia K. and Dani S. (8-1)(8-2)(8-1) respectively. Smart decisions led to solid shot making by all three players, with some unnecessary unforced errors mixed in. All in all, three were solid performance from Starlight. At the #1 doubles position the team of Allison M. and Madison L. were tested, but cam through with a 8-6 victory. Communication was key in the victory. Madison L. served great and Allison M. had solid net play. Abby R. and Jesse F. played well together for the first time coming away with an 8-0 victory. Good overall teamwork and solid performances by everyone. Congrats to the 9th grade girls moving toward the finals.

Coach Craig Cooper, Rachel Mills, Gabby Samkova

6th Grade Boys Soccer vs. Chen-A-Wanda

The 6th graders hosted Chen-A-Wanda, a team they last met as 4th graders in 2012.  That game ended with Starlight winning 2-0, and this game was also a close affair.  Chen-A-Wanda nicked a goal against the run of play to take a one-nil lead.  Starlight responded in kind to level the contest before a Chen-A-Wanda goal a minute before half-time saw Starlight head to the break with it all to do in the second half.

A good start saw Starlight level within five minutes, and then with 8 minutes remaining Starlight took the lead for the first time in the game, something they would not relinquish running out winners 3-2.  Aidan C.  made a number of fine saves, especially in the dying minutes with Chen-A-Wanda, trying to send the game into overtime.  Ethan B. and Harrison S. put in fine performances at the back, as did Jack T. in midfield.

Starlight is now headed to the championship game where they will likely face Wayne.

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Photo of the Day

July 27th, 2014

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Rain: No Problem!

July 26th, 2014

Ideally, every day at camp is sunny and warm. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t always prescribe to human ideals and, although not often, occasionally the skies are a bit more gray than blue and the weather a bit more wet than dry. Although such conditions are “ideal” they certainly don’t bring the fun and activities to a halt. Quite the contrary, those rare thunderstorms are an opportunity at camp to allow campers to enjoy special activities that are reserved for such days rather than a regular part of the daily camp program.

Camp Starlight has plenty of multi-purpose indoor space that can accommodate small as well as large groups of campers. Despite the gray skies, the mood is decidedly sunny indoors as campers take advantage of the extra time they have to catch up with bunk/cabin mates. Rain also slows the pace and gives campers time to reflect on their time at camp thus far. Many also use the time to write the letters home or catch up on reading.

It may be a stretch to claim that the weather outside is perfect every single day at camp, but regardless of the weather, the mood is always sunny.

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Catch Up with Gymnastics Head Victor Randazzo

July 26th, 2014

Camp Starlight’s new Gymnastics Head Victor Randazzo has been coaching for more than 35 years although this is his first year at camp. When we caught up with him to find out more about him as well as his goals for the Camp Starlight Gymnastics program, he was exuberant about Camp Starlight’s performance in the recent annual Camp Starlight Gymnastics Invitation.

Victor hails from Long Island, though he currently calls Las Vegas home and was educated at the University of New Mexico and Southern Connecticut State University. He chose to become a gymnastics coach in order to promote gymnastics. He enjoys teaching people amazing skills and says he was drawn to camp because it seemed fun. As for how he found Camp Starlight, he says “we chose each other.”

In addition to his coaching history, Victor’s resume is deep. He was a 2 time National Champion and a 3 time member of the All American National Championship team. His favorite thing about Camp Starlight, so far, is SWF, which he thought was “amazing.” During the winter, he likes to travel and hike. He has also visited all 48 of the lower 48 states and—something many Starlighters don’t know about him—loves both cooking and baking.

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