Posts Tagged ‘Camp Starlight’

Being a Camp Counselor: Learning Skills that Will Help You in Any Profession

Monday, March 12th, 2018

As summer approaches, individuals are faced with the question of where to work for the summer. While acquiring an internship can give you extensive experience in your respective field of work, the benefits of working as a camp counselor are too large to ignore. For seven weeks, you are working in a fast-paced environment with people from all over the world. These seven weeks present challenges, valuable lessons, and an increase in skills you never realized you had.

Recognizing Individuality

Living in a bunk day in and day out with both campers and co-counselors is a unique situation that many people wouldn’t necessarily find themselves in. As a camp counselor, you are presented with the task of getting to know each of your campers on an individual level in order to establish strong relationships and ensure a safe and enjoyable environment. The ability to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each of your campers is a skill that is highly valuable in any profession.

Building Confidence

The environment at camp allows counselors to discover their individuality and be themselves. This environment of acceptance fosters the development of each counselor’s confidence and overall skill set. With higher confidence comes clearer decision making abilities, higher quality instruction, and stronger performance.

At camp, you are both a coach and a mentor to not only the kids in your bunk, but also to the rest of the children at camp. Camp transforms counselors into natural leaders with the drive to be successful. The confidence that is established at camp can be carried over to all aspects of life after the summer is over. From going into a job interview to giving a presentation to your boss, having confidence in yourself will allow for the highest success rate.

Team Building and Problem Solving

Working with co-counselors at camp teaches a valuable lesson in both teamwork and problem solving. Although your co-counselors are around your age, they can be from all different parts of the world. Counselors come to camp from the United States, the UK, South Africa, and Australia. This wide range in backgrounds presents the opportunity for understanding and appreciating different cultures, working with varied experience levels, and finding a common ground to resolve conflict and effectively problem solve as a cohesive unit.


The fast-paced nature of camp highlights the importance of learning flexibility and communicating with those around you. Whether it be schedule changes caused by inclement weather or adapting to the preferences of your campers, the ability to be flexible and innovative is a lifelong skill that allows your leadership capabilities to excel.

The combination of the skills learned as a camp counselor which include communication, problem solving, flexibility, individuality, and confidence, is a key factor in being successful to any workplace. When faced with the decision to apply for an internship or a counselor at a sleepaway camp, take into consideration that in just seven weeks, lifelong skills will be developed and achieved.

Why Kids Need Camps Now More Than Ever

Monday, March 5th, 2018

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.

The Unique Camp Perspective

Monday, February 19th, 2018

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.



The Camp Community

Monday, February 12th, 2018

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.

The Friendships

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 Memories

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.


Taking Your Skills to the Next Level

Monday, February 5th, 2018

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.


How Camp Makes Kids Better Eaters

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

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.




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.


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.


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.


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.

Teaching 21st Century Skills in a Camp Setting

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Camp Starlight knows that the weeks we get to spend with campers each summer is precious. It is an opportunity to do character building and confidence boosting. We have the opportunity to be the backdrop for millions of memories and connect people who can grow to be lifelong friends. The work we do here, although disguised as fun, is serious. We use the limited time we have with our campers and use it to instill 21st-century principles that promote strong character, morals, and ideals in every camper.


When campers are guided on how to solve their differences through careful and respectful mediation, they are learning how to disagree with others without being mean or hurtful. When they can identify their feelings and communicate it with others, they are learning conflict management skills and maturing in their emotional development. These tools are vital in navigating the “real world” whether it’s their school campus, their first job or their first relationship. At camp, kids learn to respect each other, listen without interrupting, compromise, communicate, and be patient and considerate and honest. These principles will make it easier for them to maintain healthy relationships as they grow.


Each camper has a responsibility to keep the campus as beautiful as it was when he or she arrived. Our zero tolerance policy for littering and our emphasis on taking care of the environment helps campers realize how they impact the environment and how important it is to keep the world around them clean. Campers spend most of their days outside, connecting with nature and learning to appreciate the beauty around them. Exploring and enjoying Mother Nature doesn’t come naturally to all campers, and spending time at camp helps develop an appreciation for the environment.


At camp, each camper has a story to tell. Each child arrives at camp with a history, a background, baggage (no pun intended) fears, strengths, and perceptions. As campers begin to integrate with each other, they quickly see how different they are all, but how those differences don’t need to divide them. They learn to help each other; to recognize a need in other campers and address it. There is no “us” and “them” at camp. Camp Starlight is intentional about fostering a generation of helpers, includers, and givers. We know that if we want a world full of people who care about each other, who don’t judge each other and who seek out opportunities to make others feel good, we have to start with the kids.


Campers go home with more friends, better skills and a lot to talk about. But our goal is that each camper leaves a bit better than they came. And that we can instill basic morals and ideals into them that will help them become better students, siblings, friends, and eventually, adults. Camp is safe, camp is fun, and camp is designed to better the lives of campers and their families every year.

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.