Posts Tagged ‘American summer camps’

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…

SLEEP AWAY CAMP.

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!

xo,

courtney

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.

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.

Helping New Campers Make Their First Summer Special

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

I am the best at tying shoes, a master of voices for bedtime stories and I can most certainly hand out tissues for a runny nose. I am a familiar face for the same bunk all summer because I am a bunk specialist and I have the best job at Camp Starlight. As a bunk specialist for the Lower Juniors at Camp Starlight, I spend most of my time with the campers from my bunk and see them make Camp Starlight their new home for the first time as new campers. Everyday I get to watch my campers laugh, smile, try new things and enjoy their first summer at Starlight, watching them grow roots here that will have them come back for more summers to come. I love my job because I get to see their growth, the campers that nervously came to camp on the first day have grown so much since then and they have found new things that make them excited to wake up to Reveille. The most rewarding aspect of my job is when I see my campers smile because of something they were able to do because that makes me smile. My division has very young campers that are experiencing summer camp for the first time, so when they become comfortable enough at camp to master a skill or find a new passion, it is so inspiring. Everyday has its challenges in supervising these campers to be the best they can be, but the end of every day is so rewarding and worth all the hard work when they go to bed with smiles on their faces. Knowing I am part of making a camper’s first summer at Camp Starlight so special is why I know I have the best job at Camp Starlight.

Proud to Wear Camp Starlight Gear

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

When you walk through camp on any given day, you can spot a seemingly endless amount of blue stars and Camp Starlight insignia adorned on campers, counselors and staff. Throughout camp, the Camp Starlight name and logo is a prominent presence on campus because so many people are proud to wear it. When you wear Camp Starlight gear, you represent so many aspects that define what it means to be a part of the Camp Starlight family. The blue star is stamped on all staff shirts like a postcard to show that Camp Starlight is the best place to be in the whole world. This is a place people travel to, looking for that stamped blue star, so they can see all the history and tradition that lies within the five points of the star. Wearing Camp Starlight gear means to be proud of all tradition that has built such a supportive and encouraging community of campers and staff. It means to be proud of a community where there are always new and exciting opportunities taking place, a place where new passions are being discovered, new goals are being achieved and a new home is being founded. When you wear the blue and white, you wear all the smiles shared because of this place and you wear all the love the Camp Starlight family gives. The spirit of Camp Starlight is in every stitch of fabric and the sense of adventure found here is printed on every logo. To wear Camp Starlight gear means to be proud of everything that every camper, counselor and staff member has accomplished every summer. It takes a lot of hard work to build up and add to that pride, but it is so easy to slide on that Camp Starlight shirt and smile because you know you are a part of a place that has changed lives for the better, including your own.

Campers Appreciate Parents Every Day in the Summer

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Parents of Camp Starlight campers have to work very hard all year long so their kids can enjoy a summer of fun and make memories with their friends. Even though campers are not able to see their parents when they are at summer camp, they appreciate every single thing their parents still do for them when there are some miles distancing them apart. Parents don’t see this, but campers literally light up when they see they have received mail from their parents in the morning. They clench onto the letters as they scan over every line, overjoyed to hear from their parents and the biggest smile stretches over their face. Every word from their parents means so much to them, even if they are stubborn to admit it. The days leading up to visiting day are the most anticipated for the campers too, telling their counselors all about their parents and cleaning up every corner of their bunk to impress them. They prepare in every way possible to welcome their parents into camp and wake up early the day of visiting day, eager to hug them. The moments leading up to the time campers get to see their parents show how much campers truly appreciate and love them. All they can do is stand on their tippy toes to catch a glimpse of their parents when the tape isn’t cut, and when the tape is cut, they sprint faster than they ever have before to see their parents. Campers appreciate and love everything their parents do for them, even more in the summer because that is when they realize how special their parents are to them.

Why Kids Need Camps Now More Than Ever

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Take a moment and look around you. Whether it be at a restaurant, at the movies, at a park, or in your own home, there is one constant that is found at all times with individuals; mobile devices. Phones, iPads, and other forms of technology have taken over daily life. It has become impossible to have a simple meal with family or a playdate with friends without the distraction of technology.

Before the influx of technology occurred, children used to ask for hands on presents that fostered creativity and adventure for holidays and birthdays. I remember the excitement I had on my seventh birthday when I received my first bicycle. Seven year olds today, however, receive iPhone 8s for their birthdays. While technology has a lot to offer individuals, it can have an extreme negative impact on the development of our youth. Creative impulses and a sense of adventure are diminished as children plug in their headphones and sit inside for hours at a time exploring their latest technology.

The solution to this lack of real living is simple: spend your summer at camp. Sleepaway camp offers children a seven week experience that they will never forget. In one summer, concrete memories will be made and lifelong skills will be acquired. Time spent outside in the fresh air with friends provides children with more tangible skills than a mobile phone ever could.

Technology continues to grow at a rapid pace each and every day. Soon, our world will be filled with artificial intelligence and self-driving cars. The need to be independent will be diminished. This is why kids need America’s Finest Summer Camps now more than ever.

The Unique Camp Perspective

Monday, February 19th, 2018

One thing parents love so much about camp is that it takes campers out of their comfort zones in many ways. Not only are campers eating and sleeping in a new place, but they’re also trying games and activities that are new to them, and working with people they’ve never met. This shake-up of their routine does wonders for their social, physical, and emotional health. Camp also has a unique way of shifting the mindset of campers. A summer at camp is a summer away from social media and texting and a time focused on nature, real relationships, character building, and good ‘ol fashioned fun.

Camp Starlight immerses campers in a world unlike anything they are used to. It takes away a few modern comforts and conveniences and replaces them with things that are more low maintenance. Campers quickly learn the value of a one-on-one conversation with a trusted friend over having 50+ comments on their Instagram picture. They learn to appreciate the breezes, the vastness of the lakes, the sunsets and all of the natural beauty that surrounds them. They begin to see things differently, and this perspective stays with them even after they leave camp. Campers who used to find their joy in material things now look internally to find happiness, and this is a skill that will change their character and build their confidence.

Camp is a big place, full of big adventures and big fun. But in the midst of all of that, there are a million little things to be discovered, admired and appreciated. From quiet time on the lake before the camp gets crazy, to the beauty of a bonfire or the thrill of climbing the rock wall, campers learn to look for the little things that add up to make a big difference in their camp experience.

With social media playing such a huge role in the lives of kids and teens, many parents wonder if their child could survive without checking their Facebook or taking 20+ selfies on the way to school. Rest assured, parents, that without technology and social media to worry about, kids can focus on what they do best: being kids. They have the entire summer to focus on making friends and having fun and they learn that being in the moment is far more important than finding the perfect filter to capture the moment. Social media has its advantages of course, but at camp, camper’s learn a valuable lesson: their worth is not defined by how many followers they have or how many likes their pictures get.

Camp changes the way campers see the world. By spending their summers here, campers learn a little bit more about the world around them and how to appreciate the little things that make every day beautiful.

 

 

The Camp Community

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Going to a sleepaway camp not only transforms who you are as an individual but also has a profound impact on your life. Summer camp has the power to turn a few weeks of summer into an experience you will never forget. From the friendships and memories made, to the life lessons learned, true members of the camp community will tell you that it has changed their lives in ways that they could not have imagined.

The Friendships

Friendships made at camp are unlike any other relationship you have ever had. The authenticity of camp allows you to truly be who you are, which in turn fosters connections between individuals. You become part of a summer family that loves and supports one another. Your bunkmates become your sisters and brothers and your counselors are the role models you never knew you needed.

The camp community extends not only to the campers, but also to counselors who come from the UK, Australia, South Africa, and the United States. The bonds made at camp carry over and continue to solidify throughout the year as counselors travel around the world to visit one another. Because of the friendships formed at camp, counselors know that no matter where their travels take them, there will always be a friendly face to welcome them into their home.

The Memories

The camp community is so widespread that no matter what camp you attend, there is a commonality that bonds individuals together. Whether it be the cheers, the campfires, or competition, the stories of past summers allow for memories to be shared and cherished.

Because of camp networking, finding a roommate in college becomes less stressful and allows for a broader circle of friends to be established. Talk of summer camp is the perfect conversation starter as stories about camp are never ending. Each member of the camp community always has a favorite story to tell or lesson learned from their experience at sleepaway camp.

The Lessons Learned

The strongest connection throughout the camp community is the impact it had on all of our lives. Over the course of a few weeks, summer camp is able to teach you more about yourself than you would think possible. On one hand, camp reveals your strengths as you build both your athletic and creative skills, while on the other hand, camp shows you how to be a friend, a good listener, and a confident leader. Camp has the power to teach you how to be yourself and accept everyone around you with open arms.