Posts Tagged ‘benefits of camp’

Camp Now More Than Ever

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

There is something about spending the summer at a sleepaway camp that allows kids and teens to connect in a way they just can’t at school. Maybe it’s the extended time they spend together or the fact that selfies and Instagram and the social media comparison epidemic is taken out of the equation at camp. Whatever the reason, campers are able to interact and build relationships on a deeper level at camp than they can at school or on sports teams at home.

One of the major reasons campers can form such strong bonds in such a short amount of time at camp is because they’re unplugged. They are not distracted by putting filters on their Instagram pictures or obsessively tracking how many likes their status update receives. Instead, they’re having real conversations and real experiences that trump scrolling through social media any day. Since their faces aren’t glued to a screen, campers can actually look at each other and talk to each other, and it re-enforces the power of human connection.

Another reason campers connect on a deeper level with other campers is because of the extended time they spend together. While kids spend a majority of their day at school, most of it is spent in the classroom, with pockets of time throughout the day where they can freely interact with their peers and work on building relationships. At summer camp, communicating and building relationships is all campers do. From the moment they wake up until “lights out” campers have two jobs: have fun and make new friends. This is why camp relationships are so strong from the get-go because campers have nothing but time to work on establishing trust and friendships with their peers.

Many campers who attend Camp Starlight are active in sports teams and clubs at home. But at home, when the game or practice is over, the team goes their separate ways. At camp, you walk off the field with your team AND your opponent and make s’mores around a campfire together. This time spent together strengthens relationships of teammates and helps establish healthy attitudes towards competition and sportsmanship.

Camp builds community because camp is a community. At school, students are usually focused on trying to find the little group that they can fit into. At camp, everyone is in the same group. Of course, individuals find their own smaller circle of friends, but at the end of the day, around the campfire, everyone is a camper. Everyone is there for the summer of their lives. Lifelong friendships are started at Camp Starlight because of the traditions, memories, and experiences they share.

It is common for campers to comment on the differences between their school friends and their camp friends. There always seems to be something a little more intimate, a little more solid in their circle of camp friends. Probably because these friendships are based on shared experiences, honest communication and quality time instead of Instagram followers and Facebook likes.

Happy Halloween from Camp Starlight

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

When you go to camp it’s basically Halloween all the time! At Camp Starlight, there are so many opportunities where campers can express themselves by wearing a costume! We encourage our campers to be silly, the sillier the costume the better! Whether it’s wearing a crazy outfit on your birthday or your bunk just deciding to all wear your hair in a crazy style for the day, dressing up is just a normal part of everyday camp life. A tutu has become an acceptable outfit no matter who you are. Some of the most favorite special events and evening activities involve dressing up. Campers love themed dance parties, camp plays, getting decked out in blue or white for 5 days of Olympics. Camp reminds us that you’re never too old or too cool to dress in a costume. We wish we didn’t have to wait 8 more months to dress in costumes again!

The Big Picture at Camp Starlight

Monday, October 8th, 2018

It’s easy for children to think of their entire lives in the context of their “nucleus,”’ their home, their community, their school, their family, their friends. They typically have no need to seek beyond their immediate surroundings, and their perspective of the world is seen through a restrictive lens based on where they live and the things they’ve experienced. Attending a sleepaway camp gives children and teens a way to broaden their worldview, to see themselves as a small (yet important) part of the bigger picture. Camp Starlight gets campers out of their comfort zones and allow them to catch a glimpse of how much world they have to explore.

Exposure To A New Place

For campers who have lived their entire lives in the hustle and bustle of a big city are in for a shock when they step foot onto the campgrounds. For some campers, the first time they explore the wilderness or really see a constellation is at camp. Even campers from rural areas are in for a treat as they spend the summer in a place busy with people, excitement and adventure. The experience of the journey from home to camp can help campers see that there is much more to explore outside of their familiar life.

Exposure To New People

Camp Starlight brings people together from all across the globe, and is responsible for thousands of lifelong friendships. Boys and girls spend night and day with others who come from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and experiences. Working, playing and growing together at camp allows campers to break through stereotypes and appreciate diversity in a brand new way. Some campers come from places where everyone thinks, looks and acts just like them. It’s refreshing for them to see that the world is full of incredible people with so much to teach them.

Exposure To Independence

Sleepaway camps give campers the opportunity to venture out in a new place without their parents walking them through it. This experience helps campers gain a sense of independence and realize that they are strong enough, smart enough and more than capable enough to make positive decisions on their own. Giving campers this sense of freedom and independence allows them to do some self-discovery to understand further who they are and what they can contribute to the world around them. They learn things about themselves that they didn’t know, and they begin to ask the questions that will help them determine who they are becoming outside of their family and friends.

Exposure To New Activities

Camp Starlight packs every day of the summer with fun and adventure. Some campers arrive never having been on a boat before, or never having access to a dance class or have never been rock climbing, but camp changes all of that. Camp is the place where so many “firsts” happen, all of which open up new windows in the brain and increase their understanding of the countless adventures and travels awaiting them. Some campers fall in love with sports they never even knew existed, which can be the first step in a lifelong passion. Campers who have the sleepaway camp experience go home with a desire to learn more about the world around them. This exposure to new things and people shifts their perspective and helps them realize that there is so much to the world than what they know.

It’s important for children and teens to understand that the world doesn’t actually revolve around them. They are part of something bigger, and the sooner we can ignite the excitement in discovering just what that “something” is, the better. The sooner campers can grasp the idea of a big wide world just waiting for their gifts and talents, the sooner we can develop leaders who are excited to serve, lead, love and explore the world beyond their comfort zone.



Being a Counselor Assistant at Camp Starlight

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Sixteen is not an age you would associate with a summer camp. When you think of a sixteen year old, words like “rock n roll,” “rebellion,” and “sleep in extremely late” flash like snapshots of your own teen years into your head. Teenagers typically want to get away from it all and live in the moment, but at Camp Starlight, sixteen year olds break these stereotypes as Counselor Assistants. Pushing the limits of responsibilities and taking the initiative to embrace upcoming adulthood, Counselor Assistants spend another summer at Camp Starlight in the in between stage of camper and counselor. Not yet counselor, not entirely camper, these kids enter a role entirely their own on campus and even though it is a unique role, these kids enter this sphere for a reason.

“What inspired me to return for this summer was that for the past 8 summers all my counselors were so kind, supportive and motivating in everything I did and helped me with everything I needed. I want to be that person these campers look up to and I want to be the same role model for my kids one day,” said Marni, a Counselor Assistant.

Even though starting the transition from camper to counselor is challenging, these kids believe and do make a difference in the life of the campers. Each and every one of these counselor assistants have grown up with the values of Camp Starlight rooted into them, accepting that friendship, tradition and family is a part of their identity. The determination to sacrifice a summer of possible shenanigans back home as teenagers highlights how seriously these soon to be counselors want to continue to plant the traditions, fun and love of Camp Starlight into future campers, hoping new roots will grow alike to their own.

“I’m returning this summer as a Counselor Assistant because I can’t imagine a summer without all these people in my life,” said Lauren, a Counselor Assistant.




What Seniors Will Miss Most about Camp Starlight

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

When you spend eight summers of your life at the same summer camp, you get to reflect on all the magic you’ve experienced and memories you have made at a place that is so special and unlike anywhere else. At Camp Starlight, Upper Senior campers truly get to experience every single aspect of summer camp, transitioning from summer to summer with more responsibility and more fun. Upper Seniors get to see every angle of Camp Starlight and experience every special activity, they really do it all. However, when the last night of the last summer comes, it always arrives too quickly for these Upper Seniors. Reflecting back on every summer spent at Camp Starlight, here are the things that Upper Seniors will miss most about Camp Starlight when they have to say their final goodbye.

  1. The Traditions: They will miss all the iconic traditions that define Camp Starlight because that is what makes a summer camp experience. The relay races, Olympic games, powder puff football, color wars and campfires all make for a picture perfect summer and these traditions is what transforms a normal summer into a magical one to remember.
  2. The Staff: Coaches and counselors really help define a camper’s summer because they are the mentors in their life guiding them to achieve their goals and overcome their obstacles for that summer. The constant support and belief is what helps a camper become the better athlete, the better artist and the better individual.
  3. The Adventure: Campers are able to explore and feel an adrenaline rush practically every day on or off campus, travelling to different places and cities for special trips when they aren’t whizzing on the zipline or jumping great heights at outdoor adventure. The sense of adventure and opportunity to discover the unknown is an element of Camp Starlight that campers will yearn for the most.
  4. The Memories: Camp Starlight is unique in the fact that practically every moment can be transformed into a memory. Every evening activity, special event or moment that made a camper smile creates a summer for campers to always look back fondly on, the memories these campers make with each other are unique and often the ones they never forget for the rest of their lives.
  5. The Friendships: Since most campers don’t all come from the same place, summers spent at Camp Starlight are so special since this is the only time campers are able to connect and bond with their camp friends. Camp Starlight helps form friendships that are so strong and unlike any friendship back home. The friendships are a vital element of what campers look forward to seeing every summer and will regret saying goodbye to the most.



Camp Starlight Olympics- Day 4 Scores

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

Watching Campers Grow as Athletes and Individuals

Monday, August 6th, 2018

Every day at Camp Starlight is completely different for me, I see a multitude of faces from every division and interact with campers I’ve known for five years or for five minutes. The only consistent aspect of my job is my ability to meet new people every day and that is why I know my job as the Athletic Director is the best job on campus. Whether I am overseeing Wayne County match or providing a helping hand for any athletics based evening activity, I am always on the move meeting and getting to know different campers. When campers express interest in a sport and I get to help them improve their skills, I also get to know who they are and why they are passionate about the sport. I love the relationships I get to form with the campers and when they get older and look back at these summers they won’t remember whether they won or lost a lacrosse or basketball game, they will remember the people they made relationships with, which I believe to be so cool. When I get to see these campers come back summer after summer and see how they grow in terms of skill and independence, it’s a very rewarding feeling for me. When campers that become too old for Camp Starlight but reach out before they go to college to tell me I’ve impacted their life positively, it is the most rewarding feeling. Those moments are why I know I have the best job at Camp Starlight.

Our Lower Deb Summer

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Being a Lower Deb comes with more respect, responsibilities, opportunities, and freedom. We have a mascot that represents who we are, and who we can be. We have our own cheer that shows our spirit, and proves that we are powerful. We are lucky to be able to get 10 times closer with our division just from one night. Being the role models that we looked up to as a lower junior means so much. In Upper Camp, we now have the responsibility of making a younger camp sister feel happy and comfortable. We also have the privilege of having two sisters with whom we form a special bond and friendship. You learn to be a loyal bunkmate, sister, and friend. We learn to step out of our comfort zone and try new things. We wouldn’t trade this memorable experience for anything else in the world.

            -Emma D., Lexi B., and Emma J.

A lot has changed now that we are in Upper Camp. As upper campers you have more freedom and with that comes more responsibility. When you become a Lower Deb you discover friendships you never would have imagined. You get closer with the whole division and learn to accept each others’ differences. When we were juniors we looked up to the Lower Debs; now we have become the role models. In this division we do not see each other as 3 separate bunks but as 1 whole division. One of the highlights of becoming a Lower Deb is the reveal of the summer mascot. This annual tradition started with a rubber chicken; this summer it is a lioness.We have made bonds that will last a lifetime. We know that no matter what, we can rely on each other. We hope everyone will get to have this experience.

-Ava R., Cassidy W., and Myla W.

For many years we have looked up to the people we would soon become. For the first time we get to experience what it’s like to be a role model for the campers in Lower Camp. Being in Upper Camp makes us realize how much we appreciate every second we get to spend at camp. As we get older we take on more responsibilities and understand how lucky we are to have such an amazing experience year after year. Part of being a Lower Deb is becoming closer to each and every one of our lifelong best friends and making memories that will last us a lifetime.

-Carly E., Loren G., and Kamryn G.

The Fun of Science Outside the Classroom

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

Throughout the day I am quite scattered around campus, some afternoons I’m launching bottle rockets in front of the Rec Hall and on other days I’m helping blow cube shaped bubbles in the Makerspace. The wide range of science based activities I get to participate in and teach to campers makes every day exciting and different which is why I believe I have the best job on camp as the Makerspace Specialist. When campers come to summer camp they want to escape school and classes, believing a science based activity is no fun and all rules, but my job as the Makerspace Specialist is to show campers how fun and interesting it can be to play with applied science. Building robots, planning science experiments, launching model rockets, blowing odd shaped bubbles, and of course making slime are all exciting activities I can share with the campers to see the fun side of science. When campers participate in these activities they get to develop a passion for science outside the classroom and I get to witness their growth and improvement over the summer which is my favorite part of my job. Nothing is more rewarding than helping a camper understand the beautiful intricacies of science and robotics and see them make connections they never thought they could make before. My specialty is very unique compared to all the different sports, music and art based activities campers have the opportunity to partake in so it’s an honor to be one of the few counselors helping campers experience a healthy and fun exposure to science. Without working with these campers all summer and sharing my love of science, my life would be so different and not as fulfilling because when camper’s make connections to science and develop a passion that is when I know all my hard work is worth it and that I have the best job at Camp Starlight.

Camp Starlight Hypnotist

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Camp Starlight Hypnotist from Camp Starlight on Vimeo.