Posts Tagged ‘summer camp traditions’

Bunk Plaques Add to Growing Starlight History

Monday, August 28th, 2017

The history of Camp Starlight is as deep and diverse as an ocean, full of life and a variety of characters, this summer camp contains an endless amount of history. There are so many stories that can be told within the gates of Starlight.

One way to leave your bit of history and to make your camp story last a lifetime is through the tradition of decorating a bunk plaque at the end of the summer. With the help of everyone inside your bunk, a plaque is given to every bunk on boys and girls side to decorate however they like to tell a story about their summer. Inside jokes and funny incidents are often inscribed on these wooden plaques, the paint depicts all the fun these campers have experienced this summer. No matter what is painted or dusted with glitter, the plaque symbolizes all the fun Camp Starlight was able to provide for these campers.

The plaque allows for a bunk to bond over all the good and sometimes the rough times of the summer, reminiscing over everything they have gone through together and will remember for the rest of their lives. This tradition is so special in the way it brings all the campers and counselors together, reminding everybody of how they were able to overcome challenges and accomplish goals as a bunk, the summer wouldn’t have been the same without everyone in the bunk taking part in helping each other.

These plaques are forever hung in the Dining Hall of camp, the one place everyone is gathered for important times of the day. When you look up at your plaque from this summer or summers ago, you are able to remember all the amazing memories you have made at Camp Starlight and the unique experiences you wouldn’t be able to participate in anywhere else. With your plaque, your history is forever a part of Camp Starlight’s.

The 8 Reasons You’re Already Excited About Summer 2017

Monday, January 30th, 2017

If you’re already planning and excited about next summer, you’re not alone. You’re one of the many campers who make going away to camp a part of their summer experience year after year. Here are 8 reasons why you’re already looking forward to summer 2017:

 

  1. You get to see old friends- When asked, most campers say seeing old friends is the #1 reason they are excited to get back to camp. Social media, texting, emails and phone calls throughout the year are great, but there is nothing like after a busy school year reconnecting with old friends!
  2. Campfires- there is something about the singing crickets, the crackling of the fire, good friends all around, S’mores on the fire, and those whacky, silly campfire songs that make summer camp so much fun.
  3. Outdoor Adventures- more than likely, you don’t live in a place where you can easily access an impressive ropes course or mountain biking trails, or the chance to go camping in the mountains. At camp, you have access to all of these adventures just steps from your cabin.
  4. Freedom- You’ve worked so hard all year to get good grades, contribute around the house, participate in sports and other afterschool activities, that summer camp is a nice break from all of those responsibilities. At camp, you’re free to relax!
  5. Special Events- from pool parties and talent shows, to laser tag and MTV night, campers are always excited about special events! You never really know what to expect with these special events, all you know is that it’s going to be awesome and it’ll be a night you won’t soon forget!
  6. Reconnecting with Nature- when you leave camp, it can feel kind of weird to spend the next few months sitting in a classroom, or coming home to sit and play video games. Camp gives you a new appreciation for the outdoors, and being outside all of the time becomes a part of who you are. Many campers are excited to breathe the fresh mountain air, cannonball into the refreshing lake, and experience quiet time with nature throughout camp.
  7. The Food- Even at the best schools, cafeteria food is still cafeteria food, and can get boring after a while. Thankfully, coming to camp means you have a wide variety of food options to choose from, and all of it is delicious! Remember the breakfast sandwiches? Remember the ice cream sundaes? Remember the cookouts? Healthy and delicious options are always available for bust, hungry campers!
  8. The Traditions- if next summer will be your first summer as a repeat camper, you have something really exciting waiting for you! Your time as the new camper is over, and now you’re a P-R-O! You already have a hang of the traditions, the rituals, the songs and customs that happen at camp. You now have the opportunity to teach the new campers! If this is your third or fourth summer returning to camp, you know that even though there are some things that stay the same, every camp experience is new and different and exciting!

 

It’s not too early to start counting down the days until summer 2017. It’ll be here before you know it, and you’ll be packing your bags and heading back to one of your favorite places on the planet. There is so much to look forward to, and these are just SOME of the many reasons kids are already so excited to get back to camp! Why are you pumped about getting back to camp?

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

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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!

Campfires

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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

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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!

How to Make Cool Shadow Animals with Your Flashlight

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

As night falls over Camp Starlight, the loud and crazy activities of the day give way to the whispered and wonderful activities of the evening.

 

Bedtime stories, chilled-out card games, and friendly chatter fill the hour between returning inside and falling asleep.

 

As a camp counselor, you will always need plenty of fun, surprising activities to keep the fun flowing. Learning a few shadow-animals is a sure-fire way to spark campers’ creativity and interest. The best part is, all you need is a flashlight and a wall! (Check and check!)

Level 1: Bear & Alligator

The simplest shadow animals use your thumbs for ears mouths, and can be easily modified to match dozens of recognizable animal faces! Try curling in your fingers to make a snub-nosed pug out of the alligator, or move the bear’s ear over its nose to make a triceratops dinosaur!

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Level 2: Dog and Eagle

Woof woof! Wrap your right hand around the left to add two ears and a defined head-shape to your friendly Fido!

 

Then try using your hands for a flapping bird — one of the oldest tricks in the book. You can spread and curve your fingers to make a creepy spider for some easy heeby-jeebies!

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Level 3: Deer and Mountain Goat

Once you’ve mastered the dog, adding curved horns and and a peep-hole for the eyes can turn it into both a deer and a mountain goat. Getting the shape just right for less recognizable critters than dogs and birds can be tricky, but it’s worth the effort once you’ve nailed it!

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Level 4: Rabbit and Bear Cub

The final step in shadow animal mastery is the jump from faces to full-bodied creatures! The trick here is using one hand for the legs and body while the other takes care of ears and mouth. Getting the angle “just so” is more important here than with easier animals. Once you’ve got it, they can crawl, wave, and give high-fives!

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Bedtime is fun time!

Hand shadows can also add some interactive fun to traditional camp stories, or even make an appearance in your group’s skit or talent show performance!

 

Once you’ve mastered the basics, what other unexpected animals and shapes can you and your campers dream up?

 

Practice at home and be sure to share your creations with us, whether on Facebook or in person!

In the meantime, keep dreaming that camp dream. 😊

 

What to Expect Your First Summer as a Camp Counselor

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.52.13 PMThinking about what you’ll be doing next summer already? If you loved camp as a kid or are now too old to attend Camp Starlight as a camper, think about applying to be a camp counselor at Camp Starlight! Running a successful camp depends mostly on our camp staff.

  1. Being a counselor is the toughest job you’ll ever love! You’re there to work, most likely harder than you ever have in your life. You’re also there to reconnect with the campers and your fellow counselors, form friendships, and make memories!

 

  1. Get ready to be excited about everything! From Ms Starlight to Olympics, teaching skills to singing camp songs, campers feed off of your energy! You are their role model for the entire summer (or at least part of it), so remember that your campers are always watching you to see your reactions. If you’re excited, chances are they’ll be excited too (even about laundry). Make it fun!

 

  1. At Camp Starlight, time moves quickly! When you arrive at camp for orientation in June, you’ll find yourself thinking “August is so far away! I have plenty of time!” The next thing you know it’s the middle of July! It’s important to be present and live in the moment with our campers. It’s the best way to make the most out of your experience over the summer!

 

  1. There is no “typical” day at Camp Starlight. At a 9-5 job, you may have a set routine. This might get boring! Don’t worry- at Camp Starlight things are always changing! We’re always adding new activities and switching up schedules to keep things fresh for campers. Of course, there will be a small routine to your day: staff meetings, teaching various skills, and meals but other than that, come prepared for change daily!

 

  1. You’ll be competitive about everything. From making the best friendship bracelets to lawn games against other groups, everything you do will be weirdly competitive. Even if it doesn’t have to be. This is one of the ways your group shows pride! So, reveal in it and pump your campers up!

 

  1. Get ready to become a craft master. Even if you came to Camp Starlight not knowing how to tie a knot, by the end of the summer you’ll be a bracelet making master!

 

  1. You’ll be pushed outside your comfort zone. This helps you grow! For example, you may be able to avoid some of your fears (of swimming, heights, etc), but you might not be able to get out of being put in the spotlight at one point or another during the season. Revel in it; it’s not too scary!

 

  1. Get ready to embrace your inner athletic side, even if you don’t think you have one! We love games at Camp Starlight, so don’t think you can get away with not participating! Give it your all, and you’ll find that it’s fun! Even if you don’t, do it for your campers!

 

  1. You’ll lose track of days. During your time at camp, you’ll almost never know what day it is. And it doesn’t really matter (as long as you’re not late for a meal or a scheduled activity!). Part of enjoying camp is completely immersing yourself in it!

 

  1. Expect to leave Camp Starlight changed in some way. This summer will have a profound impact on you: the way you live your life, what you care about, and the way you see others. You may not even realize it, but summers at camp will change you for the better!

 

Ready to apply? Visit campstarlight.com/StaffExperience! We hope to see you next summer!

4 Constellations visible from Camp Starlight and how to find them

Monday, September 28th, 2015

UntitledLights out doesn’t have to mean the fun is over; after all, Camp Starlight is the perfect place for stargazing! All you need is a clear sky, a few tips and pointers, and of course a helpful counselor.

Once you figure out how to find the north star, it’s a slippery slope to becoming an astronomy expert. Who wouldn’t want to be knowledgeable about this beautiful universe of ours?

Here are four of the easiest constellations to locate during the summer months at Camp Starlight, and how to find them.

The Big Dipper

For many aspiring astronomers, the big dipper is the first constellation they ever discover. The Big Dipper is visible all year round, making it a dependable friend even if you aren’t an astronomy master.

The distinctive dipper or ladle shape is hard to miss, since it’s composed of a few of the brightest stars in the sky. Take a look at the shape in the picture below; this is what you’re looking for.

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Image source: http://www.instructables.com/

 

Found it? Awesome!

Beyond being dependable, the Big Dipper is your secret key to the celestial world. Once you can find the Big Dipper, you can use it to pinpoint many other constellations.

Now let’s use the Big Dipper to find our next constellation: the Great Bear.

The Great Bear

The Big Dipper is actually part of the Great Bear, so if you’ve already located that elusive ladle then you’re literally halfway there. Hint: the handle of the dipper is the tail of the bear.

Look for the brightest stars directly forward from the dipper part of the Big Dipper to find the bear’s head, and extend downwards from the dipper’s bottom to find the bear’s legs. Can you spy the Big Dipper in this picture?

  Image source: https://misfitsandheroes.wordpress.com/


Image source: https://misfitsandheroes.wordpress.com/

The Little Dipper

The Big Dipper isn’t done helping us; we’re also going to use it to help us find its smaller but no less important sibling, the Little Dipper!

Find the two stars that make the “front” of the Big Dipper and draw a line with your imagination upwards. The brightest star in that line is the end of the Little Dipper’s handle.

Image source: http://astrobob.areavoices.com/

Image source: http://astrobob.areavoices.com/

The Little Dipper is much fainter than the big dipper, and if any wispy clouds are hanging around it might be quite tricky to find. But there is a reward! That bright star forming the end of the Little Dipper’s handle is none other than Polaris, the north star.

If you can get this far, you have everything you need to find your way in the wilderness. North is always the direction of the North Star, which is why sailors used to be so concerned with astronomy in the old days. Pat yourself on the back!

Draco

Everyone loves dragons, so let’s finish by finding the dragon constellation, Draco. We can use the Little Dipper as a reference point, just like we did before.

The snakey part of Draco wraps around the spoon part of the Little Dipper in a giant “s” shape, leading up to the “head” of the dragon — a suspiciously ladle-like four-point star formation, as you can see in the shape here:

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Image source: http://www.rocketmime.com/

Show off your new astronomy skills to your friends!

Astronomy is like everything else at camp: challenging, but rewarding. And most importantly, tons of fun.

The best part about these four constellations is that they’re visible all year around. Be sure to show your friends at camp, or if you’re a counselor, be sure to teach your campers. That way they can take their newfound astronomy skills away with them and show their friends at home!

When they ask where you learned something so cool, you can just say, “at Camp Starlight.”

What a campfire means to a summer camper!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 2.48.44 PMCamp life may thrive on variety, but the traditional evening campfire has remained constant for as long as anyone can remember. The mere mention of a campfire brings back a flood of memories for many summer campers; memories of friends gained, challenges overcome, and a time when all there was to worry about was playing games and growing stronger. Nothing captures the spirit of the summer camp experience quite like the snap-crackle-pop of the hot fire and the magical smell of freshly split logs waiting to get thrown on the flames.

A day at camp is often hectic and wild, and the evening campfire offers everybody a chance to wind down. Camp simply wouldn’t be the same without it. After all, the traditional evening campfire represents more than just a nice way to stay warm on a brisk night; gathering around the fire represents community, the circle of life, and togetherness with friends new and old.

Tradition

Fire has been a life source for all of recorded history, from the first ancient person to rub two sticks together to the diligent camper wielding flint and tinder. For all that time, friends and family have gathered around the fire to tell stories, play games and enjoy good food. (or s’mores, as the case may be!)

Building a fire with only matches, kindling and elbow grease is a chance to pit your wits against nature and enjoy a connection to “the old days” — before light bulbs, or flashlights, or flashlight apps on your smartphone.

Experiencing a campfire, and perhaps even starting one yourself, is a taste of independence for campers, for whom camp is the one of many steps towards independence and self-sufficiency.

Togetherness

Another thing campfires represent is a time for winding down through songs, skits, and theatrical games. Charades is never as funny as just before bedtime, when your best friend is dancing and gesturing desperately to get everybody to guess the right word. Even if you’re feeling tired after a long day of activities, you can count on this to be true: laughter flows freely by firelight. Just watch out for all the camp-related inside jokes!

And of course no mention of campfires is complete without talking about traditional camp songs, especially the kinds that involve audience participation. (“Hey, Burritos!” anybody?) Legend has it that there are campers out there who know so many verses of “The green grass grows all around” that it would take a whole day just to sing it from start to finish. Even if everybody sings out of tune, the harmony comes from the camp community’s commitment to keeping the traditional melodies alive — even the completely goofy ones.

…And of course we can’t forget s’mores!

One part of the fire nobody wants to miss: s’more time! Crafting the perfect golden-brown marshmallow is an art as old as marshmallows and fires. Like any fine art, roasting a marshmallow to perfection is a tricky task that takes hard work and commitment. (Thankfully, perfection is in the eye of the beholder, and truth be told some folks prefer to let them catch fire for a crispy flavor!)

Whether you prefer a classic graham cracker and hershey’s milk chocolate s’more or have your own special recipe — I for one appreciate homemade chocolate chip cookies — roasting marshmallows on a rip-roaring campfire is something nobody forgets.

Plus, it’s just the right amount of sugar to keep you awake for the closing songs, but not so awake that you have trouble drifting into peaceful dreams after lights out!

Camp Starlight S-Day!

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 10.25.44 AMAs the sun rose up on the amazing Starlight lake this morning it marked the last Starlight S-Day of summer 2015. S-Days are what we call our “special days” when the regular program is put on hold, we get to sleep in, have a yummy breakfast and then all kinds of special things happen.

This S-Day was certainly special. It included the four pillars of what Camp Starlight stands for: fun, friendship, teamwork and creativity. The day was packed full of so many great activities. The campus was full of happy and smiling faces as everyone participated in their activities.

As always, each division had a specific theme for S day. For the Junior Girls, it was a water day. Meanwhile the Junior Boys had a survival day where they caught fish and built shelters. Our Lower Inter Girls had a very exciting day as well when they became Rock stars for the day, making music videos and writing songs in our brand new recording studio. Our Lower Inter Girls became captivating movie directors. The Lower Inter Boys competed in a World Series. Our Upper Inter Boys took part in an adventurous all day canoe trip down the Delaware River. All of our Plebe Boys got very hyped participating in the Starlight Football league. Our Starlight Seniors had a very competitive day participating in the Starlight decathlon.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 10.25.11 AMThe day ended with our traditional all-camp cook out and then campers enjoyed the night with their camp siblings. The girls played fun games and the boys participed in a drumming show. S Days are a sacred tradition at Camp Starlight and they are valued by not only the campers but the staff as well, and for good reason – today was a great day.

Camp Starlight Photo of the Day

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

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Backstage: Willy Wonka

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Only at Camp Starlight can rolls of paper be made into something spectacular. Everyone marvels at the finished product of the plays, but often times, people forget those involved backstage. This week, the crew is back and hard at work on Willy Wonka. Upper Senior Dani S. explains that this show creates a whole new tone backstage. “My favorite part about this show is painting the lollypops. We’re using so many colors and it is especially bright and colorful in the Playhouse!” Each period the Inters come in and sing their hearts out for one determined Theater Director, Jeff Moss, who pinches and perfects each number until each is show ready. Blake, the set designer, is busy behind the curtain, helping campers build a perfect set. Madison K., an Upper Senior girl working on the set, explained that, “it’s amazing that we start from scratch each week. We work together to build something beautiful.” And she’s right. There is nothing like it in the world. On Sunday night Jeff Moss will announce “Ladies and Gentlemen” and the show will begin. With eyes peeled, we will clap with enthusiasm and watch all of the hard work that those behind the scenes have put into the show.