Posts Tagged ‘summer camp’

Rainy Day at Camp Starlight

Monday, March 4th, 2019

A rainy day at camp is better than a sunny day stuck at home!

Summer weather in the northeast can be unpredictable. Sometimes you have weeks of high temps and sunshine, other weeks you’ve got off-and-on rainstorms. Thankfully, Camp Starlight is here to provide an exceptional camp experience, rain or shine.

When it rains, the entire camp is prepared. There are countless indoor activities to keep campers entertained and occupied until the sun comes back out.

Performing Arts

There is no better way to spend a rainy day than enjoying a good show. Camp Starlight gives creative campers an outlet to work on their performance and musical interests. From theatre improve to dance and instrument practice, campers can express themselves through the creative arts. Regardless of skill level, every camper is welcome to participate in some of the many performing arts options at camp.

Creative Arts

While music, theatre, and dance may be the rainy day option for some, other creative campers prefer the visual arts. Camp Starlight introduces campers to woodworking, ceramics, drawing, jewelry and candle making. Aspiring artists can channel their inner creativity in many different ways at camp.

Other Rainy Day Options

The Camp Starlight experience is designed to give every camper a unique and personalized sleepaway camp experience. This is why some programs offer additional options for campers who have specific interests, such as radio broadcasting, science, cooking, and digital photography. These options keep kids in their zone as the rain comes pouring down.

Indoor Athletics

While many of camp’s sports programs are designed to be played outside in the beautiful summer weather, some indoor options allow campers to stay active without getting soaked. Gymnastics, fitness and aerobics, figure skating, and basketball are a few examples of sports that can be moved indoors. These options give campers plenty of possibilities for rainy day fun.

Camp Starlight always has a plan. Camp staff and counselors are prepared for rainy days and have tricks up their sleeves to ensure a rainy day is still just as much fun as a sunny days. The best part about rainy days at camp is that you are still surrounded by friends.

We never let a little rain ruin our fun at camp. No matter what the weather forecast says, campers fill every day with new activities, great food, new friends and adventure!

 

 

Interpersonal Skills at Camp Starlight

Monday, January 28th, 2019

In a world where third graders have cell phones and middle school students are striving to be “Insta-famous,” it’s no wonder teachers, and parents are noticing that students lack basic interpersonal skills needed to be successful in the real world. This is why more and more adults are actively looking for ways for young people in their lives to connect with others and improve their communication skills. Camp Starlight is a great option for students not only to spend the summer having fun and trying new things but also provides a safe space for them to work on their interpersonal skills, meet new people and build relationships organically.

Listening

Being successful at camp means being able to listen to rules and expectations, follow directions and adhere to a schedule. Campers have a lot of freedom to make their own choices, but there are times when their safety, health, and wellbeing are dependent on listening to counselors and staff. Counselors make it a point to ensure all campers feel heard and demonstrate active listening strategies when campers are talking. Eye contact, body language, and asking questions are all way counselors show campers they are listening, and campers follow their example.

Campers are expected to listen to each other and avoid interruptions or distracting behaviors while fellow campers are talking. Learning to be a good listener will help campers be successful students during the school year and prepare them to be successful leaders as they enter the workforce.

Decision Making

Good leaders can make important decisions in a short amount of time. They understand how to use all the information that they have, consider their past experiences, common sense, and intuition, and decide with confidence. Campers are given hundreds of chances over their sleep away camp experience to work in their decision-making skills. From which activities they want to try each day to what they want for lunch, campers are trusted to make healthy, safe and smart decisions to customize their camp experience.

Problem Solving

While camp will easily be the most fun campers will have all year, not every moment is rainbows and butterflies. Campers will face challenges during their time away from home, and it may be the first time they are charged with solving big problems without their parents by their side. Counselors are always on hand to guide campers through obstacles and challenges, but encourage campers to find solutions on their own. After a summer at camp, campers are equipped with problem-solving strategies to help them become more effective leaders.

Verbal and Non-verbal Communication

In a world where children and teens do most of their communication from their phones or computers, it’s no surprise that many are lacking opportunities to practice good ol’ fashion face-to-face communication. Since screen time is minimal at camp, campers spend most of their time talking and listening to others, developing things like self-awareness, empathy, patience, conflict management and listening. They learn to read cues given off by other campers, and how to be aware of the way they interact with others, both one-on-one and in a group setting.

Camp helps campers bridge the gap when it comes to the critical interpersonal skills they need to be successful in life. And, as is most of the life skills that campers learn while they swim, fish, act, dance, hike, play, sing and explore, they usually have no idea they’re actually learning something. Every day, campers work on character building disguised as fun and leave camp more well-rounded than they came.

 

 

Snail Mail – Sending and receiving handwritten letters is much more personal

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

When was the last time you wrote a handwritten letter? When was the last time you went out to the mailbox to find a handwritten letter addressed to you? If you are like most people, receiving a letter in the mailbox instead of an inbox is a special treat to be treasured. The idea that someone took the time to sit down and put their thoughts to you on paper, find an envelope, a stamp and get it out into the mailbox is something to be admired in this fast-paced world, which is what makes receiving mail so special.

At Camp Starlight, campers look forward to filling their friends and family back home in on the details of their camp experience through a series of handwritten notes. But participating in the ancient art of “snail mail” is about more than just touching base with friends and family back home. Writing and receiving letters benefits campers in many ways.

During their break away from school, students typically have fewer chances to practice their basic reading and writing skills. Writing letters helps campers fine-tune this skill in a way that is fun and personal. There is no pressure to get all of the spelling right or indent properly, just an opportunity for campers to practice their penmanship and creative writing skills. Receiving letters from home also gives them a chance to brush up on their reading skills.

For campers who are growing up in a technology-driven world, a letter from home while at camp may be their first experience in getting something personal in the mail. There is an anticipation that comes with waiting for the recipient to receive their letter, and then excitement in receiving the response. This experience could foster a love and appreciation for handwritten notes in campers, and encourage them to continue the tradition throughout their lives.

A letter from home can be just the thing a homesick camper needs to feel better. A letter is a tangible treasure campers can hold onto and look back on whenever they want. It is a tangible reminder of their life back home and a connection to their loved ones.

Campers can write as many handwritten letters home as they wish. They are encouraged to use their quiet times to reflect on their day and write about their experiences and adventure to share with people back home.

A summer at sleepaway camp introduces campers to some of life’s most simple pleasures, such as songs around a campfire, enjoying a sunset and appreciating the art of snail mail. Just another way Camp Starlight gives campers experiences that they may not have had anywhere else!

 

 

Why Campers are Thankful for Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and think about all the amazing opportunities and qualities in your life you are grateful for and appreciate. A time spent with family, Thanksgiving reminds everyone to say what they are thankful for and to thank others for positively impacting their life. To celebrate this holiday, here are a few reasons campers are thankful for Camp Starlight.

  1. The Friendships: Camp Starlight is an environment that helps friendships that last longer than the summer bloom for campers. Camp friends are people you can truly rely on and think back fondly on. Camp friends are always there for you no matter what time of year which we are truly thankful for.
  2. The Counselors: The counselors at Camp Starlight push all the campers to go outside of their comfort zone. Whether it’s encouragement to make a new friend, instruction at activities, or the advice that’s given when needed, campers are thankful for the love and care our counselors provide
  3. The Fun: The campers are consistently thankful for the crazy fun they get to experience all summer long. From Evening Activities, to Krispy Kreme S-Days, and cheering for blue or white during Olympics, the campers really get to bond during special events. Campers are thankful for the memories these event creates.
  4. The Beauty: The lake at Camp Starlight hosts a myriad of activities and provides campers with a simultaneously exciting and relaxing space. The sunsets every evening at the lake are breathtaking and reminds campers how Starlight’s scenery is beautiful.
  5. The Memories: Thankful for all the amazing memories created summer after summer. From laughing hysterically with bunkmates, making a new friend, the opportunity to be the main character of the musical or nail a bulls eye in archery, campers are grateful for all the special memories each summer.

 

 

Camp Starlight Appreciation

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Written by Peyton (Lakehouse C)

7 years ago, I started attending Camp Starlight. Coming from Florida, I didn’t know anyone here, and I was definitely scared and nervous about making friends. I remember my first day so vividly. I was on the last bus to get to camp, and when I stepped foot on the clinic field, I was surrounded by the group of girls in my bunk who all already knew each other. They had been here lower junior, and I was a new camper in their bunk. I wondered how I would ever get close to these 7 girls who didn’t know how to even pronounce my name correctly, and were already the best of friends. Looking back on this now, I should have noticed that if the rest of my bunk were so close from only spending 7 weeks together, there had to be something truly magical about Camp Starlight.

After only a few hours into my first summer, my bunk and I knew each other better than anyone else in the world. That is the magic of this place that I definitely appreciate because I would have never gotten to know such amazing people, who live thousands of miles away from me. Over the course of the next summers, I got closer to my entire division and many others around camp. This created a huge family from near and far that I know I will have forever. I appreciate Camp Starlight because it turned a group of strangers into a tight-knit community and family.

My appreciation for this camp extends beyond the ability to create an extended family. During the months following camp, I missed some of the small things here that I never focused on. When I tried new extra-curricular activities that year at school, I realized how helpful it is to have friends to stand by your side while trying new things like I did at camp. I missed having friends on the sidelines wanting you to succeed at any challenge. Once school started, I missed the sounds of reveille as my wake up call shifted to my alarm clock. I missed going to the health center instead of the nurse, and the singing and cheering in the dining hall instead of a school cafeteria. I missed recall blowing instead of the bell, and I missed super six instead of my boring sixth period. It was these little things that I never came to appreciate and miss until camp ended.

After every summer, I go back to Florida, and my parents ask me how camp was and ask what happened. However, the thing about explaining something you appreciate is that there is no way to fully encapsulate it. You cannot learn to appreciate something unless it is gone. When I was a junior, all I wanted was to have later bedtimes, longer shower hours, and higher bunk number. Now that I am an upper senior, all I want is to start the ticking clock of camp over again, and truly appreciate the magic and power of this special place, Camp Starlight.

Camp Now More Than Ever

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

There is something about spending the summer at a sleepaway camp that allows kids and teens to connect in a way they just can’t at school. Maybe it’s the extended time they spend together or the fact that selfies and Instagram and the social media comparison epidemic is taken out of the equation at camp. Whatever the reason, campers are able to interact and build relationships on a deeper level at camp than they can at school or on sports teams at home.

One of the major reasons campers can form such strong bonds in such a short amount of time at camp is because they’re unplugged. They are not distracted by putting filters on their Instagram pictures or obsessively tracking how many likes their status update receives. Instead, they’re having real conversations and real experiences that trump scrolling through social media any day. Since their faces aren’t glued to a screen, campers can actually look at each other and talk to each other, and it re-enforces the power of human connection.

Another reason campers connect on a deeper level with other campers is because of the extended time they spend together. While kids spend a majority of their day at school, most of it is spent in the classroom, with pockets of time throughout the day where they can freely interact with their peers and work on building relationships. At summer camp, communicating and building relationships is all campers do. From the moment they wake up until “lights out” campers have two jobs: have fun and make new friends. This is why camp relationships are so strong from the get-go because campers have nothing but time to work on establishing trust and friendships with their peers.

Many campers who attend Camp Starlight are active in sports teams and clubs at home. But at home, when the game or practice is over, the team goes their separate ways. At camp, you walk off the field with your team AND your opponent and make s’mores around a campfire together. This time spent together strengthens relationships of teammates and helps establish healthy attitudes towards competition and sportsmanship.

Camp builds community because camp is a community. At school, students are usually focused on trying to find the little group that they can fit into. At camp, everyone is in the same group. Of course, individuals find their own smaller circle of friends, but at the end of the day, around the campfire, everyone is a camper. Everyone is there for the summer of their lives. Lifelong friendships are started at Camp Starlight because of the traditions, memories, and experiences they share.

It is common for campers to comment on the differences between their school friends and their camp friends. There always seems to be something a little more intimate, a little more solid in their circle of camp friends. Probably because these friendships are based on shared experiences, honest communication and quality time instead of Instagram followers and Facebook likes.

How Camp Fosters Independence for Parents and Children

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Spending a summer at a sleepaway camp is a fun way for campers to gain a new sense of responsibility and independence. For many campers, their first summer camp experience is their first experience away from home. As they learn to navigate a new place, adhere to a new schedule and new rules, and adapt to many new personalities, they gain a sense of independence that will help them mature and grow in new ways. However, the kids aren’t the only ones who do some growing over the summer. When parents say goodbye to their kids for the summer, they get to see the result of all of their hard work, modeling, and teaching as their children go off without them. Although it’s a bittersweet moment, it’s a milestone for both parents and kids.

How Camp Fosters Independence In Children

Without their parents by their side, campers quickly learn that they are responsible for themselves. While counselors are around for guidance and support, campers are given clear expectations at the beginning of camp and are expected to follow these guidelines without being constantly reminded. Things like keeping their space tidy, respecting quiet time and mealtime rules, getting to places on time, and maintaining their personal hygiene are their responsibilities. They get a taste of freedom while still being carefully supervised. They are given the privilege of free time, in which they can pick which activity they’d like to do. They learn quickly that as long as they don’t abuse this privilege, they have many freedoms and choices in regards to their camp experience.

And while camp provides many sports, events, and activities to keep campers entertained, there are parts of the day that are unscheduled. Being at camp teaches campers how to productively manage this “downtime” without needing to be constantly entertained. Campers also learn independence during meal times, as they pick what they want to eat and are responsible for making healthy choices, not wasting food, and cleaning up after themselves.

Meeting new friends is part of the traditional sleepaway camp experience, and even this aspect of camp helps foster independence in children. Starting conversations with strangers, working well with others, resolving differences with respect, and being inclusive of others are all things campers experience at Camp Starlight. They do most of these things on their own, and the relationships they build are authentic and based on their own personal connections with their peers. For many of the younger campers, their parents are still very active in creating social connections, but at camp, they learn to make friends all on their own.

What Camp Does For Parents

It’s common to see parents a little teary-eyed as they say goodbye to their kids on the first day of camp. It’s a significant milestone; trusting your child to go off into the world and hoping you’ve equipped them with everything they need to be successful. Thankfully, this is camp, not college, and your children will be surrounded by people who can help guide them and steer them towards positive decision making.

By “letting go” for the summer, parents have time to reflect on the types of people their children are becoming, and can finally see the results of all of their hard work as parents. Seeing how successful your child is at camp can help you feel comfortable giving them more responsibilities and freedoms at home. Hearing about how you child felt confident making their own choices and decisions at camp and how he/she enjoyed being independent can make it easier for you to give your child more independent in other aspects of his/her life as well.

Although this expanding independence is a sign that your baby isn’t a baby anymore, it also means that they have absorbed the lessons you’ve taught them are applying them correctly. The whole idea behind parenting is to raise happy, healthy, and productive people who can work independently within society. Camp Starlight helps with this.

Spending the summer at camp is one way children can begin to spread their wings, find their sense of self, and discover who they are as individuals. Giving campers this independence is crucial for their self-esteem and self-worth, and is a great practice run for when they are finally out on their own. Going to camp is an emotional milestone, but a powerful one that parents and campers will remember forever.

 

The Big Picture at Camp Starlight

Monday, October 8th, 2018

It’s easy for children to think of their entire lives in the context of their “nucleus,”’ their home, their community, their school, their family, their friends. They typically have no need to seek beyond their immediate surroundings, and their perspective of the world is seen through a restrictive lens based on where they live and the things they’ve experienced. Attending a sleepaway camp gives children and teens a way to broaden their worldview, to see themselves as a small (yet important) part of the bigger picture. Camp Starlight gets campers out of their comfort zones and allow them to catch a glimpse of how much world they have to explore.

Exposure To A New Place

For campers who have lived their entire lives in the hustle and bustle of a big city are in for a shock when they step foot onto the campgrounds. For some campers, the first time they explore the wilderness or really see a constellation is at camp. Even campers from rural areas are in for a treat as they spend the summer in a place busy with people, excitement and adventure. The experience of the journey from home to camp can help campers see that there is much more to explore outside of their familiar life.

Exposure To New People

Camp Starlight brings people together from all across the globe, and is responsible for thousands of lifelong friendships. Boys and girls spend night and day with others who come from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and experiences. Working, playing and growing together at camp allows campers to break through stereotypes and appreciate diversity in a brand new way. Some campers come from places where everyone thinks, looks and acts just like them. It’s refreshing for them to see that the world is full of incredible people with so much to teach them.

Exposure To Independence

Sleepaway camps give campers the opportunity to venture out in a new place without their parents walking them through it. This experience helps campers gain a sense of independence and realize that they are strong enough, smart enough and more than capable enough to make positive decisions on their own. Giving campers this sense of freedom and independence allows them to do some self-discovery to understand further who they are and what they can contribute to the world around them. They learn things about themselves that they didn’t know, and they begin to ask the questions that will help them determine who they are becoming outside of their family and friends.

Exposure To New Activities

Camp Starlight packs every day of the summer with fun and adventure. Some campers arrive never having been on a boat before, or never having access to a dance class or have never been rock climbing, but camp changes all of that. Camp is the place where so many “firsts” happen, all of which open up new windows in the brain and increase their understanding of the countless adventures and travels awaiting them. Some campers fall in love with sports they never even knew existed, which can be the first step in a lifelong passion. Campers who have the sleepaway camp experience go home with a desire to learn more about the world around them. This exposure to new things and people shifts their perspective and helps them realize that there is so much to the world than what they know.

It’s important for children and teens to understand that the world doesn’t actually revolve around them. They are part of something bigger, and the sooner we can ignite the excitement in discovering just what that “something” is, the better. The sooner campers can grasp the idea of a big wide world just waiting for their gifts and talents, the sooner we can develop leaders who are excited to serve, lead, love and explore the world beyond their comfort zone.

 

 

Sleeping in Bunks Transforms Friendships

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

An iconic element of summer camp is the experience of sleeping in a bunk every night of the summer. Cozy wooden cabins house the campers for the entire summer and these bunks often times host the best memories a camper makes. What makes sleeping in a bunk one of the most fun aspects at Camp Starlight is that every night is a giant sleepover with your best friends. After all the evening activities are over, campers still have enough energy to get excited to return to their bunks. They know they get to slip into pajamas, climb into their beds and still have fun with their friends, whether they are just talking about the day or laughing and joking around with each other. It’s like every night is a pajama party and the fun doesn’t stop until you have to leave camp. In the bunk, no moment is ever dull. The campers get to share their thoughts from the day with each other and take the time to decompress as an entire bunk. The bunk helps these campers transform into a family, spending quality time with each other at the very start and the end of each day. As a family, they learn how to take care of each other, clean the bunk and work as a single unit to enjoy every single night of summer. Sleeping in a bunk every night is how the friendships these campers form throughout the summer are so strong because living together all summer encourages them to care for one another, support one another and love one another as a family.

Camp Starlight Olympics: Final Scores

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018