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Costumes and Creativity

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

At Camp Starlight, creativity is welcomed and encouraged.

Campers are inspired to display their creative side all day and all night! From writing songs, to wearing wacky face paint or even dressing in silly outfits for the day. There is no better place to develop your imaginative side than at camp!

Camp Starlight is a place where creativity is weaved into daily camper life! We encourage campers to try new activities in our Starlight Studios.


Here campers can choose to design robots in Makerspace, host a sports radio show at Sports Broadcasting, learn how to edit photos in Digital Photography, make a movie in Video Production, design costumes and sew in the Dressing Room, create logos in Graphic Design, or pick up a new instrument and learn how to sing in Rock Garage and the Basement! Campers can also be seen dancing, cooking and of course creating art in Ceramics, Woodworking and Arts and Crafts!

As the sun sets our creativity keeps going in all of our unique and fun evening activities. A highlight event, MTV Night, takes over the camp, with campers and counselors coming together to display a spectacular show featuring costumes, dance routines, and songs all in the name of expressing themselves, along with the most importance part of any costume, a big smile! Camp Starlight is proud to nurture creative talents. We encourage our campers to embrace their creative side with a ton of Starlight Spirit!


Let There Be No Goodbye

Friday, December 4th, 2020

The Starlight Alma Mater is sung after most all-camp gatherings throughout the summer.

As the entire camp sings together in unison, you hear one line that especially represents the vast Camp Starlight community: “Let there be no goodbyes.” At Starlight, while distance may separate us from time to time, the special thing about Camp Starlight is that relationships last forever.

When you reminisce about camp during the winter, you probably think of the lake, the activities, and the fun, but camp is so much more than that…

Through your years as a camper, you have the opportunity to live in a bunk with 8 – 12 of your best friends and spend time with the other 560 campers and 300 amazing staff that also call Camp Starlight their summer home. Unfortunately, you can’t be a camper forever. So, as your days as a camper end, the Starlight community keeps in touch. While campers graduate high school, they foster their camp relationships as friends grow together, but they never forget their summer home. Camp Friends come visit us at camp on our Alumni Day during Olympics to rekindle their camp spirit.

As campers travel off to college and the distance from camp becomes greater, we see camp bonds grow stronger. Bunkmates become college roommates or help each other find college roommates. They become sorority sisters and fraternity brothers. We see bunkmates visit each other while away at school as well as meet together when they are home for the holidays. Camp friends grow closer as time passes because our special Starlight community watches out for one another and deeply cares for each other…

After settling into college many former campers reunite at Camp Starlight as they return as counselors to give back to the place they love. We are privileged to watch former campers become role models for the next generation of campers. It is truly something special to watch our former campers take on leadership roles as they are called upon to be Lieutenants, Sing Leaders, and Generals during Olympics.

After college, many of our alumni move to the same cities where they can continue to cherish their camp relationships and connections. Friends hang together on weekends and even attend some of our Alumni events. Many camp friends become bridesmaids and groomsmen at each other’s weddings. Some of those weddings are even to marry a camp couple who fell in love. The cherry on top is a camp couple with camp bridesmaids and groomsmen getting married at Camp Starlight. That is really something special.

The Starlight community not only has social benefits but can help boost your professional life as well. Leaning on the alumni network might even land you a new job.

Friends become colleagues, and colleagues become business partners. Before you know it, the two best friends from Bunk One now own a multi-million dollar corporation…

Of course, after the wedding season, the Future Starlighter comes next. Alumni then have the special experience of watching their own children grow up at their home away from home. Alumni campers become bunkmates with other alumni friends, further growing the Starlight network. We come together each visiting day to reconnect and rekindle old friendships. At Starlight, time and distance between our camp friends are meaningless because we “let there be no goodbyes.”

Some Alumni are fortunate enough to watch their grandchildren grow up at Camp Starlight. Third generation Starlight campers who have had both a parent and grandparent grow up at Camp Starlight share a lifetime of memories and friendships.

The Starlight Family is forever. The bonds of Camp Starlight carry us through our lifetime and are passed down from generation to generation. As we grow older, we pass the torch onto our youngest Starlighters to carry our traditions on for generations to come.

Traditions Old, Traditions New

Friday, October 23rd, 2020

“And how do we keep our balance? I can tell you in one word. Tradition”

Tradition is engrained in the backbone not just in Fiddler on the Roof but also at Camp Starlight. Camp starts with the Opening Night Show and concludes with the Closing Night Show. There are campfires, singalongs, and color war in between. All of these things happen the same way, every year, each year bringing its own flare. Camp just wouldn’t be the same without our long-standing traditions.

But what’s better than long-standing traditions? New traditions that campers and staff add to camp each year. While certain traditions may seem like they’ve existed forever, they had to come from somewhere. One day, a camper or staff member said something, did something or had an idea that blossomed into a yearly tradition. For example, in 2015, we had a counselor who sang a song called “Hey Burrito.” This song is still sung every year during swim tests even though this counselor has not returned to camp. The ability of a counselor or camper to impact the entire camp for years to come is what is so special about traditions. Campers come to camp to be themselves. At Camp Starlight, we value each individual camper. And who knows? Maybe your camper will bring something so unique to camp that we incorporate it into one of our long-standing traditions. The possibilities are endless.

Upper Senior Summer at Camp Starlight

Wednesday, 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

Monday, 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.

Getting Ready for Camp Starlight

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

This summer, I’m heading off for a two month adventure of a lifetime.  I’m packing my bags and heading off to…


Yep, you heard that right.  I’m heading off to Camp Starlight (along with my 3 kiddos) to head up their media team.

I went to camp once when I was 8.  Camp Summit in North Carolina.  It was the best two weeks of my life.  I always wanted to go back.  Camp Summit no longer exists and life happens as it may.  I never did return as a camper or counselor.  Until now…I’m the 41 year old camper.  This is my kids’ first sleep away camp experience and feelings range from “a little nervous” to “wishes she was already there”.  What’s not lost on me, is the privilege to see and hear my own kids’ camp experience in real time and photograph it.  It’s an incredible opportunity.  But it’s not just my own children’s experiences, it’s the lives of 560 boys and girls.  As a photographer at a summer camp, being a mom is the biggest role I’ll play.  I’ll photograph each child as my own.  As an artist, and a mom, I want the parents at home, who are hitting “refresh” on their computers to feel and see and hear the same things through my photographs.   It’s a huge responsibility and I’m 100% up for the challenge.

The Starlight media team consists of three photographers (including myself) and a videographer.  The next 8 weeks will be a creative journey the likes I’ve never known.  Between telling Camp Starlight’s daily story and creating visual content for social media and marketing, I’ll be CREATIVE and CREATE EVERYDAY!!  All the best parts of being a photographer wrapped into one without the daily grind of running a business.  I will grow as an artist and a photographer.

I’ve spent the last week packing my three kids for the best summer of their lives. (BTW, packing three kids for 7 weeks away from home ain’t no joke!)  Thank goodness for Excel spreadsheets and advice from experienced friends.

Follow my journey on instagram @courtneystudios and @campstarlight_official.

See you at camp!



Without Camp Starlight I Would Be

Friday, June 8th, 2018

When campers come to Camp Starlight for the first time they are surprised that this is a place where you find out so much about yourself you never knew before. Whether its discovering a passion for music or a talent in archery, campers at Starlight quickly find out how much they have been missing out on before coming to camp. Additionally, campers realize how much they would miss out on if they never spent a summer at Camp Starlight here are a few things campers would be without Camp Starlight…

  1. Bored: Every sport and activity imaginable is presented at Camp Starlight so campers are always on the move learning new things and skills. Ceramics, tubing and producing music videos just aren’t on the agenda on the couch back home.
  2. Unmotivated: Campers are constantly encouraged by coaches, counselors and staff to do their best so they can be their best. It doesn’t matter if the support is for a sport, musical performance or a chess tournament, campers are always being supported and guided to success.
  3. Unpassionate: The loads of unique activities campers get to experience often help them develop and find their passion. Exposing campers to all different kinds of sports, arts, music and games guides them to figure out what they are truly great at and then propel them to excel in their passion.
  4. Unchallenged: Not every activity at Camp Starlight is mastered in one activity period so specialists really challenge campers to conquer a skill or understand a strategy over a period of time. The challenges campers face is what helps them become better players and leaders as they take the time and effort to overcome their challenges.
  5. Uninspired: With staff from all around the world and opportunities that only come once in a lifetime, Camp Starlight inspires campers to be individuals and pursue what they love best. Campers look up to their counselors as role models, believing that they can become a professional soccer player or artist just like them if they put in the hard work. Camp Starlight helps campers believe in others so they can believe in themselves.

Lucky to be at Camp Starlight

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Luck doesn’t only apply to the Irish because every day at Camp Starlight there is a moment that reminds you of how lucky you are to spend a summer in this magical place. Whether you are a camper, counselor or staff member, there are so many reasons that prove how lucky you are to be at Camp Starlight. An iconic reality of Camp Starlight are the endless amounts of traditions that you get to be a part of while at summer camp, these traditions are the foundations of camp and they provide everyone with the opportunity to experience all the fun and history that are in each tradition. For every traditional campfire, everyone is reminded of how magical summer camp is when songs are sung around the flames and when Olympics breaks out, everyone is so appreciative of the games, excitement and camaraderie that defines Olympics. Camp Starlight is a place where every camper and every staff member believes they have the best place in the world because they are so lucky to experience the magic of a Camp Starlight summer. Friendships bloom at camp unlike any other and every time you eat a meal with these friends, go to a sporting event or laugh during an evening activity together, you are reminded of how lucky you are to have met these people here. Camp Starlight is not just a summer camp, it’s a home for people from every corner of the world and how this place is able to bring all these unique people together is why anyone who spends a summer at Camp Starlight should feel lucky to do so.

Flexibility as a Way of Life at Summer Camp

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

At summer camp, there are an infinite amount of fun things to do and so there are a lot of things that may not always go as planned. A great lesson that Camp Starlight has taught its campers and staff is flexibility. Camp Starlight goes with the flow and always has creative solutions to any challenge. It’s important to stay flexible at summer camp because that’s what makes a summer memorable and fun. Sometimes when things don’t go as expected, that’s when the most fun occurs because of the way campers and staff treat the situation. Instead of stressing out and seeing the negative, Camp Starlight has taught campers and staff to see the positive side of the new things that can happen when something goes not as planned. Additionally, campers are just as flexible, they are eager to try a new thing and go with the flow of activities. Camp Starlight instills this idea of flexibility because it relates to life outside of summer camp as well, a valuable lesson that is applicable to school, a job, a sport’s team or at home. It’s important to stay flexible and work out solutions because that how positivity is maintained at summer camp and out in the real world, flexibility is just one of the many ways Camp Starlight helps campers to grow and become positive leaders in the world.

Why Camp Starlight is Worth the Travel Time

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

For many counselors at Camp Starlight a significant amount of distance is required to travel to get to camp. Driving literally across the country or flying seventeen hours straight from across the world, counselors are dedicated to make it to Camp Starlight. What makes those insanely long trips and flights worth it? The reason these counselors spend a long amount of time travelling is because they know that spending the summer at Camp Starlight is a once in a lifetime experience and a summer you can never replicate anywhere else. When counselors interact with the kids for the first time and see that they can change their lives for the better, all the jet lag and hours spent standing in line at the airport melts away. Nothing can compare to the rewarding feeling of helping a camper learn a new life lesson or help them overcome an obstacle, so when a counselor travels from around the world to Camp Starlight, those are the feelings they want to experience and celebrate. The counselors realize that even though they spend a lot of time travelling to get to camp, campers wait around all year long to return to Camp Starlight. When someone asks a counselor from Australia if the seventeen hour flight was worth it they usually respond with another question: was the ten month long wait to return to camp worth it? The answer to both questions lies in the amount of campers and counselors that do make that return trip–almost all of them.