Posts Tagged ‘camp traditions’

Upper Senior Volunteers Are Serving up Smiles

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Camp Starlight gives a camper everything they could practically want when they are at summer camp: fun, adventure, music and anything else under the sun. To acknowledge everything Camp Starlight gives to its campers, the Upper Senior boys and girls give back to camp by volunteering at every camp cook out. Preparing, serving and smiling, the Upper Seniors help out tremendously by sacrificing their own down time to make every campus cookout run smoothly. Often wearing punny shirts that say “Lettuce Serve You,” the Upper Seniors make volunteering and giving back to camp a really fun experience. Handing out every hotdog and hamburger with a smile, they show how volunteering can be a rewarding experience and they give the support staff a well deserved break. Their hard work in setting up the food and serving all of camp sets themselves as great role models for Lower Camp as well, portraying qualities of responsibility and leadership that are a part of Camp Starlight’s philosophy in teaching campers important lessons. When the campers from Lower Camp see the oldest campers give back to Camp Starlight, they are inspired to do the same and take the initiative to be selfless. The Upper Senior’s volunteering sets a chain reaction for other campers to follow in these acts of kindness. While the Upper Seniors are helping out campers enjoy a fun cookout, they are also helping Camp Starlight continue to become a more positive place all summer long.

Junior Boys Basketball

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

The Starlight Junior boys basketball team took a great team win from Tioga, winning 38-8. Every single player on the team contributed. Justin J. led the way with 10 points and Reid S. added 6 points to the total himself. Jackson H., Miles L., Max S. and Harrison R. all scored 4 points and Rhys B. added 2 points. Calen T., Marc F., Rhys B. and Jesse J. played very big with 2 blocks and 14 combined rebounds. Carter B. played great offensively with 4 assists. Overall it was a combined team effort to come out victorious over Tioga.

Lower Senior Boys Basketball

Monday, July 31st, 2017

The Lower Senior boys basketball team moved onto a 2-0 record beating Weequahic at home behind Justin G.’s game high 30 points and 5 steals. He exploded in the first quarter, setting the offensive tone by scoring 12 points. Jake B. and Justin H. also took some of the scoring load with 12 points and 2 steals a piece. Michael G. erupted for a quick 8 points to start the second half while Ben W. had 2 steals and 4 points and Aidan C. scored 3 points. Jack T.’s defensive presence nabbed 8 rebounds. Jonah S., Harrison S., Alexander H. and Ethan B. rounded out the scoring with 2 points each.

Camp Siblings at Camp Starlight

Monday, July 10th, 2017

As the sun sets behind the trees and a lavender sky, new camp families are joined together in the grassy fields. Stretched out into a giant circle, girls from Lower Camp are spotted in between their new camp sister on the softball fields and brothers on the tennis courts. Boys and girls from Upper Camp mentor the younger campers, providing a sense of support and care just like older siblings do at home. For many campers, this is their first time fulfilling the role of big brother or sister while for others this is the first time they will experience the relationship of having an older sibling that will specifically advise their growth at camp. The older/younger sibling dynamic at camp gives the opportunity for younger campers to also look up to a big brother or sister when they look up into the stars- more often than not these views tend to be one in the same in the eyes of the little sibling.

“When I was younger and I was the little sister I looked up to my big sisters. Now that I have the chance to be a big sister I want my little sister to look up to me like I did years ago,” said Dani, Upper Senior girl.

Camp Starlight creates the perfect summer day for campers every day of the year, but when a camper does find him or herself craving a touch of a home, their camp sibling is there to pick them back up again into another day of fun and make them feel just as welcome as opening day. With a camp sibling, Camp Starlight can always feel like home away from home.


Senior Girls Soar as Eagles

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

The one tradition Lower Seniors and Upper Debs look forward to at the start of the summer is the Eagle Ceremony. In reference to a cheer begun a few years ago, Lower Senior girls fly high as Eagles instead of quacking around like ducks because at this stage in their lives they become the leaders instead of the followers. At the ceremony, Upper Debs watch as the Lower Seniors are initiated as Eagles with camp director Allison, the Upper Debs are present so that they can look forward to experiencing the same ceremony next summer and begin to uphold the characteristics that define an Eagle. The idea of leadership is very important for Camp Starlight to instill among the Upper Camp because it is a positive theme for the girls that are getting older, achieving more responsibility and fulfilling the roles that require leadership qualities.

The Lower Seniors–now Eagles–can now fly high at Camp Starlight.

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.

Camp: Forever Changing, Yet Exactly the Same

Monday, October 24th, 2016


Camp is one of those things that meets campers exactly where they are. It has this unique way of providing campers with exactly what they need, sometimes before the campers even know they need it. Camp has a way of being the perfect combination of excitement and relaxation and has been that way for over 70 years.


In 70 years, a lot has changed at Camp Starlight, but a lot has stayed the same. Over time, camp has transformed to meet the needs of the campers who come each year. The lake has always been central to the camping experience; even before jet boats were invented. The style of bathing suits may have changed, but the memories created in the lakes stay the same. The cabins may have been without porches then, but the stories and late night conversations inside of them were as special then as they are now. The camp has seen many upgrades throughout the years, but the feeling that camp gives campers throughout the summer never changes.


If campers from last summer were to sit down with campers from 50 years ago, they would have a lot in common. They would be able to trade stories about competing in Olympics, and they would be able to bust out the lyrics to some of the camp’s most popular songs, songs that haven’t changed since day one. They would be able to reminisce about the delicious camp lunches, the campfires, and all of the different sports and activities that filled up their days at camp. Even though a lot of time has passed, campers from 50 years ago would recognize camp as a place where they felt cared about, understood and accepted. Campers from last summer would be able to talk about new facilities, updated cabins and high-tech classes and workshops, but would be familiar with the overall feeling of acceptance and encouragement that is the foundation of Camp Starlight.


Camp must change in order to meet the needs of the incoming generations of campers. It must have a sense of flexibility and growth to cater to new campers while holding on to its foundational values and traditions that have made it the camp it is today.  Camp is constantly changing and improving, but as always, is committed to being a place of friendships, fun, and life-long learning.

10th/11th Grade Boys Basketball

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 10.14.04 AMSport: Boys Basketball

Age: 10th/11th Grade

Date: 7/8/16

Wayne County Update

Basketball vs. Chen-a-wanda

On Friday, Camp Starlight’s 10th/11th grade boys basketball team took on Camp Chen-a-wanda and achieved victory in a close 49-43 win. The team played well as sa team all game. Starlight lead the entire game and never gain their opponents the chance to gain the lead. Ethan E. had 18 points and lead the team in scoring. Dylan H. and Dylan T. each had 9 points. Additionally, Owen B. had 3 points. Final Score 49-43.

Waiting for Camp!

Monday, June 6th, 2016

IMG_2983 2Something changes in our schools once we get back from spring break. Our brains switch from “I need this break” to “summer is right around the corner!” In most states, the temperatures are rising, and all of us (and probably our teachers!) are counting down the days until freedom.

But to be honest, kids who are going to Camp Starlight have it the worst. Our anticipation, our anxiousness to hurry up and start the best summer of our lives has GOT to be 100 times worse than kids who are having an ordinary summer. They have sleeping in and video games to look forward to, but we have kayaking, rock climbing, campfires, mountain biking and waterskiing to do! We have old friends to catch up with and new friends to make. We have weeks and weeks of adventure and fun to look forward to, and the days until summer seem to just creep by!

Kids who are returning to Camp Starlight for a second, third or seventh time already have their bags packed with the necessities (and have learned that you really don’t need any more or any less than what they list of the suggested packing list.) Camp returnees have already reached out to friends from last year to rave about what is to come, and make plans to meet as soon as they step foot on campus. They know how much fun awaits them, and waiting to get back can seem like torture!

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 4.38.53 PMKids who are coming to camp for the first time have a different kind of excitement. They check and re check the website to get them fired up for what is to come. They are anxious about leaving home for the first time, but can’t help but smile at the idea of spending weeks away from home, trying new things and meeting new people. When people ask them what they are doing over the summer, they do their best to explain every single program and activity that is available, and have photos of camp in their bag to pull out at any moment and show anyone who is willing to listen.

The difference between the two groups is that the kids who are returning have a small part of them that is a bit more patient. We know the first day at camp will come, and once it does, the rest of the summer will be a total whirlwind. Days fly by in the blink of an eye, and before we know it, we’ve put on plays, played sports, faced fears, overcome challenges, laughed until we cried, learned to sail or wakeboard or swim, went camping, and then the day of tearful goodbyes will be upon us. They say “time flies when you’re having fun,” and nothing is more true than when you’re spending the summer at camp. Time seems to be on overdrive and goes by in a flash. But it’s worth it and it is what keeps us coming back year after year.

First timers think they know what they’re looking forward to, they think they know what awaits them, but a summer camp experience like this is something you can’t really understand until you experience it.

Something feels different in our hallways around this time of year. While we’re still focused on ending the year on a high note, half of our brains are already swimming, singing campfire songs, scoring homeruns, playing laser tag after the sun goes down and conquering the ropes course. Summer is right around the corner, and for kids who get to spend it at Camp Starlight, it can’t get here soon enough.


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.