Posts Tagged ‘camp counselor’

What I Never Dreamt I Would Get Out of Summer Camp

Monday, September 25th, 2017

When working at a summer camp for the first time, there are many typical things that you would expect to happen like making friendship bracelets, sitting around a campfire or chanting traditional camp cheers. While all of these things do happen at Camp Starlight, there are many experiences that occur that take first time staff members for a surprise. The one thing that really surprises staff members working at Camp Starlight for the first time are all the positive life lessons they get out of their summer.

Working with kids of all different ages and coworkers from all different cultures truly provides first time staff members with a life perspective they’ve never experienced before. They learn so much about campers and other cultures and in turn learn so much about themselves. Camp Starlight is a place that helps first time staff members discover new skills, talents and passions about themselves just like the campers do. Before Camp Starlight, you might not have ever known that you have the best time working with younger kids or have a knack for coaching campers to the championship. You learn what skills you really have when working with kids and in what ways you can improve their lives for the better.

Not only do you learn new things about yourself, but you gain so many new memories and friendships unlike any other. Camp Starlight is a camp that gives you the opportunity to make a new best friend from Ireland and experience special events with your campers that create unique memories. You will never forget the thrill of Olympics, all the laughs from Friday Night Show or how sad you were to say goodbye to all your campers and friends on the last day of camp.

There are many things you will never dream you would get out of summer camp, but once you experience a summer at Camp Starlight you realize anything is really possible.

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: White Girls Day 1

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

The first morning of the 2017 Olympics started with the Lower Camp boating meet, the Juniors and Inters swam with confidence and pride for their team. The Grand Stand White came out on top in other divisions as well. As the morning continued, the Lower Debs served up some strength in tennis, ran through the bases for a great game of softball and made a great impact in the sand for beach volleyball. Following suit, the Upper Debs also defended the nets in tennis and played their white hearts out in a game of soccer. Taking note from Upper Camp, the Inters of Lower Camp played hard in games of Gaga, tennis and knockout. Not to forget to mention that the Juniors rocked it out at soccer in the afternoon. The Seniors really showed camp what it means to be a part of the Grand Stand Whites with nailbiting games of softball, volleyball, soccer shots and flag football, these girls brought an intense amount of energy and inspired all of Grand Stand White to work hard and push it to the limits for Olympics. The girls started Olympics with a bang and there is more to come from this team of white spirit.

Upper Plebes and Lower Senior Boys Hockey

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Starlight Upper Plebes and Lower Senior boy’s hockey fell behind early in the first few minutes of the game against Wayne County but recovered with a strong comeback. Down 2-8, Jonah S. and Jared F. each scored to change up the pace of the game. Then the boys found themselves down 5-8 going into the 3rd period, but Jonah S. was able to score using his hat trick technique. Jackson F. put himself in the right spot scoring on a onetime from Jonah S. and then again from Ozzie F. Jackson F. completed his hat trick with the game winning goal 8 minutes into the 3rd period. Starlight closed out the game and securing their win with their airtight defense.

Let’s Talk About Traditions

Monday, November 7th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-3-01-02-pmCamp traditions are kind of like an inside joke between friends; you really have to be there and be part of it to understand and appreciate the power and the feeling that is associated with them. Camp traditions are things that happen at camp that every camper and staff member can relate to, whether they went to camp 70 years ago or are experiencing it now for the first time. They are a way for campers to connect with their fellow campers, their counselors, and the camp itself. Some “traditional” traditions at camp like singing Friends and the Camp Starlight Alma Mater, All Camp Show, Opening Campfires, skipping around the flagpole, divisional cheers, and singing in the dining room create a sense of connection and belonging to the Starlight family. Many traditions at Camp Starlight are held sacred to campers and counselors alike, and they’re just one of those things you have to experience to truly understand.

10 Best Camp Counselor Moments

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Just like a treasure box full of keepsakes or a drawer full of letters from friends, every second at Camp Starlight has the potential to turn into a lesson you hold on to forever. After all, what is camp but a collection of magical moments?

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True, the days can be long — but you can always count on this: just when you think you’re getting “burnt out” from school or work, something will happen to remind you why you decided to  be a camp counselor in the first place!

 

Remember these 10 classic camp counselor moments to remind yourself why you left civilization behind to be a camp counselor at Camp Starlight all summer!

The first campfire of the summer

Every campfire is special, but the first campfire of the summer holds a special place in the collective lore of camp counselors.

 

After a long (and cold!) year away from the woods and cabins of summer camp, that classic campfire smell comes like a rush of fresh air. Ushering in the new season — and at the same time, bringing back happy memories from summer seasons past. Sigh… truly, no camp moment is more emotional than that first campfire. (Except perhaps the last one!)

 

That moment when you realize you don’t miss your phone

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Digital detox is a big part of camp life, especially if you’re totally addicted to Instagram and Buzzfeed. Sometimes those first few days can be a shock to the system.

 

The rewards are big, though, for counselors who learn to “tune in and tune out” — living in the moment is way easier when you aren’t tied to yesterday’s Facebook posts!

 

That moment when you learn to live without your mobile “leash” is a classic camp moment and a lesson you’ll always carry with you.

 

Getting up on stage and making a total fool of yourself

 

You never were into acting. You also couldn’t imagine that you had any creative talents to share. But there you were at camp up there on stage totally making a fool of yourself. Setting a great example to your campers by going out of your own comfort zone and participating in the evening activities at camp is something you will never forget. Yes, the picture of you in the crazy wig and tutu found its way on facebook but now your friends and family back home will see a different side of you.

The glory of shower hour

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Showering at home may be kind of “meh.” But showering at camp? Basically the opposite of “meh!” Nobody said camp life had to be muddy, right?

The only real challenge of shower hour at camp is making sure everybody doesn’t take a full hour just to themselves! Trust us when we say you’ll never forget that camp shower feeling — nothing feels better after a long day of running around in the sun!

The last s’more of the summer

The first day of camp and the last day at camp are always the most emotional for summer camp counselors. Making new friends! Going back to school! It can be kind of a crazy roller coaster (but a fun one of course). Camp is all about traditions, so chowing down on that last traditional campfire s’more is bound to be a moment you always remember. Cheesy? So be it!

Sending postcards to your friends at home

Let’s be honest — isn’t it a relief to be working at Camp Starlight this summer instead of painting houses or checking out groceries like most of your friends from school?

 

Sending postcards home is one of those moments when you stop and realize exactly how awesome it is to be where you are. The question is, how can you fit all that enthusiasm into one five-by-six inch card?

Fourth of July at camp

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Fourth of July is always awesome. Fourth of July with all your friends at summer camp? Four times as awesome!

 

We may raise the flag at camp every day, but it’s extra special on the Fourth of July. Who knows, there might even be a few fireworks…

When you cheer up a discouraged camper

Being there for your campers when they need you is by far the most fulfilling part of the camp counselor experience.

 

I still remember the counselor who helped me cheer up and get back in the game when I felt homesick at my first sleepaway camp. So getting to do the same for a camper with the blues felt all the better.

 

The power to turn “having the blues” into “having a blast” is the superpower that separates camp counselors from mere mortals!

Getting mail from home

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Yeah, sure, Mom can be annoying sometimes. But absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say, and getting mail from the folks is a special moment for camp counselors.

 

Especially when you’re close to the end of the season, those little pieces of home start to feel a little bittersweet. It’s nice to know that you’ll get to see the ol’ homestead again in a few weeks — even if you’d rather stay at camp all year around!

The last campfire of the season

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Just like the first campfire of the year sets the tone for the future, the last campfire of the year gives everyone at camp a chance to reflect on a season well-spent.

 

Everyone around you has gone from being friendly strangers to life-long friends and chances are you know the camp grounds like the back of your hand.

 

Cherish those last few group songs, and remember: next summer will be here before you know it!

9 Lessons a Counselor Learns from their Campers

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

 

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Everyone that arrives at summer camp leaves with a profoundly changed outlook on life. Like many camp counselors, I expected to learn a lot from the experience. What I didn’t expect was for so many of the things I learned to come from my campers!

 

It turns out being a role model can be a two-way street. If you’re looking to become a counselor yourself, here are a few of the things you can expect to learn from your campers:

1. You get what you give

Campers demand a ton of energy, and keeping up with the day’s activities — all while being positive, enthusiastic, and with an eye towards safety — can be totally exhausting. Something new happens every day, and greeting new challenges with a smile makes all the difference.

 

Show up to an activity expecting to be bored, and you’re sure to be bored. Show up ready to give it your best shot, and the fun is guaranteed!

2. Respect is more important than agreement

I’d be lying if I told you I always agreed with everyone at camp. That would be impossible! However, I soon started to notice that the campers who were having the most fun were the ones who treated their peers with respect — even if they didn’t want to be BFFs with them. Campers who refrained from poking fun at someone, even behind their back, always came to the end of the summer with tons of friends and a big smile on their face.

 

I resolved to start being more conscious about showing respect to my fellow counselors; and the results were incredible! I never even realized how much negativity you can let go when you simply cut out the gossip and “agree to disagree.” This one lesson was worth the whole summer!

3. You can always do more than you think

Camp teaches you how to manage time better than any class. After all, if you can’t keep track of your own life, how are you going to keep track of all your campers?

 

Life at camp quickly taught me that I was never as busy as I thought I was; I just needed better organization. It’s easy to say “it’s too much” or “I can’t do that” in regular life, but at camp there’s no option: you simply have to show up, rain or shine, and give it your best shot.

 

4. Laughing makes everything better

It’s scientific fact that smiling makes your mood better, even if you have to “fake it till you make it” at first.

 

On the one hand camp is full of variety, but on the other sometimes you have to buckle down and do the same activity week after week and make sure it feels “fun” every time. Seeing the campers’ faces light up when we jumped into a new activity kept it fresh for me. When I started smiling even during the activities I didn’t feel like doing, the activities became fun again!

 

Now I use this technique every day in my “real life,” and it always helps make tasks like laundry day or preparing reports at work feel “fresh” again!

5. It’s okay to say “I don’t know”

Being a summer camp counselor is often a counselor’s first experience as an authority figure. When you’re barraged with questions all day, it’s frustrating at first when you don’t know the answer.

 

You’ll quickly learn that campers don’t mind if you don’t know everything; in fact, they don’t expect you to. Saying “I don’t know… but let’s find out” is much more exciting than the alternatives, and it shows them that you’re human too.

6. Including everyone makes life more fun

Sometimes there’s a camper who just doesn’t want to do anything. The food isn’t fried enough, the activities aren’t fun enough, and the campfire isn’t “cool” enough. Including everyone in activities is really challenging at first, especially when it means you have to be extra-committed to keep the energy flowing. But something magic happens when you insist on everyone playing together: that camper’s finally joins in, and before you know it they’re having the time of their life! The first time you make that change in a camper’s attitude will change your outlook forever.

7. You’re remembered for the little things

There’s a saying that we’re remembered for our mistakes, not our successes; but I disagree. At camp, as in life, it’s the little things that make your legacy. That time you brought a sick camper their favorite dessert from the dining hall, even though they didn’t ask? They will never forget. Anyone who’s been to summer camp knows it’s the little kindnesses that make the biggest difference.

8. It’s okay to be alone sometimes

Camp is all about togetherness, but sometimes a little alone time is just as important. Camp helps everyone grow by making them learn to ask for it when they need it, but sometimes campers don’t know how to do that and get frustrated. As a counselor, your job is to step in and help them get everything they need to have a great experience. Learning to recognize when campers need alone time and when they need team time is a subtle skill that will radically change your life outside camp.

9. Always pack more socks

This last lesson may be the most important of all! No one ever packs enough socks. They get dirty, they get lost, and you always need more than you think. And yes, you definitely need a comfy pair for lounging around the cabin!

Keep an open mind and have a great summer

Summer camp is as much about learning as it is about fun. When your campers speak, keep your ears open; you just might learn something!

Humans of Camp Starlight

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

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“I love camp starlight because it allows you to be creative” – Ally, Counselor for bunk 7

Greetings from Camp Starlight

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

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Camp Starlight Radio: Jonah’s Glasses

Sunday, July 17th, 2016