Posts Tagged ‘benefits of camp’

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

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.

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 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.

 

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.

 

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.

Learning to Look on the Bright Side at Summer Camp

Monday, November 20th, 2017

A silver lining can be defined as finding the hopeful side to any situation, no matter how gloomy. Silver linings are small blessings that can lift the spirits of individuals as well as put an instant smile on your face. As someone who went to sleepaway camp, I have an unlimited amount of silver linings that I can recall at any moment of the day to make it better. For twelve summers that I spent at Camp Starlight, I have had the opportunity to make memories, both big and small, that are impossible to forget. With each summer comes new bonds and irreplaceable friendships. After these twelve summers, I have the ability to remain positive and look on the bright side of just about any situation I am faced with. This skill is one that I have incorporated into my daily life in countless environments, both inside and outside of camp.

 

At Camp Starlight, small blessings radiate wherever you look. The support network is unprecedented in the fact that everyone in the camp community looks on the bright side. Whether it be helping to sweep the bunk before inspection, campers cheering a bunkmate on as she climbs the rock wall, or counselors reading a story before bed, the positive feeling of love and support ruminates throughout the camp environment.

 

While camp presents campers and counselors with this magical feeling of happiness, there are obstacles that are faced over the course of the summer. Changes in weather, homesickness, arguments, and disappointment is inevitable. However, camp provides its community with an opportunity to learn how to overcome these challenges by looking on the brightside. For every moment that appears to be gloomy, there is someone there to lend a supportive hug or helping hand to cheer you up. At Camp Starlight, the love between individuals is genuine and powerful. Being able to have real conversations and talk through difficult situations with friends and counselors alike is the silver lining that makes camp so unique.

 

These small blessings and ability to overcome obstacles at camp helps to prepare us for the daily routines we face during the other ten months of the year. Instead of needing help cleaning the bunk or feeling down after losing a sports game, campers and counselors are now faced with the challenges of school work and the professional world.

 

Philosophies learned at camp are ingrained in both campers and counselors as we remember the importance of remaining positive and supportive to those around us. These same campers that once needed help making their beds over the summer, now have the skill set and ability to support those friends in the classroom. This includes helping others with homework assignments, raising money for a school event, or even cheering on the school’s sports teams. For counselors in college and in the workforce, the attitudes and lessons learned at camp are easily transferable to all tasks. These can include pulling an all-nighter before an exam or meeting important deadlines set by your boss. It is the inner drive to look on the bright side that motivates campers and counselors to find a silver lining in all that they do.