Posts Tagged ‘summer camp activities’

Getting Ready for Camp Starlight

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

This summer, I’m heading off for a two month adventure of a lifetime.  I’m packing my bags and heading off to…

SLEEP AWAY CAMP.

Yep, you heard that right.  I’m heading off to Camp Starlight (along with my 3 kiddos) to head up their media team.

I went to camp once when I was 8.  Camp Summit in North Carolina.  It was the best two weeks of my life.  I always wanted to go back.  Camp Summit no longer exists and life happens as it may.  I never did return as a camper or counselor.  Until now…I’m the 41 year old camper.  This is my kids’ first sleep away camp experience and feelings range from “a little nervous” to “wishes she was already there”.  What’s not lost on me, is the privilege to see and hear my own kids’ camp experience in real time and photograph it.  It’s an incredible opportunity.  But it’s not just my own children’s experiences, it’s the lives of 560 boys and girls.  As a photographer at a summer camp, being a mom is the biggest role I’ll play.  I’ll photograph each child as my own.  As an artist, and a mom, I want the parents at home, who are hitting “refresh” on their computers to feel and see and hear the same things through my photographs.   It’s a huge responsibility and I’m 100% up for the challenge.

The Starlight media team consists of three photographers (including myself) and a videographer.  The next 8 weeks will be a creative journey the likes I’ve never known.  Between telling Camp Starlight’s daily story and creating visual content for social media and marketing, I’ll be CREATIVE and CREATE EVERYDAY!!  All the best parts of being a photographer wrapped into one without the daily grind of running a business.  I will grow as an artist and a photographer.

I’ve spent the last week packing my three kids for the best summer of their lives. (BTW, packing three kids for 7 weeks away from home ain’t no joke!)  Thank goodness for Excel spreadsheets and advice from experienced friends.

Follow my journey on instagram @courtneystudios and @campstarlight_official.

See you at camp!

xo,

courtney

Without Camp Starlight I Would Be

Friday, June 8th, 2018

When campers come to Camp Starlight for the first time they are surprised that this is a place where you find out so much about yourself you never knew before. Whether its discovering a passion for music or a talent in archery, campers at Starlight quickly find out how much they have been missing out on before coming to camp. Additionally, campers realize how much they would miss out on if they never spent a summer at Camp Starlight here are a few things campers would be without Camp Starlight…

  1. Bored: Every sport and activity imaginable is presented at Camp Starlight so campers are always on the move learning new things and skills. Ceramics, tubing and producing music videos just aren’t on the agenda on the couch back home.
  2. Unmotivated: Campers are constantly encouraged by coaches, counselors and staff to do their best so they can be their best. It doesn’t matter if the support is for a sport, musical performance or a chess tournament, campers are always being supported and guided to success.
  3. Unpassionate: The loads of unique activities campers get to experience often help them develop and find their passion. Exposing campers to all different kinds of sports, arts, music and games guides them to figure out what they are truly great at and then propel them to excel in their passion.
  4. Unchallenged: Not every activity at Camp Starlight is mastered in one activity period so specialists really challenge campers to conquer a skill or understand a strategy over a period of time. The challenges campers face is what helps them become better players and leaders as they take the time and effort to overcome their challenges.
  5. Uninspired: With staff from all around the world and opportunities that only come once in a lifetime, Camp Starlight inspires campers to be individuals and pursue what they love best. Campers look up to their counselors as role models, believing that they can become a professional soccer player or artist just like them if they put in the hard work. Camp Starlight helps campers believe in others so they can believe in themselves.

Why Camp Starlight is Worth the Travel Time

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

For many counselors at Camp Starlight a significant amount of distance is required to travel to get to camp. Driving literally across the country or flying seventeen hours straight from across the world, counselors are dedicated to make it to Camp Starlight. What makes those insanely long trips and flights worth it? The reason these counselors spend a long amount of time travelling is because they know that spending the summer at Camp Starlight is a once in a lifetime experience and a summer you can never replicate anywhere else. When counselors interact with the kids for the first time and see that they can change their lives for the better, all the jet lag and hours spent standing in line at the airport melts away. Nothing can compare to the rewarding feeling of helping a camper learn a new life lesson or help them overcome an obstacle, so when a counselor travels from around the world to Camp Starlight, those are the feelings they want to experience and celebrate. The counselors realize that even though they spend a lot of time travelling to get to camp, campers wait around all year long to return to Camp Starlight. When someone asks a counselor from Australia if the seventeen hour flight was worth it they usually respond with another question: was the ten month long wait to return to camp worth it? The answer to both questions lies in the amount of campers and counselors that do make that return trip–almost all of them.

Helping New Campers Make Their First Summer Special

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

I am the best at tying shoes, a master of voices for bedtime stories and I can most certainly hand out tissues for a runny nose. I am a familiar face for the same bunk all summer because I am a bunk specialist and I have the best job at Camp Starlight. As a bunk specialist for the Lower Juniors at Camp Starlight, I spend most of my time with the campers from my bunk and see them make Camp Starlight their new home for the first time as new campers. Everyday I get to watch my campers laugh, smile, try new things and enjoy their first summer at Starlight, watching them grow roots here that will have them come back for more summers to come. I love my job because I get to see their growth, the campers that nervously came to camp on the first day have grown so much since then and they have found new things that make them excited to wake up to Reveille. The most rewarding aspect of my job is when I see my campers smile because of something they were able to do because that makes me smile. My division has very young campers that are experiencing summer camp for the first time, so when they become comfortable enough at camp to master a skill or find a new passion, it is so inspiring. Everyday has its challenges in supervising these campers to be the best they can be, but the end of every day is so rewarding and worth all the hard work when they go to bed with smiles on their faces. Knowing I am part of making a camper’s first summer at Camp Starlight so special is why I know I have the best job at Camp Starlight.

Campers Appreciate Parents Every Day in the Summer

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Parents of Camp Starlight campers have to work very hard all year long so their kids can enjoy a summer of fun and make memories with their friends. Even though campers are not able to see their parents when they are at summer camp, they appreciate every single thing their parents still do for them when there are some miles distancing them apart. Parents don’t see this, but campers literally light up when they see they have received mail from their parents in the morning. They clench onto the letters as they scan over every line, overjoyed to hear from their parents and the biggest smile stretches over their face. Every word from their parents means so much to them, even if they are stubborn to admit it. The days leading up to visiting day are the most anticipated for the campers too, telling their counselors all about their parents and cleaning up every corner of their bunk to impress them. They prepare in every way possible to welcome their parents into camp and wake up early the day of visiting day, eager to hug them. The moments leading up to the time campers get to see their parents show how much campers truly appreciate and love them. All they can do is stand on their tippy toes to catch a glimpse of their parents when the tape isn’t cut, and when the tape is cut, they sprint faster than they ever have before to see their parents. Campers appreciate and love everything their parents do for them, even more in the summer because that is when they realize how special their parents are to them.

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.

Communication

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 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.

 

Inclusivity at Camp

Monday, January 29th, 2018

At Camp Starlight, we strive to create a culture of kids and teens that respect themselves and others. Everything we do is based on giving young people every opportunity to interact with other people in a healthy and positive way. Every day, campers learn to solve conflicts, share their feelings, listen, and communities effectively; skills that are vital in becoming a productive member of society. And in a world where so many kids report feeling left out and alone, we’re determined to help create a culture of “includers.”

Inclusivity is a foundational element at camp, and from day one campers are taught the importance of teamwork and making everyone feel welcomed. In a place with this many people, there are bound to be personality conflicts, but we welcome these as opportunities to teach respect and acceptance. Everyone is welcomed to camp with open arms, and a friendly and welcoming attitude is instilled into everyday culture.

When we hire counselors, there are a few things we look for in regards to character and personality, and an attitude of acceptance, respect and inclusivity are some of them. Our counselors and staff are trained to lead activities that make everyone feel included, and to notice signs in campers that could signify that they’re feeling left out or lonely. Campers also see counselors interact with other groups and staff members and learn to model their positive and inclusive behavior. There is no “us vs. them” mentality at camp (unless it’s all in fun during a game or competition!) and even good sportsmanship and teamwork are a top priority.

One of the coolest things about camp is that the options for sports, arts, activities, and adventures are endless. There is not a one-size-fits-all type of camp; it’s a place where kids with all different levels of abilities and strengths can find a place where they belong. Everyone finds their place at camp, and is encouraged by other campers and staff to be the best versions of themselves.

Camp is a place where boys and girls feel like they belong. After a summer at camp, students head into the school year with an eye and a heart for others. They learn to build others up and make everyone feel included. If you were to take a peek at campers as they enjoy a meal, you’d never guess that they were strangers before; the connection and relationships that they build at camp are based on respect, communication, and inclusivity.