Archive for August, 2014
Another summer is drawing to a close, and the children have returned home from camp. You’ve made a significant dent in the laundry and are beginning to think about school supply shopping. The only problem is that your campers haven’t come out of their rooms since they returned. For parents who are wondering just what they’re doing in there (besides catching up on some much needed sleep), we can offer some insight from the campers themselves.
Looking at camp photos…over and over
One camper recently confessed that the first few days home from camp, she fights off “campsickness” by locking herself in her room and looking at ALL of the camp photos over and over. ‘It helps me to not be so sad about camp being over and to remember things that I’ve already forgotten—especially stuff that happened at the beginning of the summer because so much happens at the end.’
Arranging items that remind them of camp
One mother reported that her child refused to allow her to wash her camp pillowcase because it smelled like camp. A camper further supported this notion by confessing that he brings things home from camp and places them around his room so that no matter which wall he is facing, there is something that reminds him of camp. He even confessed to picking them up and smelling them from time to time so that he can remember what camp smells like.
Interacting with Their Camp Friends
Sure, they have an entire season of their favorite television show to catch up on, but they also have some important reflecting to do. Some confess to immediately beginning some planning for next summer while certain things are still fresh in their memory because ‘once school starts, sometimes it’s hard to just stop everything and think about camp.’ From Instagram to Vines, social media becomes an immediate post camp fix for making the summer just a little bit longer.
Eating…Yes, in their rooms
This may be particularly true if you’ve started to notice a considerable amount of unoccupied space in your pantry. Of course camp food is yummy, but campers assure us that there’s something about indulging in favorite foods that you can’t get at camp after not having had them for several weeks that helps alleviate campsickness.
Making a scrapbook
During a recent discussion about “those first few days” after camp ends, a camper proudly proclaimed that she makes a memory book of the summer using various items and photos that she collected over the summer. ‘I finish it and then spend a long time looking through it to make sure I didn’t forget anything. Then I get out my memory books from previous summers and look at them too.’
Recreating the Camp Environment
A camper shared that sounds of home are sometimes overwhelming those first few days. ‘Camp isn’t really quiet, but home sounds so different. In my room, I can just shut the door and think about what camp sounds like.’ Another camper disclosed that she lays the comforter from her camp bed over top of her non-camp bedding for several weeks because it reminds her of being back in the cabin or bunk.
So there you have it. Words straight from campers’ mouths that campsickness does not always translate to moping. Sometimes it’s just their own way of bringing proper closure to the summer.
Olympics are over, the Farewell Party has come and gone, Banquet is tonight, the Closing Night Show and Fireworks are tomorrow—all events that signify another summer is winding down. Winding down doesn’t mean the action stops completely, though. Wacky Options and Wayne County Championship games have dominated the past couple of days at Camp Starlight as campers scramble to squeeze in just one more period of their favorite activities.
There is also still a lot of buzz about Olympics. Favorite moments. The break. Sing. Speaking of Sing, campers are still singing their songs as they walk to activity areas. Of course, thoughts have turned a bit toward home as the familiar events that close out the summer have started happening one-by-one and the reality is setting in that the end of Summer 2014 is nearly here. Campers are eagerly anticipating eating favorite meals, watching favorite television shows, swapping stories with friends who attend other camps, and even starting school.
And even though this summer hasn’t quite ended just yet, campers are already talking about next summer. They’re making bucket lists of things to do, planning their Upper Senior year, discussing how excited they are to return as CAs…The words “next summer” begin a lot of sentences right now. More than anything, however, as camp winds down, everyone is savoring those last few moments together, knowing that they’re the last for the entire Starlight family to be together until Summer 2015.
The last big drive of the Olympics for teams to show what they’ve got is the annual Track & Field competitions, which are the final showdowns—and often deciders—each year. A gray morning gave way to an afternoon of sunshine that made the weather perfect for the meets. With the Olympics close and still within reach for all teams, the matchups were fierce. Broad jumps, softball throws, distance runs and relays were hotly contested as campers fueled all of their energy into securing each and every victory to inch their team just a little closer to victory.
After all was said and done in the relays and races, the divisional tug-o-wars were all that remained. In the end, the point gap was a bit too high for the Epic Whites girls to overtake the Blue Invader girls for the overall win. Epic Whites, however, still had much to be proud of having claimed major victories in the Rope Burn and Sing. Although the Epic Whites boys had found themselves trailing the Blue Invaders earlier in the week, their victory in the Apache proved to be a turning point. A Sing victory the following day punctuated the lead that even a blue invasion at the track meet couldn’t eliminate. For the Blue Invader boys, however, the 2014 Rope Burn victory will always belong to them.
At the end of the day, in true Camp Starlight tradition, everyone rushed the lake, first to celebrate victories and then as friends and bunkmates. With another Olympics behind them and the close of another summer lingering, the moment was emotional, and one that is sure to remain a memory for all for years to come.
Congratulations to the Blue Invader Girls and the Epic Whites Boys, 2014 Camp Starlight Olympic Champions! Commendations go out to all campers and staff for a tremendous effort and an outstanding show of sportsmanship throughout the competition.
Earlier in the week, we featured some reflections from the Upper Senior Girls of the Blue Invaders. As we wind down our Olympic coverage, we also offer these reflections from the Upper Senior Girls of the Epic Whites…
“Upper Senior Summer is one filled with many traditions that we’ve looked forward to for years. Leading cheers, senior floor hockey and Rope Burn are and what we’ve been waiting for. Last’s night’s Rope Burn was EPIC! The most important thing we did was work as a team and stay calm. It was amazing seeing how well we worked together. A lot was going on, but we managed to keep it all together. Rope Burn was also about taking a step back and watching it all happen. Not just with rope burn, but with all the Olympic events. We tried our hardest, did our best and left everything on the field. We are proud of the lower seniors for stepping up and leading cheers to encourage us. Senior Rope Burn was hands down the best experience of our lives.”
USG 2014 Epic Whites
Author Victor Hugo once said, “The ode lives on the ideal, the epic on the grandiose.” But there was nothing grandiose about the Epic Whites’ dream of fending off a blue invasion at the 65th Annual Sing. Although the Blue Invaders took to the front lines with an Entrance that let their presence be known, in a fairy tale ending that involved a near sweep, the Epic Whites captured the top scores in Set, Costumes, March, Theme, and Alma Mater to emerge victorious.
Perhaps the most crowd stealing moments of the evening, though, were the odes to Sings past. If odes live on ideals, then the annual Sing competition is an ode to Starlight ideals. All five judges of the 65th annual Sing—Jason Glick (Magic White), Scott Beigel (Blue Hawaii), Nora Greene (Prime Time Blues), Megan Panelas (Song Writer-Wild West Whites), and Mauricio Campos (Blue Crunch)–were former Sing leaders or song writers themselves. They each shared a judge’s book and a tune from the year that they lead their team in one of the biggest and most anticipated events held at Camp Starlight each summer. The power of seeing campers and counselors on both the blue and white sides of the Rec Hall put aside their competitive spirit for a moment and come together to join their former Sing Leaders in singing songs that they learned several years previously and, in one case, more than a decade ago, as loudly and with as much enthusiasm as if they learned them yesterday really speaks to the pride that so many have in being part of such deeply rooted and appreciated traditions like Sing. The genuineness of the moment was moving. It also demonstrated that whether the blue team or the white team emerges victorious, Sing really is about the Songs, the best of which live on as anthems in the hearts of Starlighters.
Though it began with an invasion that sparked an epic battle, Sing ended with a happily ever after and another Camp Starlight tradition, Sing Leaders Jason Silberman and Hannah Pereira of the Blue Invaders leading Epic Whites and Rico Reillo and Rachel Simon of Epic Whites leading the Blue Invaders in Sing and Friends.
We focus a lot on how much happens at camp over the course of the summer, but the amount of activity that takes place in just 5 minutes on any given day is mind blowing to anyone who is not familiar with camp. Five minutes at summer camp is like a symphony: many individual components come together at the same time to create a single, enjoyable experience. In addition, each component is unique, yet critical, to the overall piece. In just five minutes at camp…
A soccer team may score a goal to win a championship game while play rehearsal takes place on the stage and, at the waterfront, swim instruction is happening. In arts & crafts, campers are busy putting the finishing touches on projects as a batter on the softball team steps onto first base and a volleyball is spiked over the net. A group of campers is learning how to sail on the lake as a group of paddle boarders make their way across the water. A camper does her first giant swing on the parallel bars in gymnastics just as another reaches the top of the climbing wall while yet another makes his way across the high ropes course. It’s a 3 on 3 tournament on the basketball courts and a group of campers are learning how to improve their tennis serve just as a camper finds the back of the net at lacrosse. A team captain just called a time out at roller hockey and the finishing touches are being put onto some hip hop choreography in dance. A group of mountain bikers pass a group of runners and two teams are facing off in flag football. It’s the bottom of the 9th on the baseball field and the game is tied while the final two players in an intense game of gaga face off as their fellow campers cheer them on. The aroma of chocolate chip cookies wafts from the cooking studios and campers in photography take nature shots as a small group of campers fishes nearby.
And it’s not just the action that takes place in any given five minutes at camp that creates the rhythm of summer, it’s the interaction. As all of these activities are happening, campers and staff members are talking, laughing, learning and cheering. In the same five minutes at camp, friendships are formed and new skills learned. Traditions begin and are repeated. Campers try something new for the first time as well as accomplish them for the first time after a summer of trying. In five minutes at camp, campers gain life skills by becoming more confident and more self-reliant. In just five minutes at camp, memories are made. Like a conductor, memories bring all of those activities together to create the image of summer camp that campers replay for a lifetime.
Day 3 Olympic update from the Epic Whites Generals Hayley Miller and Alex Bright…
Girls Epic Whites
White team’s mash-up morning was filled with TONS of excitement as we showed off our skills at all of our favorite Options! The highlights of the morning were the great accomplishments in Gymnastics, the creativity in Arts & Crafts, and our incredible record breaking Fishing derby. The Upper Seniors Girls highly anticipated the moment they’d been waiting for all summer: Rope Burn. They made short work of building a blazing fire that easily burned through all three ropes in near record time to end day 3 with a an white Rope Burn victory that was EPIC! Go White!
Boys Epic Whites
Day 3 was another full day of exciting competition. Our Senior boys did all they could to bring down the famous ropes at Rope Burn, and they succeeded in just over two hours. It was an emotional events, but they fought and brought them down. The Upper Plebe soccer game had a full crowd in attendance, and after a header by Ryan Kessler straight into the net, the white team saw a victorious finish. The Junior Newcombe generated much intensity, and our boys brought home the sweep.