Summer 2014 has officially begun at Camp Starlight! On Sunday, the buses rolled into Camp Starlight and our campers were greeted by their counselors waving bunk signs. Everyone was definitely feeling “on top of the world.” Campers ran off the buses and reunited with their camp friends from across the country, some of whom they haven’t seen in 10 months. Throughout the afternoon, new campers were busy touring camp and meeting their bunk mates. In the evening, the entire camp assembled for the Opening Night Show and anxiously anticipated those words for which we wait all winter, “Ladies and gentlemen and children of ALL ages…” The show began with David and Allison leading the staff in a song battle and the Starlight flag passing through the audience. From singing groups to the first ever Starlight ballet, it was clear that this was going to be a summer full of energy and fun. WE can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!
Archive for June, 2014
School is FINALLY over! The weather is warm. It’s summer. But as a camper, you know that it’s never REALLY summer until you get to camp, and in just one more day, you’ll be there. Right about now, you start to play what you know is about to happen in your head. There are little signs every year that mark that day to which you’ve been counting down for several LOOOONNNNGGG months. But it’s most definitely summer when you know this is about to happen…
Your parents will take you to a meeting place for a bus or plane ride to camp, or maybe they’re driving you to camp themselves. The trip to camp will seem 10X longer than it actually is because you just want to get there. Your mom will most definitely cry when she says goodbye and assures you she’ll see you on Visiting Day. You’re so excited you can hardly stand it, but maybe you’ll cry a little too just so that she doesn’t feel bad.
As soon as you pull into camp, you’ll start looking for your camp friends. Maybe they’ll spot you first. No matter who finds whom,you’ll run and hug. After hugs all around with your friends, you’ll also huryofavorite rertunist counselors and staff members.
You’ll meet your bunk or cabin mates (if you don’t already know them) and your new counselors, who are every bit as excited that you’re finally at camp!
You’ll go into your new bunk or cabin with your friends and realize that you really ARE at camp. Another summer has begun! Bring on the FUN!
You’ll spend the rest of the day cheering, singing and laughing with your friends. This is just day 1 and the entire summer is ahead of you. But it’s definitely summer because all of this happened, just as you knew it would.
The adventure has begun here at Camps Starlight for the staff of 2014. They’re here preparing to meet all of our campers on Sunday, and they’re an OUTSTANDING group of people. Their enthusiasm is amazing. We definitely have a lot of great new additions to the Starlight family. Already they’re making the Camp Starlight dining room one of the funnest place to eat in camping and can’t wait for our campers to get here to show them what Starlight spirit is really about. We’ve also engaged the staff in some of the awesome activities that we have here at Camp Starlight every summer. They’ve even had a chance to experience our program! Although they’ve already learned a lot about Camp Starlight and we’re all eagerly anticipating the arrival of the campers, there is still a lot to teach them about some of our traditions, so we’re glad we still have a few more days before the buses pull up the camp road and the real fun begins!
The Starlight Waterfront and Outdoor Adventure are two of the most popular program areas at Camp Starlight and for good reason. Camp Starlight Outdoor Adventure includes a climbing wall, high and low ropes courses, a brand NEW zipline and, of course, the Star Jump. Outdoor Adventure also includes outdoor living skills, mountain biking, and fishing activities. The Camp Starlight Waterfront includes separate boys and girls waterfronts, a swimming pool, water trampolines, rope swings, rock-its, paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, waterski, tubing, and wakeboarding.
Camp Starlight takes a lot of pride that both areas improve campers’ self-confidence and builds courage through fun. Reaching the top of the climbing wall for the first time, taking that first ride on the zipline, or leaping from the Star Jump is not only exhilarating, it leaves campers with a great sense of accomplishment. They have just completed something difficult that required them to be a little bit daring. The same can be said of the Camp Starlight Waterfront. That first leap from the water trampoline or balancing on a paddle board for the first time is always extra special after having passed the swim test. Of course, it takes the bravery of campers and the willingness to try something that may be new or difficult, but with the encouragement of a well-trained camp staff as well as one’s counselors and camp friends, it’s much easier to be willing to try. That’s why it’s important for our staff in these areas to be the best in camping.
The Summer 2014 Waterfront and Outdoor Adventure staff have arrived and are in the midst of the training that perennially makes these areas two of the most amazing and safe on camp. When campers arrive in about a week in a half, they’ll recognize some familiar faces in both areas this year as well as some new ones who are excited to be spending the summer with our Camp Starlight campers, and who are eagerly awaiting their arrival.
Over the next several weeks, campers will arrive at summer camps all over the country knowing that although each summer brings new surprises, it also brings the familiarity of a second family and home. For campers, camp is a touchstone of people, activities and events on which they can depend each summer.
For those who have never experienced summer camp, it’s difficult to imagine forming such tight bonds with others in the span of a month or two. Those who have attended or worked at a summer camp understand cmaps are more than a place where campers go to have fun and enjoy the outdoors each summer. They’re a place where friendships and networks are formed that last long beyond the teary goodbyes and hugs that mark the end of each summer.
Although almost ten months pass between summers, with camp family, it inevitably feels like everyone was together just minutes ago. Hugs are plentiful when camp campers reunite with their camp family and conversation comes easily. There’s also an easiness about the pastoral settings of summer camps that facilitates a relaxed atmosphere. Tradition is an easy place marker that helps everyone slip back into the summer routine. And the thrill of the endless combination of opportunities to embark on new adventures is balanced with the everyday act of sitting down to meals with camp “siblings” or coming back to the bunk or cabin at night to share the details of the day.
Summer camp is a naturally inclusive atmosphere, which is perhaps what makes it unique from other social settings and allows for tight familial bonds to form in such a short period of time. There’s also something to be said for the overnight aspect of sleepaway camps. At sleepaway camp, campers are together around the clock as opposed to a school or day camp setting in which the majority of campers return to their homes at the conclusion of the day.
There is an intimacy about sharing living quarters that makes people more open and even accepting of each other. Sleepaway camp friendships, like family relationships, are built upon the knowledge that everyone must co-exist. Campers tend to maintain acquiescent opinions of one another, and disagreements are typically brief. Personality quirks are not only socially acceptable at camp but often an attraction. There is a saying that summer camp is the only place where ‘you’re so weird’ is a compliment.
Family is comprised of people who accept each other for who they are, in spite of any and all flaws, and encourage each other to be themselves. For campers, their camp “family” is no different, which is what makes them so eager to return to their summer homes each summer.
A chuckle-worthy camp confession recently spotted on Pinterest: “My wrists did not see sunlight all summer because of the bracelets.” Anyone who has ever attended or worked at a sleepaway camp is all too familiar with the “bracelet tan.” Of the thousands of camps across America, there is not an Arts & Crafts area that is not well stocked with beads, lanyard, skeins of embroidery floss, paracord, rubber bands and just about anything else that can be turned into a bracelet. Bracelets are BIG at camp. They’re not merely wearable art. They’re a symbol of friendship. Few campers or staff actually keep the bracelets they make for themselves. Instead they exchange them with friends and other special people at camp. Although people have been making friendship bracelets since ancient times, they have become a camp tradition. It’s fun to conjure memories of a special person with a glance at one’s wrist.
The act of making the bracelets is almost as pleasurable as the bracelets themselves. Friendship bracelets are also easy to make, and campers of all ages easily catch onto the various ways of braiding and weaving materials into fashionable designs. Friendship bracelets also appeal equally to both boys and girls. The fact that making bracelets takes very little concentration makes them the perfect social craft. It’s easy to interact with others while making bracelets at camp. Bracelet making is the perfect conversation opportunity and bonding activity.
The row of bracelets is not just camp fashion, it’s a storyboard of the summer that is unique to every individual at camp. It represents who they met during the summer and the special moments that have been committed to memory. One the best things about friendship bracelets is finding them tucked away long after the summer has ended, and having a moment to remember the summer and the people and stories behind each bracelet.
On Sunday, June 8th, our newest Starlighters and their families got a taste of what is to come this summer during new camper day, and we can tell you that they’re a VERY enthusiastic group! Campers got to know one another while engaging in such activities as stacking cups and maneuvering balls around cones with brooms before David called everyone to the flag pole for staff introductions and the raising of the flag…and, of course, our sole birthday camper skipped around the pole.
The day also included an Option period and a team scavenger hunt that challenged campers to learn as much as they could about Camp Starlight by traveling to different locations around camp. All of the new campers were quick studies and the scores were close, but in the end, the Lower Junior Boys proved that they may be the newest and youngest campers at Camp Starlight, but they’re also some of the cleverest.
The day wrapped up with an indoor cookout. We were sad to see everyone go so soon. One day just isn’t enough. But we’re counting down the days until ALL of our campers arrive for the summer. ONLY 19 MORE DAYS!
You’ve scored an amazing summer job at a sleepaway camp and the summer is so close that you can practically taste the s’mores, smell the camp air and hear your campers laughing. But before you can head off for the summer of your life, you have to pack. Packing can be a daunting task for first time camp staff. Even if your camp supplies a packing list, it’s hard to determine what you may be able to leave behind, if packing space is at a premium, and what you absolutely must have. Here is a brief rundown of those items that camp staff traditionally believe are essential.
If you pack these items, you are in good shape….
You’re working at a summer camp, and “outdoors” is an operative word in your upcoming summer. In fact, you’ll spend the majority of your day outside. Applying sunscreen often and generously insures that you do not find yourself very red and uncomfortable at the end of a sunny day and protects your skin from the potential long term effects of the sun’s rays.
Heat plus a lot of activity equals the need to stay hydrated. Whether or not your camp provides water, it’s a good idea to take a water bottle that can be refilled several times throughout the day. It’s also environmentally friendly by reducing the use of disposable cups.
Several pairs of shoes for all types of weather
Athletic shoes are essential. Multiple pairs, if you have them, are ideal. Most traditional sports oriented camps do not allow staff to wear flip-flops or open toed shoes for activities that are not water related. It’s simply unsafe in an athletic environment. So one or two pairs for water-related activities and days off are sufficient. A pair of rain boots or galoshes is always a good idea.
Bunk/Cabin games (Jacks, puzzle games, etc.)
These activities help facilitate communication with campers, and are so much fun while in the bunk or cabin during resting periods or rainy days. Some items are not allowed in bunks or cabins, however, so be sure you check with your camp to make sure that games and other activity items are permitted.
Some camps provide bedding. Other camps require staff members to bring their own bedding. If your camp requires you to bring bedding, it is a good idea to bring a thick blanket or comforter in addition to a thin one. Yes, it’s summer. But most camps are in rural mountainous regions, and it sometimes gets cool at night, especially at the very beginning and toward the end of the summer.
Lots of socks and under garments
A saying is among camp staff who return year after year, you can never have too many of either!
Athletic type shorts and pants are best for moving through daily activities, but it ultimately comes down to whatever you feel the most comfortable wearing.
A couple of sweatshirts or sweaters
Again, yes it’s summer, but the evenings can get a bit chilly.
Some colorful shirts and shorts (especially in your camp’s colors)
Camps often divide staff and campers into teams for activities by colors. So it’s a good idea to pack a rainbow of colors so that you are prepared to show team spirit when the time comes.
A few plain white t-shirts/tanks that can be dyed or altered for costume purposes…
You just never know at summer camp.
A bag for laundry
Eventually, you’re going to need to do your laundry at camp. It helps to have a laundry bag for easy transport to and from the laundry.
A couple of pairs are a good idea. There is a lot of movement at camp, and sunglasses are an item that is commonly lost, forgotten or broken.
Ask yourself, what will you be doing at camp? Will you need some type of special equipment that you need to bring. If so, make sure you leave room for it when you are packing.
Most camps are within a reasonable distance to a shop from which these types of items can easily be replenished. So you usually only need enough of these to last the first couple of weeks, if packing space is at a premium.
If you stuff your suitcase or duffle with these items, you’ll be in good shape for your first summer at camp. If you’re concerned that you don’t have room in your luggage for all of these items, call your camp to see if staff members are permitted to ship items to camp.
Alumni. Elite. Varsity. Main. Clinic. To veteran Starlighters, these are well known terms. Of course, these are the names of the Starlight athletic fields. For those who are new to Starlight, however, figuring out which field is which can be a bit tricky—especially with the latest addition to the Starlight athletic facilities, Elite Field. So here’s a breakdown of the Starlight athletic fields and just what sport(s) we play on them.
Alumni Field: Alumni Field is Camp Starlight’s main soccer field (or collection
of fields, rather). We do a lot of other things on Alumni Field too. Sometimes we hold evening activities there. We’ve also had our anniversary party on Alumni Field and, of course, plenty of SFL action takes place there.
Main Field: Main Field is the home of Starlight Baseball. Starlighters hit plenty
of homeruns on the Main Field.
Clinic Field: The Clinic Field is so called because it’s in front of the clinic. Clinic Field is a multi-purpose field on which everything
from soccer to decathlon activities are played. Clinic Field is also a special place at camp because it’s where all of the campers first step off the buses on arrival day.
Varsity Field: Varsity Field was previously the sole Lacrosse Field. Now it’s
exclusively the Girls Lacrosse Field.
Elite Field: Last, but certainly not least, we’re proud to debut Elite Field this summer. Elite Field will add an additional field to our ever growing and extremely popular Lacrosse program. Right next to Elite Field is also our new flag football field.
And that’s which field is which!