As the sun sets on Perch Pond the second night of camp, Camp Starlight campers divide and gather by the lake for a traditional campfire. While Upper Seniors recollect their time spent here, campfire songs unite the campers and ignite the spirit of Starlight. The unity evident on this night is because campers, both old and new, have just met their camp siblings. In Jonah’s eyes, his camp brother is “smart, fun, and cool.” The camp sibling program allows for campers to experience a sense of unity and family between their siblings, while older siblings feel like role models to their younger siblings. These qualities elevate the spirit of Starlight throughout the summer.
The camp sibling program instills family and unity through young and old, who are given the opportunity to make a difference in one another’s lives. Zach looks up to his camp brother and believes, “He’s nice and it’s like having a family member at camp.” Through sibling activities such as lunches, dinners, and camp fires, older and younger campers can articulate to one another about the interests they share. A bond begins to grow that cannot be broken even years after campers receive new siblings. Reed reminisces on the bracelet his “brother” Reid created for him when he was a Junior in Bunk 3. Eight years later, Reed still believes that bracelet helped. “link the friendship” between them. In addition, they are campers who don’t have a blood related sibling at camp. The camp sibling program partners old and new campers, and allows them to feel like they have a family member at camp. Unity and family are two aspects of camp siblings that elevate the community Starlight campers have treasured for years.
Feeling like a role model for a younger sibling is another attribute of the camp sibling program. Adam has been here for seven summers and has always developed lasting friendships with his camp siblings. “The best feeling is when you tell your younger sibling to come to you when he needs someone, and they actually do it.” The establishment of a new camp sibling allows older campers to demonstrate maturity as well as leadership. “Some of my best experiences have been with my camp brothers.” Older campers become responsible in a time of maturity when they grow out of their childhood and become young adults. Stephanie Rubenfeld (Counselor) likes to watch her younger siblings grow; in fact, she was a counselor for campers that were once her camp siblings when she was a camper here. Her choice to return to camp has given her the outlet to watch her campers grow, and they still look up to her long past her last goodbye as a camper.
The Starlight World is driven by the community that enthralls campers to cherish the time they spend together. The camp sibling program assists in elevating unity and a sense of family among campers, while older campers become role models for their younger campers. Michael Strauss (counselor) enjoys watching campers grow up and be the big brothers for other campers that he was for them. This cycle of growth leads him as well as other campers and counselors to return to Starlight summer after summer.