Archive for September, 2015

4 Constellations visible from Camp Starlight and how to find them

Monday, September 28th, 2015

UntitledLights out doesn’t have to mean the fun is over; after all, Camp Starlight is the perfect place for stargazing! All you need is a clear sky, a few tips and pointers, and of course a helpful counselor.

Once you figure out how to find the north star, it’s a slippery slope to becoming an astronomy expert. Who wouldn’t want to be knowledgeable about this beautiful universe of ours?

Here are four of the easiest constellations to locate during the summer months at Camp Starlight, and how to find them.

The Big Dipper

For many aspiring astronomers, the big dipper is the first constellation they ever discover. The Big Dipper is visible all year round, making it a dependable friend even if you aren’t an astronomy master.

The distinctive dipper or ladle shape is hard to miss, since it’s composed of a few of the brightest stars in the sky. Take a look at the shape in the picture below; this is what you’re looking for.


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Found it? Awesome!

Beyond being dependable, the Big Dipper is your secret key to the celestial world. Once you can find the Big Dipper, you can use it to pinpoint many other constellations.

Now let’s use the Big Dipper to find our next constellation: the Great Bear.

The Great Bear

The Big Dipper is actually part of the Great Bear, so if you’ve already located that elusive ladle then you’re literally halfway there. Hint: the handle of the dipper is the tail of the bear.

Look for the brightest stars directly forward from the dipper part of the Big Dipper to find the bear’s head, and extend downwards from the dipper’s bottom to find the bear’s legs. Can you spy the Big Dipper in this picture?

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Image source:

The Little Dipper

The Big Dipper isn’t done helping us; we’re also going to use it to help us find its smaller but no less important sibling, the Little Dipper!

Find the two stars that make the “front” of the Big Dipper and draw a line with your imagination upwards. The brightest star in that line is the end of the Little Dipper’s handle.

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The Little Dipper is much fainter than the big dipper, and if any wispy clouds are hanging around it might be quite tricky to find. But there is a reward! That bright star forming the end of the Little Dipper’s handle is none other than Polaris, the north star.

If you can get this far, you have everything you need to find your way in the wilderness. North is always the direction of the North Star, which is why sailors used to be so concerned with astronomy in the old days. Pat yourself on the back!


Everyone loves dragons, so let’s finish by finding the dragon constellation, Draco. We can use the Little Dipper as a reference point, just like we did before.

The snakey part of Draco wraps around the spoon part of the Little Dipper in a giant “s” shape, leading up to the “head” of the dragon — a suspiciously ladle-like four-point star formation, as you can see in the shape here:


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Show off your new astronomy skills to your friends!

Astronomy is like everything else at camp: challenging, but rewarding. And most importantly, tons of fun.

The best part about these four constellations is that they’re visible all year around. Be sure to show your friends at camp, or if you’re a counselor, be sure to teach your campers. That way they can take their newfound astronomy skills away with them and show their friends at home!

When they ask where you learned something so cool, you can just say, “at Camp Starlight.”

What a campfire means to a summer camper!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.48.44 PMCamp life may thrive on variety, but the traditional evening campfire has remained constant for as long as anyone can remember. The mere mention of a campfire brings back a flood of memories for many summer campers; memories of friends gained, challenges overcome, and a time when all there was to worry about was playing games and growing stronger. Nothing captures the spirit of the summer camp experience quite like the snap-crackle-pop of the hot fire and the magical smell of freshly split logs waiting to get thrown on the flames.

A day at camp is often hectic and wild, and the evening campfire offers everybody a chance to wind down. Camp simply wouldn’t be the same without it. After all, the traditional evening campfire represents more than just a nice way to stay warm on a brisk night; gathering around the fire represents community, the circle of life, and togetherness with friends new and old.


Fire has been a life source for all of recorded history, from the first ancient person to rub two sticks together to the diligent camper wielding flint and tinder. For all that time, friends and family have gathered around the fire to tell stories, play games and enjoy good food. (or s’mores, as the case may be!)

Building a fire with only matches, kindling and elbow grease is a chance to pit your wits against nature and enjoy a connection to “the old days” — before light bulbs, or flashlights, or flashlight apps on your smartphone.

Experiencing a campfire, and perhaps even starting one yourself, is a taste of independence for campers, for whom camp is the one of many steps towards independence and self-sufficiency.


Another thing campfires represent is a time for winding down through songs, skits, and theatrical games. Charades is never as funny as just before bedtime, when your best friend is dancing and gesturing desperately to get everybody to guess the right word. Even if you’re feeling tired after a long day of activities, you can count on this to be true: laughter flows freely by firelight. Just watch out for all the camp-related inside jokes!

And of course no mention of campfires is complete without talking about traditional camp songs, especially the kinds that involve audience participation. (“Hey, Burritos!” anybody?) Legend has it that there are campers out there who know so many verses of “The green grass grows all around” that it would take a whole day just to sing it from start to finish. Even if everybody sings out of tune, the harmony comes from the camp community’s commitment to keeping the traditional melodies alive — even the completely goofy ones.

…And of course we can’t forget s’mores!

One part of the fire nobody wants to miss: s’more time! Crafting the perfect golden-brown marshmallow is an art as old as marshmallows and fires. Like any fine art, roasting a marshmallow to perfection is a tricky task that takes hard work and commitment. (Thankfully, perfection is in the eye of the beholder, and truth be told some folks prefer to let them catch fire for a crispy flavor!)

Whether you prefer a classic graham cracker and hershey’s milk chocolate s’more or have your own special recipe — I for one appreciate homemade chocolate chip cookies — roasting marshmallows on a rip-roaring campfire is something nobody forgets.

Plus, it’s just the right amount of sugar to keep you awake for the closing songs, but not so awake that you have trouble drifting into peaceful dreams after lights out!

Easy Camp Food at Home- A Kids Perspective!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.44.44 PMUghhhh….Camp is over and of course, NOW summer is over too! This stinks! I mean being back home is kind of a buzz kill. School’s no fun, homework’s lame and dealing with my little bro is like, BRUTAL! All I can think about is how much fun I had away from here, with all my friends and so many awesome things to do!

But the reality is, I’m stuck here for 9 more months, until I can go back to camp. So I asked my Mom, if we could make some real camp food – you know, to bring me back! I figured she’d be game, since she says she needs new ideas and gets tired of making the same stuff over and over again. So we’re bringing camp home YO! How cool is that? Check out the recipes below, for some yummy goodness you can make at home. You gettin’ me? Oh, and no campfire needed!

HOBO DINNERS – makes 4 servings

1 pk. – Ground beef

2 TBS. – Olive oil

Dash – Salt and pepper

3 – Potatoes

2 med. – Red eppers

2 med. – Tomatoes

1 – Yellow Onion

½ c. – Salsa

4-6 – tortillas

Tear off four squares of tin foil, lay each one out and portion out ¼ cup of ground beef, dash of salt and pepper and 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil for each. Then personalize it! Chop up the vegetables and add the ones you like to your Hobo dinner and add a little salsa. Fold up each tin foild square and bake at 350 degrees, on the middle oven rack for 45 minutes. Whala!! Eat it right out of the foil pouch or scoop all the ingredients into a tortilla. Now this is chow! Yum!

TACOS IN A BAG – makes 4 servings

4 – individual bags of tortilla chips

1 lb. pk – grass fed hamburger

¼ c. – taco seasoning mix

1/8 c. – water

½ c. – salsa

½ c. – tofu sour cream


Brown the hamburger until well cooked. Drain. Add in the taco seasoning and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Crunch each bag of tortilla chips. Add hamburger, salsa lettuce and sour cream to each tortilla chip packet. Crunch with a fork and munch! It’s so easy it’s cray, cray!

SMORES DIP – makes 4 servings

1 pkg. – chocolate chips

1 pkg. – large marshmallows

2 pkgs. – graham crackers for dipping

Pour the chocolate chips in an 8 X 8 pan. Set large marshmallows on end, covering the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for five minutes or until melted. Serve with graham crackers. Dig in and dip away!

CAMPFIRE CONES – makes 4 servings

4 – waffle or sugar ice cream cones

1 c. – marshmallows

1 – banana

1 c. – chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Fill each cone with as much bananas, chocolate chips and marshmallows as you want. Wrap each cone in aluminum foil and bake for 8-10 minutes. Unwrap and grub down!

Fun Things I Learned to do at Camp!

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

-POPI’m still amazed by the fun and unique skills I acquired as a camper for 8 years of my life. Camp brought me to the mountains each summer, out of the smog and into the fresh air, where sometimes I felt like I could breathe for the first time; literally and figuratively.

I was obsessed about those weeks at camp during the summer all year long. What new campers would I meet? Who would be my counselor? But mostly it was about the activities that I looked forward to participating in. Each day at camp was action-packed with things to do, and many of the skills I learned proved beneficial in the future – although some proved to be just for fun. Here are the best skills that summer camp taught me:

1. How to be a Crafting Goddess: To this day I’m an avid crafter and Do-it-yourselfer. For one thing, there was the beading. We’d make friendship bracelets and necklaces – something I still do today – and there was also painting and drawing, which remained important throughout my youth. The silk screening was perhaps my favorite.

2. How to be Brave in the Face of Ropes and Obstacle Courses: If you’re not familiar with something called ‘high ropes’, then you should know that it’s a serious courage/team building experience. The aerial obstacle course – with the use of harnesses and ropes – was seriously one of the most terrifying things I ever did as a kid, and the most exhilarating. It inspired a rock-climbing passion in my later life.

3. How to Canoe: Not only was canoeing a big part of camp, but also sailing and swimming. Any reservations I had about getting in the water when I was little were put to rest at camp.

4. Target Shooting: Ok, this might not sound like a good idea, but archery was a big deal at camp, and sharpened my precision and focus. It also just made me feel like I was super cool.

5. Sing with Courage: The first time I sang in front of a crowd was at a campfire, and it took courage. I wasn’t the best singer, but it did impress a few of my friends. No shame in that.

6. How to be Comfortable with Nature: Camp was the first time in my life that I slept under the stars. I was scared at first of the bugs, the ground, animals; you name it. But I learned that it’s pretty spectacular, and today I’m still not afraid of the big bad wolf.

7. Social Skills: In hind sight, I realize that this might have been the greatest thing that camp taught me. When you’re sleeping in a cabin with 13 other girls, or boys, your age, you learn how to interact and get along with people who are different than you. You learn about the commonalities that you share with those of various backgrounds, ethnicities, and interests. This is a skill that benefits every aspect of your life as an adult, and I’m grateful that camp taught me how to get along with people.