Posts Tagged ‘summer camp’

Learning to Look on the Bright Side at Summer Camp

Monday, November 20th, 2017

A silver lining can be defined as finding the hopeful side to any situation, no matter how gloomy. Silver linings are small blessings that can lift the spirits of individuals as well as put an instant smile on your face. As someone who went to sleepaway camp, I have an unlimited amount of silver linings that I can recall at any moment of the day to make it better. For twelve summers that I spent at Camp Starlight, I have had the opportunity to make memories, both big and small, that are impossible to forget. With each summer comes new bonds and irreplaceable friendships. After these twelve summers, I have the ability to remain positive and look on the bright side of just about any situation I am faced with. This skill is one that I have incorporated into my daily life in countless environments, both inside and outside of camp.

 

At Camp Starlight, small blessings radiate wherever you look. The support network is unprecedented in the fact that everyone in the camp community looks on the bright side. Whether it be helping to sweep the bunk before inspection, campers cheering a bunkmate on as she climbs the rock wall, or counselors reading a story before bed, the positive feeling of love and support ruminates throughout the camp environment.

 

While camp presents campers and counselors with this magical feeling of happiness, there are obstacles that are faced over the course of the summer. Changes in weather, homesickness, arguments, and disappointment is inevitable. However, camp provides its community with an opportunity to learn how to overcome these challenges by looking on the brightside. For every moment that appears to be gloomy, there is someone there to lend a supportive hug or helping hand to cheer you up. At Camp Starlight, the love between individuals is genuine and powerful. Being able to have real conversations and talk through difficult situations with friends and counselors alike is the silver lining that makes camp so unique.

 

These small blessings and ability to overcome obstacles at camp helps to prepare us for the daily routines we face during the other ten months of the year. Instead of needing help cleaning the bunk or feeling down after losing a sports game, campers and counselors are now faced with the challenges of school work and the professional world.

 

Philosophies learned at camp are ingrained in both campers and counselors as we remember the importance of remaining positive and supportive to those around us. These same campers that once needed help making their beds over the summer, now have the skill set and ability to support those friends in the classroom. This includes helping others with homework assignments, raising money for a school event, or even cheering on the school’s sports teams. For counselors in college and in the workforce, the attitudes and lessons learned at camp are easily transferable to all tasks. These can include pulling an all-nighter before an exam or meeting important deadlines set by your boss. It is the inner drive to look on the bright side that motivates campers and counselors to find a silver lining in all that they do.

The Joy of Unplugging for the Summer

Monday, October 30th, 2017

 

Today’s world has become inundated with technology. Whether it be checking the amount of likes you received on your latest Instagram, scrolling through Facebook, or trying to take the perfect selfie, our focus on technology has overpowered our daily lives. Without the ability to live in the moment and appreciate our surroundings, technology continues to have the upperhand on blocking face to face communication between individuals. This is why getting the chance to unplug for seven weeks at camp is the perfect opportunity to take a step back from the outside pressures of life and enjoy the people that surround you.

 

For seven of the fifty-two weeks of the year, you can explore everything the world around you has to offer. Once reveille blows in the morning, your day starts by enjoying the view of the morning mist coming off the lake and the sounds of birds chirping. Meals are filled with lively conversations with your bunkmates, spirited cheers, and songs. As the day progresses, opportunities to grow your creativity and skills continue. From learning how to dive at the lake to conquering your fear of climbing the rock wall to then fly down the zipline, unplugging allows us to experience new adventures each day of the summer.

 

It may sound far-fetched, but the friendships I have established at camp have surpassed all other relationships I have ever made. Camp friends see the real you, not the version of yourself that you post for the world to see on social media. Without the barrier of a screen between individuals, concrete bonds can form and lifelong memories are made. Interactions at camp are both real and authentic. I still talk to my bunkmates from my first summer in 2006, and when I see them, it is as if we have never been apart.

 

The unplugged atmosphere at camp allows you to be yourself at all hours of the day. Whether it be coming up with a dance for MTV night, going to different activities with your bunk, or dressing up for a wacky event, your spirit and confidence shines. Everywhere you look, people are smiling, cheering, singing, and dancing. At camp, you can be yourself and achieve all your expectations, with the acceptance and support of everyone around you.

 

The act of unplugging is so much more than being without technology for seven weeks. It’s a chance to explore, create, and experience new adventures. Unplugging has allowed friendships to be established and lifelong memories to be made. Most importantly, unplugging at camp allows us all to embrace our individuality and learn to be our true selves.

What I Never Dreamt I Would Get Out of Summer Camp

Monday, September 25th, 2017

When working at a summer camp for the first time, there are many typical things that you would expect to happen like making friendship bracelets, sitting around a campfire or chanting traditional camp cheers. While all of these things do happen at Camp Starlight, there are many experiences that occur that take first time staff members for a surprise. The one thing that really surprises staff members working at Camp Starlight for the first time are all the positive life lessons they get out of their summer.

Working with kids of all different ages and coworkers from all different cultures truly provides first time staff members with a life perspective they’ve never experienced before. They learn so much about campers and other cultures and in turn learn so much about themselves. Camp Starlight is a place that helps first time staff members discover new skills, talents and passions about themselves just like the campers do. Before Camp Starlight, you might not have ever known that you have the best time working with younger kids or have a knack for coaching campers to the championship. You learn what skills you really have when working with kids and in what ways you can improve their lives for the better.

Not only do you learn new things about yourself, but you gain so many new memories and friendships unlike any other. Camp Starlight is a camp that gives you the opportunity to make a new best friend from Ireland and experience special events with your campers that create unique memories. You will never forget the thrill of Olympics, all the laughs from Friday Night Show or how sad you were to say goodbye to all your campers and friends on the last day of camp.

There are many things you will never dream you would get out of summer camp, but once you experience a summer at Camp Starlight you realize anything is really possible.

My Last Summer as an Upper Senior

Monday, September 18th, 2017

When I ran off the bus on the first day of camp, I immediately started crying because I was so happy to be back at Camp Starlight. As an Upper Senior, this was my last summer at Camp Starlight and when I arrived I knew I was ready to embrace that role at camp.

The last summer is bittersweet in how special it is. This is the summer where I finally got to do everything I ever wanted to do at camp and it was a blast, but this was the last time I would get to spend an entire summer with my best friends playing games, hanging in the Lake House and having all the fun I could want. Sometimes it is overwhelming having this much responsibility at camp and knowing that you’re a huge role model for the younger girls, but once I embraced that responsibility, I became a better leader for my division. There are so many life lessons you learn in your last summer at camp, for instance, I learned how important it is to be calm and collected in stressful situations and that it is better to always have a positive outlook in any situation. Learning this helped me be the best leader and find my voice in the division. All the responsibility of being an Upper Senior is hard work, but at the end of the summer when I realized how many amazing things happened because of my hard work, I realized how in the end it was all really worth it and that my summer wouldn’t had been as fun if I didn’t put in my all. It is incredibly hard to say goodbye to my summer home but I with all the amazing memories and friendships I’ve created over the years, I know Camp Starlight will never really leave me.

– Bailey R., Camper

 

Polar Bear Challenge Motivates Campers

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Jumping into a teeth chattering cold lake every morning isn’t the most pleasant sounding idea at Camp Starlight, but you would be surprised by how many people willingly do it and there’s actually a great reason why they do.

At Camp Starlight there is a special club you can be a part of if you jump into the lake every single morning of the summer. Jump in, splash around and embrace the cold and you’ll be a member of the prestigious Polar Bear Club. Each morning campers from all the divisions jump into the lake to complete the daily task of being in the Polar Bear Club. No skips are allowed, even if it’s extra chilly in the morning, and if you successfully complete this challenge there is a special party at the end of the summer just for you.

It’s a silly challenge but there are so many benefits to being a part of the Polar Bear Club because of everything it teaches campers. For a camper to participate in this means they start their day completing a challenge a lot of people won’t even attempt to do. When a camper starts every morning overcoming a challenge and feeling accomplished, it sets them up to have a positive day where they can accomplish many more things. This ripple effect will translate into campers realizing how much potential is inside them, motivating them to tackle larger and more difficult challenges. The Polar Bear Challenge also shows campers the importance of determination and to never give up, especially on mornings when it’s a bit nippier than usual.

Their hard work pays off when at the end of the summer they realize they are one of few campers that were actually motivated enough to become a member of the Polar Bear Club, the rewarding feeling is something that makes all those cold mornings well worth it.

My First Summer at Camp

Monday, September 4th, 2017

I was very excited and nervous for my first day of summer camp at Camp Starlight. I did not now what to expect when coming to camp and was nervous about what would happen. When I came to camp and came off the bus I exploded with happiness, camp seemed so cool and fun.

Campus is so pretty with the giant lake and there are so many great snacks to eat. I quickly made a lot of friends and had so much fun with the dance specialists. The dance staff is so nice and fun to dance with, dance is my favorite activity at camp. When I grow up I want to be a counselor and a dance specialist at Camp Starlight.

I made so many memories at my first summer but my favorite memory of the summer was making it to the finals for MTV night, my counselors really pushed me to work hard and it payed off.

I also learned a lot of fun things, like how to waterski for the first time. Every day is fun and full of adventure. I love all my new friends at camp and even though I was nervous at first, Camp Starlight easily became my summer home. I love how much fun I get to have every day at Camp Starlight and can’t wait for next summer already.

– Molly M., Camper

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.

Camp Starlight Olympics: Blue Girls Day 1

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

With a sea of blue dominating campus, the Happy Blue Day girl’s team made a great breakthrough for the start of Olympics. With cheers to the left and chants to the right, Happy Blue Day was full of spirit and ready to come out on top for this year’s Olympics. Each division from happy Blue Day competed against the Grand Stand Whites to rack up as many points possible. Starting the opening day with a great blue bang, the Lower Camp girls competed in a boating meet in the morning, slicing through the lake water with all the blue spirit to win. On the other side of camp, the Seniors were taking total control of the field by playing a great game of flag football and blowing out the competition for the soccer shootout. The Upper Debs put their blue hearts out onto the field during an exciting game of soccer and fought against the white team with passion on the tennis courts, serving up some serious trouble. Thrashing around in the sand, the Lower Debs smacked down in beach volleyball, bringing a fierceness so blue that the girls couldn’t be stopped. Their spirit shined brighter than any amount of glitter splattered on their faces when they battered up for softball. Taking it to the streets, the Inter girls showed off their skills for street games and practically knocked out the whites in a great blue game of knockout. Each girl played with pride for Happy Blue Day, celebrating all their accomplishments for the first day of Olympics with cheers and chants that bonded the blood of the blue team even deeper. It’s a great start for the girls in the Olympics, and the thunder of Happy Blue Day has only begun.

Counselors Help Campers Overcome Challenges

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Counselors help campers overcome many challenges they face in sports and activities when they are at camp, it’s their goal to help campers achieve their own goals. Counselors encourage campers to keep practicing their overhand serve in beach volleyball, to continue going over their scales in piano and trying their best to get the right angle for a picture in Digital Photography. Even though counselors give a helping hand in activities that are a part of summer camp, they also help campers strive to overcome very unique challenges. A Lower Senior boy names Jason came to camp with the goal of solving a Rubik’s cube in under sixty seconds. Before camp, he had only been able to solve it in a minute and a half, but when he met his counselors, he received the moral support to overcome his challenge. Shaving forty five seconds from his fastest solving time, Jason had been motivated by his counselors to practice every day, having them time him and mix up the puzzle for him to solve. Even though the Rubik’s cube is a small puzzle, Jason’s counselors transformed the puzzle into an impressive feat for Jason to master, pushing him to not only overcome his original goal of solving under a minute, but to go further and solve it under forty five seconds. The counselors could have congratulated Jason as soon as he reached his goal but they decided to take it a step further because they saw his potential and wanted him to realize his own potential as well. The counselors motivating their camper to be their best in something unrelated to a sport’s team or an activity they are apart of for summer camp shows how they help campers succeed outside of summer camp too. This small act of encouragement portrays how at Camp Starlight all campers are pushed to see their true potential in whatever they are passionate in.

Ceramics and Woodworking Brings Camp to Home

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

When campers come to Camp Starlight they always brings pieces of home with them, packing pictures, stuffed animals, blankets and all sorts of objects that remind them of home and make them feel safe. Campers bring pieces of home to camp because of how much they love home and want to remember it, so when campers return home, they also want to bring pieces back that will remind them of the summer. Camp Starlight is a special place to stay for an entire summer but two months at summer camp is a shorter amount of time than ten months spent at home. To hold on to those summer memories, campers bring back handmade crafts from ceramics and woodworking to their home so they can always have a part of Starlight with them. At ceramics and woodworking, campers get to build all sorts of crafts of all different sizes that symbolize their time spent at summer camp. At woodworking, campers can create welcome home signs, key holders and even mailboxes to install in their homes and when campers make these items from scratch, it makes them even more special. The hard work put into sawing and nailing the bits of wood together makes the craft much more meaningful for the camper and the new home it will stay in. At ceramics, campers will mold bowls, cups and all sorts of sculptures for their homes, glazing with detail and precision to make the item that much more beautiful. For campers to make their own art with their own hands is remarkable, not to mention that it is art that functions in their home. All these crafts the campers create for their homes is a special way for campers to keep the spirit of Camp Starlight at home with their families, crafts that will last long after a camper’s last summer.