Posts Tagged ‘Camp Starlight’

Lights…Camera…Action!!

Monday, February 20th, 2017

 

The lights dim, the crowd falls silent, and the only sound is your heartbeat pounding in your chest. The curtain opens, and for a half of a second, you freak out internally. Until you take a deep breath, say your first line, and relax. The energy from the crowd is contagious; they laugh when they are supposed to and they hang onto your every word. They are connecting with the character you’ve worked so hard to create, and by the end of the show, you aren’t sure where your character ends and you begin. The audience erupts in applause, the curtain closes, and the entire cast hugs and high fives each other. It was a performance you worked so hard for, that you put your time and effort and heart into, and it turned out great. You feel a tiny little buzz deep down that is excited to do it again, to be up on stage, to transform into another character, completely different from this one.

 

Dance, theater and performing arts is what draws many campers to camp in the first place. With exceptional fine arts programs, Camp Starlight gives campers the opportunity to conquer stage fright, work as a team, break out of their comfort zone, learn the value of dedication and practice, and explore a new form of self-expression. But the benefits of the theatre are not just for those in the spotlight. Campers who work behind the scenes with costume design, lighting, sound effects and setting up the stage get a first-hand look at everything that comes with putting together a successful show.

 

Campers are encouraged and instructed by counselors who have a passion for the arts, and who can help campers step out of their comfort zone in a place that is safe and judgment free. Counselors act as role models for aspiring performers and can inspire campers to put on an excellent show by working together, encouraging each other, and having fun.

 

There is a sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from focusing intently on a project from start to finish, and finally seeing it all come to life at the end. Whether they’re on stage of behind the scenes, theater and other performing arts programs at camp help campers feel like they are part of something bigger, gives them a sense of purpose, boosts their self-confidence and gives them another tool to communicate and express themselves.

 

Its time for you to shine! It’s time to face your fears, transform into someone completely different and connect with other campers in a fun and creative way. Theatre has a magical way of bringing all different types of people together, just like camp.

The 8 Reasons You’re Already Excited About Summer 2017

Monday, January 30th, 2017

If you’re already planning and excited about next summer, you’re not alone. You’re one of the many campers who make going away to camp a part of their summer experience year after year. Here are 8 reasons why you’re already looking forward to summer 2017:

 

  1. You get to see old friends- When asked, most campers say seeing old friends is the #1 reason they are excited to get back to camp. Social media, texting, emails and phone calls throughout the year are great, but there is nothing like after a busy school year reconnecting with old friends!
  2. Campfires- there is something about the singing crickets, the crackling of the fire, good friends all around, S’mores on the fire, and those whacky, silly campfire songs that make summer camp so much fun.
  3. Outdoor Adventures- more than likely, you don’t live in a place where you can easily access an impressive ropes course or mountain biking trails, or the chance to go camping in the mountains. At camp, you have access to all of these adventures just steps from your cabin.
  4. Freedom- You’ve worked so hard all year to get good grades, contribute around the house, participate in sports and other afterschool activities, that summer camp is a nice break from all of those responsibilities. At camp, you’re free to relax!
  5. Special Events- from pool parties and talent shows, to laser tag and MTV night, campers are always excited about special events! You never really know what to expect with these special events, all you know is that it’s going to be awesome and it’ll be a night you won’t soon forget!
  6. Reconnecting with Nature- when you leave camp, it can feel kind of weird to spend the next few months sitting in a classroom, or coming home to sit and play video games. Camp gives you a new appreciation for the outdoors, and being outside all of the time becomes a part of who you are. Many campers are excited to breathe the fresh mountain air, cannonball into the refreshing lake, and experience quiet time with nature throughout camp.
  7. The Food- Even at the best schools, cafeteria food is still cafeteria food, and can get boring after a while. Thankfully, coming to camp means you have a wide variety of food options to choose from, and all of it is delicious! Remember the breakfast sandwiches? Remember the ice cream sundaes? Remember the cookouts? Healthy and delicious options are always available for bust, hungry campers!
  8. The Traditions- if next summer will be your first summer as a repeat camper, you have something really exciting waiting for you! Your time as the new camper is over, and now you’re a P-R-O! You already have a hang of the traditions, the rituals, the songs and customs that happen at camp. You now have the opportunity to teach the new campers! If this is your third or fourth summer returning to camp, you know that even though there are some things that stay the same, every camp experience is new and different and exciting!

 

It’s not too early to start counting down the days until summer 2017. It’ll be here before you know it, and you’ll be packing your bags and heading back to one of your favorite places on the planet. There is so much to look forward to, and these are just SOME of the many reasons kids are already so excited to get back to camp! Why are you pumped about getting back to camp?

What I Learned From a Summer at Camp Starlight

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

My mom has this ritual of asking me, every day, about what I learned that day. Sometimes I shrug and say “I don’t know,” and other times I spit out interesting facts about blue whales or Egyptian pyramids or volcanoes that I learned that day at school. So in the car the day I got home from a summer at Camp Starlight, I wasn’t surprised when she asked me what I had learned while being away. She was surprised, however, at my response.

 

I told her that I learned a lot of new skills that I would never have experienced if I had stayed home. I learned how to play lacrosse and sail. I learned to fish and learned a lot of crazy songs that have been stuck in my head all summer. I learned how to get from one side of camp to the other in the shortest amount of time, I learned how to make the perfect S’more, and even learned how to paint. I was exposed to so many new opportunities and experiences, that I felt like I was learning something new every day!

 

But in the first few days at home, I kept thinking about other things I learned while I was at camp. Things that were more about character than skill. Things that will help me in life more than knowing the perfect ratio of chocolate to marshmallow ratio on a S’more. When Jessi and I had that big disagreement, our counselors walked us through a communication plan that left both of us feeling heard, understood and we walked away with our issue totally resolved. I learned how to recognize when someone was feeling left out or lonely, and quickly invited them to sit, play or hang out with me. I learned a lot about how to interact with different people and learned to appreciate differences in people without judgment. At the end of the summer, I realized that sometimes I was so focused on the quantity of friends that I have, that I wasn’t focused on the quality. After spending a summer at camp, I learned the importance of having a handful of true friends who are there for you no matter what, who accept you for who you are, and who are honest and real with you.

 

I learned quickly that I’m a naturally messy and unorganized person, but that keeping my stuff picked up and clean in areas that I share with others is a sign of respect, and learned quickly to live in close proximity with other people and respecting boundaries and personal space. I learned to compromise, to be flexible, and how to manage my time.

 

I learned that I can, in fact, function without my cell phone and that not everything I do has to be documented through a “selfie.” I learned that without a cell phone glued to my side, I could focus more on the actual experience rather than getting the perfect shot, choosing the best filter, and then waiting impatiently for my friends to “like” and “comment” on the picture through social media.

 

I didn’t overwhelm my dear ‘ol mom with all of these things that I learned, and instead just gave her little stories here and there to demonstrate all of the new things I had learned at camp. Sometimes, she was the one telling me about the difference that she noticed in me, things that I had learned that made an obvious difference in my attitude and character. She noticed I was more patient with my little sister, more helpful to her and my dad, I was a better team player for my soccer team, and as school rolled around, she noticed I was focusing more on my grades.

 

I learned a lot at Camp Starlight. Some of the things are basic skills that are fun to know, while others are foundational qualities that I really feel with set me up for better relationships and experiences for the rest of my life. I’m thankful that going to camp was such a fun and natural way to learn so many new things.

How Campers and Staff Become Leaders at Camp Starlight

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

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“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others” – John Quincy Adams

 

From the moment you wake up at camp until the moment you fall asleep, you have countless opportunities to inspire, encourage, support, love and empower those around you. There will be many times throughout the day when you see someone struggling, whether it is with homesickness, trying over and over again to get up on their skis, or finding the courage to try the ropes course. At any given moment, you have the chance to be a leader by serving others. They may need some advice, an extra hand or just someone to listen. When you go out of your way to help others, that is a characteristic of a leader.

 

You don’t have to be a camp counselor to be a leader. You can lead by following directions, being honest, showing good sportsmanship, acting with dignity and being kind to others. You never know who is watching and there is usually a good chance that a younger or newer camper is watching you to see how you deal with certain situations. Whether you make the right choices are not, people are watching and will do what you do. It is important to do the right thing, even if nobody is watching. This is another true characteristic of a leader.

 

Although everyone has the opportunity to become a leader every day, some will be trusted with a valuable role to lead others. As a big brother or a big sister, you can help younger and less experienced campers get a feel for what camp is like. It is a very big responsibility to be a mentor to someone else, and campers take it very seriously.   Campers have the responsibility of being a big sister or big brother and lead by serving. They take the younger campers needs and wants into consideration and help make their adjustment to camp easy.  They know that being a leader is not about them, it’s about how they can build up and encourage those that are following them.

 

Camp counselors get a unique opportunity to learn how to lead at camp.  Not only are they responsible for day to day activities, organizing events, and making sure everyone is safe, they are also role models. The way they talk and think and act is being watched by hundreds of little eyes every day. They lead by example, showing kindness and patience to everyone around them.  They empower others by encouraging them to do things they are afraid to do, standing by them when they fall down and offering a hand to help them back up.  Many camper say they look up to their camp counselors, and strive to be a counselor themselves one day.

 

When campers return to their normal life, they put the leadership skills they learned at camp to use.  They have an easier time standing up to peer pressure, they speak up to bullies, and they follow directions in class and show good sportsmanship on the field.  They are leaders in every aspect of their lives, because of what they learned at camp.

 

You don’t have to have a title to be a leader. A leader is someone who simply empowers others, serves others, and works as a team player.  At camp, campers will learn the true traits of a leader, and will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

The Importance of “Rest Hour”

Monday, December 19th, 2016

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Fact: At camp, you are “go, go go.” From the moment you wake up, your schedule is packed with things to do. Some days you’re out at the lake all day, other days you are singing, dancing, acting, crafting and creating from the moment you open your eyes until you fall asleep. Your days are filled with fun and adventure, hanging out with new friends, eating delicious foods, trying new things and making life long memories. With days like these, it’s easy to understand why sometimes campers just need to rest. And as seriously as we take fun at camp, we are just as serious about rest. We know the importance of slowing down, taking a break and recharging, and all of our campers take part in “rest hour” each and every day.

 

When campers are constantly on the move, when they fly from activity to activity, they sometimes don’t have time to reflect on things they are seeing, doing and learning. A rest hour gives campers a chance to relax, read, listen to music, and sleep before getting back into the busyness of camp life. During this time, campers may want to write letters home, organize their cabin space, or have a conversation with a counselor that they didn’t have time for during the day. This intentional resting time is beneficial for a number of reasons.

 

Resting during the day is good for your body.  It gives you more energy and lets your body rest from all the activity during the day. Resting has also been shown to improve productivity and focus, which can really help campers who are involved in a wide variety of new tasks and skills.

 

Resting gives your mind time to let go of stress. It helps you with your patience and to reduce feelings of frustration. Campers need some time to just be alone with their thoughts and relax in their own space.

 

Camp counselors know the importance of rest hour, and although campers aren’t required to sleep during this time, counselors encourage campers to use this time to relax and unwind and help them become comfortable with alone time and silence. Campers learn that they don’t need to be entertained every second of every day, and learn to appreciate quiet time.

 

At camp, you’ll spend a lot of your day on the go. But give it two or three days, and you will be looking forward to rest hour as much as you are looking forward to sailing, soccer games, and s’mores around the campfire.

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.

 

 

 

 

Icebreakers Are Uncomfortable, But…They Also Work Really Well

Monday, December 5th, 2016

 

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We all know that feeling you get when you hear someone say “Now we’re all going to stand up and say something about ourselves…” or “find a partner and….” Or “we are all going to stand in a circle and….” We look around, wondering if we are the only ones who feel uncomfortable or want to sink into our chair and pretend to be invisible. These icebreakers are common on the first day of school, a training class, or anywhere where there is a big group of people that need to get comfortable quickly.  Icebreakers can be uncomfortable at first, but they really do work. They help get people talking, which quickly build comfort and trust within the group.

 

Normally, shy people hate icebreakers the most. The thought of walking up to a stranger and asking about their favorite color, or standing up in front of a group and talking about their favorite sport, I won’t give them a heart attack.  But icebreakers are the best for shy people, because it allows other people to approach them and gives them a chance to talk about themselves and connect with others.

 

There are many opportunities to “break the ice “the first few days of camp.  There are a lot of new people, and everyone is a little nervous or a little shy.  Camp counselors know that “get to know you games quote can be a little uncomfortable, but they tried through and get everybody involved. By the end of the game, people who are shy and hesitant are now laughing smiling and making new friends.

 

Icebreakers are good for:

  • Sharing an experience, during, or skill that you’re good at with the rest of the group.
  • Finding other people who have the same things in common as you.
  • Lightening the mood in a typically awkward situation.

 

More often than not, campers credit icebreakers to introducing them to people who become their best friends for the entire summer.  At camp, some common icebreakers include: two truths and a lie, the toilet paper game, hula hoop and volleyball games, and celebrity bingo.

 

It’s very normal to be nervous when you arrive at camp, especially for the first time. It’s also very nervous to be uncomfortable when the counselors set up a game or activity that make you step out of your comfort zone.  However, if you can just trust in the process, you may come out of it with a new best friend, or 10.

The Beauty of Camp Starlight

Monday, November 14th, 2016

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Chelsea takes the subway to school every morning.  Justin spends his weekends hanging out downtown with his buddies. Evan can walk to movie theaters, restaurants, and museums from the apartment where he lives. These city kids spend most of their year surrounded by concrete, honking horns and tall buildings. And that is why they, like so many other kids from big cities, really look forward to coming to camp for a change in their environment.

 

Camp Starlight is located in one of the most beautiful areas of the country. Tucked away amongst tall trees, gorgeous lakes and on acres and acres of sprawling green fields, this camp is the definition of natural beauty. When you’re here, you can really connect with nature and breathe in the fresh mountain air.

 

The lakes are a cool and refreshing place to spend the summer, whether is it fishing, swimming, stand up paddleboarding, water skiing or sailing. The view of the lake changes throughout the day and gives off a different feeling depending on when you are there. In the morning, the lake is a quiet and peaceful place to wake up to. In the afternoons, it is an exciting, water playground where campers jump, splash and play all day. And then in the evenings, the lake is a quiet and peaceful place to reflect and unwind. City kids may not get to experience such natural beauty in their everyday lives, making the beauty of camp even more special for kids who don’t get to see it very often.

 

Waking up to a view of tall forest trees and the mountains is a nice change for kids who are used to the hustle and bustle of a big city.  The natural beauty of camp makes for the perfect backdrop to pictures that campers are sure to treasure forever. Waking up each morning and breathing in the crisp mountain air is good for the heart, mind, and soul!

 

Being immersed in the beauty of the mountains is a welcome and unique experience for many campers.  Spending the summer learning to appreciate the outdoors helps campers do the same when they return home. Instead of coming home from school and sitting in front of a computer screen or TV, campers head outside to enjoy nature just like they did at camp.  They learn that they don’t need to be attached to phone, TV or computer to have a good time and that real relationships trump online relationships every time.

 

Being in the middle of the woods exposes campers, especially those who have grown up in big cities, to things they normally wouldn’t see and experience back home. They learn to find excitement and joy in nature, and it awakens something in them that the city just can’t.

 

Kids like Chelsea, Justin and Evan benefit greatly from a change of scenery and the chance to connect with nature. Spending time outside has been proven to improve vision, encourages social skills, reduce stress and give kids the vitamin D that they need. Who knew spending all day outside at camp is actually good for kids?!

 

Whether they grew up in the suburbs or in the middle of Times Square, kids love escaping to the mountains, and spending their summers on the lake, in the mountains and surrounded by nature.

 

Let’s Talk About Traditions

Monday, November 7th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-3-01-02-pmCamp traditions are kind of like an inside joke between friends; you really have to be there and be part of it to understand and appreciate the power and the feeling that is associated with them. Camp traditions are things that happen at camp that every camper and staff member can relate to, whether they went to camp 70 years ago or are experiencing it now for the first time. They are a way for campers to connect with their fellow campers, their counselors, and the camp itself. Some “traditional” traditions at camp like singing Friends and the Camp Starlight Alma Mater, All Camp Show, Opening Campfires, skipping around the flagpole, divisional cheers, and singing in the dining room create a sense of connection and belonging to the Starlight family. Many traditions at Camp Starlight are held sacred to campers and counselors alike, and they’re just one of those things you have to experience to truly understand.

Keeping Active After Camp

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-2-41-41-pmUnless you live on 100+ acres of grassy fields, on a lake, complete with swimming pools and tennis courts, an equestrian center and hundreds of your closest friends (and if that is the case, lucky you!) then it may be hard to stay as busy and active at home as you do when you are at camp. When you spend your summer at camp, you are surrounded by nature, you have access to almost every sport and activity you could imagine, and it is easy to spend your days literally running from one adventure to another. Campers can’t help but feel exhausted at the end of the day; thanks to all of the activity they do on a daily basis.

When it’s time to come home, some campers find it easy to fall back into their more laid back routines, consisting of a lot of computer time, TV time and video games. Some campers start to spend more time sitting down inside than enjoying the outdoors, and this can lead to unhealthy snacking, weight gain and an overall feeling of sluggishness.

However, it is easy to take some of the things you learned at camp and apply them to your normal routine when you are back at home. You may not live on a lake, but you can still get outside and enjoy the sunshine. You may not have access to a soccer field, but you can still get outside with a few friends and kick a ball around. You may not have a swimming pool in your backyard (or live in a place where swimming is realistic during the fall and winter) but you can still go for a run, start a pick up game of baseball with other kids in the neighborhood, or put together a dance routine to impress your family after dinner. There are many ways to stay active while you are at home, and you don’t need a huge campus or counselors to help you do it.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-2-42-56-pmStaying active during the fall and winter months is very important to your overall health. When you feel good physically, other aspects of your life seem to follow. Your confidence begins to improve, which helps you build healthy and strong relationships. Exercise has been scientifically proven to release hormones that help you focus in school, help you get a good nights sleep, and help to promote strong bones and muscles. It is great for your heart, and the endorphins released when you exercise gives you an overall great sense of happiness.

Many campers are introduced to a sport while at camp, and then choose to continue pursuing that sport throughout the school year. If you loved soccer at camp, why not try out for the school team? If you really loved gymnastics at camp, why not look into joining competitive after school team? By staying active during the school year, you give yourself months of practice before returning to the sport at camp over the summer. You will be amazed at the progress you can make from one summer to the next, simply by sticking to it throughout the fall and winter.

Staying active at camp is easy, it just comes with the territory. Staying active at home doesn’t have to be hard, and can help improve all areas of your life when you are home. Being active makes you happier and healthier, and is something all campers can do to boost their confidence in the months when they aren’t at camp.