Posts Tagged ‘camp friends’

Learning to Compromise at Camp Starlight

Monday, October 10th, 2016


Growing up as an only child has many perks. I was always the focus on my parents’ attention, I had all of my own stuff, own space, and when a family decision had to be made, I always felt like my opinion was heard and, more often than not, given serious consideration. Sure, there were times when I wished I had a sibling to play with, but for the most part, I’ve enjoyed the solo child life.


As I get older, I’ve started to notice that things that are easy for my friends with siblings, like compromising, taking turns, and being patient, don’t come as naturally to me. Their entire lives are made up of figuring out how to live harmoniously with their siblings. They’ve had to make sacrifices, they’ve had to come second (or third, or fourth) and they’ve had to learn about delayed gratification. They’ve had to think about the well-being of their siblings before themselves, they’ve had to share rooms and clothes and toys, and in turn, these character traits seem to come naturally to them.


It took me about 3 hours at camp to realize that I was going to have plenty of opportunities to strengthen these particular traits. Going to camp is like having 100 siblings, and in order for the “family” to run smoothly, everyone has to be willing to compromise, be patient and think of others first. To be totally honest, it was a hard reality to adjust to at first. I quickly learned that my mess wasn’t appreciated or tolerated in a shared space. I also learned that my opinions, wants and needs weren’t the only ones that mattered, and my hesitation to take anyone else’s opinions or thoughts into consideration came across as rude and selfish. That was a slap in the face, and humbling for sure.


My counselors were amazing, and were patient and calm when I wasn’t. They took the time to talk to me when I was feeling overwhelmed, crowded or impatient. They helped me look at the bigger picture, and reminded me about how good it felt to work as a team, a family, a collective unit, instead of just thinking about myself.


About a week or so into camp, I could already notice the mental shift happening inside of me. I saw the biggest change in my attitude regarding being surrounded by people all of the time. My whole life, I’ve had the luxury of being able to be in my own space and to “get away” whenever I wanted to be alone. I always had my own things and my own space, and getting used to sharing my time and space with others took some getting used to. But as the days turned into weeks, I began looking forward to these group settings and I enjoyed the constant buzz of people around me. I loved our late night chats after lights went out, and I appreciated having people who would share their sunscreen with me when I ran out. Sharing space, time and things with people turned out to not be so bad after all.


At the end of camp, I felt like I had gained 50+ siblings, and a whole new set of character traits that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I am a more patient person because of camp. I am better at sharing, I compromise more, I’m more giving, more aware of my personal space, more accepting of people’s differences, and for that, I am eternally grateful.


I may be the only child at home, but since my summer at camp, I have plenty of camp siblings who are just a text, phone call or email away. Camp gave me much more than just a summer away from home; it has strengthened my character and given me lifelong friends.

Photo of the Day

Saturday, July 9th, 2016


Camp Starlight: My Summer Home

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

UntitledWritten by Madison Dratch

“Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.” -Margaret Peters

In June 2006, I arrived at Camp Starlight for the first time with teddy bear in hand and a nervous smile on my face. As other campers ran off the buses and embraced one another with love and the utmost excitement, I stood anxiously, unaware of the impact that these three hundred eighty five acres of land would have on my life.

Through my six summers as a camper, I discovered more about myself than I thought possible. I slowly grew out of my shell as I tried playing new sports, auditioned for plays at the rec hall, and established new friendships. I learned how to work with teams and handle conflict as my bunk strategically choreographed what we believed to be the best MTV night dance in Starlight history. Although my love for camp continued to grow with each summer that passed, so did the dread of thinking about the day that marked my last moments as a camper. In August 2011, I cried for the last twenty-four hours that made up my Upper Senior Summer. As my bunk said our final goodbyes, we knew that we no longer would all be able to sleep in the same cabin again, spend every meal together, or coordinate our sugar lips and soffe shorts to all match perfectly. Gone were the days of relying on our counselors to get us to wake up at reveille, clean our bunks in time for inspection, and make sure we follow our schedules perfectly. The book of being a camper officially closed and it was time for me to start a new adventure as a staff member.

Wearing a staff shirt for the first time provided me with the same nervous feeling I had getting off the bus on the first day of camp so many years ago. As a camper, I idolized the many counselors that had mentored me through the years. Now, I was on the other side of the fence and had to be the role model that my campers needed me to be. All feelings of anxiousness diminished the moment I stepped into my new bunk and saw eleven young hopeful faces staring back at me. I don’t know how it is possible, but working as a staff member provided me with an even more rewarding experience than all of my summers as a camper combined. The immense pride I felt and continue to feel when my campers achieve milestones in their lives speaks volumes of the impact being a counselor has on my life. I remember the joy I felt when my campers won their first Wayne County Softball game. I remember the intense process of memorizing lines when my camper starred as Peter Pan followed by the overwhelming feeling of fulfillment when she perfected every line and song on Opening Night. Fast forward four summers filled with four unique bunks and irreplaceable memories, the once young and hopeful bunk of eleven ten year old girls are now entering their Lower Senior Summer. The girls that once needed me to tie their shoes and brush their hair have now grown into young ladies capable of extraordinary things. Being able to witness this growth is one of the greatest privileges of all.

A decade has passed since that nerve-wracking day and although the teddy bear still remains, my perspective of camp has changed tenfold. Free from the world of small digital screens and ongoing pressures, Starlight allowed me to be the person that was fighting to break free. At Starlight, I am an athlete, a performer, a leader, and a friend. No feat is too small or too challenging to overcome when you know that you have a support network of hundreds of people behind you. Through the vast changes and turns that have happened in my life, Starlight has remained a powerful constant.

As I sit in my accounting class and recognize how fast summer number eleven approaches, I am filled with an anxious feeling again. Except, this time, it is not a nervous anxiety at all. It’s that overwhelming feeling of excitement where you know that this summer will be even better then the last. That familiar feeling that Starlight has given me since the first time I saw the place that I am privileged to call my home.














Camp Starlight Year 15

Friday, March 4th, 2016

IMG_2983 2Written by Megan Panelas

This summer will be my 15th year working at Camp Starlight and every year people ask why I return summer after summer. I usually give the short answer of “it’s my second home,” but thought I would share the long version this time around.

Camp Starlight is a very Special place. Camp is a place where time slows down. It lets everyone take time out of their busy lives to really just be themselves. Both staff and campers can be who they truly are. It is amazing to watch campers in the camp atmosphere gain confidence in a nurturing environment. Each summer as they come back they truly gain a better sense of themselves. They belong at camp and they are part of the community that we, the staff, strive for. Through the program that has been developed at camp, each age group has their own set of traditions that they contribute to the Starlight community. It is amazing to watch their progression. From the junior enthusiasts who live and breathe camp and have so much fun, to the inters, who embrace the fun they are having and make lifelong friends. Then to the upper camp debs, who really learn more about themselves and bond to create more of a community atmosphere, and the seniors who have become a family. The Upper Seniors take on the role of helping the juniors have fun through a few special events. This cycle continues and is so strong at Starlight that many return as Counselor Assistants (CA’s) and then as counselors.

This is the part that I am now enjoying the most. Campers that I met when they were 7 and 8 are now counselors in the lower deb division with me. This truly is a full circle community. These campers turned counselors are the essence of camp and often make campers summers even more spectacular. I have had the joy to watch so many campers grow on a summerly basis, becoming exemplary staff and mentors over time.

Every camper is unique and may enjoy a variety of different things and camp has the opportunities to flourish in a million different ways. From being center stage, to being on a Wayne county team, from winning a race for the swim team to finally mustering up the courage to do the zip line, from launching rockets to scoring a goal in a league game and from dance parties to divisional campfires, there is something for everyone. It is finding that passion in each camper and helping them excel to have the best summer, every summer, as they grow and are true citizens of the Starlight community.

Being a part of this Community, and watching it grow is astounding and I just can’t stay away. I have become a part of it. Wabam.

Living in the moment at Camp Starlight

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015


Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 3.24.49 PMIt was midway through the fifth week of summer camp that I suddenly realized I didn’t know what day it was.

…Or what week it was.

And you know what the craziest part is? That didn’t make me feel stressed at all! On the contrary, I hadn’t been so happy for months.

After all, who has time to balance a calendar when you’re spending all day and night away from the computer, playing games in the sun and making new friends?

Summer camp has a way of making you “live in the moment” — so much so that losing track of time is totally normal. In fact, it’s pretty much expected by campers and counselors alike.

After a long school year of classes and homework and tests, let me tell you: it’s an incredible feeling to just let it all go.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 3.25.35 PM“Live in the moment” may be a common piece of advice, but truth be told it’s a difficult nugget of wisdom to follow without practice. Back home, the phone was always ringing, the deadlines were always looming, and the stakes always felt high. It wasn’t until I started spending my summers at camp that I started to understand what “living in the moment” really meant.

…It didn’t mean throwing my phone in the lake, or not worrying about grades. It meant simply being okay with my best try — and to keep my mind on the task at hand, rather than always worrying about the next one.

Camp is the perfect place to practice living in the moment, because there is simply less to worry about. In fact, living in the moment is pretty much the default at camp. There simply isn’t much to worry about, and it’s hard to think about the past or future when the present is packed with activities, sports, campfires, and all the rest.

So you see, losing track of time at summer camp is pretty understandable!

However, that isn’t to say that anybody is disorganized. Far from it; if anything, camp will improve your time management skills and help you get used to staying on schedule. The big difference is that everybody is in it together, and it’s not the end of the world if somebody is late once in awhile. Nothing encourages being on time quite like the thing you’re rushing to get to being a ton of fun!

There were many days that I spent on my feet running around for 12-15 hours straight, and yet it always felt like there just wasn’t enough time in the day. The saying that “time is relative” is definitely accurate at summer camp. If time is crawling during an SAT prep test, then it’s flying when you’re at camp, taking a first shot at wakeboarding!

Honestly, the only calendar any of us worried about was the end of camp, when we’d all have to pack up our things and embark on our journeys back home. Leaving camp is always bittersweet, but we all left with a profound new outlook on life. We had learned what it truly meant to “live in the moment,” and it’s a lesson I’ll never forget. Thank you camp!

5 Signs That You’re Campsick and Miss Camp Starlight!

Monday, August 31st, 2015

1. You Can’t Stop Singing Camp Starlight Songs


Have you been caught randomly singing a camp song in public? If you’ve become a walking camp jukebox, chances are you’re missing Camp Starlight a lot more than you know. But hey, where’s the harm in introducing some of your favorite camp songs to your school friends? “Friends, friends, friends….”

2. You Won’t Take Any of Your Friendship Bracelets Off

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What do you mean I have to eventually cut these off? Let’s face it, those colorful pieces of thread wrapped around your wrist signify every friendship you made while at Camp Starlight and the thought of getting rid of them is just too hard. That’s okay though, more are to be made next summer!

3. You Wake Up In The Morning And Ask Your Mom What Time You Have Water Skiing

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Sigh, there’s no disappointment equivalent to waking up in the morning expecting a nice water skiing session on the lake, but being told that it’s actually time for school.

4. You’re Always Craving a S’more After School


Forget the ice cream! There’s nothing that beats the gooey deliciousness of a s’more right after a long day of math equations. They may be known as a Camp Starlight delicacy, but why not treat yourself to one as you reminisce over your favorite camp memories?

5. You’re Sooo Bored!

Yes, it is nice to sleep in and not wake up to the sound of the bugle. It is also nice to have a break from all the activities throughout the day. However, it is just soooo boring being back at home.  Who doesn’t miss having your friends around 24/7.  

Day 2 Big Easy Blues Boys

Monday, August 10th, 2015

11846686_10152980612916960_8942165549698953028_nToday the day started off almost in a tie. We, the Big Easy Blues, were only down by two points! We had thought that we might be up due to our triumph over the white, but what we thought turned out to be false. The day started off as usual, 7:55 wake up, 9:30 meetings and so on.

First, the Upper Camp had their swim meet, where the Lower Plebes lost and the Upper Plebes and Seniors won, which pushed us to the victors of the Upper Camp Swim Meet. Next came Junior Newcomb where after a very hard fight, the Junior Gamma and Sigma teams lost to White Madness. Then, the Upper Inters played hockey and again, after a long and hard fight, Sigma and Gamma lost to the White Team. Finally, the Lower Inters fought and the Blue Gamma team won, but unfortunately the Sigma team lost, resulting in a ‘split’.

In the next 24 hours many points are up for grabs. Who will be in the lead? Hopefully the Blue! See you guys tomorrow!

Star Camps

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 8.43.13 AMCamp Starlight was full of excitement as our campers participated in their favorite Starcamps. This special part of our program gives campers the chance to focus on one area of interest for two days. Campers get to work closely with our guest coaches and instructors, as well as our entire Starlight staff, who bring all sorts of skills to the table, from basketball to painting.

This year Camp Starlight had some incredible individuals leading Star Camps. Campers had the opportunity to learn hip-hop from the impressive Larry Albright.. At our sporting sessions, campers were able to learn hockey from hockey pro Bob Markowick, and tennis from Tennis star Mel Purcell. And there were tons of other sports workshops, too! From lacrosse, to golf, to water skiing and Krav Maga, campers had the chance to enjoy all sorts of sports activities. Campers were also able to rock climb, golf, and hike. But it’s not just sports that campers were excited about, campers were also able to enjoy Starcamps in: acting, photographing, arts and crafts, and other creative preforming arts. And for the first time ever students were able to make and mix their own music at our music workshop, which was held in our brand new music recording studio! It was another great year at Starcamps thanks to our amazing kids and great staff.

Starlight’s Annual Slope for Lope

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

11822645_10152961554666960_5919444231073674892_nIt was an early start for most campers here at Camp Starlight this week. Morning began at 7 a.m. as many campers and staff members prepared for the Slope For Lope, an annual Camp Starlight tradition where campers run a distance of 1.8 miles, much of which is uphill. On the day of the event, campers and staff gathered at the beginning of the Camp Starlight road and the excitement built. David Miller started the race and led the way up the mile long road. Campers and staff ran side-by-side as they made their way through campus. The uphill run was a struggle for some, however everyone powered on, and finished the race. Some even beat their personal bests. After running the grueling 1.8 mile route, campers were given delicious, fresh cantaloupe and a Slope for Lope bracelet to commemorate the event. As always the talent and perseverance of our campers was easy to see, and we are so proud of them.

Camp Starlight Softball

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 1.01.07 PMCamp Starlight Vs. Camp Westmont

Upper Inters Softball

The Upper Inters girls have made it to the Wayne county championships! They earned the victory against camp Westmont 4-2. In the felid Starlight was an unstoppable force. Elizabeth E shutdown 3rd base. Hannah W dominated first base getting three outs with the help of Julia H at second. Julia had an amazing catch while playing first in the fifth inning. Jordyn P and Hannah J dominated at the game both making amazing plays at third base. Allison S, Ava M, Hannah J, Alexa C, Madeline R, Jacqueline P and Allison S all shined through at the game in the outfield. Sammy S and Hannah W conquered the pitcher’s mound. Emerson P and Jacqueline P were brick walls behind the plate.