Posts Tagged ‘camp memories’

10 Best Camp Counselor Moments

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Just like a treasure box full of keepsakes or a drawer full of letters from friends, every second at Camp Starlight has the potential to turn into a lesson you hold on to forever. After all, what is camp but a collection of magical moments?

counselorsl

True, the days can be long — but you can always count on this: just when you think you’re getting “burnt out” from school or work, something will happen to remind you why you decided to  be a camp counselor in the first place!

 

Remember these 10 classic camp counselor moments to remind yourself why you left civilization behind to be a camp counselor at Camp Starlight all summer!

The first campfire of the summer

Every campfire is special, but the first campfire of the summer holds a special place in the collective lore of camp counselors.

 

After a long (and cold!) year away from the woods and cabins of summer camp, that classic campfire smell comes like a rush of fresh air. Ushering in the new season — and at the same time, bringing back happy memories from summer seasons past. Sigh… truly, no camp moment is more emotional than that first campfire. (Except perhaps the last one!)

 

That moment when you realize you don’t miss your phone

sl9

Digital detox is a big part of camp life, especially if you’re totally addicted to Instagram and Buzzfeed. Sometimes those first few days can be a shock to the system.

 

The rewards are big, though, for counselors who learn to “tune in and tune out” — living in the moment is way easier when you aren’t tied to yesterday’s Facebook posts!

 

That moment when you learn to live without your mobile “leash” is a classic camp moment and a lesson you’ll always carry with you.

 

Getting up on stage and making a total fool of yourself

 

You never were into acting. You also couldn’t imagine that you had any creative talents to share. But there you were at camp up there on stage totally making a fool of yourself. Setting a great example to your campers by going out of your own comfort zone and participating in the evening activities at camp is something you will never forget. Yes, the picture of you in the crazy wig and tutu found its way on facebook but now your friends and family back home will see a different side of you.

The glory of shower hour

sl11

Showering at home may be kind of “meh.” But showering at camp? Basically the opposite of “meh!” Nobody said camp life had to be muddy, right?

The only real challenge of shower hour at camp is making sure everybody doesn’t take a full hour just to themselves! Trust us when we say you’ll never forget that camp shower feeling — nothing feels better after a long day of running around in the sun!

The last s’more of the summer

The first day of camp and the last day at camp are always the most emotional for summer camp counselors. Making new friends! Going back to school! It can be kind of a crazy roller coaster (but a fun one of course). Camp is all about traditions, so chowing down on that last traditional campfire s’more is bound to be a moment you always remember. Cheesy? So be it!

Sending postcards to your friends at home

Let’s be honest — isn’t it a relief to be working at Camp Starlight this summer instead of painting houses or checking out groceries like most of your friends from school?

 

Sending postcards home is one of those moments when you stop and realize exactly how awesome it is to be where you are. The question is, how can you fit all that enthusiasm into one five-by-six inch card?

Fourth of July at camp

fireworks

Fourth of July is always awesome. Fourth of July with all your friends at summer camp? Four times as awesome!

 

We may raise the flag at camp every day, but it’s extra special on the Fourth of July. Who knows, there might even be a few fireworks…

When you cheer up a discouraged camper

Being there for your campers when they need you is by far the most fulfilling part of the camp counselor experience.

 

I still remember the counselor who helped me cheer up and get back in the game when I felt homesick at my first sleepaway camp. So getting to do the same for a camper with the blues felt all the better.

 

The power to turn “having the blues” into “having a blast” is the superpower that separates camp counselors from mere mortals!

Getting mail from home

sl112

Yeah, sure, Mom can be annoying sometimes. But absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say, and getting mail from the folks is a special moment for camp counselors.

 

Especially when you’re close to the end of the season, those little pieces of home start to feel a little bittersweet. It’s nice to know that you’ll get to see the ol’ homestead again in a few weeks — even if you’d rather stay at camp all year around!

The last campfire of the season

sl13

Just like the first campfire of the year sets the tone for the future, the last campfire of the year gives everyone at camp a chance to reflect on a season well-spent.

 

Everyone around you has gone from being friendly strangers to life-long friends and chances are you know the camp grounds like the back of your hand.

 

Cherish those last few group songs, and remember: next summer will be here before you know it!

Camp Starlight: My Summer Home

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

UntitledWritten by Madison Dratch

“Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.” -Margaret Peters

In June 2006, I arrived at Camp Starlight for the first time with teddy bear in hand and a nervous smile on my face. As other campers ran off the buses and embraced one another with love and the utmost excitement, I stood anxiously, unaware of the impact that these three hundred eighty five acres of land would have on my life.

Through my six summers as a camper, I discovered more about myself than I thought possible. I slowly grew out of my shell as I tried playing new sports, auditioned for plays at the rec hall, and established new friendships. I learned how to work with teams and handle conflict as my bunk strategically choreographed what we believed to be the best MTV night dance in Starlight history. Although my love for camp continued to grow with each summer that passed, so did the dread of thinking about the day that marked my last moments as a camper. In August 2011, I cried for the last twenty-four hours that made up my Upper Senior Summer. As my bunk said our final goodbyes, we knew that we no longer would all be able to sleep in the same cabin again, spend every meal together, or coordinate our sugar lips and soffe shorts to all match perfectly. Gone were the days of relying on our counselors to get us to wake up at reveille, clean our bunks in time for inspection, and make sure we follow our schedules perfectly. The book of being a camper officially closed and it was time for me to start a new adventure as a staff member.

Wearing a staff shirt for the first time provided me with the same nervous feeling I had getting off the bus on the first day of camp so many years ago. As a camper, I idolized the many counselors that had mentored me through the years. Now, I was on the other side of the fence and had to be the role model that my campers needed me to be. All feelings of anxiousness diminished the moment I stepped into my new bunk and saw eleven young hopeful faces staring back at me. I don’t know how it is possible, but working as a staff member provided me with an even more rewarding experience than all of my summers as a camper combined. The immense pride I felt and continue to feel when my campers achieve milestones in their lives speaks volumes of the impact being a counselor has on my life. I remember the joy I felt when my campers won their first Wayne County Softball game. I remember the intense process of memorizing lines when my camper starred as Peter Pan followed by the overwhelming feeling of fulfillment when she perfected every line and song on Opening Night. Fast forward four summers filled with four unique bunks and irreplaceable memories, the once young and hopeful bunk of eleven ten year old girls are now entering their Lower Senior Summer. The girls that once needed me to tie their shoes and brush their hair have now grown into young ladies capable of extraordinary things. Being able to witness this growth is one of the greatest privileges of all.

A decade has passed since that nerve-wracking day and although the teddy bear still remains, my perspective of camp has changed tenfold. Free from the world of small digital screens and ongoing pressures, Starlight allowed me to be the person that was fighting to break free. At Starlight, I am an athlete, a performer, a leader, and a friend. No feat is too small or too challenging to overcome when you know that you have a support network of hundreds of people behind you. Through the vast changes and turns that have happened in my life, Starlight has remained a powerful constant.

As I sit in my accounting class and recognize how fast summer number eleven approaches, I am filled with an anxious feeling again. Except, this time, it is not a nervous anxiety at all. It’s that overwhelming feeling of excitement where you know that this summer will be even better then the last. That familiar feeling that Starlight has given me since the first time I saw the place that I am privileged to call my home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Starlight Year 15

Friday, March 4th, 2016

IMG_2983 2Written by Megan Panelas

This summer will be my 15th year working at Camp Starlight and every year people ask why I return summer after summer. I usually give the short answer of “it’s my second home,” but thought I would share the long version this time around.

Camp Starlight is a very Special place. Camp is a place where time slows down. It lets everyone take time out of their busy lives to really just be themselves. Both staff and campers can be who they truly are. It is amazing to watch campers in the camp atmosphere gain confidence in a nurturing environment. Each summer as they come back they truly gain a better sense of themselves. They belong at camp and they are part of the community that we, the staff, strive for. Through the program that has been developed at camp, each age group has their own set of traditions that they contribute to the Starlight community. It is amazing to watch their progression. From the junior enthusiasts who live and breathe camp and have so much fun, to the inters, who embrace the fun they are having and make lifelong friends. Then to the upper camp debs, who really learn more about themselves and bond to create more of a community atmosphere, and the seniors who have become a family. The Upper Seniors take on the role of helping the juniors have fun through a few special events. This cycle continues and is so strong at Starlight that many return as Counselor Assistants (CA’s) and then as counselors.

This is the part that I am now enjoying the most. Campers that I met when they were 7 and 8 are now counselors in the lower deb division with me. This truly is a full circle community. These campers turned counselors are the essence of camp and often make campers summers even more spectacular. I have had the joy to watch so many campers grow on a summerly basis, becoming exemplary staff and mentors over time.

Every camper is unique and may enjoy a variety of different things and camp has the opportunities to flourish in a million different ways. From being center stage, to being on a Wayne county team, from winning a race for the swim team to finally mustering up the courage to do the zip line, from launching rockets to scoring a goal in a league game and from dance parties to divisional campfires, there is something for everyone. It is finding that passion in each camper and helping them excel to have the best summer, every summer, as they grow and are true citizens of the Starlight community.

Being a part of this Community, and watching it grow is astounding and I just can’t stay away. I have become a part of it. Wabam.

9 Things I bet you didn’t know about being a Junior Camper

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

unnamedAs told through the eyes of someone who is glad to know…

By Dena Weiner Junior Girls Division Leader

As you prepare to send your son or daughter off to camp for his or her first summer, you must have so many things rolling around in your head. What will camp be like? How will they thrive without me? Will they make new friends? So many of the things you may be concerned about, turn into the triumphs of a new camper. What you will learn after a few phone calls, vague letters and tight “No, I won’t let go” hugs on Visiting Day, is that the independence they gain will be the most important thing they bring home.

So what are nine things they will learn at Camp Starlight this summer? Let’s start with the first day they get off the bus.

I bet you didn’t know that….

…as soon as their feet touch the grass, they are immediately welcomed by hugs, cheers and circles of new friends. This teaches children that camp is fun and friends are all around us. They also learn that the adults at camp are always their biggest cheerleaders away from home.

…camp is not only a place for kids, but there are others that live on the beautiful hills and lake of camp and they are happy to share their habitat with a zip code worth of people. Camp’s canopy is nothing short of amazing. Every child will take at least one nature hike. On this hike they learn about the flora and fauna of this incredible scenery. They will learn to appreciate what they see and they might even learn to hug a tree, save a spider or listen to the sounds that surround us.

…teeth will get brushed. It might seem like an impossible task to get 10 eight year olds to brush their teeth twice each day, but somehow this mission of importance commences each morning and night. Somehow counselors find time to brush hair, wash faces and hands. Eventually these “chores” become badges of personal growth.

…everyone finds something to eat at camp. Even the pickiest of eaters finds something to enjoy. Sitting down to a meal with a family of friends is a valuable experience that creates something magical. Children learn that talking about your day, setting table routines and having a place to just come together creates an environment that is hard to replicate. It is this feeling of give and take that helps children calmly break bread.

…they will make a new friend at camp. It will probably not be the person you expected. As parents we spend so much time planning their social calendars that we structure their friendships. At camp they get to choose who makes them smile and laugh. It is such a valuable component to being a new camper in a safe and supported place. It teaches them how to seek out the qualities in another person that are important to them. It is these friendships that they will cherish for the rest of their lives.

…new interests will be developed. You might hear your son or daughter tell you that they like playing guitar, doing magic, hurling a lacrosse ball or sewing. They spend 10 months dabbling in extra-curricular activities and 2 months choosing other ones. Where else are you going to learn how to water ski? Every day’s excursions are priceless events. Trying new things teaches children to expect the unexpected and thrive outside out of their comfort zones.

…sunscreen gets applied, nails get clipped, knots get untangled scrapes get cleaned up. Even the Tooth Fairy comes to camp. Children learn that other people besides their moms and dads care for them too. Camp Starlight has lots of “mom & dads.” They are the people who make sure that no stone is left unturned and every need is met.

… sleep happens. Reluctant sleepers who crawl into your beds at night learn how to be self-soothers. Call it exhaustion from a long fun day or excitement for tomorrow’s surprises, but when the head OD checks in to make sure that bunks are quiet and asleep, they really are. Not a peep is heard except the sweet snores of mouth breathers. Children learn that they can put themselves to bed and this precious lesson is worth more than gold.

…talking face-to-face instead of through snaps, texts and instas is possible and fun. Face time will have a whole new meaning. Jacks and knock hockey will be played, songs will be sung and your child will learn to exist without an electronic device. They will even learn to remember fun times without a selfie.

What do these 9 lessons add up to? The self-sufficiency they learn becomes their self-esteem. How long can we cut their steak for them, scrub the shampoo out of their hair or buckle their seatbelts? They have to learn how to do these things by themselves. Remember how much we clapped and cheered when they took their first steps? Remember how much they clapped for themselves? We celebrated their independence. Camp parallels this experience. So as you unpack a summer’s worth of dirty socks in August, think about the steps those socks took. After the laundry is washed, the towels put away and the woodworking projects displayed on the mantel, the one thing that you won’t see in their trunks is their personal growth. You will notice it over time. Your eight year old will ask you for stuffed shells for dinner, they might call a friend in another state, they will brush their teeth without being nagged, and they might even clear their own plates. Consider these priceless gifts as you get them ready for the best summer of their lives!

Living in the moment at Camp Starlight

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 3.24.49 PMIt was midway through the fifth week of summer camp that I suddenly realized I didn’t know what day it was.

…Or what week it was.

And you know what the craziest part is? That didn’t make me feel stressed at all! On the contrary, I hadn’t been so happy for months.

After all, who has time to balance a calendar when you’re spending all day and night away from the computer, playing games in the sun and making new friends?

Summer camp has a way of making you “live in the moment” — so much so that losing track of time is totally normal. In fact, it’s pretty much expected by campers and counselors alike.

After a long school year of classes and homework and tests, let me tell you: it’s an incredible feeling to just let it all go.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 3.25.35 PM“Live in the moment” may be a common piece of advice, but truth be told it’s a difficult nugget of wisdom to follow without practice. Back home, the phone was always ringing, the deadlines were always looming, and the stakes always felt high. It wasn’t until I started spending my summers at camp that I started to understand what “living in the moment” really meant.

…It didn’t mean throwing my phone in the lake, or not worrying about grades. It meant simply being okay with my best try — and to keep my mind on the task at hand, rather than always worrying about the next one.

Camp is the perfect place to practice living in the moment, because there is simply less to worry about. In fact, living in the moment is pretty much the default at camp. There simply isn’t much to worry about, and it’s hard to think about the past or future when the present is packed with activities, sports, campfires, and all the rest.

So you see, losing track of time at summer camp is pretty understandable!

However, that isn’t to say that anybody is disorganized. Far from it; if anything, camp will improve your time management skills and help you get used to staying on schedule. The big difference is that everybody is in it together, and it’s not the end of the world if somebody is late once in awhile. Nothing encourages being on time quite like the thing you’re rushing to get to being a ton of fun!

There were many days that I spent on my feet running around for 12-15 hours straight, and yet it always felt like there just wasn’t enough time in the day. The saying that “time is relative” is definitely accurate at summer camp. If time is crawling during an SAT prep test, then it’s flying when you’re at camp, taking a first shot at wakeboarding!

Honestly, the only calendar any of us worried about was the end of camp, when we’d all have to pack up our things and embark on our journeys back home. Leaving camp is always bittersweet, but we all left with a profound new outlook on life. We had learned what it truly meant to “live in the moment,” and it’s a lesson I’ll never forget. Thank you camp!

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.

bd

Image source: http://www.instructables.com/

 

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?

  Image source: https://misfitsandheroes.wordpress.com/


Image source: https://misfitsandheroes.wordpress.com/

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.

Image source: http://astrobob.areavoices.com/

Image source: http://astrobob.areavoices.com/

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!

Draco

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:

11111111

Image source: http://www.rocketmime.com/

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.”

5 Signs That You’re Campsick and Miss Camp Starlight!

Monday, August 31st, 2015

1. You Can’t Stop Singing Camp Starlight Songs

giphy            

Have you been caught randomly singing a camp song in public? If you’ve become a walking camp jukebox, chances are you’re missing Camp Starlight a lot more than you know. But hey, where’s the harm in introducing some of your favorite camp songs to your school friends? “Friends, friends, friends….”

2. You Won’t Take Any of Your Friendship Bracelets Off

giphy (1)

What do you mean I have to eventually cut these off? Let’s face it, those colorful pieces of thread wrapped around your wrist signify every friendship you made while at Camp Starlight and the thought of getting rid of them is just too hard. That’s okay though, more are to be made next summer!

3. You Wake Up In The Morning And Ask Your Mom What Time You Have Water Skiing

giphy (2)

Sigh, there’s no disappointment equivalent to waking up in the morning expecting a nice water skiing session on the lake, but being told that it’s actually time for school.

4. You’re Always Craving a S’more After School

amy-16

Forget the ice cream! There’s nothing that beats the gooey deliciousness of a s’more right after a long day of math equations. They may be known as a Camp Starlight delicacy, but why not treat yourself to one as you reminisce over your favorite camp memories?

5. You’re Sooo Bored!
200

Yes, it is nice to sleep in and not wake up to the sound of the bugle. It is also nice to have a break from all the activities throughout the day. However, it is just soooo boring being back at home.  Who doesn’t miss having your friends around 24/7.  

Final Camp Starlight Olympics Score

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

11828632_10152988605506960_2125155069909546572_n

Big Easy Blues

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 4.52.05 PMThe day began well for the Blue team, starting 115 points up and with an uplifting Billy Madison reference by General Ben Kadel. As the day progressed Big Easy Blues fought as White Madness attempted to ease the lead.

In the Upper Plebe Gamma game, Cooper G. and Kyle F. both caught several touchdown passes. Even with their impact, Blue was overpowered by Abe W. and lost 70-54. This afternoon the Junior Gamma hockey game was decided by just one goal and it was the Blue team that had it. With time running out, Owen G. scored our team’s sixth goal and then ended the chance of a comeback by White. Tonight is rope burn, one of the most exciting nights of camp, our Seniors look to continue our impressive run and improve our lead.

Camp Starlight Photo of the Day

Monday, July 27th, 2015

photos6