Bedtime at Camp Starlight

May 30th, 2017

Every day at camp is packed with fun, adventure, socialization, physical activities and character building, which can really wear a kid out! For many campers, falling into bed each night is a welcome rest from their busy day, and most campers are so exhausted from a fun and busy day that they are practically asleep before their head hits the pillow.

 

Bedtime at camp, like everything else, comes with its own set of traditions. It’s so much more than “lights out,” it is a final time during the day for campers to connect with each other, to reflect on their day and to make memories. When everyone is in their pajamas and calming down for the night, campers enjoy hearing their counselors read stories, singing songs, and sharing their favorite moments about the day. As the lights go out, flashlight time allows campers to bond with cabin buddies. This quiet time also gives counselors one extra opportunity to check in with each camper individually and ask about their day and address any specific needs they may have.

 

Campers love bedtime because it’s like having a sleepover with your best friends, every single night of the summer! There are so many lifelong memories created around the silliness and fun of bedtime at camp. Campers have alone time to read, journal, or just have some quiet time before they go to sleep. Campers get excited about the “down time,” and some are so tired from a fun-packed day that they’re asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. Veteran campers will attest that bedtime is a bonding time and that many deep, important conversations happen during this time that serves to strengthen relationships between them.

 

If anyone can get kids and teenagers excited about bedtime, it’s Camp Starlight. Campers get a good night’s sleep and are well rested and in the morning, are ready for another day of swimming, biking, climbing, dancing, laughing, playing and experiencing the best summer of their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm To Camp: A Summer Camp Experience With A Grown Up Twist

May 25th, 2017

Something amazing is happening on August 26th-27tht, an event that combines the adventure and experience of summer camp with the delicacy of gourmet food from around the region. Farm to Camp is an adults-only summer camp experience packed into one amazing weekend. From a waterfront cocktail hour and a five-star meal under the stars to a wide variety of indoor and outdoor summer camp themed activities, this is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Eat

Farm to Camp starts off with a sunset cocktail party, where campers can mingle with new friends and taste local wines before dinner. After cocktails, an eight-course meal is served at a long table under the stars, surrounded by soft lighting and the gorgeous surroundings of Camp Starlight. Prepared by culinary geniuses, an extensive dinner menu featuring local and organic options will leave taste buds in a state of bliss. Fresh produce from farmers in the Pennsylvania and NY area, and guests all come together for a meal to remember. Even the tableware and serving dishes are environmentally friendly, adding another organic element to this incredible meal. Each plate is handcrafted not only for exceptional taste but for beauty as well. This is sure to be a meal to remember. In the morning, enjoy another exceptional, farm-fresh meal for brunch before you head home.

Play

Before the sunset cocktail hour, guests can spend the day feeling like a kid again by participating in many traditional summer camp activities. From tennis and softball to fitness classes and volleyball, guests can experience some of their favorite childhood activities, or branch out and try something new. When was the last time you let your guard down and had some good, clean fun? If it’s been too long, Farm to Camp will be a breath of fresh air. After dinner, guests can explore the grounds, socialize around the campfire, make S’mores, or dance the night away to the beats of a late night DJ.

Sleep

There’s only one thing to do after a day of fun and good food: Sleep. Guests can shower, unwind and relax in one of the camp cabins, complete with electricity and hot water. Campers can meet new friends by being assigned to a cabin with other guests, or choose in advance to stay with people they know. Private rooms are also available at an extra charge.

Farm To Camp allows guests to relive the summer camp of their childhood with a grown up twist. It allows campers to enjoy healthy, gorgeous, organic meals with good friends and good wine in a weekend that will make them feel like a kid again.

 

1, 3, 5, 6 We Want Olympics!

May 22nd, 2017

As the summer comes to a close, a feeling of anticipation fills the air. A quiet sound starts to arise that begins to get louder and louder…. “1, 3, 5, 6 we want olympics… 1, 3, 5, 6 WE WANT OLYMPICS!” The sound of this all too familiar cheer echoes across the camp as campers ranging from juniors to seniors clap and shout at the top of their lungs. Even the counselors join along in excitement as they know that the fun and spirit has only just begun.

Breakout

Before we know it, the chants turn into a reality and OLYMPICS IS HERE. We spend all summer guessing what the newest breakout could be, but when it finally comes we couldn’t even IMAGINE how awesome it is! Ice skating at the flagpole? Running around camp to decode the drones’ secret message? What will it be next!? Whether it be at night, during the day, or early in the morning, the surprise of Olympic breakout is destined to be a highlight of everyone’s summer!

When the moment arrives, the entire camp uproars in excitement as the team lists fly into the air and campers search frantically to see whether they are on Blue or White. The Leadership teams are announced and David declares that Olympics has officially begun! The first team meeting kicks off Olympics and it’s time for everyone to get P-S-Y-C-H-E-D!

The Spirit

B-L-U-E we got the spirit! W-H-I-T-E that’s how we spell victory! Dressing up head to toe in your team color and learning the multiple cheers is one of the most fun parts of Olympics. It’s a chance to get decked out and show just how spirited you are! Both during games and in between, campers and counselors alike can be seen walking around camp cheering for their team with the utmost enthusiasm. It’s a time for everyone to bring out their creative, silly, and SPIRITED personalities.

The Events

Aside from the spirit that Olympics brings out, getting to compete in different sports is the best part for many. Olympics is a time for campers to show all that they’ve learned over the summer and bring out their athletic side. From a soccer game on the alumni that goes into a shootout to an intense game of basketball that goes into double overtime, you truly never know what to expect when the Blue and the White face off.

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a major athlete, Olympics has something for every camper to enjoy! A part of Olympics that campers and counselors alike look forward to is the apache relay. Whether it be catching a pancake and eating it, writing with your foot in chalk, or breaking a shirt that’s trapped in ice, the Apache Relay is always an event that is sure to be full of twists and turns that will keep the entire camp in high suspense. For all of our campers and counselors that know their random facts and figures, the Trivia Bowl is a perfect time to shine as the Blue and White battle it out in a series of intense, (and silent!) rounds. And how could we forget one of the biggest parts of Olympics- Sing! As the Blue and White practice with energy and dedication, they are able to show off their talent and hard work when they compete head to head at the Rec Hall.

Closing Ceremonies

In the blink of an eye, the past five days of spirit, intensity, and fun all comes to an end as the teams rush the lake and put a close to our Olympic competition. Later, as both teams come back together and gather around the flagpole to watch the Olympic torch go out, Olympics is officially declared to be over.  Everyone around camp is left in anticipation of what next summer’s Olympics will bring and wishing we could fast forward time.

 

8 Reasons We Are Looking Forward to Opening Day

May 8th, 2017


With just under 60 DAYS to the start of summer 2017, there is SO much excitement and anticipation in the air! We cannot wait to show you all that we have in store for another incredible summer.. So pack up your duffels and get ready for your best summer YET! Here’s a list of 8 reasons of why the Starlight family is looking forward to Opening Day:

Running off the buses to hug your camp friends

After a long ten months away from our summer home, getting to be reunited with your camp friends is the highlight of Opening Day. As the buses drive down the winding camp road and make their way to the clinic field, the feeling of knowing you’re finally home is exhilarating. It is truly an indescribable moment when you are able to take those first few steps off the bus, breathe in the camp air, and leap into your camp friends’ arms!

Meeting your Division Leader, ADL, and Counselors

Now for one of the most exciting parts of camp- getting to meet the staff that is going to be taking care of you for the rest of the summer! Whether it be a counselor who has a unique accent or a counselor that sings to keep the bunk in high spirits, your counselor, ADL, and Division Leader are a crucial part of what makes Starlight so amazing.

The first meal at the dining hall

Walking into the dining hall for the first time after 10 months is a feeling that is hard to describe. Each summer, it is so exciting to find out which table your bunk gets to sit at and which song will call you up to get your meal for the rest of the summer. From divisional chants to dining hall songs, the spirit that consumes the dining hall is what defines the Starlight family. Whether it be everyone’s favorite stuffed shells with mozzarella sticks or delicious pasta with chicken and broccoli, I can’t wait to find out what our first dinner at the dining hall will be!

Learning your division’s cheer and saying it in front of the whole camp

From JUNIORS, HOT-TO-GO to S-E-N-I-O-R-S, our divisional cheers are the best! The battle of the divisions begins on Opening Day to see who can chant it the loudest and the proudest to rep their group!

The first lineup

“Welcome to the summer of 2017!,” David yells on Opening Day.

The bugle blows and all of camp gathers at the flagpole for the first time of the summer. Juniors and Inters listen to the announcements with excitement and the Debs, Plebes, and Seniors smile as they think back to their first opening day so many years ago. When you stand around the flagpole and overlook the lake for the first time with your Starlight family, it is clear that you are officially back for another magical summer.

The Curtains Opening in the Rec Hall

Ladies and Gentlemen… and children of ALL ages:

The moment we have long awaited for has finally arrived.. The Opening Night show! As the camp watches the many performances on the stage, laughter and cheers fill the air. From dancing to Singing in the Rain to singing along to Starlight’s favorite song, “Can’t Smile Without You,” this night is the perfect way to kick off and celebrate the summer.

Hearing the bugles after 10 long months

No, you aren’t imagining the sound of Lineup in the middle of Math…this is REAL! The bugles are such an important part of Camp, and while we are usually sad to hear Taps and put the close on another incredible Starlight day, this was the day we waited all year for. Which brings us to the most important of all, number 8…

Realizing the summer has officially begun!

We cannot WAIT for another exciting and memorable Starlight summer with all of you. SEE YOU SOON!

Climbing the Rockwall at Camp Starlight

April 24th, 2017

One foot in front of the other, don’t look back, stay focused, keep your eyes on your target. All of these are popular phrases we hear throughout our lives; timeless advice that encourages us to be persistent, dedicated and to face our fears. In many ways, when campers scale the daunting Rockwall, they hear and learn many of the same principles. Climbing the wall can be used as a metaphor for camp, and camp prepares kids and teen for the real world. Campers may think they’re just doing anther camp activity, but a lot of foundational and character work happens on the wall as well.

 

There are some things at camp that are easy, and some things that aren’t. Climbing the rock wall is hard work. It takes muscles and skills you aren’t used to using, it is unfamiliar and can seem overwhelming; f you’ve never done it before, you may feel like it is too much, too hard, or too scary. Camp can bring about many of the same feelings. In the beginning, it can feel like it is too much to take on or that you struggle to get a hold on this new and unfamiliar experience. You may lose your footing, have a slip-up, or even make a mistake that sends you a few steps backward. All of this uncertainty is part of the learning process, and with encouragement from friends, campers slowly begin to embrace the newness of climbing, and of camp and find the courage to step out of their comfort zone.

 

Another way climbing the rock wall is like camp is that as you go through the process, you learn things about yourself. As you get further and further up the wall, you learn that you are stronger, more capable, braver and more determined than you did when both feet were on the ground. You learn that instead of focusing on climbing the whole wall, you simply focus on the next move. Camp is the same way, as you spend your days at camp trying new things, you uncover parts of yourself that you never knew. You discover strengths and passions that you never knew existed, and you learn to enjoy the moment instead of worrying so much about the big picture. A lot of these principles are true for life as well. You learn a lot about yourself when you step out of your comfort zone, and when things feel overwhelming, focusing on the next right step can help any problem seem more manageable.

When you finally make it to the top of the rock wall, there is a sense of accomplishment that can’t be put into words. It makes you realize that with hard work, persistence and a good support system, you really can do anything. Finally making it to the top proves to yourself that ever when things look challenging or even impossible, you are strong and capable, as long as you put your mind to it. Most of the time, campers who make it to the top are eager to come down and climb again, this time with a new perspective and confidence. Similarly, most campers find themselves ready to come back and try the adventure of sleep away camp once the summer has come to a close. They are excited to take the journey again, even if it means there will be days and activities that are hard, even if it means they may make mistakes or feel frustrated, they know that the end result is worth all of the hesitation and fear, and the sense of accomplishment and the self-realization that comes from taking the journey.

 

Climbing the rock wall can be a life changing, eye opening, pivotal moment for many campers. It may be the firs time they’ve faced a fear, or it may be the boost of confidence that they need as they navigate the teenage years. Climbing the rock wall is more than just a fun summer camp activity, just like camp is so much more than a place to go when school is out. Climbing the rock wall builds strength, character, self-confidence, teamwork and encourages campers to face their fears, and the goal of Camp Starlight is to do the same thing.

The Value of Communal Living at a Young Age

April 10th, 2017

We’ve all heard horror stories of terrible college roommates; the ones who are dirty or irresponsible or rude or have no self-awareness. It raises the question, if these people would have been exposed to more communal living experiences growing up, would they be better roommates as an adult? Living with others is a skill that many children only learn from living with their families. Many children never share a room or living spaces with people other than their family until they go away to college. So it’s no surprise that these children struggle when it comes to etiquette and social norms that come with communal living.

Spending a summer at Camp Starlight is a great way to prepare your child for the realities of living with other people in their adulthood. It helps them become aware of their surroundings and the way they impact the space that they share with others.

Early risers learn to occupy their time quietly and respectfully in the mornings without waking up others. Night owls learn to keep things quiet once it’s time for “lights out.” Children who are used to being disorganized at home learn that their messiness affects others when sharing a cabin, and they begin to learn the importance of organization and cleanliness. Sharing a cabin also teaches campers to respect property that is not theirs, such as the beds in the cabin, the bathrooms, etc. They learn to be aware and careful about how they treat things that are not their own.

From day one, campers are taught about their roles and responsibilities as a member of a specific cabin. Counselors know that this may be a camper’s first time living with others, so they use gentle reminders and guidance to help campers keep their personal spaces tidy, to stay organized, and to respect the other campers around them. Every day at camp is a new opportunity to learn valuable life skills and prepares them to be respectful and responsible roommates in the future.

Living together with 8-10 peers gives campers the chance to learn how to deal with different personality styles. It gives them a chance to practice their communication and conflict management skills.

Nobody goes into parenthood with a goal to raise a nightmare roommate. All parents want to raise kind, considerate, self-aware human beings who others like being around and, eventually, living with. Gifting your child with a summer away at camp is about more than sports and campfires. It is about learning valuable life lessons that will help them become a more productive member of society.

Your child will thank you. And so will his/her future college roommates.

Just Dance!

March 27th, 2017

Dance is one of the most popular activities at Camp Starlight. It is a great sport and beneficial in many ways. It is first and foremost a really fun way to spend the summer, but it also serves as a creative outlet for campers, is a great workout, and can be helpful for both novice and seasoned dancers to assist in skill progression.

 

Taught by counselors who have a love and passion for dance, this activity is popular with boys and girls of all ages and experience levels. The great thing about participating in dance at Camp Starlight is that you can do so much more than dance. Not only do you get all the perks of a traditional sleep away camp, but there is the option to include other similar activities to your daily routine such as fitness, gymnastics, and cheerleading. Campers can expand their horizons and try different sports and activities that will help them become better dancers.

 

Learning a dance takes dedication and persistence. It is a very physical activity that can push campers out of their comfort zone, but it is also a huge confidence booster. Finally being able to perform a dance you’ve worked so hard to learn is a major accomplishment and a rush many dancers strive for. Dancing is a great way to build self-confidence, and many campers look forward to their time in the dance studio as a way to unwind, relax and let go. It provides a healthy outlet for creative expression and can be a stress reliever for many campers.

 

Dancing will definitely get your heart rate up, which is why it is such a good option for campers looking to stay (or get) physically fit over the summer. The upbeat music, the time spent with friends and the mental and physical challenges that come with learning a new dance make it one of those exercises that doesn’t feel like a workout at all. Dancing is a great cardio workout and improves coordination, flexibility, and balance at the same time.

 

The other thing campers love about dancing at camp is that regardless of skill level or experience, every camper feels welcomed, encouraged and supported. Everyone helps and learns from each other, and it is a safe place to be vulnerable and try new things. So put on your dancing shoes and let your inner dancer shine at Camp Starlight!

 

How Camp Starlight Builds Resilience

March 20th, 2017

re·sil·ience

rəˈzilyəns/

noun

1.the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

 

Camp has this incredible way of impacting so many people in so many different ways. When campers just think they are spending the summer having fun, they sometimes have no idea the character, the social skills, and the self-confidence they are building at the same time. Camp makes them empathetic towards others. It makes them self aware. It makes them responsible, and kind and brave. It also makes them resilient.

 

Campers are pushed (gently) out of their comfort zones every day when they are at camp. They are encouraged to try new things, to do things that scare them. Sometimes they make mistakes, but from day one are taught that the only time you fail is when you stop trying. Because of this attitude, campers learn to pick themselves up and brush themselves off. They learn to face adversity and struggle with confidence, and that is a skill that they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

 

Counselors teach campers that being tough doesn’t mean you’re void of emotions. You can be brave and scared at the same time. It’s okay to cry, feel frustrated, even walk away if you need a break. It’s okay to ask for help. What is not ok is giving up or giving it less than your best. Campers face different kinds of fears all summer, from attempting the daunting ropes course, swimming for the first time, conquering stage fright or just introducing themselves to new people. But every time they face a fear, even if they struggle, they become a little more resilient each time. They learn to embrace fear, to accept mistakes, and to try one more time when they want to give up.

 

Self-confidence is not something that comes naturally to all campers, but it is something that they develop after a summer at camp. They naturally begin to see themselves as capable, smart, brave, athletic, kind, interesting and strong, and it sets a solid foundation for the people they are becoming.

 

Camp helps mold campers into confident and resilient individuals, all disguised as the best summer they’ve ever had.

Jamming Out at Camp Starlight

March 13th, 2017

Music can be tied into so many activities and experiences at camp. From songs around the campfire to traveling songs, incorporating music into camp life just comes naturally. For campers who are interested in fine arts such as dance, music and theatre, music is a tool that can be used to express themselves in a way that written or spoken word just can’t. Dance classes give campers an artistic outlet to do what they love, and can create a strong sense of self-confidence.  Camp Starlight gives them the opportunity to explore music as a way of self-expression, and has so many benefits for the growing minds of young campers.

 

Whether it is singing, dancing, or playing an instrument, music works wonders on a growing, adolescent brain, and can teach them things that build their character and helps them become more productive members of society. While they are having fun with their fellow campers and counselors through music instruction, they don’t realize they are becoming more creative, more communicative, and more well- rounded in the process. At the end of the summer, many campers are proud to go home and show off their new musical abilities, and it gives them a sense of pride to have learned something new while they were away from home.

 

Children who learn to play an instrument at an early age benefit in many ways. It teaches perseverance, helps with math and number skills, enhances coordination, improves memory, reading and comprehension skills, and can help sharpen focus and concentration. Studies have shown that learning to play an instrument has lifelong benefits, which is why music and access to instruments is such an important part of camp life. Campers can learn to play the guitar, participate in a live show, or learn about the behind the scenes workings of a real radio station. Camp provides plenty of options for all kinds of personalities and learning styles to really dive into music and everything it can teach them.

 

It is safe to assume that most campers are exposed to music on a daily basis back at home, but at camp they are exposed to different types of music, which broadens their horizons and helps them become more culturally aware. They learn to appreciate different styles of music, and learn the history behind specific music styles, instruments and songs.

 

Camp Starlight is all about providing children with the tools and resources they need to build their character and set up a foundation for a successful future. This goal could not be reached without the incorporation of dance, songs and musical instruments into the every day life of the campers.

Don’t Yuck Someone Else’s Yum

March 6th, 2017

As an adult, there is nothing more annoying that coming across someone who feels that their opinion is the only opinion and that everyone who doesn’t agree with them is wrong. It’s hard to form and keep friendships with people who don’t appreciate or respect the difference of other people. This is why at Camp Starlight, we implement the “Don’t’ Yuck Someone Else’s Yum” guidelines, which helps campers appreciate and respect the likes and dislikes of other campers.

 

Teaching campers to be respectful of the opinions of others, even when they don’t agree, is just another way going to camp builds character and teaches valuable social skills. Campers are bound to come in contact with people who have different opinions and preferences from them around camp, and counselors encourage campers to embrace the difference and learn to disagree is a respectful way.  This helps prepare campers for the real world and sets them up to be tolerant and accepting members of society.

 

Campers learn that everyone has different likes and dislikes, but that is not helpful or necessary to make others feel bad for their opinions or preferences. Campers who are made to feel bad or embarrassed about their personal preferences are less likely to speak up or say what is on their mind, which is not something that we want to happen at camp, ever. We want to create a safe place where every camper can express himself or herself and have their voices heard without the fear of rejection or judgment. The “Don’t Yuck Someone Else’s Yum,” rule at camp helps to create this safe environment, and teaches campers the value of diversity in the people around them.

 

Teaching campers not to be negative or judgmental about the preferences of others is also helping them learn proper etiquette and manners. Whether it’s at mealtime or any other time around camp when opinions and preferences are expressed, campers are practicing how to be polite and well-rounded individuals, which will undoubtedly transfer over to their world at home.

 

If your child gets home and you turns their nose up to the delicious broccoli and Brussels sprout dinner you’ve prepared, you can kindly remind me of what they learned at camp, and say “Hey, Don’t Yuck My Yum!” We can’t guarantee they’ll eat the veggies, but it will help them be respectful of the different opinions and tastes of the people around them.