For many counselors at Camp Starlight a significant amount of distance is required to travel to get to camp. Driving literally across the country or flying seventeen hours straight from across the world, counselors are dedicated to make it to Camp Starlight. What makes those insanely long trips and flights worth it? The reason these counselors spend a long amount of time travelling is because they know that spending the summer at Camp Starlight is a once in a lifetime experience and a summer you can never replicate anywhere else. When counselors interact with the kids for the first time and see that they can change their lives for the better, all the jet lag and hours spent standing in line at the airport melts away. Nothing can compare to the rewarding feeling of helping a camper learn a new life lesson or help them overcome an obstacle, so when a counselor travels from around the world to Camp Starlight, those are the feelings they want to experience and celebrate. The counselors realize that even though they spend a lot of time travelling to get to camp, campers wait around all year long to return to Camp Starlight. When someone asks a counselor from Australia if the seventeen hour flight was worth it they usually respond with another question: was the ten month long wait to return to camp worth it? The answer to both questions lies in the amount of campers and counselors that do make that return trip–almost all of them.
Posts Tagged ‘America’s finest summer camps’
I am the best at tying shoes, a master of voices for bedtime stories and I can most certainly hand out tissues for a runny nose. I am a familiar face for the same bunk all summer because I am a bunk specialist and I have the best job at Camp Starlight. As a bunk specialist for the Lower Juniors at Camp Starlight, I spend most of my time with the campers from my bunk and see them make Camp Starlight their new home for the first time as new campers. Everyday I get to watch my campers laugh, smile, try new things and enjoy their first summer at Starlight, watching them grow roots here that will have them come back for more summers to come. I love my job because I get to see their growth, the campers that nervously came to camp on the first day have grown so much since then and they have found new things that make them excited to wake up to Reveille. The most rewarding aspect of my job is when I see my campers smile because of something they were able to do because that makes me smile. My division has very young campers that are experiencing summer camp for the first time, so when they become comfortable enough at camp to master a skill or find a new passion, it is so inspiring. Everyday has its challenges in supervising these campers to be the best they can be, but the end of every day is so rewarding and worth all the hard work when they go to bed with smiles on their faces. Knowing I am part of making a camper’s first summer at Camp Starlight so special is why I know I have the best job at Camp Starlight.
When you walk through camp on any given day, you can spot a seemingly endless amount of blue stars and Camp Starlight insignia adorned on campers, counselors and staff. Throughout camp, the Camp Starlight name and logo is a prominent presence on campus because so many people are proud to wear it. When you wear Camp Starlight gear, you represent so many aspects that define what it means to be a part of the Camp Starlight family. The blue star is stamped on all staff shirts like a postcard to show that Camp Starlight is the best place to be in the whole world. This is a place people travel to, looking for that stamped blue star, so they can see all the history and tradition that lies within the five points of the star. Wearing Camp Starlight gear means to be proud of all tradition that has built such a supportive and encouraging community of campers and staff. It means to be proud of a community where there are always new and exciting opportunities taking place, a place where new passions are being discovered, new goals are being achieved and a new home is being founded. When you wear the blue and white, you wear all the smiles shared because of this place and you wear all the love the Camp Starlight family gives. The spirit of Camp Starlight is in every stitch of fabric and the sense of adventure found here is printed on every logo. To wear Camp Starlight gear means to be proud of everything that every camper, counselor and staff member has accomplished every summer. It takes a lot of hard work to build up and add to that pride, but it is so easy to slide on that Camp Starlight shirt and smile because you know you are a part of a place that has changed lives for the better, including your own.
Parents of Camp Starlight campers have to work very hard all year long so their kids can enjoy a summer of fun and make memories with their friends. Even though campers are not able to see their parents when they are at summer camp, they appreciate every single thing their parents still do for them when there are some miles distancing them apart. Parents don’t see this, but campers literally light up when they see they have received mail from their parents in the morning. They clench onto the letters as they scan over every line, overjoyed to hear from their parents and the biggest smile stretches over their face. Every word from their parents means so much to them, even if they are stubborn to admit it. The days leading up to visiting day are the most anticipated for the campers too, telling their counselors all about their parents and cleaning up every corner of their bunk to impress them. They prepare in every way possible to welcome their parents into camp and wake up early the day of visiting day, eager to hug them. The moments leading up to the time campers get to see their parents show how much campers truly appreciate and love them. All they can do is stand on their tippy toes to catch a glimpse of their parents when the tape isn’t cut, and when the tape is cut, they sprint faster than they ever have before to see their parents. Campers appreciate and love everything their parents do for them, even more in the summer because that is when they realize how special their parents are to them.
Take a moment and look around you. Whether it be at a restaurant, at the movies, at a park, or in your own home, there is one constant that is found at all times with individuals; mobile devices. Phones, iPads, and other forms of technology have taken over daily life. It has become impossible to have a simple meal with family or a playdate with friends without the distraction of technology.
Before the influx of technology occurred, children used to ask for hands on presents that fostered creativity and adventure for holidays and birthdays. I remember the excitement I had on my seventh birthday when I received my first bicycle. Seven year olds today, however, receive iPhone 8s for their birthdays. While technology has a lot to offer individuals, it can have an extreme negative impact on the development of our youth. Creative impulses and a sense of adventure are diminished as children plug in their headphones and sit inside for hours at a time exploring their latest technology.
The solution to this lack of real living is simple: spend your summer at camp. Sleepaway camp offers children a seven week experience that they will never forget. In one summer, concrete memories will be made and lifelong skills will be acquired. Time spent outside in the fresh air with friends provides children with more tangible skills than a mobile phone ever could.
Technology continues to grow at a rapid pace each and every day. Soon, our world will be filled with artificial intelligence and self-driving cars. The need to be independent will be diminished. This is why kids need America’s Finest Summer Camps now more than ever.
One thing parents love so much about camp is that it takes campers out of their comfort zones in many ways. Not only are campers eating and sleeping in a new place, but they’re also trying games and activities that are new to them, and working with people they’ve never met. This shake-up of their routine does wonders for their social, physical, and emotional health. Camp also has a unique way of shifting the mindset of campers. A summer at camp is a summer away from social media and texting and a time focused on nature, real relationships, character building, and good ‘ol fashioned fun.
Camp Starlight immerses campers in a world unlike anything they are used to. It takes away a few modern comforts and conveniences and replaces them with things that are more low maintenance. Campers quickly learn the value of a one-on-one conversation with a trusted friend over having 50+ comments on their Instagram picture. They learn to appreciate the breezes, the vastness of the lakes, the sunsets and all of the natural beauty that surrounds them. They begin to see things differently, and this perspective stays with them even after they leave camp. Campers who used to find their joy in material things now look internally to find happiness, and this is a skill that will change their character and build their confidence.
Camp is a big place, full of big adventures and big fun. But in the midst of all of that, there are a million little things to be discovered, admired and appreciated. From quiet time on the lake before the camp gets crazy, to the beauty of a bonfire or the thrill of climbing the rock wall, campers learn to look for the little things that add up to make a big difference in their camp experience.
With social media playing such a huge role in the lives of kids and teens, many parents wonder if their child could survive without checking their Facebook or taking 20+ selfies on the way to school. Rest assured, parents, that without technology and social media to worry about, kids can focus on what they do best: being kids. They have the entire summer to focus on making friends and having fun and they learn that being in the moment is far more important than finding the perfect filter to capture the moment. Social media has its advantages of course, but at camp, camper’s learn a valuable lesson: their worth is not defined by how many followers they have or how many likes their pictures get.
Camp changes the way campers see the world. By spending their summers here, campers learn a little bit more about the world around them and how to appreciate the little things that make every day beautiful.
Going to a sleepaway camp not only transforms who you are as an individual but also has a profound impact on your life. Summer camp has the power to turn a few weeks of summer into an experience you will never forget. From the friendships and memories made, to the life lessons learned, true members of the camp community will tell you that it has changed their lives in ways that they could not have imagined.
Friendships made at camp are unlike any other relationship you have ever had. The authenticity of camp allows you to truly be who you are, which in turn fosters connections between individuals. You become part of a summer family that loves and supports one another. Your bunkmates become your sisters and brothers and your counselors are the role models you never knew you needed.
The camp community extends not only to the campers, but also to counselors who come from the UK, Australia, South Africa, and the United States. The bonds made at camp carry over and continue to solidify throughout the year as counselors travel around the world to visit one another. Because of the friendships formed at camp, counselors know that no matter where their travels take them, there will always be a friendly face to welcome them into their home.
The camp community is so widespread that no matter what camp you attend, there is a commonality that bonds individuals together. Whether it be the cheers, the campfires, or competition, the stories of past summers allow for memories to be shared and cherished.
Because of camp networking, finding a roommate in college becomes less stressful and allows for a broader circle of friends to be established. Talk of summer camp is the perfect conversation starter as stories about camp are never ending. Each member of the camp community always has a favorite story to tell or lesson learned from their experience at sleepaway camp.
The Lessons Learned
The strongest connection throughout the camp community is the impact it had on all of our lives. Over the course of a few weeks, summer camp is able to teach you more about yourself than you would think possible. On one hand, camp reveals your strengths as you build both your athletic and creative skills, while on the other hand, camp shows you how to be a friend, a good listener, and a confident leader. Camp has the power to teach you how to be yourself and accept everyone around you with open arms.
During the school year, dedicated athletes devote hours a day to their skill. Most spend time before and after school working on their strength, speed, agility, focus, and concentration. From the first day of practice to their final game, athletes see a significant improvement thanks to the time commitment they’ve put towards their sport.
But imagine what they could do if they had seven whole weeks to devote to learning, practicing and improving the sport or skill that they’re passionate about? Camp offers campers an extended period of time to focus on their craft in an encouraging and positive atmosphere.
Being trained and encouraged by the counselors at Camp Starlight is one way campers can improve their skills while at camp. Each sport and activity is lead by a counselor who is not only knowledgeable about what they teach but passionate about it as well. Learning from someone other than their school coach allows campers to see their sport or activity from a fresh perspective.
During the school year, students may get bored with the same old practice routines. At camp, the new environment and the new drills bring the game or activity to new life. This allows campers to experience the activity that they love so much in a different way.
Another reason camp is such a great place to progress in a particular skill is that of all of the positive encouragement campers receive from their peers. They can learn from those who have more experience than they do, and in turn, help those who are new to the game. As they make new friends each day, campers build a support system at the same time. There is something special about being cheered on and encouraged by people they didn’t know just a few weeks before!
Some campers come to camp to focus on one sport or skill set, but others like to mix it up. Seven weeks is a long time, and it’s a perfect amount of time for campers to experience new activities and improve upon many different skills. Campers don’t feel like they have to commit to one sport or activity due to time restraints. They can dabble in athletics for a few weeks, then get involved in the arts, and then spend the last week or so connecting with nature.
Whether they choose to work on a specific sport or skill or want to jump around and try a little bit of everything, a summer at Camp Starlight provides campers with plenty of time to take their skills to the next level.
At Camp Starlight, we strive to create a culture of kids and teens that respect themselves and others. Everything we do is based on giving young people every opportunity to interact with other people in a healthy and positive way. Every day, campers learn to solve conflicts, share their feelings, listen, and communities effectively; skills that are vital in becoming a productive member of society. And in a world where so many kids report feeling left out and alone, we’re determined to help create a culture of “includers.”
Inclusivity is a foundational element at camp, and from day one campers are taught the importance of teamwork and making everyone feel welcomed. In a place with this many people, there are bound to be personality conflicts, but we welcome these as opportunities to teach respect and acceptance. Everyone is welcomed to camp with open arms, and a friendly and welcoming attitude is instilled into everyday culture.
When we hire counselors, there are a few things we look for in regards to character and personality, and an attitude of acceptance, respect and inclusivity are some of them. Our counselors and staff are trained to lead activities that make everyone feel included, and to notice signs in campers that could signify that they’re feeling left out or lonely. Campers also see counselors interact with other groups and staff members and learn to model their positive and inclusive behavior. There is no “us vs. them” mentality at camp (unless it’s all in fun during a game or competition!) and even good sportsmanship and teamwork are a top priority.
One of the coolest things about camp is that the options for sports, arts, activities, and adventures are endless. There is not a one-size-fits-all type of camp; it’s a place where kids with all different levels of abilities and strengths can find a place where they belong. Everyone finds their place at camp, and is encouraged by other campers and staff to be the best versions of themselves.
Camp is a place where boys and girls feel like they belong. After a summer at camp, students head into the school year with an eye and a heart for others. They learn to build others up and make everyone feel included. If you were to take a peek at campers as they enjoy a meal, you’d never guess that they were strangers before; the connection and relationships that they build at camp are based on respect, communication, and inclusivity.
For some lucky families, dinnertime is an enjoyable and relaxing time to connect with family. For others, it’s like World War III. Whether kids are too busy chatting about their day to eat, or refuse to eat anything remotely healthy, keeping kids fed can be a challenge for many families. Many parents are surprised to hear that when their kids go to camp, they’re more likely to try newer, healthier foods than they would at home.
Spending the summer at camp means kids are active and busy from morning ‘til night. They are running from activity to activity, and are burning calories without even thinking about it. They need to be constantly refueled, and camp makes sure they’re putting good stuff in their bodies. At Camp Starlight, campers are sometimes more likely to try a new food because their friends are eating it, which opens their minds to trying new things. It’s a good kind of peer pressure.
Kids also become more responsible for their eating choices. They don’t have parents choosing and prepping every single meal for them, so they are responsible for making balanced and healthy choices. They have access to homemade options throughout the day as snacks, and are given multiple healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Soups made from scratch and a colorful salad bar encourage campers to make balanced and healthy choices. They are also encouraged to stay hydrated with water throughout the day.
Kids aren’t deprived of a sweet treat here and there, but they learn about balance. They eat well throughout the day and stay active, and learn that indulging in a dessert is perfectly fine in moderation.
At home, it is easy to get into a weekly dinner routine consisting of the same meals that kids will like (Taco Tuesday, anyone?!) While this makes dinner time a little easier for parents, it doesn’t give children the opportunity to try new foods. At Camp Starlight, campers are exposed to new foods on a daily basis and are encouraged to try them! They are usually pleasantly surprised that they like quite a few of the new foods that they try!
It’s important to teach children from a young age the importance of nutritional responsibility. Providing them with new foods to try and encouraging them to find a balance is what they eat, drink and do will create healthy adults who value good food and living a healthy lifestyle.