Posts Tagged ‘best sleepaway camps’

Climbing the Rockwall at Camp Starlight

Monday, 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.

Don’t Yuck Someone Else’s Yum

Monday, 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.

How Camp Starlight Improves Self-Confidence

Monday, December 12th, 2016

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There is nothing better than walking into your first day of school with confidence and a positive attitude.  Knowing that you look good, feel good, and have everything you need to make this an awesome school year is a great way to start the year.

 

As kids get older, there are many things that they see and hear that can affect their self-confidence. Their friends, the media, everywhere they look people are telling them what to look like and how to act and who to hang out with.  Kids who have low self-confidence are more likely to be followers rather than leaders, and can struggle with their grades, their friendships, sports, and an overall feeling of happiness.  Teachers have said many times that they can tell the difference between kids who spend their summer at camp, and those who don’t. Kids who come to school from the summer at camp have something different about them. They are eager, they are self-confident, and they are ready to be the best they can be.

 

Spending the summer at camp can really improve a camper’s self-confidence. Every day, they are surrounded by people who love, support, and encourage them.  Every day, they are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and do things that make them a little nervous. When they succeed, their self-confidence goes through the roof. When they don’t, people who encourage them to try again surround them, and when they finally succeed, they have learned a valuable lesson.

 

Kids who are normally shy come home from camp with a ton of new friends. This teaches them that they are worthy of love, friendship, and companionship. This teaches them that they are worth listening to, that they are funny, that they are good listener, and that they make good friends.  They learn that they have something to offer to others around them, that they are good at certain things, and that they are fun to be around. As a middle or high schooler, this is vital in boosting their self-confidence.

 

When campers try new things, like the ropes course or swimming or putting on a play, they step out of their comfort zone.  They do things that they previously thought they could not do, and learn quickly that they are capable of so much more than they initially thought. This is an amazing feeling, one that they hopefully will bring with them into the following school year, and on to the rest of their life.

 

Kids who have never tried out for a sport in school, will come home with the self-confidence from summer camp to try out for the school team.  Kids who were extremely afraid of public speaking, will address their class and on the first day of school with confidence. It all happens slowly, and most of the time kids don’t even realize it’s happening. But at camp, they are constantly being exposed to new things, encouraged and supported.  They take the experiences and lessons that they learned at camp and apply it into their every day life back at school.  They feel capable, empowered, and self-confident. With this attitude, they can conquer the school year, and any other obstacle that is in their way.

 

At camp, there are multiple times a day that kids will learn and hear that they are good, they are smart, they are creative, they are athletic, and so many other positive affirmations.  Camp counselors are great at making sure kids know that they are appreciated and identifying their strengths.   If kids hear enough times that they are good enough, they will eventually begin to believe it.

 

In a world where kids are constantly comparing themselves to their peers, to celebrities, and to the rest of the world around them, it is easy for their confidence to fall through the cracks. However, spending a summer at camp is a great way to instill self-confidence in each and every camper. And provides them with a great foundation to start the new school year.

 

 

 

 

Wayne County and Invitational Tournaments

Friday, July 15th, 2016

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There is something thrilling about waking up the morning of something big. Heading into a competition that you’ve worked towards, planned for, and practiced for. Walking towards the field with your team, dressed in your Starlight uniform, ready to take on the opponent, you can hear your heart beating in your chest and you’re pumped to show off your skills. Campers love participating in Wayne County and Invitational tournaments, as it gives them the chance to compete with other camps in sports such as tennis, baseball, gymnastics, roller hockey, dance, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and swimming.

Everyone goes into these competitions with a desire to win, but the underlying good sportsmanship value is instilled in campers from the very beginning, and everyone goes in with one goal in mind: to have a blast. Just like with every activity at camp, campers are encouraged to show a positive attitude, try their best, appreciate and respect their leaders, and ask for help when they need it. These values become ingrained in each camper, and when it is time for tournaments, everyone is on the same page and are there for friendly competition and a great time. These tournaments give campers the chance to show off everything they’ve learned throughout the summer in a particular sport or activity. Coaches get campers prepared for their games in each participating sport or activity, and are walking right along next to them when their team enters the field. The benefits of competition are endless, and campers learn and grow so much through the entire process.