Academic and Social Pressures

May 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 1.47.54 PMA quick Google search for “what stresses kids out?” will produce thousands of results discussing all of the things kids and teenagers have to stress out about. As our country leans more towards standardize testing each year, students are bogged down with learning how to take a test, and riddled with anxiety about a single test that could mean the difference between advancing to the next grade, or not. Kids and teens say they spend a lot of time worrying about their grades, their next big test, their homework, and what they need to do pass. Older students worry about graduation, getting into the right colleges and finding a career they love. And on top of all of the academic pressure they face, add ranging hormones, peer pressure, relationships, heart breaks and attempting to live up to the standards set by the media, it’s no wonder kids are burnt out and need a break.

Young people cannot, and should not, have to face a life of stress, worry and pressure as adults too. Their young minds and spirits are not built for that, and it is crucial that they have an outlet and a reprieve from all of the stress they face each day. If they don’t get a break, they will make a way to escape the stress, and all too often their escape plans involve drugs, drink and risky behavior. Instead of leaving it up to them to manage their stress, we as a parents and a community need to call a “time out” and make sure they are getting time to be kids. This is the perfect opportunity to put all of their worries and responsibilities on hold and allow them to relax. Sending them to summer camp gives them a chance to just have fun, make friends and engage in activities that they enjoy.

The great thing about summer camp is that campers continue to grow emotionally and mentally; they are continually learning how to be a better person, friend, child, sibling, and student. They have responsibilities and commitments here just as they do at camp. They are faced with various social situations (making new friends, respecting authority, handling conflict) and taught how to deal with each one appropriately. Campers will be able to take these skills home with them, and use them to manage and alleviate much of the stress they face on a regular basis.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 2.37.03 PMGetting some time away is a great way for young people to relax and recharge, and gives them the energy and positive attitude they need to get back into their every day life and confidently handle whatever comes their way.

If you feel that your child has a lot on their plate, give them the gift of an action packed summer, and watch them come back to their academic, social and relational responsibilities with a brand new attitude.

 

 

Being a Part of the Camp Starlight Team

May 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 11.09.30 AMBeing a part of the team at Camp Starlight is an honor and a privilege, an opportunity to single handedly change the direction of a child’s life by giving them the gift of self confidence, love, patience, forgiveness and positive attention. Camp counselors provide an unforgettable experience for countless campers every single day which something you can’t say about most summer internships or part time jobs.

Camp counselors spend their summers surrounded by nature, interacting with other counselors, staff and campers, and get to experience life through the eyes of a child, an experience that can sometimes feel far away as we grow older. Camp counselors not only teach, they also learn. They learn practical, social and problem solving skills. They learn patience, trust, teamwork, time management, conflict resolution and how to have an impeccable work ethic. Any future employer who wouldn’t hire someone with that skill set would be missing a great opportunity.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 11.09.36 AMYou could sit at the neighborhood pool all summer as a lifeguard, or serve coffee at your local coffee shop, or walk dogs, file papers (yawn!) or serve tables over the summer. But at the end of the day, as you fell asleep, completely exhausted from an active and exciting day, would you feel like what you did make a difference in someone’s life? Would you feel like you made lasting friendships, or invested time in someone who was feeling lonely, afraid or misunderstood? Probably not. The magic that happens when you truly see personal growth and change in someone does not happen in a coffee shop or at a medical office filing cabinet. It happens in the moments when you help someone conquer his or her fears, handle heartbreak, experience a triumph or get through a failure. It is in these moments that you, as a camp counselor, change the world, one camper at a time.

So when you’re thinking about what you should do over the summer, consider Camp Starlight. You’re only applying for one of the most exciting, exhausting, rewarding jobs on the planet!

You were made for this. The world needs changin’, and it starts with you.

A Behind the Scenes Look at Camp Starlight

May 4th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 1.58.08 PMFuture Campers: What if we told you we could get you some behind the scenes information about coming to camp, BEFORE you even came to camp? What if we could relieve some of the nervousness and questions you have about heading to your camp right now?

Lucky for you, we’ve tracked down one of Camp Starlight’s favorite camp counselors, who has agreed to give us the inside scoop to prepare you for your first trip to camp! Meet James, a counselor who has been a camp counselor for two years, but has been enjoying summer camp every summer since he was eight years old. As a counselor, he is very used to seeing new campers come in with a worry that they won’t have fun, that they won’t make friends, or that they will be stuck with a counselor who is boring. It’s scientifically proven that is impossible not to have fun at camp. Everyone creates lasting friendships while they are here. And Camp Starlight doesn’t hire boring counselors, so there goes those three worries right out the window. James says that he and his fellow counselors focus on keeping the campers busy, so they don’t have time to worry! Many campers miss home, but counselors like James try to shift their attention to something more fun and exciting. “Each child is different, and that means how I address each camper’s issue is usually different.” It’s comforting to know that counselors will focus on you as an individual, and help you get through any worries or concerns in a way that works best for you.

James offered some packing advice for parents. Counselors understand that each and every camper is a parent’s entire world, which is why they put extra effort into making sure every single camper feels welcomed and safe, and enjoys their summer. Parents are given a packing list before they send their kids off to camp, and James urges parents to follow the list carefully. After countless weeks of watching campers pack and unpack their belongings, he noticed that campers who followed the list felt secure and well equipped for the summer, while those who packed a lot of extra felt overwhelmed and crowded in their bunk space.

When we asked James was his favorite part about camp was, he didn’t say rock climbing or theatre or sailing or the food (although the food does rank high on his list.) His favorite part about camp is the campers! He loves his job because all of the different personalities make each day fun and different, and he never has the same day twice. The cool thing about James, and the other counselors at camp, is that they are 100% focused on the kids. They are there for the sole purpose of making sure kids have a safe and unforgettable summer. “I want campers to know if they are having an issue with someone or something, they can always talk to me. My summer is not about me, it’s about them!” says James.

Parents can rest assured knowing that well trained, friendly, outgoing, caring and professional individuals are in charge of making sure their kids have a summer they’ll never forget. Kids can head to camp with confidence that they are about to experience the summer of a lifetime. Counselors, like James, are there to make sure of it!

 

Playing Outside at Camp Starlight

April 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 1.44.21 PMAttention kids: if you’re still trying to find ways to convince your parents to send you to one summer camp, you’re in the right place! You’ve worked hard in school; maintained good grades, stayed out of trouble (for the most part) picked up extra chores around the house, and have left pictures of camp all over the house as subtle reminders. But if you really want to spend next summer at camp, you have to think like a parent. Parents care about your health and safety (boring, we know) but they are very concerned about you being healthy and productive people. So….if going to camp was actually good for your health, they couldn’t say no, right?!

Present them with this scientifically proven information about how playing outside is good for your health, and that if you spend next summer at camp, you promise to spend most of your time outside!

It’s Good For Your Eyes- A study by Optometry and Vision Science found that kids who play outside have better vision that kids who spend a lot of time staring at TV, cell phone and computer screens

It’s Great For Socialization- (Use the word socialization, it sounds impressive!) When you play outside, you have to learn to take turns and communicate with others in a way that is healthy and productive. It also allows you to exercise your imagination! Playing outside gives you the chance to interact with your peers and learn socially acceptable behavior.

Pay Attention- Do your parents seem to tell you to “pay attention!” all the time? Explain that if you went to summer camp and played outside, you would also be working on increasing your attention span. Studies show playing outside in natural settings has been effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children. Explain to your parent that you’re not just going to camp for you, but also so you can be a more attentive child to them. 

Reduce Stress- Studies also show playing outdoors lowers stress levels. You’ve spent the last ten months studying, working, learning, testing, reading, writing and doing math formulas. That is a lot of stress on a developing brain. Spending the summer at camp involve a lot of outdoor play, and also serves as a stress reliever. (Throw in there what a stress free summer your parents could have if they knew you were having the time of your life in a safe and fun place, AND improving your health at the same time!)

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 1.43.57 PMPlaying Outdoors is Like Taking Vitamins!- Remind your parents about how the doctor recommended that you take your vitamins, and then remind them that natural sunlight provides vitamin D, a vitamin responsible for preventing future bone problems, diabetes and heart disease. Going to camp and swimming, boating, biking, climbing and running outside is just what the doctor ordered!

Exercise- All of the activity you will be doing at camp is incredible exercise, and is a great way to keep your body weight down, heart rate up and muscles tone. It’s good for your lungs and heart to play outside. Staying active outside is great for your immune system. Expose to natural elements outside reduces the chances you’ll develop autoimmune disorders and allergies. Being outside keeps you from getting sick!

Armed with this information, you are now ready to present your parents with professional, realistic and scientifically proven reasons why , as responsible and loving parents, they really have to let you go to camp!

Good luck, and see you at camp!

Cooking at Camp Starlight

April 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.17.52 AMOne of the perks about sending your child to Camp Starlight that nobody mentions to parents is that it is very realistic to send your child away for the summer and get a private chef when they return. Your child who only knew how to make a sandwich or had no idea how to boil water could come back as a baking, sautéing, mixing foodie who has a newfound appreciation for seasonings, sauces and the magic that can happen in the kitchen. This transformation begins when kids take advantage of the cooking programs at camp.

The cooking program is taught by specialists with a wide range of experiences. The state-of-the-art facility gives kids the tools, appliances and space to create their favorite dishes and learn a few new ones.

Encouraging your child to explore their culinary side not only ensures your get to try some of their creations once they return home, but also teaches them valuable life skills. Cooking is not just throwing ingredients together and waiting until it’s edible. Cooking is an art, and a way for students to express themselves. The thought, preparation, and emotion that goes into cooking is something many children find challenging but rewarding. They also learn valuable skills such as time management, following directions, and communication, and cooking also perfects math and science skills in a way that is fun and different.

When your child is able to start and finish a project in the kitchen, their self confidence grows and they become more self assured and willing to try new things that seem out of their comfort zone. When they are active in the kitchen and learn about the things that go into their food, they are also learning about making healthy choices when it comes to what they eat.

Cooking also gives kids a sense of purpose, and gives them something they feel they can contribute to the family. Once the family takes a bite of their famous mac and cheese or savory French Onion soup and can’t get enough, they’ll feel accomplished and that they have a valuable quality to contribute to family functions. Even if they just learn basic cooking skills, the importance of cleaning up after yourself, and how to measure properly, they will be ahead of most of their microwave dinner eating peers.

Whether your child is a chef in the making, or is just starting to show interest in the kitchen, cooking at camp is a great way for kids to explore the culinary arts.

 

5 Ways Kids Can Stay Healthy At Camp

April 13th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.13.10 AMParents want to make sure their kids have fun and stay safe at camp, but a main concern for many parents while their kids are away is how to help them stay as healthy as possible. Before you send your kids off to experience the summer of a lifetime, get them in the habit of these 5 things so they can enjoy everything camp has to offer and not spend their time in bed with a runny nose, grumbly tummy or annoying cough.

Eat Well

Camp Starlight knows that kids need to stay well nourished in order to have the energy it takes to swim, climb, dance and play all day long. Healthy choices are available, and getting your kids into the habit of picking something nutritious over something salty or sweet is a great way to boost their immune system and fight off germs. Healthy foods also give your kids the energy they need to be as active as possible, where fatty foods will make them feel sluggish and lazy and may lead to missing out on some great fun with other campers.

Stay Hydrated

Encourage your kids to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Get them excited about it by having them pick out their own water bottle the next time you go to the store. Have a friendly competition within the family to see who can fill up and drink their water bottles the most throughout the day. At camp, kids who stay hydrated stay healthy!

Hand Washing

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.13.50 AMKids are going to be shaking hands and high fiving a lot at camp, and this is a very easy way for germs to spread. Get your kids in the habit of washing their hands after they use the bathroom, before they eat and after spending a lot of time outdoors.

Sleep

There’s something always a little off when it comes to sleeping and kids. A teenager’s biological clock is set to stay up later and sleep in late (so it’s not totally their fault when you have to go in at noon and wake them up!) Sleep is vital in maintaining a healthy mind and body, and kids who get the recommended amount of sleep for their age group perform better than kids who don’t. Getting enough ZZZ’s also helps the immune system stay strong, and keeps their memory sharp. Kids who get enough sleep report lower stress levels than those who can’t get enough sleep, and lower stress is better for the brain and heart. A well-rested kid can focus on their creativity, concentration and athletic performance, and can fully enjoy everything camp has to offer

Sunscreen

Before you send your child to camp, get them in the routine of applying sunscreen before they go outside. Help them understand the harmful effects of the sun’s rays, and assure them they can still get a tan while protecting their skin. Nobody likes to spend 3-4 days of camp walking around like a lobster, flinching every time someone brushes up against his or her fried skin. Over exposure to the sun during childhood has been linked with skin cancers in adulthood. Encourage your child to take the extra two minutes to apply sunscreen and remind them how great they’ll feel if they go home without being burnt!

A healthy camper is a happy camper, and by introducing these easy steps to your child before they get to camp, you’ll rest easy knowing they’re not only having the time of their life in a safe environment, but they are staying healthy as well.

Outside Play at Camp Starlight

April 6th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.53.49 PMA recent phenomenon child psychologists have been focusing on is environmental recreation. What is environmental recreation? It’s as simple as getting children into the great outdoors! Playing outside improves vision, promotes social skills, increases attention span, produces vitamin D, prevents future bone damage and reduces the chance of heart related diseases, diabetes and stress. Playing outside not only improves a child’s physical abilities, but improves their mind and spirit as well.

It’s no secret that today’s kids don’t spend nearly as much time playing outside as their parents did growing up. There are fewer kickball games with the neighborhood kids and more video games. There are fewer kids racing home when the streetlights come on, sweaty and dirty from hours running and playing outside. As we all know, many kids today are glued to a TV or computer screen until bedtime. The benefits for kids who play outside are endless, and when your child spends their summer at camp, they will develop a love and appreciation for the great outdoors.

When campers are participating in adventure activities, they are stepping out of their comfort zone AND surrounded by the beauty of Mother Nature. When they are waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing or swimming, they are keeping their minds and bodies active and breathing in fresh air. When they are playing team sports like soccer, basketball, football and tennis, they are working up a sweat, becoming fit, and improving their vision. Studies show that kids who play outdoors have better distance vision than kids who spend a lot of time inside. With such great vision, maybe they should try archery!
ZQ1B4eko-aELXBpuV9pxSzTg0kdCE5op-7ddLrBczJ0,rOfiYDnybC7ox78CNoLRi1j4ljoBhIK-HYaSd1REtQk,UNmZOXyvC1Qk0JDEgmThqWBGt8PL_-sAxDmgM-YWkm0When kids are playing outside, they are interacting with other kids, which is a great way to develop social skills. Taking turns, sharing, being part of a team and other important rules learned on a playground (or in this case, on a field, on a boat, or flying through the ropes course) are vital for developing children’s social skills, and will transfer over into how they interact with people in the outside world. Kids who play alone and inside all the time don’t get a chance to learn these important skills.

Spending time outside may also improve the time your child spends inside. By spending time outside and releasing all of that energy, kids are able to focus when it is time to come inside for structured time. Being outside also brings out the curious and investigative side of children, as they are naturally compelled to look, learn, touch and try new things they discover outside.

Kids these days are busy, and can find themselves stressed out and pulled in many different directions before they even hit high school. With the pressure of grades, sports, friends and other responsibilities, a little time outside can really help reduce stress. Time spent swinging, sliding, running, jumping, swimming, competing and discovering outside is fun and even therapeutic for kids who have a lot on their plate.

Research shows many kids these days are vitamin D deficient. You could run to the drugstore and pick up some vitamins, or you could encourage your kids to play outside and get it for free: from the sun! Getting enough vitamin D has been proven to prevent bone problems, diabetes and heart problems.

Because of these (and hundreds of other) reasons, summer camps have countless outdoor activities for kids to try. And, camps cater to all types of kids: a child focused on drama or dance will have just as many opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh air as a camper who is focused on athletics or watersports. This is the beauty of summer camp: campers growing appreciation for nature and the health benefits that go along with playing outdoors. Camp is good – actually, great – for all types of kids. The benefits are limitless!

Living with Peers at Camp Starlight

March 30th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 2.36.33 PMIt can be emotional to think about, but one day we will have to help our babies pack up their stuff and move them into a dorm, apartment or house of their own. We have to send them off with the hope that all we did to teach them how to be productive, respectful and kind human beings will stick with them as they venture into the real world. Along with being honest and responsible, we cross our fingers that we taught them how to be a good roommate. Did we instill the importance of keeping their stuff picked up, being quiet when other people are sleeping, doing their own dishes? Did we teach them how to take care of their dirty laundry? Did we bluntly teach them to use deodorant so other people near by don’t have to? Our goal is to raise someone who is easy and fun to live with. Nobody wants to have the kid who is known for leaving his or her sweaty socks by the front door, or who never EVER takes initiative and takes out the trash. By sending them to camp, you give them the opportunity to learn what it is like to live with other people other than their immediate family, and prepares them for opportunities in the future (college, marriage, etc) where they will be sharing the same space with other people. Being a good roommate is an important quality to have, and learning how to deal with other people who aren’t the world’s best roommates is also an important life skill.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 2.37.03 PMAt Camp Starlight, each bunk has 8-12 campers and 2-3 counselors. Campers sleep in single beds. There is a bathroom, with two showers, two toilets, and two sinks. They have cubbies for storage and outlets to plug in clocks etc. Campers are expected to respect each other’s space and personal belongings. Everyone is responsible for keeping the cabins picked up and clean. Although uncommon, sometimes campers have a hard time adjusting to sharing a space with others, and this can cause frustration and conflict with other campers. Counselors are trained on how to deal with such conflict, and use it as a learning opportunity for all of the campers. Counselors show campers how to address someone who has invaded their space and how to communicate their feelings about how another’s actions are affecting them. Being able to effectively communicate an issue or problem you have with someone you are living with is a valuable life skill campers will learn by living with their peers.

Part of being a good roommate is respecting the rules of quiet time, and allowing others to sleep in a space that is quiet and peaceful. Nobody likes living with someone who is up half the night talking and making noise, so it is important that campers learn this type of respect at camp. Many campers plan to move away to college, where they will be living in a dorm or apartment with other students. If they have the experience of living with others at camp, it will prepare them for the kind of roommate they want (and don’t want) to be. Having counselors in the cabins also helps to ensure all campers feel safe and respected, and that the rules are followed closely.

Kids who don’t attend sleep away camps may go straight from living in their home, with their siblings and parents, to being thrown into an environment in college where all of the sudden they have to learn a whole new set of rules, expectations and courtesy. Sending your kids to Camp Starlight gives them a big head start in the rule of sharing their space.

And this will make them one heck of a roommate when it’s time for them to be on their own.

Sailing at Camp Starlight

March 23rd, 2015

When you think about summer, most of the images that race through your mind include two things: sun and water. Whether it’s laying out by the pool, running through the sprinklers, or zipping through the waves on a boat or jet ski, or contemplating life’s mysteries while casting a line out to fish, the summer is meant to be spent heating up in the sun and cooling down in the water. This is why so many campers enjoy learning to sail when they spend the summer at Camp Starlight.

Sailing is an exciting water activity that allows campers to work as a team to reach a common goal. It is a great way to spend the afternoon soaking up the sun, and creates a bond between sailors that can’t be created anywhere else.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.18.06 AMCampers who learn to sail aren’t just learning how to maneuver a large vessel through the water (however that is a big accomplishment!) Everything about learning to sail is a learning opportunity. Math and science are weaved into the fun and challenging sport of sailing. Sailors will learn about the importance of aerodynamics when it comes to the position of the sale. They will learn to read a compass and become confident navigating their way to and from a destination without the help of the GPS on their smartphones. They will learn to solve problems quickly, to be observant of their surroundings, and will find a new appreciation for Mother Nature. Campers who try sailing leave with a “boat load” of useful skills and practical information that will help them for the rest of their lives.

Even if they never have to deal with air pressure or thinking about the curvature of a sail, they will learn to work as a team, follow directions and appreciate the quietness. Sometimes young kids and teenagers have a hard time dealing with quiet, or feel anxious when they don’t have something to entertain them at every second. Sailing is good practice for just sitting back and enjoying nature, and is a great way for campers to learn to be comfortable in their own silence. All of the sailing adventures are guided and supervised by certified instructors, so everyone is kept safe while they are having fun.

The beauty of the lakes surrounding Camp Starlight is a reason all on their own to take up sailing. The view from the sailboat can’t be put into words, and campers write home how much they loved spending their afternoons out on the lake.

Campers have hundreds of opportunities to try new things while they spend their summers at camp, and learning to sail is another great way to expose them to things they may never have a chance to try at home. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment that they can succeed at anything they put their mind to.

Tennis at Camp Starlight

March 16th, 2015

10526136_10152177443296960_5570309213981646310_nWhat do seeds, chips and double bagels have in common? No, they aren’t things you’ll find at the summer camp buffet. They are terms commonly used in one of the world’s most popular sport, and a sport enjoyed by hundreds of campers every year: Tennis.

Tennis is fast paced, competitive and fun. It is a great workout, as it keeps players constantly moving, running and swinging. For campers who prefer individual sports, tennis is one of the best options. It improves speed, agility and hand-eye coordination, skills that are great for kids in all kinds of different sports. Playing tennis helps with both physical and developmental growth, and kids who try tennis at camp can do so in a safe and encouraging environment where they feel safe to try something new without judgment or fear of embarrassment.

Tennis is a very physical sport. It improves leg strength, gross and fine motor skills, agility and flexibility, all while incorporating cardiovascular exercise. Because physical fitness is such an important part of tennis, campers are taught about general nutrition and the best ways to fuel their bodies in order to preform at their best on the court each day.

Tennis is also a great way to strengthen the character and physiological development of campers. Tennis requires practice and commitment, and helps campers develop a strong work ethic and discipline. When new tennis players stick with the sport, even when it’s tough, they gain valuable life lessons about never quitting and persistence. Tennis is a great way to strengthen social skills, and helps campers learn to be good sports.

The thirteen tennis courts at Camp Starlight are surrounded by natural beauty, and serve as a safe, clean and professional style court for tennis lovers and rookies alike. Tennis is taught by certified and experience trainers, who will encourage the campers to do their best and make them feel confident and excited about picking up a racquet. Most importantly, they make sure tennis stays fun for the campers, and that everyone feels included and is having a good time.

Tennis is a large part of camp culture, and many first time tennis players go home asking their parents to continue playing when they get home. The benefits of tennis are endless, and campers who participate in the various tennis activities will walk off of the court with a sense of confidence and will understand why millions of people around the world love the game of tennis.