Archive for February, 2012

Who Works at Summer Camp?

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Spring is just around the corner and summer will be here before you know it, which makes now the time to start thinking about how you’re going to spend your summer.  If you’re a college student, you could toil away as a server or cook at the local pizza joint or operate rides or peddle souvenirs at the local amusement or sports park.  Interning in a local office may even be an option you’re considering.  But if you want summer employment that promises a summer full of fun and adventure while also helping you develop valuable lifelong skills that employers view favorably, consider working at Camp Starlight.  Just because your college days are behind you doesn’t mean that there isn’t a role at summer camp for you too, particularly if you are a teacher or high school or college athletics coach looking for a fun way to earn some extra money over the summer.  In fact, the ages and backgrounds of the people who make up the typical summer camp staff are about as diverse as summer camps themselves.

If you don’t think being a counselor is really your thing or your pretty sure you’ve aged out of that option, don’t sweat it.  There are a multitude of positions besides counselors that we must fill each summer.  For starters, our office requires personnel to run it.  If answering the phone and administrative tasks are more to your liking, perhaps working in the Camp Starlight office might be the ideal option for you.  Additionally, we need people to help with daily scheduling as well as planning and executing special activities during the evenings and on special days.

If you like the idea of spending time with children and are an athlete or hobbyist who would rather focus on your passion, we hire specialists to teach skills in specific sports and hobbies to campers.  If your passion is photography or videography, as the camp photographer responsible for capturing the fun every day, your role is one of the most integral at camp. In fact, if you can think of an activity, there is probably a staffing need for it at camp, and sometimes some of the hardest positions to fill are ones most people just don’t think of when they think of summer camp, such as creative writing, cooking, robotix, eco science, animation, media, or magic.

Most hospitality positions such as kitchen, maintenance, and housekeeping are usually filled with international applicants.  If you are an international student who would love to earn some money by working in the U.S. before or after traveling, one of these summer camp roles may be the perfect option for you…as well as a lot of fun and a chance to make a lot of new friends from around the world!

If you’re a more mature individual with more education and/or work history, camps also have a need to fill key roles that require more foundational knowledge and experience.  Aside from counselors, Camp Starlight also employs division leaders, people who lead a specific age group and supervise all of the counselors within that group.  Although we usually fill all or most division leader roles with individuals who have several years of successful camp experience because these types of roles require a more intricate knowledge of summer camp, occasionally we will search outside of camp, typically for teachers or other professionals who work with children.  In addition to division leaders, we also hire program or activity heads.  These are typically college coaches and current or former professionals in their area of expertise, such as soccer, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, etc.  However, since almost all activities require people to run them, those with interest and expertise in hobbies or arts related programs can often find a summer home at camp as well in areas such as arts and crafts, dance, theater, etc. Those who manage offices, act as campus administrators, or arrange transportation are typically individuals with some type of related work experience.  Most camps also employ camp moms or parent liaisons during the summer.  These are individuals, often mothers themselves, who monitor the well being of younger campers to insure they are eating properly, staying well groomed, and having a fantastic summer.

So if you’re thinking of trying something new this summer, fill out an employment application to see if Camp Starlight might be the right summer home for you!

Dance at Camp

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

A lot is made of sports at summer camp, but most summer camps also offer many programs in the arts. Dance is one such program that is becoming increasingly popular among both boys and girls. Like the many sports available to try, summer camp dance programs give campers the opportunity to experiment with several different dance styles. Aside from the traditional jazz, instruction is often available in contemporary, modern, hip hop, and ballet. In addition to offering instruction in multiple styles of dance, many camps also form competitive dance teams that, like sports teams, travel to other camps to compete in dance competitions throughout the summer. Even if campers aren’t quite ready to audition for So You Think You Can Dance, being a member of a camp dance team is still well within reach.

Because summer camp staff work hard to make their camps a safe environment for children to feel encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and try new things, more emphasis is placed on interest than ability. Many camps create teams for beginners as well as the more experienced. Summer camp dance teams are also the reason many campers find their camp dance programs a great way to pursue a non sports related interest yet still be competitive. Another reason that summer camp dance programs have become so popular is that they provide an outlet to still be physically active in a creative environment. Summer camp is about letting go and not being afraid to act a little bit silly. Dance provides the same disciplinary and physical training as traditional sports yet also gives campers the opportunity to express themselves and sometimes even be a tad goofy through artistic choreography. Dance instruction is often provided by trained dance instructors or college students who compete on their university dance team or are pursuing a career in the field of dance. The availability of instruction in popular forms of dance such as hip hop has also driven the popularity of dance. Dance is also versatile. Even though not every camper has a desire to be competitive in dance, campers enjoy learning new moves in dance class and then using them to choreograph bunk or cabin dance numbers for camp shows or talent contests. They also like showing off their moves on the dance floor during camp dances. Having the opportunity to practice new dance moves in an open, accepting environment such as summer camp gives campers the confidence to continue learning, practicing, and trying what they’ve learned at home.

Top Ten Camp Sing-Alongs

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

As we head into February and the weather gets colder and colder, sometimes the only thing that can get you through the winter is a camp sing-along. Since everyone loved last month’s top ten, we decided to do another list. To keep the Camp Starlight spirit going, the winter team decided to name the top ten Camp Starlight sing-alongs from last summer.

Top Ten Camp Sing-alongs

10. “Can’t Smile Without You” –  Barry Manilow

9. “New York, New York” – Frank Sinatra

8. “Hello” – Martin Solveig & Dragonette

7.  “Sweet Caroline” – Neil Diamond

6. “Zip-a-DeeDooDah” -by Allie Wrubel and lyrics by Ray Gilbert

5. “Mr.Sun” by Raffi

4. “Bazooka Bubblegum” by Bazooka Joe

3. “The Napkin Song” Jorge Baccio

2. “Friends, Friends, Friends”

1. “Camp Starlight Alma-Mater”

–Scott F.

What’s in a Summer Camp Meal?

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Continuing with our series about camp nutrition, in this blog we will address one of the most common inquiries made by parents who are considering sending their children to summer camp:  What will they eat? While the food itself may vary from camp to camp, the strategy behind menu planning is inevitably the same—to provide nutritious meals that also replenish depleted energy levels.  One recent critique of summer camp menus is the tendency for them to be heavy on carbohydrates.  Admittedly, camp menus are typically carb-loaded.  This is not carelessness on behalf of camp menu planners.  It’s intentional.  Remember that children are much more active at sleepaway camp than they are at home.  Most parents have heard their child’s sports coach advise players to eat pasta to boost energy before a big game.  The average day at summer camp, however, may involve three or four sports lessons or games, including at least one to two hours of swimming, followed by an evening of fun activities.  It’s important that children eat foods that help them maintain stamina and endurance.

Most camp breakfasts include a hot choice such as breakfast sandwiches, eggs, pancakes, and/or oatmeal.  Additionally, there is often a cereal bar daily as well as a fruit, bagel, and yogurt bar.  Of course, just like at home, there is the occasional donut treat on special days.  Lunch is usually served three to four hours after breakfast and is often the same go-to meals that many children enjoy at home, such as sandwiches, soup, mac and cheese, or pizza.  Although items like chips are often offered when sandwiches are served, Camp Starlight now serves only baked chips.  Most camps also offer a pretty extensive salad bar at lunch as well.  During the afternoon, Camp Starlight has a fruit break during which fruit is distributed.  Evening meals follow the conclusion of the regular daily program activities and a break that allows campers and staff to return to their bunks and prepare for evening activities (usually about four hours after lunch).  They typically include a protein and a couple of vegetable sides. Most camps also offer the same or slightly larger version of the same salad bar featured at lunch and some camps also offer a vegetarian alternative to meals that feature meat as well some sort of alternative, like a pasta bar, for those staff and campers who tend to be very particular about their food choices.  Summer camp dinners also feature a dessert of some type.  On some days, it may be jello, fruit, or popsicles.  On others, it may be brownies, cookies, or ice cream sundaes.  Juice and water are typically available at all meals.  Soda is rarely or never offered outside of special areas such as canteens, which are designated places at camp where children can go a few times a week and enjoy a treat, such as a candy bar, a soda, or, if they prefer, a healthier alternative such as a big pretzel.  Some Camps also distribute a light snack before bedtime while some make one available throughout the day for those campers whose energy levels run low between meals.

Weekly cookouts are as big of a tradition at Camp Starlight as campfires and sing alongs.  Cookouts usually consist of standard backyard barbeque fare—hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, and a potato offering of some sort (or baked chips).  Just like at home, food for cookout is prepared on a grill.  The hot dogs and hamburgers are not fried in oil.

One aspect of eating as summer camp that is missing from most campers’ home lives is the opportunity for constant grazing.  At summer camp, with the exception of designated fruit and snack breaks, children eat at mealtimes.  The dangerous combination of boredom mixed with a kitchen in close proximity is removed.  Camp Starlight does not specifically limit portions or helpings but we do discourage campers from unnecessarily wasting food by attempting to eat more than their stomachs can comfortably handle.

Most parents, as one may conclude after reading about what’s in a camp meal, are pleasantly surprised by camp meal offerings.  Some even find that their children’s eating habits actually improve because of summer camp.  The point to remember, however, is that regardless of which foods are served, almost all summer camps carefully plan menus in consideration of activity levels, appeal, schedule, and nutrition.  Decisions concerning summer camp meals are never random but always with healthy habits in mind.

Visit Us at One of our 2012 Starlight Staff Recruiting Events!

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

It’s officially 2012, and that means the countdown to camp is even closer! As we look ahead to the summer, we at Camp Starlight realize that there is still a lot to do before our campers arrive! Although we have a great number of staff returning for another Starlight summer, one of the great parts about working all year round is the fact that we get to meet almost all the new staff we hire before camp! How do we do this? We travel to THEM! This winter we have over 10 trips planned to meet and interview potential counselors for this season! Around the world in 90 days! As for the next 3 months, we are on the road to Toronto Canada, Manchester England, Puebla Mexico as well as Kansas State and University of Kansas, from there we jet off to camp fairs at Indiana University (Alyson’s alma mater) and Purdue (Patrick’s alma mater and where we first met him!). After that we head to the Pacific Northwest to go to Oregon State University, University of Oregon and University of Washington in Seattle. Also on the docket is a spring trip to University of Texas and a stop-over in Ohio if we aren’t filled by then!

We love the idea of meeting our staff in a face to face interview, and when we speak to them and they get excited you can just feel the energy. For so many, you know automatically it’s going to be a great fit! The veteran staff love when we stop by their campus and are always there to lend help and plan mini reunions. We have also found that we have been able to get a few more staff members to commit to another summer after a stop at their college (and a personal reminder of camp life!). It’s a great way to see old friends, reconnect with counselors from previous summers and meet some of our new staff. We find this works so well for us, and we can feel the buzz already in those places as they get ready for our arrival!

Alyson Lee

The Camp Starlight Waterfront

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

One of the most popular program areas at Camp Starlight is the waterfront. With two private lakes housing separate boy’s and girl’s swimming areas, the pool, the boating dock, waterskiing,and wakeboarding. there are always fun times going on down by the lake. However, the swimming program at Camp Starlight has much more to offer campers than just a splashing good time. The benefits of learning how to swim and proper water safety are useful for years to come.

First of all, by learning to swim at a young age, children are given the confidence needed to be in any environment involving water. It gives them a comfort on family vacations, school field trips, and they may even enjoy it enough to try water sports. They may find themselves at pool parties or beach trips, and with the ability to swim, they experience a sense of achievement when they are able to confidently spend time with friends and family.

To establish an environment in which children will grow comfortable in their swimming ability, Camp Starlight ensures the waterfront staff is well trained and highly experienced and certified in Red Cross “Lifeguarding” and “Swimming and Water Safety” Courses as well as the Red Cross“First Aid/CPR and AED” training courses. The heads of the waterfronts also meet with their staff to discuss and share tactics in handling swimmer anxiety during lessons and the properly analyzing swimming skill levels to help provide individual campers with the instruction most beneficial to them.  Most importantly to our campers, of course, is the fact that we make sure our counselors down on the waterfront are full of new and exciting games to make swim instruction the most FUN it can possibly be!

During swim instruction periods, a camper can expect to learn a wide range of aquatic skills. Lessons range in difficulty from basic skills, such as treading and floating, all the way to stroke technique development in the four key strokes. No matter the ability level with which the child enters the summer, there is a place for him or her in swim instruction. The best benefit in spending a summer at the Starlight waterfront is that campers will leave the summer with a sense of accomplishment, whether it is their first time to pass the swim test or because they made a personal best time at the Wayne County Swim Meet. And of course that they have an absolute blast doing it!