Posts Tagged ‘sleepaway camp activities’

Bedtime at Camp Starlight

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Every day at camp is packed with fun, adventure, socialization, physical activities and character building, which can really wear a kid out! For many campers, falling into bed each night is a welcome rest from their busy day, and most campers are so exhausted from a fun and busy day that they are practically asleep before their head hits the pillow.


Bedtime at camp, like everything else, comes with its own set of traditions. It’s so much more than “lights out,” it is a final time during the day for campers to connect with each other, to reflect on their day and to make memories. When everyone is in their pajamas and calming down for the night, campers enjoy hearing their counselors read stories, singing songs, and sharing their favorite moments about the day. As the lights go out, flashlight time allows campers to bond with cabin buddies. This quiet time also gives counselors one extra opportunity to check in with each camper individually and ask about their day and address any specific needs they may have.


Campers love bedtime because it’s like having a sleepover with your best friends, every single night of the summer! There are so many lifelong memories created around the silliness and fun of bedtime at camp. Campers have alone time to read, journal, or just have some quiet time before they go to sleep. Campers get excited about the “down time,” and some are so tired from a fun-packed day that they’re asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. Veteran campers will attest that bedtime is a bonding time and that many deep, important conversations happen during this time that serves to strengthen relationships between them.


If anyone can get kids and teenagers excited about bedtime, it’s Camp Starlight. Campers get a good night’s sleep and are well rested and in the morning, are ready for another day of swimming, biking, climbing, dancing, laughing, playing and experiencing the best summer of their lives.







Ask Me More about Camp

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar…
Your child comes to you and says, for what seems like the billionth time, “Ask me more about camp.” It’s now December and you’ve heard some of the stories so many times that you can actually recite them along with her.  You wonder what odd but amusing little story your little one has managed to scour from the back of her mind that somehow involves the solitary five minutes of summer camp about which you haven’t yet heard.  While you’re doing this, your child only grows more impatient, “Go ahead.  Ask me,” this time becoming so excited that she hops up and down a couple of times and appears to be choreographing her own little “ask me more about camp” dance, which somewhat tops the bemusement of the time she sang for you to ask.

You can’t resist her enthusiasm because you think it’s great to see her this excited about anything other than the latest episode of iCarly, so you cave and wait for her mile-a-minute relay of some cute story about that time she held hands with six friends and they all jumped off the water trampoline and made a really big splash, which was really funny because it made so many waves that it almost tipped over a paddleboarder nearby…No, really it was SO funny!  Or the time they went on the nature walk, and it started raining, and they were trying to hurry back to camp, but they slipped in the mud…THAT was the funniest! You’re still trying to get the stains out of the shirt she was wearing that day, but you get an image in your head, having seen the photographs of your child and her friends covered in mud the camp posted on its website, and knew from the ear-to-ear grin that she was obviously having the time of her life, and you have to chuckle because, yes, it’s funny.

Your child starts a new story about a soccer game and how her friend had really wanted to score a goal all summer at camp but really wasn’t that good at soccer, so she blocked another player so the friend could try to score. And you realize that even though you might get asked to quiz her about camp a few hundred more times before the line turns into “I can’t wait to go back!” you don’t mind because you realize that hearing about little moments like this is nice. Not only did your child just have the time of her life, her enthusiasm in sharing her experiences with you adds great value to your decision to send her to camp because not only is she having fun but she’s learning valuable life lessons.

Past the Post Camp Lull

Monday, November 5th, 2012

It’s here.  The lull.  The point at which the reality has set in that summer is over but next summer isn’t quite real enough.  By now, most of us have shared our favorite memories of camp at least a half dozen times with anyone who will listen  and we’ve actually started to settle into our fall habits, even if we still catch ourselves humming camp songs in that off moment while riding in the car or doing homework.  There is a peacefulness about this time of year, though, because it’s the point at which we really begin to grasp the summer couple of months, reflect on them, and embrace the memories of them.  Believe us!  We’re not joking when we say that for those of us at camp, the summer passes with lightning speed.  Blink more than once and miss it speed, in fact.

It’s hard to really take it all in in the moment.  But one of the best things about camp is that it is something that can be savored.  Henry David csluThoreau wrote, “But the place which you have selected for your camp, though never so rough and grim, begins at once to have its attractions, and becomes a very centre of civilization to you.”  And he was right.  Camp is as much a mindset as it is a place.  For the next ten months, things will regularly happen that will remind us of something that happened at camp.  Whether it was a heart to heart with a counselor, a favorite activity, or even just the adventurous spirit that comes with discovering something new, each summer at camp is full of about a million opportunities to learn just a little bit more about life, some of them impossible to realize until well after the original moment has passed but each of them capable of taking campers and staff back to that “place.”

Learning the Value of Tradition at Camp

Friday, October 12th, 2012

The holidays are around the corner.  During that time of year, the word “tradition” gets thrown around a lot.  But how many people actually understand what tradition is really?  Perhaps it’s the emphasis on forward thinking and constantly in-motion global community that has caused many to confuse “tradition” with “routine.”  They’ve both become something that we do on a regular basis in order to establish or maintain a consistency or pattern in our behavior.  So what really distinguishes “tradition” from “routine”?

First, routine is something that one person does but might not necessarily have in common with others.  Most people brush their teeth at some point in time in the morning.  Few people do it at exactly the same time.  Some shower first.  Others eat breakfast.  Eventually, everyone brushes their teeth but the experience is, for all intents and purposes, individual.  There is no shared significance.

Tradition, on the other hand, is by definition community oriented.  It’s a shared custom, belief, or activity with a common understanding of the reason for its practice.  Many of us eat turkey at Thanksgiving because we symbolically associate it with that first meal between the pilgrims and native Americans.  It’s a tradition.

Second, routine, unlike tradition, is not necessarily multi-generational or even long-term.  It’s something done for a specified length of time.  While we maintain some routines for all or much of our lives, others are short term.  If one gets the flu, for instance, one might temporarily take up a routine of antibiotics.  But once the flu subsides, so does that routine.

On the other hand, tradition is something that is a common bond between multiple generations.  It’s an acknowledgment that an event or action was significant to someone tied to our past, and the observance of traditions our way of paying tribute to that event or action as well demonstrating our understanding of it.

Finally, routine is task oriented.  We take up routine in order to accomplish a goal.  There is an intended result in routine.  Tradition, however, is an observance.  Routine is a way of moving forward, whereas tradition pays tribute to the importance of the past.

By now, you’re surely asking yourself what any of this has to do with summer camp. Simply this: in a culture that places a significant amount of importance on the establishment of routine, the value of tradition is increasingly less understood and appreciated.  Summer camps, however, are grounded in tradition.  They’re  a place where campers and staff members alike get refresher courses in the power of tradition.  Whether it’s at a campfire, a sing along, or an activity specific to the camp, there are literally hundreds of opportunities every summer for those at a summer camp to bond through tradition.  Many former summer campers and staff members actually name “tradition” as one of their highlights of summer camp.  So if tradition has become an element of holidays past, consider giving your children a future opportunity to enjoy tradition at summer camp in 2013.

Take Me–Or Lower Camp–Out to the Ballgame

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

One trip to which each division looks forward every year is a trip to see one of the local professional baseball teams.  This year, everyone enjoyed the Binghamton Mets.  The Binghamton Mets are the Minor League affiliate of a slightly better known team of Mets…The New York Mets.  Most campers enjoy the time at the Mets game socializing with their friends and (frequently) visiting the concession stand.  But, hey, we have baseball fans here at Camp Starlight.  So we set out to find out, out of sheer curiosity, who won the game the night that Camp Starlight Lower Camp paid a visit.  First we asked the Junior Girls, who were happy to report that Camp Starlight was captured by the candid cam on the stadium’s jumbo screen, which was SO COOL.  But weren’t really sure who’d won the game.  Next, we tried the Inter Girls, who thought the ice cream was awesome.  They had a lot of fun with their friends.  No word about the score.

Well, baseball is really more of a boys sport anyway, isn’t it?  So we headed over to boys camp.  The Junior Boys could tell us that the Mets lost. Yay! (Yay that the Junior Boys knew that the Mets lost not yay that the Mets lost.) They couldn’t tell us the score.  How about who they played?  No dice.  Okay, did they have fun?  Yes!  On to the Inter Boys…Someone ate an entire tub of popcorn.  Someone else thought the hot dogs were awesome.  The Mets had played a team that started with an H.  They didn’t know the Mets lost, and they’d forgotten the score.  But it was SO MUCH fun!  We finally checked the website to get to the bottom of mystery…The Mets did lose.  They also played a team that started with an H.  Harrisburg, to be exact.  The score was 3-2.  The Mets may not have scored big, but our Lower Camp’s scored HUGE fun for the evening!

Lower Camp Rules the Roost!

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Two of the most special days for Lower Camp each summer are Junior and Inter Day.  For two whole days Upper Camp is away, and our Lower Camp divisions each get a turn to rule the camp on opposite days respectively.  Even more special than having virtually the entire camp to themselves, they get to engage in a day of specially planned themed activities.  From Intergalactic and international events to a rahoo festival, the Inters had an action packed day filled with fun, a little competition, and a lot of bonding.  Meanwhile, the Juniors are having a blast with their Junior Aquarium and Karate Kid themes.  For both Inters and Juniors there has been lots of water activities—including, yes, lots of tubing and paddle boarding.  There have also scavenger hunts, games, string webs, and everyone’s favorite dinners, cookout for the Inters and spaghetti tacos for the Juniors.  As for the rest of camp, everyone returns from their trips on Wednesday and the buses will barely be out of camp before we start hearing that familiar cheer…”1,3, 5, 6.  We want Olympics!”  It’s surreal that we’re already this far into the summer.

Miss Starlight 2012…Plenty of Pomp and Circumstance

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Miss Starlight…Part mock beauty pageant.  Part Camp Starlight’s take on dress up.  Each girls bunk chooses a male camp staff member and transforms him into a pretty pretty princess…or something like it.  The contestants then strut their stuff on stage in a display of pageantry and talent that would put—well—really no one to shame.  But it’s all still very funny and fun to watch.  Fortunately, the contestants are not only great sports when it comes to their “makeovers” but they’re incredibly inventive when portraying the characters their bunks have invented for them.  Whether Scandinavian royalty, country girls, or even elderly women, they put their heart and souls into their performances as they fight to win the title for their respective girls bunks.  This year, girls bunk 18 proved themselves the most likely to land their own reality makeover show in their transformation of Armani, who every other day but the one on which he emerged as Miss Starlight 2012, is normally a counselor in boys bunk 21.

MTV Night 2012: A Rockin’ Good Time!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

MTV Night 2012 was a close competition with thirteen divisional winners battling it out for overall champion.  From remixes to movie soundtracks, the music was about as varied as the costumes.  Everyone fabulously demonstrated why they’d won their divisional titles with excellent lip syncing, dancing, and choreography.   The judges had a really tough decision, but in the end Junior Girls bunk 6 edged out the Senior Boys of the Lodge to take the title with a number called Waka Waka.  Congratulations to girls bunk 6 for their victory and to all of the competitors for putting together some extremely entertaining acts!

A Visit to Fairyland with the Lower Junior Girls

Friday, July 20th, 2012

The Lower Junior girls recently traveled via carriages Fairyland, where they had a fairy party at which they visited with fairies, built fairy houses, made magic wands, wrote fairy tales, and then shared them.  It was clear from the very imaginative stories that we heard that we have quite a few blooming authors here at Camp Starlight.  The stories were so creative and entertaining, that we decided to share some of them:

Once there was a very famous man.  He lived in New York and loved magic and rally had great times doing magic.  I love magic, just like that man!  So this man was very nice and loved this trick.  The trick was about turning people into frogs.  I think it’s okay to give love magic and had a great time and he loved magic.—Katie, Bunk 2

Once upon a time, there was a mermaid.  Her name was Patricia.  She wanted to learn how to fly, but her mother would never let her because flying was above the water.  One day, Patricia swam away and left her parents and flopped to shore, and for some reason, she got legs and she started to walk, but she fell a lot.  At 12:00 a.m., she had to go because of her parents.  She did sooo much in only one day!  At about 11:00 p.m., she climbed back into the water and got her fins and swam back to her cozy bed. –Hanna W., Bunk 2

Once, a princess came along a trail of fairy dust.  She followed the trail until she saw something.  It was green.  Guess what it was.  It was Shrek’s cousin.  At first, all the princess did was stare.  Then they just walked side by side.  Then the princess was returned to her castle and the ogre was never seen again. –Dori, Bunk 1

Once upon a time, there was a little girl at home with her parents.  She said, “I am sick of this shirt.  I am going to change it. “ But when she got to her closet, she saw an ogre.  She said, “OMG!  I saw an ogre!”  Her parents said it was a stuffed animal.  She felt better. –Carly, Bunk 2

Once upon a time, there was a leprechaun that lived in Arizona, and it never rained there.  So there was never any rainbows.  He couldn’t last after a few years, so he went on a gurney to find a rainbow.  He went so far and one day he sat on a log, but that was not an ordinary log.  Fairies lived in it and a fairy named Tinker Bell.  And he asked if she knew where there was a rainbow.  She said there was a camp called Starlight and there was a rainbow there everyday.  She too him there and he lived there for the rest of his life.—Hannah S., Bunk 2

One day, there were two children wondering in the Starlight woods.  They came upon a strange little house.  One of the children asked, “What is in here?”  So the child started to shake the house.  A leprechaun came out and said, “Get off my property!  If you do, I’ll grant you three wishes.”  Then a fairy came and said, “That is just mean.  The children were crying.”  The children wanted three wishes so they got off the property and got three wishes.  They all lived happily ever after.—Juliette, Bunk 1

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess.  She was so pretty but one day there was an ogre who walked into the castle and stole the princess while she was sleeping.  The princess’s name was Belle.  The ogre lived in an old cottage and when the princess woke up, she didn’t recognize where she was.  But the ogre was a very nice man because when the princess woke up, he was making scrambled eggs and coffee, and she kissed the ogre and he turned into a prince.  They lived happily ever after.—Skyler, Bunk 1

SWF: A Recap

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

For all of this year’s SWF teams, it was a night of romping around in a wrestling ring filled with…something slimy and orange.  The first match pit team Niko against Team Lachlyn and it wasn’t a match to determine which one was the cutest.  Honestly, could we really declare a winner in that battle?  It was a down and dirty showdown to see which team would emerge victorious—until next year.   The match was a close one but Team Lachlyn nudged Team Niko to come out on top.  The kitchen staff took on the maintenance staff in the next round.  It seems working in maintenance builds more muscle than working in the kitchen…at least for Omar.  Other battles included: The Avengers Battle Royal (The Incredible Hulk still knows how to take out his opponents!); a fight amongst the seven dwarfs for Snow White (Prince who?  This match was a charm for Sneezy.); the Camp Starlight Winter Staff versus—well—“other” camps (Let’s hear it for A. Lee, LJ, and Patrick!); and a Battle of the Bands with Lady Gaga coming out on top of One Direction, Justin Bieber, the Spice Girls, Nicki Minaj, and Kei$ha (Are we really surprised that the victor was someone who wears costumes made of meat?).  In the grand showdown, Jason was unable to hold onto his title for another year as Evan emerged the new SWF champion…And that’s your SWF 2012 recap!