Posts Tagged ‘American summer camps’

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.

 

Taking Your Skills to the Next Level

Monday, February 5th, 2018

During the school year, dedicated athletes devote hours a day to their skill. Most spend time before and after school working on their strength, speed, agility, focus, and concentration. From the first day of practice to their final game, athletes see a significant improvement thanks to the time commitment they’ve put towards their sport.

But imagine what they could do if they had seven whole weeks to devote to learning, practicing and improving the sport or skill that they’re passionate about? Camp offers campers an extended period of time to focus on their craft in an encouraging and positive atmosphere.

Being trained and encouraged by the counselors at Camp Starlight is one way campers can improve their skills while at camp. Each sport and activity is lead by a counselor who is not only knowledgeable about what they teach but passionate about it as well. Learning from someone other than their school coach allows campers to see their sport or activity from a fresh perspective.

During the school year, students may get bored with the same old practice routines. At camp, the new environment and the new drills bring the game or activity to new life. This allows campers to experience the activity that they love so much in a different way.

Another reason camp is such a great place to progress in a particular skill is that of all of the positive encouragement campers receive from their peers. They can learn from those who have more experience than they do, and in turn, help those who are new to the game. As they make new friends each day, campers build a support system at the same time. There is something special about being cheered on and encouraged by people they didn’t know just a few weeks before!

Some campers come to camp to focus on one sport or skill set, but others like to mix it up. Seven weeks is a long time, and it’s a perfect amount of time for campers to experience new activities and improve upon many different skills. Campers don’t feel like they have to commit to one sport or activity due to time restraints. They can dabble in athletics for a few weeks, then get involved in the arts, and then spend the last week or so connecting with nature.

Whether they choose to work on a specific sport or skill or want to jump around and try a little bit of everything, a summer at Camp Starlight provides campers with plenty of time to take their skills to the next level.

 

Inclusivity at Camp

Monday, January 29th, 2018

At Camp Starlight, we strive to create a culture of kids and teens that respect themselves and others. Everything we do is based on giving young people every opportunity to interact with other people in a healthy and positive way. Every day, campers learn to solve conflicts, share their feelings, listen, and communities effectively; skills that are vital in becoming a productive member of society. And in a world where so many kids report feeling left out and alone, we’re determined to help create a culture of “includers.”

Inclusivity is a foundational element at camp, and from day one campers are taught the importance of teamwork and making everyone feel welcomed. In a place with this many people, there are bound to be personality conflicts, but we welcome these as opportunities to teach respect and acceptance. Everyone is welcomed to camp with open arms, and a friendly and welcoming attitude is instilled into everyday culture.

When we hire counselors, there are a few things we look for in regards to character and personality, and an attitude of acceptance, respect and inclusivity are some of them. Our counselors and staff are trained to lead activities that make everyone feel included, and to notice signs in campers that could signify that they’re feeling left out or lonely. Campers also see counselors interact with other groups and staff members and learn to model their positive and inclusive behavior. There is no “us vs. them” mentality at camp (unless it’s all in fun during a game or competition!) and even good sportsmanship and teamwork are a top priority.

One of the coolest things about camp is that the options for sports, arts, activities, and adventures are endless. There is not a one-size-fits-all type of camp; it’s a place where kids with all different levels of abilities and strengths can find a place where they belong. Everyone finds their place at camp, and is encouraged by other campers and staff to be the best versions of themselves.

Camp is a place where boys and girls feel like they belong. After a summer at camp, students head into the school year with an eye and a heart for others. They learn to build others up and make everyone feel included. If you were to take a peek at campers as they enjoy a meal, you’d never guess that they were strangers before; the connection and relationships that they build at camp are based on respect, communication, and inclusivity.

How Camp Makes Kids Better Eaters

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

For some lucky families, dinnertime is an enjoyable and relaxing time to connect with family. For others, it’s like World War III. Whether kids are too busy chatting about their day to eat, or refuse to eat anything remotely healthy, keeping kids fed can be a challenge for many families. Many parents are surprised to hear that when their kids go to camp, they’re more likely to try newer, healthier foods than they would at home.

Spending the summer at camp means kids are active and busy from morning ‘til night. They are running from activity to activity, and are burning calories without even thinking about it. They need to be constantly refueled, and camp makes sure they’re putting good stuff in their bodies. At Camp Starlight, campers are sometimes more likely to try a new food because their friends are eating it, which opens their minds to trying new things. It’s a good kind of peer pressure.

Kids also become more responsible for their eating choices. They don’t have parents choosing and prepping every single meal for them, so they are responsible for making balanced and healthy choices. They have access to homemade options throughout the day as snacks, and are given multiple healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Soups made from scratch and a colorful salad bar encourage campers to make balanced and healthy choices. They are also encouraged to stay hydrated with water throughout the day.

Kids aren’t deprived of a sweet treat here and there, but they learn about balance. They eat well throughout the day and stay active, and learn that indulging in a dessert is perfectly fine in moderation.

At home, it is easy to get into a weekly dinner routine consisting of the same meals that kids will like (Taco Tuesday, anyone?!) While this makes dinner time a little easier for parents, it doesn’t give children the opportunity to try new foods. At Camp Starlight, campers are exposed to new foods on a daily basis and are encouraged to try them! They are usually pleasantly surprised that they like quite a few of the new foods that they try!

It’s important to teach children from a young age the importance of nutritional responsibility. Providing them with new foods to try and encouraging them to find a balance is what they eat, drink and do will create healthy adults who value good food and living a healthy lifestyle.

 

 

 

Working at Camp Starlight as a Resume Builder

Monday, January 15th, 2018

After working a summer at sleepaway camp, it is hard to summarize the vast amount of experience gained in just a few weeks. Over the course of one summer, you are presented with challenges, lessons, an increased set of skills, and numerous other benefits. When you think of a summer spent working at sleepaway camp, the first thing that comes to mind are the times spent on the field helping kids learn how to kick a soccer ball, in the bunk playing jacks with your campers, or at the evening campfires roasting S’mores. Because each of these moments are filled with lifelong memories, it can be challenging to recognize that these moments are extremely applicable in the professional world.

A summer working at Camp Starlight teaches you how to be responsible, a valued leader, confident, a team player, and a problem solver. The ability to work with people from all different backgrounds and age levels is an opportunity that many people cannot say they have had. Fortunately, in your role as a counselor at sleepaway camp, you have attained skills that are attractive to employers and that are immensely useful in the professional sphere.

Recognizing Strengths and Weaknesses

At Camp Starlight, you are exposed to a wide range of individuals from around the world. In the bunk, you can live with children from ages seven to sixteen from all parts of the United States. Counselors come from the U.S., the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia. This unique environment presents the opportunity to understand, connect with, and appreciate all individuals around you. With each relationship established, the ability to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of your peers increases tenfold.

In the professional world, it is of extreme importance to be able to work with people of all different backgrounds and cultures. With each background and culture comes different expectations that must be met if you want to be successful. Working at sleepaway camp gives you the experience necessary to meet these challenges and expectations. Having the ability to recognize what will both facilitate and hinder success is a skill that is invaluable in any profession.

Leadership

As a counselor, each day presents you with the opportunity to develop who you are as an individual and further increase your confidence. Higher confidence enables individuals to make decisions more effectively, have stronger performance capabilities, and deliver a higher quality of work. Both on the fields and in the bunk, you are a coach and a role model to all of the children at camp. Having this opportunity at all hours of the day at camp transforms counselors into empowered leaders with an unprecedented drive for success.

Confidence and leadership both go a long way in the professional world. From applying for a job and mastering the interview to giving a presentation to your boss, having a feeling of empowerment ensures a high success rate in the workplace.

Communication

Camp Starlight is a fast-paced environment where anything could happen. Over the course of the summer, there could be inclement weather, changing preferences of campers, or changes to the daily/nightly schedule. These changes emphasize the importance of being a flexible employee and communicating effectively with those around you. This also leads to high innovative abilities that encourages counselors to excel at camp.

Along with the fast-paced nature of camp, conflicts between campers in the bunk and amongst counselors do arise. The ability to communicate powerfully during times of conflict allow for problem solving and conflict resolution. Communication helps individuals to find a commonality that will end conflict and bring people together as a unified front.

In every workforce no matter the department or field of profession, communication is the key to the success of a company. Without communication, deadlines cannot be met and progress will not be made. Learning how to communicate effectively at camp will allow you to enter into the working force with both ease and success.

 

Camp: The Ultimate Career Prep

Monday, January 8th, 2018

The last thing kids are thinking about as they are running, dancing, jumping, singing, and playing at camp is what they want to be when they grow up. But counselors and staff at Camp Starlight know that the things campers experience and learn during this time in their lives can directly impact the adults that they become. Spending a summer at camp fosters valuable like skills in campers that can prepare them to enter the professional world.

Teamwork

Even if campers end up owning their own business or going the entrepreneurial route, they will still need to know how to work well with others. This is why learning to play well with others is such a valuable skill. Counselors lead by example and demonstrate practical communication skills, conflict management, compromise, listening skills and working together. Many camp activities require campers to work together in order to be successful. Campers learn to trust and encourage each other. Campers who feel confident working with others at camp build a solid foundation for teamwork in the workplace.

Problem Solving

One of the biggest characteristics employers look when they are hiring is problem solving. They want to be sure the person they hire can not only identify a problem, but also figure out a solution, often without needing much guidance or direction. Campers are given multiple opportunities throughout the summer to identify obstacles and find a solution. Whether they are solving a problem with a friend or learning a new athletic skill, problem solving happens all day at camp and is a valuable life skill for campers to build upon.

Perseverance

Nobody likes a quitter. In the workplace, employers expect employees to give their job their all, and not to give up when it gets hard. Pushing through obstacles and preserving through a difficult task is crucial for workplace efficiency. Campers are encouraged to stick with difficult tasks, even if it means walking away and taking a deep breath to clear their minds. Seeing a project through to completion is what will set campers apart from their coworkers when they enter the workforce.

Time Management

Time management is another important skill campers learn without even realizing it. While a variety of activities available for them to try, campers are responsible for planning out their day so they get the most out of each activity. Campers learn to factor in things like travel time between activities or how much prep time is required between events. Most employers don’t tolerate excessive tardiness, so learning the importance of being on time and early will help campers be successful in the real world. They’re also given opportunities to extend grace and courtesy to those who are running behind, and taught to exercise patience when things don’t always go according to plan. Campers learn to be flexible and understanding, while also learning how to prioritize important events during their daily routine.

Organization

For many campers, camp is the first time they will share a private space with a group of people they don’t know. They quickly learn to organize their personal belongings in a way that makes them easily accessible but out of the way of others. A clean and organized desk or workspace increases productivity and is a sign of respect when working close to others. Campers are expected to keep their personal space neat and tidy, and be respectful of the people that share their space. Learning how to be organized at camp can directly transfer over to being organized at home and in their future professional environment.

Spending a summer at camp is one of the best things you can do for the future of your child. It is a fun way to build character and prepare them for the real world. Campers learn valuable life lessons on a daily basis at camp, all while having the best summer of their lives. Camp staff is focused on developing the whole camper, and embrace the opportunity to prepare each camper for success. When they finally enter the workforce, campers will be prepared with the confidence and skills required to be successful.

Mindfulness at Camp

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Children and teenagers are constantly surrounded by stimuli. They are easily overwhelmed with the sights and sounds that surround them, and often don’t have the skills to be fully present and limit distractions. This is why more and more teachers and professionals are incorporating mindfulness into their curriculum. And why Camp Starlight has been doing it since the beginning.

Mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” Campers all have the ability to be mindful, but there are proven techniques to help them perfect their skill. At camp, we incorporate these techniques into every day living to help campers improve their focus and concentration. It helps them be present in the moment and hyper-aware of their body, their space, and their surroundings.

Camp is a busy, noisy, active place. The energy on the campus is undeniable and can be felt from the moment you arrive. However, camp counselors and staff highly encourage campers to take periods of time throughout the day to relax, stay quiet, and unwind. Some campers choose to journal, write letters home, meditate, or even sleep during this time. This critical “down” time allows campers to stay in tune with their thoughts and feelings, and reflect on the activities of the day.

Meditation is a big part of the mindfulness initiative, but there are other ways campers can learn to be mindful. Campers may find themselves waiting to take their turn for different things throughout the day. Waiting is an excellent opportunity to tune in to their inner thoughts and feelings. A quick breathing exercise or an intentional appreciation for the space around them is a great way to practice mindfulness. For many people, listening intently and carefully is a challenge. Sometimes we are thinking more about our response than actually listening to what someone has to tell us. By focusing on being better listeners, campers can improve their communication skills and be mindful at the same time.

One of the things campers learn quickly is the power of connecting with nature. It’s always incredible what a quiet walk by the lake can do to clear your mind of negativity, anger, frustration, or fear. Camp Starlight gives campers the unique opportunity to connect with nature. Observing the natural beauty that surrounds them can help campers feel calm and connected when things seem to be getting out of control. Learning the calming power of a nature hike at camp is a coping strategy campers take with them for the rest of their lives.

Camp may be a busy place with lots to see and do, but it also provides plenty of opportunities for campers and staff to get in tune with their thoughts and feelings. Teaching mindfulness is just another way Camp Starlight fosters future leaders, builds character and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Camp Starlight Music Production

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

 

Olympics Produces Winners and Life Long Memories

Friday, August 11th, 2017

After a great battle between blue and white, the annual Olympics at Camp Starlight came to a final close, declaring Happy Blue Day the successor on girl’s side and Grand Stand White the winner of boy’s side. Every single camper, regardless what team they were on, put in one hundred and ten percent effort into these Olympic games, embracing every unusual task or challenge that would earn their team points. Campers wouldn’t even do a double take when asked to toss cheese puffs onto a camper’s head full of shaving cream, duke it out in the most intense game of Gaga or eat dinner in complete silence to help their team win. Olympics is a five day event that everyone takes seriously, counselors and staff included because it is also their hard work and dedication that helps their team win. Counselors and staff can sacrifice all their time to help design costumes and a set for Sing! or compete in staff volleyball games during rest hour just so that their team can get a few extra points. No matter how few or many points a camper or counselor earned for their team, they all added up in the end and without them the results wouldn’t have been the same. Olympics is a time that brings all of the campers, counselors and staff together, a special event that bonds everyone together as they all fight for the same goal. When the winners are announced at the end of the fifth day, cheering and shouts of joy erupted in the air but it didn’t compare to the rewarding feeling when everyone from the blue and white teams rushed the lake, celebrating all the things that every camper had been able to achieve during this Olympics. While winning is a reward in itself, the real reward of Olympics are the memories everyone was able to create during these five days of fun, athleticism, teamwork and friendship.

Camp Starlight Olympics: Blue Girls Day 2

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

For the second day of Olympics, the girls of Happy Blue Day proved even stronger than on the first day, amping up all the energy and spirit for the games. The Juniors served up some tough competition for the Grand Stand Whites on the tennis courts and battled in the sand during a tough game of Newcombe on the volleyball courts. The sand of beach volleyball and the nets of the tennis courts were also well defended by the Lower Inters, bringing just as much intensity as the Juniors. Running bases with ease, the Upper Inters glided through pitches on the softball diamond and took their coordination skills to the test for the soccer shootouts. The Lower Debs also put their soccer skills to the test for an exciting game of soccer against the white team. Upper Debs dribbled effortlessly around the Grand Stand Whites in basketball and slammed some pitches for a game of softball. Defending Happy Blue Day with ferocity, the Seniors raced around the field in soccer and competed in the boating meet with power and spirit. All the girls proved their dedication to their team and made their coaches and counselors proud when sporting the color blue with pride.