Posts Tagged ‘summer camp programs’

Simple Kindness as a Standard

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

When I walk around campus I’m surrounded by inspiration and I’m always surprised when more often than not inspiration walks straight up to me. Taking a second to myself to appreciate the sweeping valley of trees, shades of light to dark green portray a gradient of texturized forests. It’s like looking at a landscape painting at the Metropolitan or Art Institute of Chicago, but instead of moving on to the next landscape after a few moments of silent viewing, you are alive for as long as you want inside this painting. In this case I was noticing how the trees follow a wave like pattern in the valley that mirrors the placement of slow rolling puffy clouds in the sky above when an Upper Plebe simply called out to me. “Want to join us?”

He was smiling up at me and extended out his golf club to me to take and play along with his game of golf. Standing in the grass a few feet away from he, he waiting patiently for my reply and this pause made me realize he was genuine in asking his question. Before I replied I looked back again to the driving range where many Upper Plebes were launching golf balls into the sky. I look back to the Upper Plebe and answer, “Yes, I will join you.” “Great! My name is Mason.”

Mason’s question may have been simple but his implications are much deeper. When he asked me–just another staff member that happened to walk by the golfing activity–that question, he asked more of me than just joining a game of golf. He asked me to join his friends, his community and to become a part of his summer, a time in his life he always looks forward to and regrets leaving in August. This is an honor to be invited into a child’s world and be presented with the opportunity to help him become a better individual, or sometimes to just play a game of golf.

Mason’s small act of kindness plays a huge part in highlighting what kind of special place Camp Starlight represents. This place is more than just a summer camp, it is a world where kindness, friendship, trust and the initiative to share happiness with others, regardless if you know them or not, are the pillars that hold this place up and together.

Digital Photography at Camp Starlight

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Taken by Camp Starlight camper Brooke E.

New Counselors at Camp Starlight

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Just like many new campers, I step one foot in front, then the other follows along, as I explore the Camp Starlight campus for the very first time as a new counselor. I notice how big and tall the trees are and the dew on the grass soaking through my shoes. Just after a few steps, all my senses come alive–almost awakened. The sunlight shines and lights up all the particles of dust in the air that my presence has kicked up, transforming even the smallest elements of nature into dancing fairies. A celebration of natural life bloomed all around me. The vast open sky above affirmed that this special place holds no bounds for what can happen next, magical or real. Once you arrive at Camp Starlight you realize the idyllic summer that is Camp Starlight, this is where the true blossoming celebration takes place. To pass along through the road is just the beginning to experience the celebration.

Camp Starlight Opening Show

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

On the first day of camp, the overflow of emotions from the bus arrivals don’t settle once the hugs are embraced and each high five has been returned with enthusiasm, this is when the celebration only begins. Fast forward to the unpacking the Camp Starlight gear, sports equipment and precious stuffed animals, the bunks are filled with decorations of old memories, but all returning campers know to leave a large amount of space for the new memories they will make this summer. Since the sun is setting just in time for the stars to peek through the night sky, the opening show is ready to be begin.

For the first time this summer the entire camp gathers in the Rec Hall for the Opening Show and the camp is ready to make their official grand welcome. The lower juniors are excitedly curious to see the show for the first time in the front rows while the seniors happily embrace the nostalgia for seeing the show for the last time in the back. Regardless of age, every camper will stretch their neck, their eyes and even their toes to watch every song and dance–the audience is just as engaged as the performers on stage. It’s as if you feel tiny fairies pull the corner of your cheeks upward in a smile as soon as you enter that rec hall and the chords of the first song is played. A happiness so natural occurs among all the campers and staff it makes you feel so warm on the inside you start to wonder if you’ll melt into a puddle of bliss right there. The cheers are contagious, the laughter spreads and by the end of the show every individual–old and new–is swaying arm and arm with each other, singing the lyrics to songs as if they have been singing at camp their whole lives. The voices join into one glorious union and when you catch a glimpse into a camper’s eyes, you see they have finally come all the way back home at Camp Starlight. The opening show is not just a songs and dances, it’s a homecoming.

Off the Buses & Into Our Arms

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Suspense is thickening in the air as all staff gather on the field to welcome the Starlight campers for the summer of 2017. Counselors have been waiting over a week, some two, passing the time with an extensive orientation program that amps up their excitement even more. Pre-Camp workers have been eagerly waiting a month and have passed the time through camp preparation, ensuring Starlight is the most beautiful it can be for their campers. Not to mention that many staff members have been patiently waiting years for the opportunity to inspire and encourage a community of campers, a thrill that all new counselors experience for the first time and an adrenaline rush that all returning counselors are addicted to. All these seconds, hours, days and years have accumulated into this single moment and the electric anticipation is more than tangible, you can reach your hand out into the air and feel how highly charged the atmosphere of camp is on the very tips of your fingers. The buses roll through the gates, park in the untouched grass and the horns on the buses ring out to affirm that the campers are finally here.

The campers burst out of the bus doors and the counselors explode in cheers and celebrating the arrival at their summer home. They will spend the rest of summer sharing stories, eating s’mores, singing classic traditional camp songs and laughing beside at the end of each evening activity. It is a moment that sparkles in your memory when you will think back to this day 1 year or 10 from now. The way the campers sprint to say hello to their old counselors or friends from camp is of the purest joy–it’s all in their wide genuine smiles and an honor to see the world in their eyes.

Everything has led up to this moment, this experience, this family.

Farm To Camp: A Summer Camp Experience With A Grown Up Twist

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Something amazing is happening on August 26th-27tht, an event that combines the adventure and experience of summer camp with the delicacy of gourmet food from around the region. Farm to Camp is an adults-only summer camp experience packed into one amazing weekend. From a waterfront cocktail hour and a five-star meal under the stars to a wide variety of indoor and outdoor summer camp themed activities, this is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Eat

Farm to Camp starts off with a sunset cocktail party, where campers can mingle with new friends and taste local wines before dinner. After cocktails, an eight-course meal is served at a long table under the stars, surrounded by soft lighting and the gorgeous surroundings of Camp Starlight. Prepared by culinary geniuses, an extensive dinner menu featuring local and organic options will leave taste buds in a state of bliss. Fresh produce from farmers in the Pennsylvania and NY area, and guests all come together for a meal to remember. Even the tableware and serving dishes are environmentally friendly, adding another organic element to this incredible meal. Each plate is handcrafted not only for exceptional taste but for beauty as well. This is sure to be a meal to remember. In the morning, enjoy another exceptional, farm-fresh meal for brunch before you head home.

Play

Before the sunset cocktail hour, guests can spend the day feeling like a kid again by participating in many traditional summer camp activities. From tennis and softball to fitness classes and volleyball, guests can experience some of their favorite childhood activities, or branch out and try something new. When was the last time you let your guard down and had some good, clean fun? If it’s been too long, Farm to Camp will be a breath of fresh air. After dinner, guests can explore the grounds, socialize around the campfire, make S’mores, or dance the night away to the beats of a late night DJ.

Sleep

There’s only one thing to do after a day of fun and good food: Sleep. Guests can shower, unwind and relax in one of the camp cabins, complete with electricity and hot water. Campers can meet new friends by being assigned to a cabin with other guests, or choose in advance to stay with people they know. Private rooms are also available at an extra charge.

Farm To Camp allows guests to relive the summer camp of their childhood with a grown up twist. It allows campers to enjoy healthy, gorgeous, organic meals with good friends and good wine in a weekend that will make them feel like a kid again.

 

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.

 

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.

Keeping Active After Camp

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-2-41-41-pmUnless you live on 100+ acres of grassy fields, on a lake, complete with swimming pools and tennis courts, an equestrian center and hundreds of your closest friends (and if that is the case, lucky you!) then it may be hard to stay as busy and active at home as you do when you are at camp. When you spend your summer at camp, you are surrounded by nature, you have access to almost every sport and activity you could imagine, and it is easy to spend your days literally running from one adventure to another. Campers can’t help but feel exhausted at the end of the day; thanks to all of the activity they do on a daily basis.

When it’s time to come home, some campers find it easy to fall back into their more laid back routines, consisting of a lot of computer time, TV time and video games. Some campers start to spend more time sitting down inside than enjoying the outdoors, and this can lead to unhealthy snacking, weight gain and an overall feeling of sluggishness.

However, it is easy to take some of the things you learned at camp and apply them to your normal routine when you are back at home. You may not live on a lake, but you can still get outside and enjoy the sunshine. You may not have access to a soccer field, but you can still get outside with a few friends and kick a ball around. You may not have a swimming pool in your backyard (or live in a place where swimming is realistic during the fall and winter) but you can still go for a run, start a pick up game of baseball with other kids in the neighborhood, or put together a dance routine to impress your family after dinner. There are many ways to stay active while you are at home, and you don’t need a huge campus or counselors to help you do it.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-2-42-56-pmStaying active during the fall and winter months is very important to your overall health. When you feel good physically, other aspects of your life seem to follow. Your confidence begins to improve, which helps you build healthy and strong relationships. Exercise has been scientifically proven to release hormones that help you focus in school, help you get a good nights sleep, and help to promote strong bones and muscles. It is great for your heart, and the endorphins released when you exercise gives you an overall great sense of happiness.

Many campers are introduced to a sport while at camp, and then choose to continue pursuing that sport throughout the school year. If you loved soccer at camp, why not try out for the school team? If you really loved gymnastics at camp, why not look into joining competitive after school team? By staying active during the school year, you give yourself months of practice before returning to the sport at camp over the summer. You will be amazed at the progress you can make from one summer to the next, simply by sticking to it throughout the fall and winter.

Staying active at camp is easy, it just comes with the territory. Staying active at home doesn’t have to be hard, and can help improve all areas of your life when you are home. Being active makes you happier and healthier, and is something all campers can do to boost their confidence in the months when they aren’t at camp.

Greetings from Camp Starlight

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

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