Posts Tagged ‘summer camp’

Jesse H. Speech

Friday, July 21st, 2017

My name is Jesse H. and I am here today to speak to you about courage. Courage is a word with many meanings. Whether it is facing your fears, trying a new thing, or simply stepping out of your comfort zone, courage is a quality we should all apply to our personalities. Sometimes our courage is diminished when there are obstacles in the way. The most intimidating and dangerous obstacle, however, oftentimes is ourselves. Our personal fear is a limiting factor that every single one of us lives with. However, I can offer a piece of advice to all of you that may help your struggle against fear. As Franklin D Roosevelt said, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ Let me elaborate by telling a story…

During my Upper Inter summer, we were having a blast at Dorney Park. Back then I was terrified of any ride that wasn’t a merry-go-round. Throughout the day, I avoided all of the big coasters. After a few hours, my group approached the last ride. For those of you who have been to Dorney, you may have heard the name “Steel Force.” For those of you have not yet been, you will get to know the name very soon, because it is a mighty sight to behold. Our counselor urged me to go on. In my head I was panicking, and then a thought came to me. “Why am I scared of these? I know these coasters have been tested thousands of times, and also that G-d will protect me no matter what.” At that moment, I realized that if I looked at my fears more objectively, then there is, in fact, nothing scary about these rides. Willingly, I hopped on board Steel Force. I screamed a lot, but I had an absolute blast; it made my day and the entire trip a wonderful time. I learned how to turn fear and anxiety into courage and excitement. Now every time I am on a coaster, I think about that moment when I successfully translated my fear into courage.

Parallel to this little allegory, courage continues to be a necessary device when making important life decisions. Should I have a Bar Mitzvah? Will I get married? Will I have children? Should I go back on line for seconds? Questions such as these have life-altering consequences, and require a certain degree of courage to move forward and to make the correct decision. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but with a little love, judgement, a strong will, and a healthy dose of courage, making the right choices should come a bit easier. Demonstrating courage can improve anyone’s life ten-fold. Just remember the words that the only thing to fear is fear itself (FDR). I remember when my father first told me these words. I couldn’t fully comprehend what it meant back then, like some of you may be experiencing right now. Eventually, if you can start to understand, I promise you your life will be prosperous and exciting.


Help Campers Express Creativity Through Dance

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Written by Hana M.

Everyday when I walk into the dance studio I look at the wall of mirrors and wonder what talent I will see today, marvelling at what new dance moves will be performed and what new techniques will be mastered. The dance studio brings in new campers everyday of all different skill levels and being able to watch the creativity and passion flow from these campers is why I believe I have the best job on campus as the Dance Specialist. Coming into the studio with a crazy amount of energy and smiles, the campers always come ready to learn a new move or dance routine. I feed off their energy and it drives me to have the most fun possible with them, it makes me eager to teach and help them master new skills of dance. When the campers pick up on something they have never worked on before and master it with ease it is so exciting to watch. On the other hand, when campers with lower confidence in their dancing abilities pick up on the dance I become overjoyed to see their progress and see how they realize they can dance. One of my favorite parts of my job is to see campers build their confidence as camp goes on, increasing the difficulty of the dance moves or pace of the routine. When I see campers overcome these struggles and present a final dance it gives me the most rewarding feeling as a counselor. The final dance, whether it’s presented to the camp, at competition or just in the studio, always looks so effortlessly done, but I know all the hard work that is put in to make it look effortless and that is an honor to me. Helping these campers express themselves through dance and song and see them accomplish so many goals is why I know I have the best job at Camp Starlight.

Different Accents, Same Message

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

From New Zealand to South Africa, counselors travel from all around the world to come to Camp Starlight in the summer. This diverse international staff brings so much culture to learn about when at camp, a new appreciation for music, food and tradition is brought to camp in their luggage, especially different languages. The first few days at camp are the biggest adjustment to new accents and slang and learning how people use different words and names for everyday objects is fascinating. Jandals, togs, sunnies and jumpers are some of the words international staff members use on the daily, it can be pretty easy to get lost in translation. Even though many staff members speak different languages and use foreign words and phrases, all staff members, whether international or not, share and understand the same message about Camp Starlight. Summer camp is a place you go to help change a camper’s life for the better–no slang can change the meaning behind those words. Everyone here understands that working at Camp Starlight is an opportunity to not only help these campers grow, but for yourself to grow as well. Counselors do come from all over the world to work at Camp Starlight, and while they all may have different accents, they all know that being at summer camp is a time to allow kids to be kids.

Hugging Each Other Tight on Visiting Day

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

The biggest countdown in the summer are the days, hours and minutes leading up to visiting day, the moment families can finally be reunited for the first time since they had to say goodbye at the start of the summer. During this countdown, parents and campers will anxiously try to imagine how it feels to hold each other in their arms after sprinting and rushing across the field the morning of visiting day. As campers cross out another day in their calendar at night, they visualize the cutting of the ribbon on visiting day that allows their parents to enter camp and embrace them with the warmest hugs. When visiting day finally arrives, campers wake up hours before reveille and jump about the bunks with excitement, happy to finally see their parents and curious to see what treats and toys they bring. Campers tidy up every single nook and cranny of the bunk to show their parents how responsible they’ve become at camp and prepare all their artwork they have crafted for them down at Arts & Crafts. Holding a giant welcome sign on the porch of every bunk, campers stretch their necks and widen their smiles, because they are inches away from feeling the genuine love of their family. Once families are reunited again, the biggest sigh of relief is released because up until this point in the summer, everyone had been holding their breath. When parents hug their kids and see how happy they are here at summer camp, they see how they have made a new home at Camp Starlight, this special place keeps their kids just as safe as when they are in their own arms.

S-Days Change Up The Pace and Fun

Monday, July 17th, 2017

While most people tend to look forward to the weekends and dread Mondays, at Camp Starlight campers look forward to Mondays the most because they are S-Days. On these special days, a theme is designated for all the activities that take place that day and varies between division. Whether it’s a banana theme or a winter wonderland, these themes excite the campers for a day full of special events. S-Days change up the pace significantly at camp because the activities are longer and therefore fewer of them, allowing the campers to thoroughly enjoy an entire afternoon making volcanoes in a mad science activity or spending quality time at the waterfront while groups going tubing on the lake. S-Days keep campers on their toes because they really will never know what to expect. Additionally, the element of surprise with S-Day themes excites the campers even more and really brings them together when they finally get to dress up or participate with the theme. These special Mondays are what campers look forward to every week, but they look forward to spending them together with their friends even more. The chance to be silly in themed costumes or fool around in these themed activities is how campers form deeper bonds and connections with one another.

Campers Teach Counselors Valuable Lessons

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

Throughout a normal day at Camp Starlight, campers will be often asked what they learned that day. Did they master a new serving technique in tennis? Did they learn how to overcome stage fright for the play on Saturday night? There are many lessons a camper can learn from their counselors, but there are also many lessons campers can teach to counselors. The most valuable lesson counselors are taught by their campers is that of patience. It is not a fast lesson or something learned in one period of the day, patience is taught over a long time. Patience teaches counselors how to reword or rephrase directions so that campers can better understand them, patience bridges a language barrier. Patience shows counselors to be straight to the point with directions and to be kind at all times, even if the day is not going as smoothly as desired, learning not to sweat the small stuff and that there is a way around every obstacle. Patience is how hard work is completed and positive results are made, slacking in energy will only hinder the progress and yourself. It is amazing to see that even though counselors are doing most of the teaching in terms of technique, skill and instruction, campers are the one that do most of the life changing in the counselor. Campers are full of surprises in terms of what they have learned and what they can create, but they consistently teach counselors the same lesson of patience every summer and the lesson isn’t fully taught until the last day of summer. When the counselor sees their campers accomplished in their sport or activity on the last day, this is when the lesson of patience is learned and mastered by the counselor.

Camp Starlight Studios

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

Walking into Starlight Studios, you just enter a place where creativity explodes. A space where campers are encouraged to think outside the box, campers are provided the opportunity to make short films, talk shows, interviews, news reports or music videos with their own personal twist. On some days campers will be filming outer space themed talk shows or on other days they will be traversing campus to interview candidates for a “would you rather” special. A medium that is not popularly worked with among kids, exploring the boundaries of videography is a special chance for campers to develop a passion for film and the fine arts. The exposure of photography and the world of film to younger campers allows them to explore this art early on in life. Campers come up with many creative elements to add to a film or a news report but they are also taught the techniques of filming properly. Learning how to shoot and make cues, campers learn how to film very professionally, producing high quality material. When campers run around campus filming with their friends and create a final product they realize how much they can transform their world with just a video camera and a few ideas. They feel like they are actually on a live television show or starring in a Hollywood film, becoming the stars in their own reality. The opportunities at Starlight Studios are endless and the only limit is the width of a camera lens for a camper.

Boating and Waterskiing at Camp Starlight

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Written by Adam A.

When I walk down to the boating dock every morning, sand is squished in between my toes and the smell of the lake water fills my nose. The morning chill makes everything so quiet before campers will come rushing down to the lake to go waterskiing, boating and tubing once the sun fully comes up. Seeing the excitement on their faces when they run to the boating dock to anticipate another fun day under the sun is why I believe I have the best job on campus as the Head of Boating and Waterskiing. With the sun shining on the waves of the lake as my permanent view, I look forward to working every single morning. The atmosphere is relaxing but at the same time so full of energy when the campers come down to play in the water. They are always happy to be here and eager to learn how to finally stand up in the water skis or properly sail out on the water and I have the opportunity to see that growth. It is so rewarding to see campers from my very first summer become advanced water-skiers and wakeboarders because they have mastered so much skill during my time with them. Their smile is so genuine when they truly master a skill on the water and it feels so rewarding to know I am the reason they are able to smile like that. There are so many possibilities in having fun on the water and so there are just that many possibilities for me to teach a camper something new and something they will remember for the rest of their life. Just as the water never gets old, neither does my passion for teaching campers new skills which is why I believe I have the best job at Camp Starlight.

No Instagram Filter Needed

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

One of the most special aspects of Camp Starlight is the fact that you will never hear the buzz of a phone, the ding of a notification or the click of a selfie. A major element of Camp Starlight’s philosophy is the belief that summer is the time to disconnect from the phone and social media to instead live in the moment under the sun with your friends. No Snapchat or Instagram post will ever capture the true beauty of a summer at Camp Starlight, so why waste the time trying with a cell phone? Without the burden of constantly checking for updates, everyone at Camp Starlight is able live in the moment, a time in one’s life that does not occur so often when there is a phone weighing heavy in hand. All of your worries regarding how many likes you get on a post or what happens in the next Netflix episode are melted away once you dip your toes into Starlight Lake. The summer is a time meant for experiencing life and celebrating the beauty of constantly trying new things with new friends–summer camp provides everyone with the opportunity to cleanse themselves and become truly aware of their surroundings. Instead of worrying about the past or the future as posted about on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, time at Camp Starlight is spent breathing in the moment. You don’t have to portray yourself through social media when you’re at Camp Starlight, all you have to do is be yourself, no filter necessary. On the first day when the campers hop off the bus into the grass, they feel the atmosphere of a real summer experience and are allowed to truly be kids again.

Arts & Crafts Keep Me Returning Every Summer

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

At the end of the day you can find me splattered in paint, tied up in string or caked in clay because I am the Arts and Crafts Specialist at Camp Starlight and I have the best job on campus. Being able to make a beautiful mess everyday with campers is one of many reasons I believe I have the best job at camp, and these messes look different every single day. I get to work with all campers from all divisions, boys and girls, and see how their varying ages and personalities affect their artwork during my time with them. Watching these campers explore their creativity with the almost endless amount of materials we have at the Arts & Crafts area is inspiring to say the least, especially when they get to play with all the paints—seeing what they design with a paintbrush in their hand is a magical moment for me. Another element I love about my job is that there is no wrong way for a camper to express their artistic side, unlike sports activities that have grounded rules; Arts & Crafts has no limits and no set rules to be creative. This space truly encourages the campers to embrace their art and whatever pops into their head when they hold a pencil, sculpt with clay or craft a friendship bracelet. Not to mention that the cool projects we give to campers always amazes me and it’s so fun to do a different project every period with the different divisions. What I love most about my job is that the only consistent aspect is change—designs, ideas and inspirations are always changing with all the different campers and their ability to keep me on my toes is what has me coming back for my third summer.