Posts Tagged ‘America’s finest summer camps’

Working at Camp Starlight as a Resume Builder

Monday, January 15th, 2018

After working a summer at sleepaway camp, it is hard to summarize the vast amount of experience gained in just a few weeks. Over the course of one summer, you are presented with challenges, lessons, an increased set of skills, and numerous other benefits. When you think of a summer spent working at sleepaway camp, the first thing that comes to mind are the times spent on the field helping kids learn how to kick a soccer ball, in the bunk playing jacks with your campers, or at the evening campfires roasting S’mores. Because each of these moments are filled with lifelong memories, it can be challenging to recognize that these moments are extremely applicable in the professional world.

A summer working at Camp Starlight teaches you how to be responsible, a valued leader, confident, a team player, and a problem solver. The ability to work with people from all different backgrounds and age levels is an opportunity that many people cannot say they have had. Fortunately, in your role as a counselor at sleepaway camp, you have attained skills that are attractive to employers and that are immensely useful in the professional sphere.

Recognizing Strengths and Weaknesses

At Camp Starlight, you are exposed to a wide range of individuals from around the world. In the bunk, you can live with children from ages seven to sixteen from all parts of the United States. Counselors come from the U.S., the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia. This unique environment presents the opportunity to understand, connect with, and appreciate all individuals around you. With each relationship established, the ability to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your peers increases tenfold.

In the professional world, it is of extreme importance to be able to work with people of all different backgrounds and cultures. With each background and culture comes different expectations that must be met if you want to be successful. Working at sleepaway camp gives you the experience necessary to meet these challenges and expectations. Having the ability to recognize what will both facilitate and hinder success is a skill that is invaluable in any profession.

Leadership

As a counselor, each day presents you with the opportunity to develop who you are as an individual and further increase your confidence. Higher confidence enables individuals to make decisions more effectively, have stronger performance capabilities, and deliver a higher quality of work. Both on the fields and in the bunk, you are a coach and a role model to all of the children at camp. Having this opportunity at all hours of the day at camp transforms counselors into empowered leaders with an unprecedented drive for success.

Confidence and leadership both go a long way in the professional world. From applying for a job and mastering the interview to giving a presentation to your boss, having a feeling of empowerment ensures a high success rate in the workplace.

Communication

Camp Starlight is a fast-paced environment where anything could happen. Over the course of the summer, there could be inclement weather, changing preferences of campers, or changes to the daily/nightly schedule. These changes emphasize the importance of being a flexible employee and communicating effectively with those around you. This also leads to high innovative abilities that encourages counselors to excel at camp.

Along with the fast-paced nature of camp, conflicts between campers in the bunk and amongst counselors do arise. The ability to communicate powerfully during times of conflict allow for problem solving and conflict resolution. Communication helps individuals to find a commonality that will end conflict and bring people together as a unified front.

In every workforce no matter the department or field of profession, communication is the key to the success of a company. Without communication, deadlines cannot be met and progress will not be made. Learning how to communicate effectively at camp will allow you to enter into the working force with both ease and success.

 

Camp: The Ultimate Career Prep

Monday, January 8th, 2018

The last thing kids are thinking about as they are running, dancing, jumping, singing, and playing at camp is what they want to be when they grow up. But counselors and staff at Camp Starlight know that the things campers experience and learn during this time in their lives can directly impact the adults that they become. Spending a summer at camp fosters valuable like skills in campers that can prepare them to enter the professional world.

Teamwork

Even if campers end up owning their own business or going the entrepreneurial route, they will still need to know how to work well with others. This is why learning to play well with others is such a valuable skill. Counselors lead by example and demonstrate practical communication skills, conflict management, compromise, listening skills and working together. Many camp activities require campers to work together in order to be successful. Campers learn to trust and encourage each other. Campers who feel confident working with others at camp build a solid foundation for teamwork in the workplace.

Problem Solving

One of the biggest characteristics employers look when they are hiring is problem solving. They want to be sure the person they hire can not only identify a problem, but also figure out a solution, often without needing much guidance or direction. Campers are given multiple opportunities throughout the summer to identify obstacles and find a solution. Whether they are solving a problem with a friend or learning a new athletic skill, problem solving happens all day at camp and is a valuable life skill for campers to build upon.

Perseverance

Nobody likes a quitter. In the workplace, employers expect employees to give their job their all, and not to give up when it gets hard. Pushing through obstacles and preserving through a difficult task is crucial for workplace efficiency. Campers are encouraged to stick with difficult tasks, even if it means walking away and taking a deep breath to clear their minds. Seeing a project through to completion is what will set campers apart from their coworkers when they enter the workforce.

Time Management

Time management is another important skill campers learn without even realizing it. While a variety of activities available for them to try, campers are responsible for planning out their day so they get the most out of each activity. Campers learn to factor in things like travel time between activities or how much prep time is required between events. Most employers don’t tolerate excessive tardiness, so learning the importance of being on time and early will help campers be successful in the real world. They’re also given opportunities to extend grace and courtesy to those who are running behind, and taught to exercise patience when things don’t always go according to plan. Campers learn to be flexible and understanding, while also learning how to prioritize important events during their daily routine.

Organization

For many campers, camp is the first time they will share a private space with a group of people they don’t know. They quickly learn to organize their personal belongings in a way that makes them easily accessible but out of the way of others. A clean and organized desk or workspace increases productivity and is a sign of respect when working close to others. Campers are expected to keep their personal space neat and tidy, and be respectful of the people that share their space. Learning how to be organized at camp can directly transfer over to being organized at home and in their future professional environment.

Spending a summer at camp is one of the best things you can do for the future of your child. It is a fun way to build character and prepare them for the real world. Campers learn valuable life lessons on a daily basis at camp, all while having the best summer of their lives. Camp staff is focused on developing the whole camper, and embrace the opportunity to prepare each camper for success. When they finally enter the workforce, campers will be prepared with the confidence and skills required to be successful.

Mindfulness at Camp

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Children and teenagers are constantly surrounded by stimuli. They are easily overwhelmed with the sights and sounds that surround them, and often don’t have the skills to be fully present and limit distractions. This is why more and more teachers and professionals are incorporating mindfulness into their curriculum. And why Camp Starlight has been doing it since the beginning.

Mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” Campers all have the ability to be mindful, but there are proven techniques to help them perfect their skill. At camp, we incorporate these techniques into every day living to help campers improve their focus and concentration. It helps them be present in the moment and hyper-aware of their body, their space, and their surroundings.

Camp is a busy, noisy, active place. The energy on the campus is undeniable and can be felt from the moment you arrive. However, camp counselors and staff highly encourage campers to take periods of time throughout the day to relax, stay quiet, and unwind. Some campers choose to journal, write letters home, meditate, or even sleep during this time. This critical “down” time allows campers to stay in tune with their thoughts and feelings, and reflect on the activities of the day.

Meditation is a big part of the mindfulness initiative, but there are other ways campers can learn to be mindful. Campers may find themselves waiting to take their turn for different things throughout the day. Waiting is an excellent opportunity to tune in to their inner thoughts and feelings. A quick breathing exercise or an intentional appreciation for the space around them is a great way to practice mindfulness. For many people, listening intently and carefully is a challenge. Sometimes we are thinking more about our response than actually listening to what someone has to tell us. By focusing on being better listeners, campers can improve their communication skills and be mindful at the same time.

One of the things campers learn quickly is the power of connecting with nature. It’s always incredible what a quiet walk by the lake can do to clear your mind of negativity, anger, frustration, or fear. Camp Starlight gives campers the unique opportunity to connect with nature. Observing the natural beauty that surrounds them can help campers feel calm and connected when things seem to be getting out of control. Learning the calming power of a nature hike at camp is a coping strategy campers take with them for the rest of their lives.

Camp may be a busy place with lots to see and do, but it also provides plenty of opportunities for campers and staff to get in tune with their thoughts and feelings. Teaching mindfulness is just another way Camp Starlight fosters future leaders, builds character and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Limitless Love

Monday, November 27th, 2017

 

 

Whether you are a camper, staff member, parent, or alumni, Camp Starlight has an intense impact that can’t be ignored. There is a monumental significance that summer camp provides to a person’s life. An environment is fostered that allows you to become the person you’ve always dreamed of being. Friendships are established, memories are made, and life lessons are learned and carried out for many years to follow. The bottom line is, sleepaway camp provides an overall plethora of love and support for its entire community.

The camp environment facilitates a feeling of love and acceptance that is motivational and highly influential. Once an individual realizes that they are accepted for who they are, his or her potential for growth becomes unlimited. As someone who went to sleepaway camp, I have fortunately experienced this limitless love firsthand. For twelve summers, I have accumulated memories and experiences that are invaluable to me as an individual. The positivity and love that exists around camp is infectious and easily transferrable in all environments.

My summer camp career at Starlight began in June 2006. I was a ten year old girl that was extremely shy and often kept to myself. I played a few sports but I never fully embraced my athletic potential and teamwork capabilities. Despite my many fears, I bravely introduced myself to my fellow bunkmates. Within minutes, I felt accepted and loved in my new bunk of eleven girls knowing that we were going to face this new experience of camping together. Throughout the summer, I learned how to work as a team and handle conflict. My confidence and individuality blossomed as I tried new activities and experienced new adventures with my new bunk family cheering me on. My bunkmates and I overcame obstacles together, recognized each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and supported one another each and every day. While some members of my bunk shined on the soccer field and tennis courts, others lived for the chance to perform in the camp play or be featured in a dance number. Despite our preference of activities and different strengths, living together each and every day enabled our limitless love for one another as we cheered each other on and were there for a helping hand. Before I knew it, my first summer came to an end and I began counting down the days until I could return back to my summer home. Throughout the long ten months spent away from camp, I kept in constant contact with my fellow bunkmates and had several reunions. At each reunion, my bunkmates and I picked up right where we left off and continued to make lifelong memories.

Fast forward six years to 2012 when I became a staff member at Camp Starlight. Although I had been a camper for six years, the butterflies I had in my stomach putting on that staff shirt for the first time brought me back to the same nervous feeling I had when I started my camp career. However, the moment I stepped into my new bunk and met my campers, I was hit a feeling of gratification and excitement. I recognized that I had the power to be a role model for these campers as my past counselors once were to me. I took pride in helping my campers learn their lines for camp plays, rooting them on in each sport they tried, and being there for any assistance that they needed.

The year is now 2017 and I have had the privilege of being a counselor to six unique bunks of girls. Each group provided me with irreplaceable memories. My first campers back in 2012 are now in high school thinking about which colleges they should apply to and learning how to drive a car. I have had the unique opportunity to watch my campers grow as individuals and accomplish several milestones. I look forward to the day each June when my campers from past summers run off the buses, hug me hello, and tell me what their year had in store for them.

 

Along with the many memories made with campers throughout the past summers at Starlight, I have made new friendships with counselors from around the world. I am in constant contact with counselors from the UK, Australia, and other parts of the United States. These friendships motivated me to travel to Europe this past year where I knew I would have a warm welcome and a place to stay. It’s an indescribable feeling to know that no matter where you go in the world, there will always be someone with an open door waiting to embrace you.

Twelve years have passed since I first began sleepaway camp as an anxious ten-year old girl. Looking back, I have recognized how much my life has been changed from attending summer camp. Thanks to the nurturing and loving environment fostered at Camp Starlight, I have become a more independent and caring adult.

 

 

All photos courtesy of Madison Dratch.

The Joy of Unplugging for the Summer

Monday, October 30th, 2017

 

Today’s world has become inundated with technology. Whether it be checking the amount of likes you received on your latest Instagram, scrolling through Facebook, or trying to take the perfect selfie, our focus on technology has overpowered our daily lives. Without the ability to live in the moment and appreciate our surroundings, technology continues to have the upperhand on blocking face to face communication between individuals. This is why getting the chance to unplug for seven weeks at camp is the perfect opportunity to take a step back from the outside pressures of life and enjoy the people that surround you.

 

For seven of the fifty-two weeks of the year, you can explore everything the world around you has to offer. Once reveille blows in the morning, your day starts by enjoying the view of the morning mist coming off the lake and the sounds of birds chirping. Meals are filled with lively conversations with your bunkmates, spirited cheers, and songs. As the day progresses, opportunities to grow your creativity and skills continue. From learning how to dive at the lake to conquering your fear of climbing the rock wall to then fly down the zipline, unplugging allows us to experience new adventures each day of the summer.

 

It may sound far-fetched, but the friendships I have established at camp have surpassed all other relationships I have ever made. Camp friends see the real you, not the version of yourself that you post for the world to see on social media. Without the barrier of a screen between individuals, concrete bonds can form and lifelong memories are made. Interactions at camp are both real and authentic. I still talk to my bunkmates from my first summer in 2006, and when I see them, it is as if we have never been apart.

 

The unplugged atmosphere at camp allows you to be yourself at all hours of the day. Whether it be coming up with a dance for MTV night, going to different activities with your bunk, or dressing up for a wacky event, your spirit and confidence shines. Everywhere you look, people are smiling, cheering, singing, and dancing. At camp, you can be yourself and achieve all your expectations, with the acceptance and support of everyone around you.

 

The act of unplugging is so much more than being without technology for seven weeks. It’s a chance to explore, create, and experience new adventures. Unplugging has allowed friendships to be established and lifelong memories to be made. Most importantly, unplugging at camp allows us all to embrace our individuality and learn to be our true selves.

5 Things Campers Look Forward to the Most for the Summer

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

For almost the entirety of the year, campers sit at home waiting for the summer to start. Drumming their fingers and looking back at all the fun they’ve had so far, campers dream about all the things they can look forward to once camp finally arrives. When campers are at home with wandering minds, here are the things they look forward to the most when they get to come back to Camp Starlight.

  1. Sleeping Bunks: Experiencing every night at Camp Starlight as a giant sleepover with your best friends is why campers daydream about being back in their bunk beds. Even when the day is over, campers are still able to have fun.
  2. The Lake: The sunsets, sailing, paddle boarding and water toys allow campers to splash around and have as much fun as possible in the water. The Lake is an iconic point of Camp Starlight for good reason.
  3. Unique Activities: Campers are able to learn many unique skills at camp from magic tricks and circus activities to cooking and waterskiing. Opportunities at Camp Starlight are not always available for kids outside the ten other months of the year.
  4. Their Friends: The Friendships formed at Camp Starlight are very special and unlike any other friendships you will encounter. The summer bonds campers together in a very unique that makes these friendships last way past the summer.
  5. Traditions: All the fun traditions Camp Starlight possesses is what makes a summer at Starlight full of excitement and adventure. Becoming a part of Starlight history and carrying on these traditions is what keeps the magic of camp alive.

Why I Cant Wait to Come Back to Camp Starlight

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

For those who have never worked at a summer camp before, there are many questions to ask and ideas to consider about life at a summer camp, but at Camp Starlight, returning staff can put all worries to rest about what it is like to work at the most special summer camp this world has to offer.

For starters, working at a summer camp is all about helping kids grow and become better individuals and one of the most rewarding aspects of working at Camp Starlight is the ability to watch all sorts of talented kids grow and master what they love. More often than not, the staff returns to see the campers they have helped, anticipating all the potential within them for another summer at Starlight. Along with the campers, all the staff members look forward to spending another summer with friends they have met from all over the world. Camp Starlight nurtures friendships not just for campers, but for staff as well, and Camp Starlight is a place that allows people to strengthen friendships with people from Australia, South Africa, England and any place imaginable.

Because of all the people staff members at Camp Starlight are able to work with, Camp Starlight is the most positive working environment, everyone is happy to see and spend another day of the summer with their co-counselors and campers. It never really feels like work because you always have that much fun wherever and whatever you’re doing at Camp Starlight. With all these positive elements of working at Camp Starlight, it’s no wonder so many staff members return each summer to once again feel the magic of Camp Starlight, a place that is truly worth the ten for two.

What I Never Dreamt I Would Get Out of Summer Camp

Monday, September 25th, 2017

When working at a summer camp for the first time, there are many typical things that you would expect to happen like making friendship bracelets, sitting around a campfire or chanting traditional camp cheers. While all of these things do happen at Camp Starlight, there are many experiences that occur that take first time staff members for a surprise. The one thing that really surprises staff members working at Camp Starlight for the first time are all the positive life lessons they get out of their summer.

Working with kids of all different ages and coworkers from all different cultures truly provides first time staff members with a life perspective they’ve never experienced before. They learn so much about campers and other cultures and in turn learn so much about themselves. Camp Starlight is a place that helps first time staff members discover new skills, talents and passions about themselves just like the campers do. Before Camp Starlight, you might not have ever known that you have the best time working with younger kids or have a knack for coaching campers to the championship. You learn what skills you really have when working with kids and in what ways you can improve their lives for the better.

Not only do you learn new things about yourself, but you gain so many new memories and friendships unlike any other. Camp Starlight is a camp that gives you the opportunity to make a new best friend from Ireland and experience special events with your campers that create unique memories. You will never forget the thrill of Olympics, all the laughs from Friday Night Show or how sad you were to say goodbye to all your campers and friends on the last day of camp.

There are many things you will never dream you would get out of summer camp, but once you experience a summer at Camp Starlight you realize anything is really possible.

Polar Bear Challenge Motivates Campers

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Jumping into a teeth chattering cold lake every morning isn’t the most pleasant sounding idea at Camp Starlight, but you would be surprised by how many people willingly do it and there’s actually a great reason why they do.

At Camp Starlight there is a special club you can be a part of if you jump into the lake every single morning of the summer. Jump in, splash around and embrace the cold and you’ll be a member of the prestigious Polar Bear Club. Each morning campers from all the divisions jump into the lake to complete the daily task of being in the Polar Bear Club. No skips are allowed, even if it’s extra chilly in the morning, and if you successfully complete this challenge there is a special party at the end of the summer just for you.

It’s a silly challenge but there are so many benefits to being a part of the Polar Bear Club because of everything it teaches campers. For a camper to participate in this means they start their day completing a challenge a lot of people won’t even attempt to do. When a camper starts every morning overcoming a challenge and feeling accomplished, it sets them up to have a positive day where they can accomplish many more things. This ripple effect will translate into campers realizing how much potential is inside them, motivating them to tackle larger and more difficult challenges. The Polar Bear Challenge also shows campers the importance of determination and to never give up, especially on mornings when it’s a bit nippier than usual.

Their hard work pays off when at the end of the summer they realize they are one of few campers that were actually motivated enough to become a member of the Polar Bear Club, the rewarding feeling is something that makes all those cold mornings well worth it.

My First Summer at Camp

Monday, September 4th, 2017

I was very excited and nervous for my first day of summer camp at Camp Starlight. I did not now what to expect when coming to camp and was nervous about what would happen. When I came to camp and came off the bus I exploded with happiness, camp seemed so cool and fun.

Campus is so pretty with the giant lake and there are so many great snacks to eat. I quickly made a lot of friends and had so much fun with the dance specialists. The dance staff is so nice and fun to dance with, dance is my favorite activity at camp. When I grow up I want to be a counselor and a dance specialist at Camp Starlight.

I made so many memories at my first summer but my favorite memory of the summer was making it to the finals for MTV night, my counselors really pushed me to work hard and it payed off.

I also learned a lot of fun things, like how to waterski for the first time. Every day is fun and full of adventure. I love all my new friends at camp and even though I was nervous at first, Camp Starlight easily became my summer home. I love how much fun I get to have every day at Camp Starlight and can’t wait for next summer already.

– Molly M., Camper