Posts Tagged ‘working at summer camp’

Growing up is fun: transitioning from summer camper to summer camp counselor

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

54ef49ff-9ab5-41b4-978a-b437ed3421e3Most people will tell you that growing up means having less time to play. Summer vacations for kids? Nothing but fun! Summer vacations for grown ups? “Booooring!”

…Well, here’s a secret: summer doesn’t have to be totally boring when you get too old for summer camp. All you have to do is become a camp counselor — problem solved! (Not to mention your Mom will be happy, since you’re “technically” getting a job!”

If you love camp and you’re worried about getting too old to go, don’t worry. Taking on the responsibility of a summer camp counselor is both rewarding and super fun!

Building experience

Transitioning from summer camper to summer camp counselor is probably easier than you think.

Building dependability and good leadership skills are already a huge part of the activities and games that campers participate in every year. For former summer campers, all the leadership skills that make a good counselor are already there — it’s just a question of stepping up to the plate and trying on a different hat this summer!

Leadership is “hard-wired” into the activities at Camp Starlight; oftentimes, campers don’t even realize they’re building leadership skills. Camping, team sports, and problem-solving games all feels like “fun in the sun.” programs are usually adventure based and allow you to explore your budding leadership style through hands-on activities.

If you’ve ever wondered why the ropes course and team sports get just a little more challenging every year at camp, that’s why. Just like life, camp gets a little more complex every year. Luckily, with harder work comes bigger rewards. Few jobs are quite as fun and satisfying as that of a summer camp counselor!

Responsibility and freedom

For college students, there’s no way around it; summer jobs and internships can be a drag. Camp is different from a regular job; perhaps the only summer job in the world that requires so much time playing games!

While counselors have plenty of responsibilities when it comes to their campers, counselors who have been campers themselves have a special place in their heart for the relaxation that camp offers. Digital detox is worth its weight in gold — I mean, can you imagine if you were in summer classes right now?!

Counselor training

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.52.13 PMWhether they’re a veteran camper or excited newcomer, every single counselor at Camp Starlight goes through intensive training and team-building activities before the first group of campers arrives.

Counselor training is where former campers really shine — because they already know what a magical experience they’re in for, and have all the traditional camp songs down by heart!

Most of all, former campers excel as counselors because they remember what it was like to be a camper themselves, helping them understand the value they offer to their own campers as role models. Veteran campers know that fun and games is serious business, and that all the planning and training is worth it to make sure the summer goes off without a hitch!

Campers forever!

Summer camp is an incredible chance to spend time among your peers, gain independence, and learn about yourself.

Whether you decide to become a bunk specialist, or work in a specialty programing at your camp, you will surely develop important life skills that will help you become a responsible adult — not to mention a super fun role model for generations of Camp Starlight campers!

Remember, growing up doesn’t have to mean letting go of that summer camp spirit!

Camp Starlight Year 15

Friday, March 4th, 2016

IMG_2983 2Written by Megan Panelas

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

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

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

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

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

From Camper To Counselor

Monday, February 8th, 2016

image1The first moment that I stepped off the bus in Starlight, Pennsylvania I got a feeling that I never would have had anywhere else. That feeling is now something that makes up a piece of my heart.

Starlight has given me opportunities that I otherwise would’ve never had. As a child, some of the most valuable lessons I learned were the ones I learned at camp. The most important lesson I learned was the value of true friends.

The girls in your bunk just become the people you spend summer after summer with and winter after winter missing. But as the years dwindled down and your time as a camper grew shorter, you realize that in life it is important to treasure the moments with the people who started out as strangers and eventually became family.

As I carry these friendships into my time as a counselor I embrace new friendships with those who are taking on camp for the first time. I have met people from all around the world with such interesting life experiences that I would never been exposed to had it not been for camp. This is something special that camp has to offer.

The relationships with your campers that you make throughout the summer as their counselor are unforgettable. The campers have the ability to push you to your limits and teach you things about yourself that you might have otherwise never known. Over the seven weeks of the summer you become their role model, a feeling that is indescribable.

As an former camper, I am given the opportunity to give back to Starlight and create lifelong memories for the campers like my counselors had once done for me. My favorite part of being a counselor is seeing the campers’ smiles throughout the summer and tears as they leave, because I know that I have made an impact on their lives forever.

Starlight is such a special place that will remain in my life forever. Every day at school I think about how each day that passes brings me one day closer to being at my happy place. Not every person gets the opportunity to have a home away from home like I do, so every second that I spent at Camp Starlight is a second that I cherish for the rest of my life.

Written by former camper Allix.

 

What to Expect Your First Summer as a Camp Counselor

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.52.13 PMThinking about what you’ll be doing next summer already? If you loved camp as a kid or are now too old to attend Camp Starlight as a camper, think about applying to be a camp counselor at Camp Starlight! Running a successful camp depends mostly on our camp staff.

  1. Being a counselor is the toughest job you’ll ever love! You’re there to work, most likely harder than you ever have in your life. You’re also there to reconnect with the campers and your fellow counselors, form friendships, and make memories!

 

  1. Get ready to be excited about everything! From Ms Starlight to Olympics, teaching skills to singing camp songs, campers feed off of your energy! You are their role model for the entire summer (or at least part of it), so remember that your campers are always watching you to see your reactions. If you’re excited, chances are they’ll be excited too (even about laundry). Make it fun!

 

  1. At Camp Starlight, time moves quickly! When you arrive at camp for orientation in June, you’ll find yourself thinking “August is so far away! I have plenty of time!” The next thing you know it’s the middle of July! It’s important to be present and live in the moment with our campers. It’s the best way to make the most out of your experience over the summer!

 

  1. There is no “typical” day at Camp Starlight. At a 9-5 job, you may have a set routine. This might get boring! Don’t worry- at Camp Starlight things are always changing! We’re always adding new activities and switching up schedules to keep things fresh for campers. Of course, there will be a small routine to your day: staff meetings, teaching various skills, and meals but other than that, come prepared for change daily!

 

  1. You’ll be competitive about everything. From making the best friendship bracelets to lawn games against other groups, everything you do will be weirdly competitive. Even if it doesn’t have to be. This is one of the ways your group shows pride! So, reveal in it and pump your campers up!

 

  1. Get ready to become a craft master. Even if you came to Camp Starlight not knowing how to tie a knot, by the end of the summer you’ll be a bracelet making master!

 

  1. You’ll be pushed outside your comfort zone. This helps you grow! For example, you may be able to avoid some of your fears (of swimming, heights, etc), but you might not be able to get out of being put in the spotlight at one point or another during the season. Revel in it; it’s not too scary!

 

  1. Get ready to embrace your inner athletic side, even if you don’t think you have one! We love games at Camp Starlight, so don’t think you can get away with not participating! Give it your all, and you’ll find that it’s fun! Even if you don’t, do it for your campers!

 

  1. You’ll lose track of days. During your time at camp, you’ll almost never know what day it is. And it doesn’t really matter (as long as you’re not late for a meal or a scheduled activity!). Part of enjoying camp is completely immersing yourself in it!

 

  1. Expect to leave Camp Starlight changed in some way. This summer will have a profound impact on you: the way you live your life, what you care about, and the way you see others. You may not even realize it, but summers at camp will change you for the better!

 

Ready to apply? Visit campstarlight.com/StaffExperience! We hope to see you next summer!

4 Constellations visible from Camp Starlight and how to find them

Monday, September 28th, 2015

UntitledLights out doesn’t have to mean the fun is over; after all, Camp Starlight is the perfect place for stargazing! All you need is a clear sky, a few tips and pointers, and of course a helpful counselor.

Once you figure out how to find the north star, it’s a slippery slope to becoming an astronomy expert. Who wouldn’t want to be knowledgeable about this beautiful universe of ours?

Here are four of the easiest constellations to locate during the summer months at Camp Starlight, and how to find them.

The Big Dipper

For many aspiring astronomers, the big dipper is the first constellation they ever discover. The Big Dipper is visible all year round, making it a dependable friend even if you aren’t an astronomy master.

The distinctive dipper or ladle shape is hard to miss, since it’s composed of a few of the brightest stars in the sky. Take a look at the shape in the picture below; this is what you’re looking for.

bd

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

 

Found it? Awesome!

Beyond being dependable, the Big Dipper is your secret key to the celestial world. Once you can find the Big Dipper, you can use it to pinpoint many other constellations.

Now let’s use the Big Dipper to find our next constellation: the Great Bear.

The Great Bear

The Big Dipper is actually part of the Great Bear, so if you’ve already located that elusive ladle then you’re literally halfway there. Hint: the handle of the dipper is the tail of the bear.

Look for the brightest stars directly forward from the dipper part of the Big Dipper to find the bear’s head, and extend downwards from the dipper’s bottom to find the bear’s legs. Can you spy the Big Dipper in this picture?

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


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

The Little Dipper

The Big Dipper isn’t done helping us; we’re also going to use it to help us find its smaller but no less important sibling, the Little Dipper!

Find the two stars that make the “front” of the Big Dipper and draw a line with your imagination upwards. The brightest star in that line is the end of the Little Dipper’s handle.

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

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

The Little Dipper is much fainter than the big dipper, and if any wispy clouds are hanging around it might be quite tricky to find. But there is a reward! That bright star forming the end of the Little Dipper’s handle is none other than Polaris, the north star.

If you can get this far, you have everything you need to find your way in the wilderness. North is always the direction of the North Star, which is why sailors used to be so concerned with astronomy in the old days. Pat yourself on the back!

Draco

Everyone loves dragons, so let’s finish by finding the dragon constellation, Draco. We can use the Little Dipper as a reference point, just like we did before.

The snakey part of Draco wraps around the spoon part of the Little Dipper in a giant “s” shape, leading up to the “head” of the dragon — a suspiciously ladle-like four-point star formation, as you can see in the shape here:

11111111

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

Show off your new astronomy skills to your friends!

Astronomy is like everything else at camp: challenging, but rewarding. And most importantly, tons of fun.

The best part about these four constellations is that they’re visible all year around. Be sure to show your friends at camp, or if you’re a counselor, be sure to teach your campers. That way they can take their newfound astronomy skills away with them and show their friends at home!

When they ask where you learned something so cool, you can just say, “at Camp Starlight.”

Camp Starlight Photo of the Day

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

DSC_9509

Teachers Love Camp Starlight Campers

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 8.41.56 AMWhen we asked a teacher in Florida what his ideal student looks like, he said “Someone who is respectful, creative and focused.” When we asked a teacher in New Jersey she said “Someone who isn’t afraid to ask questions, who wants to learn and who tries their hardest,” and when we asked a teacher from Pennsylvania, she said “Someone who has great time management skills, is a leader and is responsible.” What we learned from talking to these teachers is that all across the country, teachers enjoy having responsible, respectful and creative students in their classrooms. And whattaya know… Camp Starlight helps students develop all of these skills, and so much more. It is our theory, that when teachers ask students what they did over the summer, they’re not just asking because it’s the standard “welcome back to school question,” but because they are secretly trying to decipher which students spent their summer growing, learning and improving at summer camp, and how many spent all summer playing video games. The bottom line: Teachers love students who spend their summers at summer camp.

Spending the summer at camp turns followers into leaders, turns shyness into confidence, and turns laziness into responsibility. Summer camp teaches campers how to work well with others, how to think critically and how to solve problems. It allows students to try new things, ask questions and be vulnerable in order to improve themselves. It teaches time management, respect for peers and authority, and organization. The list goes on and on, but every single day campers are learning valuable life skills that easily transfer over to every aspect of their lives. They think they’re just playing football with their friends, but at the same time they are learning how to communicate with others, how to be a good sport and the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. When they make real connections with people they’d usually never talk to, they are learning to ignore stereotypes and appreciate diversity. Summer camp is day after day of life lessons, disguised as swimming, playing, singing, dancing, biking, hiking and exploring.

Teachers look for leaders in the classroom, someone who can follow instructions and encourage their peers to do the same. It is with these students that teacher form trusting relationships, which can work in the students benefit all year long. These leaders are built at summer camp, and their skills aren’t just confined to the campground or the school campus, they become leaders in every aspect of their life.

Parents can be confident that their child will leave camp a better version of themselves. These students, who enter the new school year with a strong sense of identity, work ethic and high self-esteem, will be an important contributor to their teachers and classmates. This will also help them strive as individuals in the classroom and help them improve their academic performance.

If you were to ask a teacher what they REALLY wanted in an ideal student, most of them would say “Anyone who spent the summer at camp!”

Being a Part of the Camp Starlight Team

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 11.09.30 AMBeing a part of the team at Camp Starlight is an honor and a privilege, an opportunity to single handedly change the direction of a child’s life by giving them the gift of self confidence, love, patience, forgiveness and positive attention. Camp counselors provide an unforgettable experience for countless campers every single day which something you can’t say about most summer internships or part time jobs.

Camp counselors spend their summers surrounded by nature, interacting with other counselors, staff and campers, and get to experience life through the eyes of a child, an experience that can sometimes feel far away as we grow older. Camp counselors not only teach, they also learn. They learn practical, social and problem solving skills. They learn patience, trust, teamwork, time management, conflict resolution and how to have an impeccable work ethic. Any future employer who wouldn’t hire someone with that skill set would be missing a great opportunity.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 11.09.36 AMYou could sit at the neighborhood pool all summer as a lifeguard, or serve coffee at your local coffee shop, or walk dogs, file papers (yawn!) or serve tables over the summer. But at the end of the day, as you fell asleep, completely exhausted from an active and exciting day, would you feel like what you did make a difference in someone’s life? Would you feel like you made lasting friendships, or invested time in someone who was feeling lonely, afraid or misunderstood? Probably not. The magic that happens when you truly see personal growth and change in someone does not happen in a coffee shop or at a medical office filing cabinet. It happens in the moments when you help someone conquer his or her fears, handle heartbreak, experience a triumph or get through a failure. It is in these moments that you, as a camp counselor, change the world, one camper at a time.

So when you’re thinking about what you should do over the summer, consider Camp Starlight. You’re only applying for one of the most exciting, exhausting, rewarding jobs on the planet!

You were made for this. The world needs changin’, and it starts with you.

A Behind the Scenes Look at Camp Starlight

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 1.58.08 PMFuture Campers: What if we told you we could get you some behind the scenes information about coming to camp, BEFORE you even came to camp? What if we could relieve some of the nervousness and questions you have about heading to your camp right now?

Lucky for you, we’ve tracked down one of Camp Starlight’s favorite camp counselors, who has agreed to give us the inside scoop to prepare you for your first trip to camp! Meet James, a counselor who has been a camp counselor for two years, but has been enjoying summer camp every summer since he was eight years old. As a counselor, he is very used to seeing new campers come in with a worry that they won’t have fun, that they won’t make friends, or that they will be stuck with a counselor who is boring. It’s scientifically proven that is impossible not to have fun at camp. Everyone creates lasting friendships while they are here. And Camp Starlight doesn’t hire boring counselors, so there goes those three worries right out the window. James says that he and his fellow counselors focus on keeping the campers busy, so they don’t have time to worry! Many campers miss home, but counselors like James try to shift their attention to something more fun and exciting. “Each child is different, and that means how I address each camper’s issue is usually different.” It’s comforting to know that counselors will focus on you as an individual, and help you get through any worries or concerns in a way that works best for you.

James offered some packing advice for parents. Counselors understand that each and every camper is a parent’s entire world, which is why they put extra effort into making sure every single camper feels welcomed and safe, and enjoys their summer. Parents are given a packing list before they send their kids off to camp, and James urges parents to follow the list carefully. After countless weeks of watching campers pack and unpack their belongings, he noticed that campers who followed the list felt secure and well equipped for the summer, while those who packed a lot of extra felt overwhelmed and crowded in their bunk space.

When we asked James was his favorite part about camp was, he didn’t say rock climbing or theatre or sailing or the food (although the food does rank high on his list.) His favorite part about camp is the campers! He loves his job because all of the different personalities make each day fun and different, and he never has the same day twice. The cool thing about James, and the other counselors at camp, is that they are 100% focused on the kids. They are there for the sole purpose of making sure kids have a safe and unforgettable summer. “I want campers to know if they are having an issue with someone or something, they can always talk to me. My summer is not about me, it’s about them!” says James.

Parents can rest assured knowing that well trained, friendly, outgoing, caring and professional individuals are in charge of making sure their kids have a summer they’ll never forget. Kids can head to camp with confidence that they are about to experience the summer of a lifetime. Counselors, like James, are there to make sure of it!

 

Why Working at a Camp Is Better Than an Internship

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.02.36 AMAccording to statistics, there are an estimated 1.2 million camp staff in the United States, and the numbers continue to grow steadily. Now, you might think – “why should I get a camp job over an internship?” Well, working at a camp gives you the opportunity to earn more than just cash. Internships are all about gaining skills and that’s exactly what working at a camp provides, but the question here is that how working at a camp is better than an internship?

The biggest reason why it is better is because working in a camp helps you develop skills that will not only build your resume, but also last you a long time to come. You have the opportunity to lead from the front and solve problems, in addition to fulfilling your responsibilities with utmost sincerity. A camp simply offers real-life experiences that cannot be learnt behind an office desk.

Benefits of Working at a Camp

There are many benefits you can gain by working at a camp. Below we have listed some of the most common:

  • You develop better self-understanding
  • You enhance personal growth
  • You master problem-solving skills
  • Have positive and significant influence in the lives of children
  • You expand/develop a network of peer relations.

How is Working at a Camp Better than an Internship?

Here are a few convincing reasons you should consider working at a camp:

It Builds Character Along with Your Resume

If you do not have character, your resume is pretty much useless. If you make a comparison, you will notice that most interns count the minutes until they are finally done with work, and on the other hand, camp counselors and camp staff dedicate their summers. So, why do they do it? That’s simply because they enjoy what they do. When you work at a camp, you learn to dedicate your time for things besides yourself, as you have the opportunity to deal with adults, kids and other counselors.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.03.53 AMIt’s Not Only about the Money

When you work at a camp, you not only show up every morning because you are getting good money. You show up because your job involves spreading smiles and happiness. You are not confined to an undersized desk, relentlessly waiting for payday.

You Make Kids Smile Instead of Customers

It’s not uncommon to come across interns pretending to be extra nice, so that they can make a sale. A camp job, however, revolves around campers and making them happy. Getting an authentic laugh or smile out of a camper is something more pleasing and enjoyable than selling a particular product to a random guy.

You Learn to Be Selfless Not Selfish

While interns spend most of their time pretending to be busy or surfing the web, every minute you spend in camp is devoted to the campers. Each minute of your time is spent for others, not just for yourself. After all, have you ever seen an intern worrying about the progress of their company they work for, as much as they do for themselves?

So, if you have been considering a job, why not go for it, as you will gain experience and skills that will definitely be of use to you in the future.