Posts Tagged ‘summer camp meals’

Natural Rhythms: The Timeless Traditions that make Camp Special!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Camp is super-duper fun… but every summer camper (or camp counselor) knows that with the fun comes a dash of craziness!


The days are packed with activities, and among those activities are tons of quirky camp traditions.


One of the most special things about summer camp is how traditions are passed on through returning campers and counselors.


Here are a few of our favorite classic camp traditions!

Flag Ceremonies


No morning is complete without the traditional Camp Starlight flag ceremony! Like the traditional evening campfire, flag-raising is a time for everyone at camp to gather together and remember that we’re all in it together. (And of course, double-check that no one overslept!)


Like with everything at camp, there is always time to be a little goofy, and flag ceremonies are no exception. From spontaneous camp songs to call-and-response games, you never know what the counselor’s are going to pull out of their sleeves!



Ah, the sweet smell of soot and s’mores…


No camp would be complete without a campfire. Community campfires are a time for the entire group to come together for songs, dance, theater, and of course the infamous talent shows.


Usually the campfire starts with fast, silly songs and a few games to get everyone grounded and relaxed. As the night progresses, slower songs and fun stories are shared around the fire until it’s finally time to say goodnight and return to the cabins. (And brush our teeth! That means you!)

Mealtime songs



Mmm, lunchtime — everyone’s favorite activity of the day!


(Aside from breakfast and dinner, that is.)


Feeding dozens of campers at the same time would be chaotic if there were no traditions to make mealtime run smoothly. Everyone has to “sing for their supper,” so it’s no surprise that so many camp songs center around food. “Heeeey burrito!”


Camp songs may be one of the strangest traditions to those who have never been to camp — but these ridiculous jingles are something that campers everywhere have in common!

Traditions that keep on giving

Summer camp is an integral part of American life, and the rhythm of day-to-day life lets everyone play their part in the story.


From all-camp events like dances, talent shows, and barbecues, to specific hiking songs, camp life has something for everybody. Trust us, you’ll get into the swing of things before you know it.


…And before long, you’ll be ready to participate in the best camp tradition of all — making your own!

What’s in a Summer Camp Meal?

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Continuing with our series about camp nutrition, in this blog we will address one of the most common inquiries made by parents who are considering sending their children to summer camp:  What will they eat? While the food itself may vary from camp to camp, the strategy behind menu planning is inevitably the same—to provide nutritious meals that also replenish depleted energy levels.  One recent critique of summer camp menus is the tendency for them to be heavy on carbohydrates.  Admittedly, camp menus are typically carb-loaded.  This is not carelessness on behalf of camp menu planners.  It’s intentional.  Remember that children are much more active at sleepaway camp than they are at home.  Most parents have heard their child’s sports coach advise players to eat pasta to boost energy before a big game.  The average day at summer camp, however, may involve three or four sports lessons or games, including at least one to two hours of swimming, followed by an evening of fun activities.  It’s important that children eat foods that help them maintain stamina and endurance.

Most camp breakfasts include a hot choice such as breakfast sandwiches, eggs, pancakes, and/or oatmeal.  Additionally, there is often a cereal bar daily as well as a fruit, bagel, and yogurt bar.  Of course, just like at home, there is the occasional donut treat on special days.  Lunch is usually served three to four hours after breakfast and is often the same go-to meals that many children enjoy at home, such as sandwiches, soup, mac and cheese, or pizza.  Although items like chips are often offered when sandwiches are served, Camp Starlight now serves only baked chips.  Most camps also offer a pretty extensive salad bar at lunch as well.  During the afternoon, Camp Starlight has a fruit break during which fruit is distributed.  Evening meals follow the conclusion of the regular daily program activities and a break that allows campers and staff to return to their bunks and prepare for evening activities (usually about four hours after lunch).  They typically include a protein and a couple of vegetable sides. Most camps also offer the same or slightly larger version of the same salad bar featured at lunch and some camps also offer a vegetarian alternative to meals that feature meat as well some sort of alternative, like a pasta bar, for those staff and campers who tend to be very particular about their food choices.  Summer camp dinners also feature a dessert of some type.  On some days, it may be jello, fruit, or popsicles.  On others, it may be brownies, cookies, or ice cream sundaes.  Juice and water are typically available at all meals.  Soda is rarely or never offered outside of special areas such as canteens, which are designated places at camp where children can go a few times a week and enjoy a treat, such as a candy bar, a soda, or, if they prefer, a healthier alternative such as a big pretzel.  Some Camps also distribute a light snack before bedtime while some make one available throughout the day for those campers whose energy levels run low between meals.

Weekly cookouts are as big of a tradition at Camp Starlight as campfires and sing alongs.  Cookouts usually consist of standard backyard barbeque fare—hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, and a potato offering of some sort (or baked chips).  Just like at home, food for cookout is prepared on a grill.  The hot dogs and hamburgers are not fried in oil.

One aspect of eating as summer camp that is missing from most campers’ home lives is the opportunity for constant grazing.  At summer camp, with the exception of designated fruit and snack breaks, children eat at mealtimes.  The dangerous combination of boredom mixed with a kitchen in close proximity is removed.  Camp Starlight does not specifically limit portions or helpings but we do discourage campers from unnecessarily wasting food by attempting to eat more than their stomachs can comfortably handle.

Most parents, as one may conclude after reading about what’s in a camp meal, are pleasantly surprised by camp meal offerings.  Some even find that their children’s eating habits actually improve because of summer camp.  The point to remember, however, is that regardless of which foods are served, almost all summer camps carefully plan menus in consideration of activity levels, appeal, schedule, and nutrition.  Decisions concerning summer camp meals are never random but always with healthy habits in mind.