Counsel for a Summer. Impact for a Lifetime.

August 5th, 2020

Working at Camp Starlight for a summer is fun, challenging, and rewarding. You have the opportunity to live in a bunk with our campers on our beautiful campus in the endless mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania. You will work with campers during each of our six activity periods. However, you will be with the kids so much more often than that. In fact, you’ll be with them from wake-up to bedtime. 

Mealtimes. Rest Hour. Shower Hour. Activity Periods. All-day long, you have the chance to interact with our amazing campers. And as lucky as you are to be with them, they are equally fortunate to have you as one of our amazing staff members.

Through all the time that you spend with your campers, it only takes a single moment…a single moment to change a child’s life. This may sound like something out of a fantasy novel, but it is absolutely true. We can all think back to a single conversation we had with an adult when we were younger that still impacts us today. The strangest part about this “moment”? You will never know it’s happening, and neither will the child. You may say something that seems inconsequential to both of you. Then, days later, that child is still thinking about it and you have long since forgotten about it. Years later, you’ve changed that child’s future based on a single conversation, and while they frantically search for your phone number to say “Thank You,” you may hardly remember that camper. 

At the conclusion of my third summer at Camp Starlight, I received a Counselor Appreciation letter from a camper who wrote about something that had happened the summer previously. The letter detailed a very intellectual and emotional realization that the camper had due to an interaction we had. However, this interaction wasn’t a profound conversation or a disciplinary issue. This interaction was me turning off the water while he brushed his teeth. He turned it back on. I turned it off. We went back and forth several times, and, amidst our laughter, I finally convinced him to leave it off once I left the bathroom. In my mind, that was the end. However, for reasons he explained in the letter, this was genuinely a meaningful moment in his life that he still thought about over a year later. Without his Counselor Appreciation Letter, I would have never known this “moment” existed. 

As a counselor at Camp Starlight, we only ask that you come as you are. Athletic, quirky, nerdy, shy, outgoing, or anything in between. We’ve seen it all and appreciate it equally. As a staff member, we don’t expect your summer to be filled with life-changing moments. In fact, looking for these moments would be counterproductive. By simply being yourself, you will build strong relationships with your campers. 

So, don’t search for this “moment.” Embrace your individuality and cherish the summer with these amazing children because as much as you can impact them, they will certainly have an impact on you.

Upper Senior Summer at Camp Starlight

March 11th, 2020

Children often talk about what they want to be when they “grow up” or when they’re “older.” This is a very vague topic, and children often speak of career aspirations such as being a professional athlete, an astronaut, a lawyer, or a CEO of a large corporation. At Camp Starlight, though, when our campers talk about what they want to be when they grow up, they look up to our upper senior campers for guidance.

The Upper Seniors are our oldest campers at 15 years old going into 10th grade. Many of them have been campers since they were Juniors, seven or eight years ago. They are the leaders on campus and truly embody what it means to be a Starlight camper. They take on leadership roles such as leading the Opening Campfire at the beginning of the summer, leading the alma-mater during Olympics, and being a role model for their camp siblings.

While the rest of camp looks upon them for leadership, guidance, and camp wisdom, our Upper Seniors receive special privileges and experience new activities designed just for them. With trips like whitewater rafting and a 3 day overnight in addition to senior favorites such as Camp Rules, Gotcha, and Senior Option, the Upper Senior Summer is filled with firsts for our campers, allowing them to really get the best Starlight has to offer.

However, the true hallmark of any camping career is the friendships and bonds our campers form with one another. Our Upper Senior Boys and Girls live in the Lodge and Lakehouse, respectively. Unlike in other divisions at camp in which each bunk lives in its own building, the Lakehouse and Lodge are large buildings with 4 “bunks” branching off of a large common room. This allows the entire division to live and spend time together under one roof. Not only does this allow current friendships to thrive but it allows for new friendships within the division to form. While it may seem strange to think that campers would form entirely new friendships in their final summer at Starlight, we see it time and time again with our Upper Seniors.

As campers look back upon their years at Starlight, the things they remember may be limited. They will remember large events such as SWF and Olympics. They will also look back upon random bunk moments that they enjoyed like making up a bunk game or tradition. However, what Starlight campers and alumni look back upon most is the relationships that they built that are made to last a lifetime.

THAT is what upper senior summer is about. Younger campers may envy them because they have special activities and can keep food in the bunk. However, by the time our campers reach upper senior summer, they have come to understand that the most important thing that makes Starlight such a special place is the relationships that we create. Upper senior summer is about solidifying the bonds as brothers and sisters with their fellow bunkmates and everybody in the division. Living in the Lakehouse and Lodge brings a completely new perspective for many of our campers, and really allows them to appreciate the people around them at their summer home.

Upper Senior Summer is a culminating year for our campers. They reflect upon their younger years at Starlight while experiencing the best Starlight has to offer with their best friends in the world. The experience is difficult to put into words. So, next time you’re walking around camp and see an upper senior, ask them what it means to them. Everybody’s response may be different, but I guarantee they will all talk about the PEOPLE that make their summer home so special.

The Starlight Playhouse

March 2nd, 2020

Putting on a musical production is not only hard work, but it is also a lot of fun. Being on stage inspires imagination and creativity. At Camp Starlight, the shows that are put on every summer are among the most memorable part of a camper’s experience. Each Division puts on their own show giving campers their moment in the spotlight. 

At Camp Starlight, not only do campers have the opportunity to perform in the shows but many of them also choose to get involved with the behind-the-scenes activities.  Some help with set building and painting, while others help with costuming and makeup.  Some also work backstage in the technical areas of sound and lighting.  Putting on a new production every week is a team effort and requires a lot of helping hands.

Leading the theater program at Camp Starlight is Jeff Moss, an award-winning Broadway director who has directed well knows actors such as Mickey Rooney and Donald O’ Connor. Jeff has been directing shows at Camp Starlight for OVER 50 YEARS! Needless to say, Jeff has seen and done it all. He has worked with campers of all skills and abilities and knows exactly how to create an environment that is fun and engaging for every cast member, regardless of their role. From the oldest campers to the youngest, everyone looks forward to both participating in the productions as well as seeing the shows produced by the other divisions. 

Each week, the anticipation begins anew as campers audition for their show, hoping to get the role of their choice. Some campers are called back for a second look, after which the roles are assigned.  That’s when the hard work begins. Campers receive their scripts and get down to memorizing their lines. For the remainder of the week, show preparation is a major part of their focus. Every day, the campers attend rehearsal to learn the stage blocking and choreography.  They learn the songs with the musical director and work with the Playhouse staff to put it all together. After one final day of rehearsal, the curtain rises at the Playhouse, and the kids perform in front of the whole camp

Sure, the thought of performing gives some of our campers butterflies in their stomach, but the energy of being on stage, under the lights, and in front of a live audience is powerful.  When the show is over, the kids share a combined sense of joy and relief. They know that through all that hard work, they had a lot of fun, but mostly, they have an enormous sense of pride know that through all that they worked together and accomplished a tremendous achievement.

When it’s all said and done, this experience will live on with them for a very long time. Theater provides many long-lasting benefits. There are many studies that show that participating in drama, even in small roles, contributes to creative thinking, critical reflection, improved collaboration, and better communication.  In addition, drama can help with concentration, self-confidence, and a host of other life skills.

Becoming a Leader Through Leagues

November 6th, 2019

For some, leadership is an inherent trait. For others, it is learned. However, all of our campers can learn and develop leadership skills. At Camp Starlight, our Leagues Program provides our campers with a great opportunity to hone their leadership skills.

Each summer, Camp Starlight features an intra-camp League, in which every camper is assigned to a team named after a College Athletic Program. The teams compete throughout the summer in various sports against all the other teams. The teams are competing within their divisions to win the coveted Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream prize at the end of the season.

Because our League teams are named for schools, days in which campers participate in leagues games are called College Days. When it’s a College Day at Camp Starlight, you know it! Campers dress in their team shirt to get in the competitive spirit and cheer their teammates on the sidelines to support the team. The teams will face-off once per league day in a grand show of athleticism, sportsmanship, and fun.

For individual campers, competing in leagues provides familiarity, as they have the same teammates for the duration of the summer. This creates an environment that fosters stronger relationships, cooperation, camaraderie, and responsibility.

When players first start to play together, they become aware of their individual strengths and how they can contribute to the team. Those who have strengths in a certain area, have the opportunity to be a teacher and a role model for their teammates. In other areas or sports, these campers may switch roles, allowing our campers to learn to be great leaders and great learners. They gain self-confidence through their own performance and by encouraging their teammates.  Team members build upon each other’s strengths to better the team towards a common goal.

Leadership, however, isn’t just about ability. It’s about being accountable for one’s actions and leading by example. All players get the chance to develop leadership through determination, communication, self-confidence, and drive.  Even if a camper isn’t a top athlete, they have the ability to lead through great sportsmanship and a positive attitude.

Because leagues promote teamwork and foster relationships, campers also become better at communicating. And because sports also instill self-esteem, Campers not only communicate better, but they do so with confidence.

In the end, the winning teams might get the ice cream, but everyone receives the added benefit of becoming a better leader.

 

To a Sweet New Year!

September 26th, 2019

As we celebrate the New Year, we can’t help but look back on all that was sweet last summer at Camp Starlight. We take this time to appreciate the beautiful gifts that camp gives all of us.

We are grateful for the friendships that form each year. Summer after summer, we welcome old and new friends into our life. Camp Starlight allows us to create special memories with our bunk mates while also exposing us to campers from other bunks and divisions. We are fortunate to experience divisional traditions so that we can form friendships in and out of the bunk. We are always excited to meet our camp siblings, allowing us to form bonds with campers regardless of their age. We work together on sports teams, league teams, and Olympic teams to bring us even closer to our Starlight Family. There are friends and there are camp friends. The seven weeks we have together makes our camp friends our best friends, and best friends are forever.

We remember all of the special counselors that helped us through the summer. We are so grateful for the counselors that come from all over the world to make sure we have a great summer. We reflect on all the hard work the counselors put in to take care of us and all their patience and kindness that they show. They help create the warm and welcoming environment that makes Camp Starlight feel like home summer after summer.

We look back on all the fun that we had at each activity and all of the new skills we developed. We focus on our passions while discovering new passions through new experiences! We take the time to remember all of the fun evening activities and special events that created so many laughs and memories. We cherish the songs, the cheers, the dance moves, and the spirit that is Camp Starlight.

We envision the beauty of Camp Starlight. We recall the feeling of driving down the mile-long road, lined with trees on both sides and the feeling you get when you wrap around the corner and see the image of camp after waiting 10 months. The endless mountains and the reflection of the beautiful sunset over lake as the day nears the end are so clear in our minds. Finally, we picture the stars that twinkle above our summer home. We think about the wish we made on a shooting star, that will hopefully bring us all home next June.

We look forward to a sweet new year and cannot wait to get back to our summer home for another summer of friendship, love, fun, and memories to last a lifetime.

Camp Starlight Studios

July 30th, 2019

Under the rec hall is a state-of-the-art program area known at Starlight Studios. The Studios are specifically for unleashing your creativity in many different ways.

Upon entrance of Starlight Studios, you are greeted immediately by hard-working area specialists asking how you’d like to spend the period. There are many different options for every camper to explore through the summer.

In Sports Broadcasting, campers have the opportunity to gain experience with real studio microphones and go on the air, discussing camp sporting events. Those participating learn the fundamentals of speaking clearly and audibly on-air, as well as how to properly phrase sentences in the most convenient way for the listener. Right across from Sports Broadcasting is MakerSpace, which is our very own on-camp science lab. Some activities include exploding watermelons with rubber bands, making ice cream, and even shooting rockets into the air!

A little further down the hall is Digital Photography, where campers can use professional cameras to document their adventures around camp and capture moments that can be held on to for a lifetime. Right next door is Video Production, which is another area where campers are able to utilize professional equipment. In the room is also a green screen, so videos made can have any setting, with no limits. Everything in those two rooms are also edited with high-quality editing software on Mac Desktops.

The Basement is where singing is taught- Campers learn songs and perform them for each other, with the coaching of our incredibly talented voice specialist. The Dressing Room is also an option in Starlight Studios, where campers are given sewing projects for them to complete and take home with them. This includes scrunchies, tote bags, and even headbands. The Dressing Room also works with the Starlight Theater, making costumes for the plays currently being produced.

Starlight Studios is a very exciting location in the camp. In the Studios, creativity and imagination are key. At the end of the period, every camper walks out with new knowledge or a new project. The possibilities are truly endless!

The Junior Show at Camp Starlight

July 24th, 2019

Sunday night marked the fourth production in the Starlight Playhouse, The Jungle Book. This family-oriented musical tells the story of Mowgli (Simon B), and his journey through the jungle. He is guided by Bagheera the Panther (Mikayla T) and Baloo the Bear (Rory M) as he learns valuable lessons about life and about himself. Crowd favorite songs included the beloved classic, “The Bare Necessities” as well as “Trust in Me” and “Overture”. The hard work of the juniors surely showed when the audience was offering a standing ovation to congratulate them on a job well done. An honorable mention is also in order for the adorable elephants, played by our very own day campers!

The juniors gave an unforgettable performance and all campers and counselors are very proud of all of their hard work. Coming soon to the Starlight Playhouse is our all-camp show, Frozen, which will be performed this upcoming Sunday.

Visiting Day at Camp Starlight

July 22nd, 2019

It’s safe to say that on the eve of July 20th, the bunks at Camp Starlight were filled with pure excitement and energy. Visiting Day is one of the most anticipated days of the summer, and with good reason; it’s the day where campers and their families are finally reunited, in a party of laughing, crying, and eating.

With the day finally here and the excitement levels high, our campers began the day with the annual visiting day singalong. You could barely hear Jeff Moss on the mic over the sounds of the entire camp singing along to their most favorite camp songs as they anxiously awaited the arrival of their parents. With the grand finale of Celebrate (an all time camp favorite) it was time to head back to the bunks and prepare for the moment that campers and their parents have been waiting so long for.

As cars filled with gifts, candy and excited parents began to pull into the camp road, the parking lot quickly filled up with parents and their families eager to secure a spot along the blue rope. 11 o’clock couldn’t come soon enough, as the lineup of moms, dads, grandparents and siblings, continued to grow. They’re carefully counting down the seconds until they are able to run and greet their kids for the first time in weeks. As soon as the tape is cut, Camp Starlight is instantly flooded with hundreds of people: The sight is like no other.

Once the hugs were hugged and the tears shed, it was time to enjoy the day, with many families opting to set up along the grass facing Starlight’s beautiful lake. Campers put on a visiting day show and dance feature for all to see. Chef and the entire kitchen staff spoiled everyone with a delicious barbecue lunch, packed with hot dogs, delicious burgers and the most amazing grilled chicken. Although many campers were already too full from the mouth watering treats that their parents brought from home.

Most activities are available to partake in, including tennis, Gaga, volleyball, and, with temperatures reaching well into the 90’s, a visiting day first – free swim in the lake, allowing campers and their families to cool off and relax in the lake together and catch a break from the heat.

Fortunately, this is not only an opportunity for families to reunite, but for parents to finally meet the counselors who have been watching over their kids this summer.

Sadly, all things that are happy and exciting must come to an end. At 4:00 in the afternoon, the families must say goodbye as they wish campers a great second half of the summer, All campers are incredibly glad that they were able to invite their loved ones to Camp Starlight for the day, and can’t wait to tell everyone at home about the incredible summer that they experienced this year.

Lower Seniors Basketball Versus Chen-a-Wanda

July 9th, 2019

On July 3rd, the lower senior boys basketball team had a nail biting victory over Chen-a-Wanda in this week’s Wayne County match. Hayden A was a fantastic rebounder who played hard throughout the game, scoring 2 points and 5 rebounds. Jesse K scored 6 points, 2 rebounds and had a strong finish at the rim, caused a foul and put the free throw in to take the lead at half time. Benjamin K scored 6pts, 1 rebound and 2 steals, playing strongly in the point guard position while Dre L’s strong communication to teammates gave a defensive advantage. Ryan S, with 3 rebounds and steal, as well as his hustle made a difference in the game. Benjamin A was present on the defensive end and was a rebounding threat on the floor with 4 rebounds. Dylan C was a defensive threat on the floor and had 1 assist. Jackson F was a strong all round player who rebounded skillfully and scored some points while on the floor, totaling 6 points, 10 and rebounds. Charlie G played hard and hustled while on the court and ended the match with 3 rebounds. Charlie H finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds. He was a big contributor to the game with strong ball handling skills. Kyle M was a strong points leader with 15 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist. He was a great communicator with his teammates. Jack S handled the ball well and ended with 2 rebounds and 1 assist. Tared S ran the floor and rebounded well ending the match with 5 rebounds.Benjamin R scored 15 points and had the game winning free throw that put the team ahead with 9 seconds to spare to steal the victory.

 

 

 

Upper Debs Basketball versus Camp Tioga

July 8th, 2019

On Tuesday July 2nd, the upper debs from Camp Starlight fought with heart, spirit and ambition. In the beginning of the game, Lily A won the jump ball to start the game. Chloe B shot 7 points as Camp Tioga tried to shake her down. Carly E had two points to take the pressure off of the team, which boosted up the spirit of the game. Sienna K had great ball control when the other team tried to trap her in the corner. As the 3rd quarter was reaching the peak to finish, Myla W grabbed the rebound and held the ball with her life as Tioga was trying to receive it. Emma J and Shira R played good defense and made great passes. Cassidy W contributed with master mind plays and helped guide her team. Joie E, Emma D and Sarah T played good defense, which resulted in blocking the ball, rebounds and slowing down their best point guard. Lastly, Ashley W did a great job of controlling the speed of the game, and being unselfish with playing with her teammates. However, the girl’s efforts came out short and lost to Tioga, but a valiant effort was put forth. Great job upper debs!