Posts Tagged ‘life at summer camp’

Our Camp Videographer!

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Running around campus and never staying in the same spot for too long, videographer Rachel believes she has the best job on campus. Filming by day and editing by night, Rachel is the eye of Camp Starlight, meeting and filming every single camper, counselor and staff member.

“I get to see everything. My work is the representation of Camp Starlight for everyone that is not here at the moment which is so special because I play a part in how the outside world perceives Camp Starlight,” said Rachel. For perspective and current families, campers and alumni, Rachel is able to tell the story of Camp Starlight for all to see.

“On a typical day I wake with my bunk, eat breakfast and then I film for the whole day. I film in the evenings as well and when I have time off I edit footage to create highlights,” said Rachel. As videographer, Rachel captures every sporting event, theatre production, evening activity, dance competition and everything else that goes on at Camp Starlight. Because Camp Starlight is always on the move for the next fun activity, so is Rachel.

“The kids have so much energy and excitement and its so much fun to help draw that out of them because that is where the true essence of Camp Starlight lies,” said Rachel.

Rachel’s ultimate project is creating the Camp Starlight’s yearbook. Summarizing the complete summer in one video is a challenge but Rachel is up for the dare.

“If I could describe my job in one word, it would be ‘magical,’” said Rachel.

1, 3, 5, 6 We Want Olympics!

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

As the summer comes to a close, a feeling of anticipation fills the air. A quiet sound starts to arise that begins to get louder and louder…. “1, 3, 5, 6 we want olympics… 1, 3, 5, 6 WE WANT OLYMPICS!” The sound of this all too familiar cheer echoes across the camp as campers ranging from juniors to seniors clap and shout at the top of their lungs. Even the counselors join along in excitement as they know that the fun and spirit has only just begun.

Breakout

Before we know it, the chants turn into a reality and OLYMPICS IS HERE. We spend all summer guessing what the newest breakout could be, but when it finally comes we couldn’t even IMAGINE how awesome it is! Ice skating at the flagpole? Running around camp to decode the drones’ secret message? What will it be next!? Whether it be at night, during the day, or early in the morning, the surprise of Olympic breakout is destined to be a highlight of everyone’s summer!

When the moment arrives, the entire camp uproars in excitement as the team lists fly into the air and campers search frantically to see whether they are on Blue or White. The Leadership teams are announced and David declares that Olympics has officially begun! The first team meeting kicks off Olympics and it’s time for everyone to get P-S-Y-C-H-E-D!

The Spirit

B-L-U-E we got the spirit! W-H-I-T-E that’s how we spell victory! Dressing up head to toe in your team color and learning the multiple cheers is one of the most fun parts of Olympics. It’s a chance to get decked out and show just how spirited you are! Both during games and in between, campers and counselors alike can be seen walking around camp cheering for their team with the utmost enthusiasm. It’s a time for everyone to bring out their creative, silly, and SPIRITED personalities.

The Events

Aside from the spirit that Olympics brings out, getting to compete in different sports is the best part for many. Olympics is a time for campers to show all that they’ve learned over the summer and bring out their athletic side. From a soccer game on the alumni that goes into a shootout to an intense game of basketball that goes into double overtime, you truly never know what to expect when the Blue and the White face off.

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a major athlete, Olympics has something for every camper to enjoy! A part of Olympics that campers and counselors alike look forward to is the apache relay. Whether it be catching a pancake and eating it, writing with your foot in chalk, or breaking a shirt that’s trapped in ice, the Apache Relay is always an event that is sure to be full of twists and turns that will keep the entire camp in high suspense. For all of our campers and counselors that know their random facts and figures, the Trivia Bowl is a perfect time to shine as the Blue and White battle it out in a series of intense, (and silent!) rounds. And how could we forget one of the biggest parts of Olympics- Sing! As the Blue and White practice with energy and dedication, they are able to show off their talent and hard work when they compete head to head at the Rec Hall.

Closing Ceremonies

In the blink of an eye, the past five days of spirit, intensity, and fun all comes to an end as the teams rush the lake and put a close to our Olympic competition. Later, as both teams come back together and gather around the flagpole to watch the Olympic torch go out, Olympics is officially declared to be over.  Everyone around camp is left in anticipation of what next summer’s Olympics will bring and wishing we could fast forward time.

 

Learning to Compromise at Camp Starlight

Monday, October 10th, 2016

starlightcompromise

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.

9th Grade Boys Basketball

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 7.49.03 AMSport: Boys Basketball

Age: 9th Grade

Date: 7/20/16

Wayne County Update

Basketball vs. Tioga

Starlight’s 9th grade boys basketball team traveled to Tioga and left triumphant! Ben B. finished with 10 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Drew B. added 17 points, making 5-9 3pt shots. Cooper G. started the game very strong, ending with 8 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Ben G. manned the middle of the paint and contributed with 4 points and 4 rebounds. Jaden G. had 5 tremendous blocks, 8 rebounds, and did all of the little things. Off the bench, David M. was a spark with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Final Score 47-7.

The Junior Boy vs. The White Starlight Shirt: A Lopsided Battle

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Written by JJ Weiner

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 4.38.53 PM“How did that shirt get so dirty?” It’s the question that has been baffling Starlight parents for generations. Allow me to pull the curtain back and give you a glimpse of what happens to your son and that shirt during a typical day at camp.

That shirt is going to make three trips to the dining hall today. The junior boys are enthusiastic about their meals, but not all of them have mastered their utensils yet. If it’s pancakes for breakfast, you can be sure that not all of the syrup will stay in a neat dipping pile on their plate. Even though there is a napkin dispenser on each table, sometimes the shirt is just closer. Who really has time for napkins when you’re surrounded by your friends engrossed in a discussion about how great Polar Bear was this morning? And that’s just breakfast. At lunch there will be tomato soup and the dessert at dinner tonight is going to be watermelon. You do the math.

Junior boys lose things. It’s not due to any character flaws or personal shortcomings and it’s not because they’re overwhelmed by all their stuff. They’re eight years old. It happens. That shirt probably was crawling on the floor under a bed during cleanup to find a pair of earbuds.

The next stop for that shirt is the baseball diamond. It’s ground ball drills at Option today. The coach gave you one to dive for and you were happy to oblige. The great thing about Junior Boys is they don’t differentiate between a drill at Option and the seventh game of the World Series. Both get maximum effort.

If you have a few minutes after you come out of the water for swim instruction, there might be time for a sand castle. Junior boys are makers. That shirt will be with you when create a home for salamander that you discovered by the edge of the water.

During rest hour you might decide to join a few boys in the circle. That shirt will lie back in the grass and you’ll use those earbuds you found during cleanup and take a few quiet minutes to stare at the clouds.

It’s candle-making day at Arts and Crafts. You want yours to be a rainbow. A little dye might splash onto that shirt, but it will be worth it when you see the finished product. The counselors were helpful, but you still feel a great sense of independence and accomplishment.

That shirt will be drawn to Gaga during free play. The adrenaline rush is addictive. You’ll dive again. Your knuckles will get a little bit bloody, but there’s no way you’re getting out. You’ll wipe them on your shirt and keep playing. It’s that maximum effort thing again.

At night, that shirt will be part of a skit advertising a time machine. Your friends and counselors will erupt in laughter. A little bit of the face paint you used to turn yourself into an alien will migrate onto that shirt. It’s a small price to pay for the applause of an adoring audience.

This explains what happened to that shirt, but it doesn’t explain why your son loves that shirt. That shirt gives a sense of belonging and community. When you wear your Starlight shirt, you feel proud. Maybe you wore it to your first Wayne County game or maybe you wore it when you got a high five from a senior boy just for being you. That shirt represents an ideal society of freedom, friendship and fun. As a junior boy, once you get that feeling, you want to hang onto it. That shirt is now your favorite and even though it was supposed to go into the laundry, you’re probably going to wear it again tomorrow.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to survive digital detox at camp

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 10.25.44 AMAh, another summer out at camp. The twinkle of stars on a clear night. The whistle of the wind in the trees. The splashing of campers jumping in the lake.

One thing you won’t be hearing, though: the gentle “plink” of Facebook notifications. Summer camp means digital detox!

Depending on how technology-dependant a camper or counselor is, that’s either great news or cause for concern. Well, don’t worry: even if you miss checking Instagram every five seconds, you’re bound to benefit from a little analog me-time. After all, countless studies have shown that constant social media and internet exposure can have negative effects on things like concentration, memory, and even basic happiness.

So here are a few tips for keeping sane without your phone in your pocket.

Keep a journal

Journaling is your number-one weapon in the fight against digital withdrawal, and people have been using journaling as a way of reflecting on their day long before Facebook’s “what’s on your mind” prompt or Twitter’s “What’s happening?”

Think of it as a Facebook update for your future self.

Write letters or postcards

We often seem to forget that email isn’t the only way to keep in touch. Finding a real-life piece of snail mail in the mailbox brings a smile to anyone’s day, and it doesn’t have to take long to do: just scrawl a quick doodle and a “miss you!” on a postcard and drop it in the camp mail. Done!

Tip: bring a stack of postcards pre-stamped and preaddressed with you to camp and you’re one step ahead of the game. All you have to do is write what’s on your mind and let it go; just like email!

Stay in the moment

Staying in the moment is easier said than done. Being able to “just check up on emails” anytime you don’t have something to do quickly turns phones into social crutches for a lot of people.

11539072_10152902437221960_8957652597744731094_oCamp offers you a chance to let that bad habit go — and when you can’t look at your phone during down time, you will find yourself making real connections with the people around you. Next time you want to share “what’s on your mind,” try sharing your thoughts with a person instead of your Facebook.

There’s a time and place for social media, but trust me; you’ll be surprised at what you find when you connect with the people around you first. All you have to do is say “hi!”

9 Things I bet you didn’t know about being a Junior Camper

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

unnamedAs told through the eyes of someone who is glad to know…

By Dena Weiner Junior Girls Division Leader

As you prepare to send your son or daughter off to camp for his or her first summer, you must have so many things rolling around in your head. What will camp be like? How will they thrive without me? Will they make new friends? So many of the things you may be concerned about, turn into the triumphs of a new camper. What you will learn after a few phone calls, vague letters and tight “No, I won’t let go” hugs on Visiting Day, is that the independence they gain will be the most important thing they bring home.

So what are nine things they will learn at Camp Starlight this summer? Let’s start with the first day they get off the bus.

I bet you didn’t know that….

…as soon as their feet touch the grass, they are immediately welcomed by hugs, cheers and circles of new friends. This teaches children that camp is fun and friends are all around us. They also learn that the adults at camp are always their biggest cheerleaders away from home.

…camp is not only a place for kids, but there are others that live on the beautiful hills and lake of camp and they are happy to share their habitat with a zip code worth of people. Camp’s canopy is nothing short of amazing. Every child will take at least one nature hike. On this hike they learn about the flora and fauna of this incredible scenery. They will learn to appreciate what they see and they might even learn to hug a tree, save a spider or listen to the sounds that surround us.

…teeth will get brushed. It might seem like an impossible task to get 10 eight year olds to brush their teeth twice each day, but somehow this mission of importance commences each morning and night. Somehow counselors find time to brush hair, wash faces and hands. Eventually these “chores” become badges of personal growth.

…everyone finds something to eat at camp. Even the pickiest of eaters finds something to enjoy. Sitting down to a meal with a family of friends is a valuable experience that creates something magical. Children learn that talking about your day, setting table routines and having a place to just come together creates an environment that is hard to replicate. It is this feeling of give and take that helps children calmly break bread.

…they will make a new friend at camp. It will probably not be the person you expected. As parents we spend so much time planning their social calendars that we structure their friendships. At camp they get to choose who makes them smile and laugh. It is such a valuable component to being a new camper in a safe and supported place. It teaches them how to seek out the qualities in another person that are important to them. It is these friendships that they will cherish for the rest of their lives.

…new interests will be developed. You might hear your son or daughter tell you that they like playing guitar, doing magic, hurling a lacrosse ball or sewing. They spend 10 months dabbling in extra-curricular activities and 2 months choosing other ones. Where else are you going to learn how to water ski? Every day’s excursions are priceless events. Trying new things teaches children to expect the unexpected and thrive outside out of their comfort zones.

…sunscreen gets applied, nails get clipped, knots get untangled scrapes get cleaned up. Even the Tooth Fairy comes to camp. Children learn that other people besides their moms and dads care for them too. Camp Starlight has lots of “mom & dads.” They are the people who make sure that no stone is left unturned and every need is met.

… sleep happens. Reluctant sleepers who crawl into your beds at night learn how to be self-soothers. Call it exhaustion from a long fun day or excitement for tomorrow’s surprises, but when the head OD checks in to make sure that bunks are quiet and asleep, they really are. Not a peep is heard except the sweet snores of mouth breathers. Children learn that they can put themselves to bed and this precious lesson is worth more than gold.

…talking face-to-face instead of through snaps, texts and instas is possible and fun. Face time will have a whole new meaning. Jacks and knock hockey will be played, songs will be sung and your child will learn to exist without an electronic device. They will even learn to remember fun times without a selfie.

What do these 9 lessons add up to? The self-sufficiency they learn becomes their self-esteem. How long can we cut their steak for them, scrub the shampoo out of their hair or buckle their seatbelts? They have to learn how to do these things by themselves. Remember how much we clapped and cheered when they took their first steps? Remember how much they clapped for themselves? We celebrated their independence. Camp parallels this experience. So as you unpack a summer’s worth of dirty socks in August, think about the steps those socks took. After the laundry is washed, the towels put away and the woodworking projects displayed on the mantel, the one thing that you won’t see in their trunks is their personal growth. You will notice it over time. Your eight year old will ask you for stuffed shells for dinner, they might call a friend in another state, they will brush their teeth without being nagged, and they might even clear their own plates. Consider these priceless gifts as you get them ready for the best summer of their lives!

From Camper To Counselor

Monday, February 8th, 2016

image1The first moment that I stepped off the bus in Starlight, Pennsylvania I got a feeling that I never would have had anywhere else. That feeling is now something that makes up a piece of my heart.

Starlight has given me opportunities that I otherwise would’ve never had. As a child, some of the most valuable lessons I learned were the ones I learned at camp. The most important lesson I learned was the value of true friends.

The girls in your bunk just become the people you spend summer after summer with and winter after winter missing. But as the years dwindled down and your time as a camper grew shorter, you realize that in life it is important to treasure the moments with the people who started out as strangers and eventually became family.

As I carry these friendships into my time as a counselor I embrace new friendships with those who are taking on camp for the first time. I have met people from all around the world with such interesting life experiences that I would never been exposed to had it not been for camp. This is something special that camp has to offer.

The relationships with your campers that you make throughout the summer as their counselor are unforgettable. The campers have the ability to push you to your limits and teach you things about yourself that you might have otherwise never known. Over the seven weeks of the summer you become their role model, a feeling that is indescribable.

As an former camper, I am given the opportunity to give back to Starlight and create lifelong memories for the campers like my counselors had once done for me. My favorite part of being a counselor is seeing the campers’ smiles throughout the summer and tears as they leave, because I know that I have made an impact on their lives forever.

Starlight is such a special place that will remain in my life forever. Every day at school I think about how each day that passes brings me one day closer to being at my happy place. Not every person gets the opportunity to have a home away from home like I do, so every second that I spent at Camp Starlight is a second that I cherish for the rest of my life.

Written by former camper Allix.