Where is Camp Starlight located?
Camp Starlight is a premier summer camp located in the "endless mountain" region of northeastern Pennsylvania, approximately 2.5 hours from New York City and Philadelphia, in the heart of Wayne County. It is unique in that it is entirely separated from the "outside world" by its mile-long private road, two private lakes, mountainside views and 385 acres of woodlands.
Who are the Directors of Camp Starlight?
David and Allison Miller have been the Owners/Directors of Camp Starlight since 1999. David, a native of Newton, Massachusetts grew up as a camper in Maine, where he spent 12 summers as a camper, camp counselor, Hockey Specialist, and Division Head. He graduated from New York University and, prior to entering the camping industry, worked in the entertainment industry as a casting director, talent manager, and independent film producer. His lifelong dream to be a director of a summer camp became a reality in 1999 when he purchased Camp Starlight. He currently resides in Florida with his wife Allison and his two children Hayley and Griffin.
Hayley (Assistant Director) received her MBA and Bachelor's Degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Miami. Hayley grew up at Camp Starlight, spending her summers as a camper, counselor assistant, bunk specialist and Assistant Division Leader for the Lower Inter Girls and Senior Girls. Hayley was also a Sing Leader for the Blue Wave and General for the Epic Whites! She loves everything camp! Whether she's on stage hosting the Friday Night Show or spending time talking to campers, you can easily see Hayley's passion for camp and making sure our campers have the best summer. During winter months, Hayley is in charge of hiring staff and keeping our Starlight Family connected throughout the year.
What is a brother/sister camp?
Our brother/sister camp programs allow girls and boys to enjoy separate activities during the day with all the elements of a single sex summer camp, yet have the advantages of being together for meals, many evening camp programs, and special events. Siblings can see each other at line up in the mornings and evenings, meals, free-play following dinner, and all-camp evening activities such as theatrical productions. Our camper population is generally divided equally between girls and boys. The living accommodations for the boys and girls are located on opposite sides of the campus.
What are the campers like?
The majority of our campers come from the Northeast including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. We also have a number of campers from others areas of the United States such as Florida and California.
Our brother/sister adjoining campuses accommodate 250 boys and 250 girls ages 7 to 15 years old. There are approximately 8-10 campers and 2-3 counselors in each bunk. There are eight divisions of campers broken down by age groups.
Nearly 95% of our campers return summer after summer, with many going on to enter our Counselor Assistant (CA) Program after their last summer as campers.
What are the counselors like?
Our highly qualified camp staff of 200+ individuals is comprised of upper level undergraduate as well as graduate students, educators, and camping professionals from all over the world.
Who is Camp Starlight for?
Our camp is the ideal summer camp home for children who are willing to try, experience, and learn new things while making friends, growing as individuals, and achieving goals. Camp Starlight campers are "doers" and "participators". They are encouraged to try everything and often discover that they like some new activities in addition to their current favorites.
Do you have camp programs for new campers/families?
We maintain close communication with our new families all year, talking them through the process and acclimating them to summer camp. In June, two weeks before summer camp begins, we hold a New Camper Open House for all new families, during which parents and campers alike get a fun filled sample of what the summer holds.
How do the children get to camp?
We provide chartered bus transportation from the New York, Long Island, Westchester, Northern and Southern New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Baltimore areas. We also arrange a chaperoned flight for all children flying from Florida. For campers flying into the New York Metropolitan area from overseas or other U.S. cities, we can work with you to arrange all the details.
What is the first day like?
The first day at Camp Starlight actually begins months before, with the placement of each camper into a bunk. During this process, we give careful consideration to all aspects of each child's personality and interests. Those campers in Lower Camp are unpacked and their assigned beds prepared before summer camp begins so their bunks will feel like home from the moment they arrive. David and Allison greet each chaperoned bus upon arrival, and camp counselors welcome campers to their bunks with signs, group games, and lots of fun stuff. The rest of the day is filled with cheering in the Dining Hall, time for the bunks to bond, and the annual opening night show.
What are the living arrangements like?
Camp Starlight offers cabins or "bunks" that incorporate the comforts of home with the rustic nature of camping. Each bunk houses 8-10 campers along with 2-3 camp counselors, and features front and back entrances, plenty of windows, a carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, electric outlets, a hot water heater, beds, cubbies, storage space, two sinks, two toilets, and two showers. To promote cohesiveness among divisions, the front of each bunk faces inward towards a semi-circle with a view of the lake.
How does the camp program work?
Camp Starlight is a traditional seven week youth camp. Each camp program day is comprised of six scheduled activity periods and divisional or all camp evening activities. Younger campers choose their own activities for two of the daily periods while older campers have more opportunities to make personal choices about their daily schedules.
In order to insure that the level of instruction and competition is age and skill appropriate, all campers are scheduled into camp program activities based on gender and division. Our Programming Department works diligently to maintain a balance between sports, hobbies, and the arts when creating each daily schedule.
Do you specialize in anything?
We specialize in caring for children and making Camp Starlight a summer home for everyone. We personally get to know each of our campers and strive to make them feel special. Parents can always be assured that they're talking to someone who knows and understands their child.
The best way to describe a camper's summer at Starlight is to emphasize that Athletics, Outdoor Adventure, Fine Arts and Crafts, Performing Arts, and Water sports camp programs all combine to provide a well-rounded experience.
We do not focus exclusively on a specific sport or hobby. Rather, each camp program activity at Camp Starlight is valued equally so that athletes and artists alike may find an area in which they can shine while also exploring new interests.
Tell me about a typical day at Starlight.
A great day at Starlight begins with reveille at 7:55 a.m. Our older campers sleep until 8:20 a.m. We believe a good night's sleep is essential for children to experience daily camp program activities to the fullest. Mornings begin with lineup around the flagpole, where David makes announcements and we celebrate daily achievements as a camp family.
After breakfast, there is scheduled time for bunk cleanup. Each bunk works as a team by sharing the cleaning responsibilities.
There are three camp program activity periods in the morning, including the Option period. Options are selected by campers for three or more days so that they may immerse themselves in an activity that they love. Lunch, a buffet picnic outside where siblings can dine together, is followed by rest hour. During this time, campers recharge for the three afternoon periods, which include Super Sixth, a daily option intended for campers to utilize in improving their athletic skills, finishing projects, trying-out for or practicing with athletic teams or taking a dip in the lake.
At the end of the day, there is formal time built into the schedule for showering. Free play and incredible evening activities follow dinner each evening before we say goodnight with Taps.
Do campers participate in intercamp games and tournaments?
Camp Starlight is a proud member of the Wayne County Camp Association. We participate in both Wayne County and Invitational Tournaments. Camp Starlight also hosts our own invitational Dance Competition and Gymnastics meet. We have been hosting the Wayne County Swim Meet forever!
Do you have try-outs for teams?
We do not have "formal" tryouts for teams. In the first two days of camp we assess our campers for three reasons. 1. To assess their skill level in each sport for the purpose of instruction 2. To assess their skill level in each sport for our League Program 3. To assess for Wayne County and Invitational teams based on each camper's desire to participate on Intercamp teams.
Campers are able to express interest in the teams they would like to join. Our philosophy is that we want each camper who is on a team to actually get to play when they compete with another camp. Campers are guaranteed to make at least one team, and most campers are placed on multiple teams. We also have 2 teams per each sport per age group: Wayne County and Invitational. There are a lot of opportunities to make a team at Starlight!
At Starlight, we see some campers play on multiple teams and some campers who choose not to play against other camps. As long as each camper finds something they love at camp that is a win in our eyes.
What can you tell us about your camp staff?
Our camp staff is comprised of professional educators, coaches, and upper level undergraduate/graduate students. We maintain a 3:1 camp staff to camper ratio. Most of our camp staff members are at least twenty years of age or have completed their sophomore year of college prior to coming to work at summer camp. Our Athletic, Water, Outdoor Adventure, and Arts camp programs are all headed by professionals in their fields. We travel to college campuses all over the country and overseas each year to select the best, most qualified camp staff. The majority of our camp staff is interviewed in person by a Director during one of these trips. When a candidate is identified as a prospective camp staff member from the interview process, personal and professional references are verified and a background check is performed before employment is finalized.
How is food served and what choices will my child have?
Camp Starlight's Dining Hall is situated in the center of camp overlooking the first lake and separates the two campuses. It is also home to thousands of bunk plaques, the first of which dates back to 1947. The dining room is set up with the boys and girls seated by bunk on separate sides of the Dining Hall.
We have two seatings for breakfast and dinner for our Lower and Upper Camps respectively. Lunch is served at one time for the entire camp. Campers may eat lunch outside at our picnic area. This is a wonderful time of day when our campers may enjoy meals with their siblings and friends.
Since 1947, our kitchen has been kosher, and the Miller Family have kept this tradition.
We serve a buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner served by our food service assistants. Breakfast is complimented by a cereal and bagel bar complete with yogurt, cheese, and fruit. An extensive salad bar and daily soup selection are available for lunch and dinner, along with a pasta station. Once a week, we have a cookout for the entire camp on the hill overlooking the mountains. There is a mid-morning "snack shack" and mid-afternoon "fruit break." Candy and other light snacks are available from the canteen during the day or evenings as scheduled by division.There is always a snack at night which could be from the canteen, a "nite bite" or food served as part of the evening activity.
What about campers with food allergies or intolerances?
Camp Starlight is a nut aware camp and there are no nuts in the dining room.
There is an allergy station where campers who have specific allergies can safely eat from. We have had campers with gluten, dairy, nut and egg allergies. We have also had campers who have done OIT for peanuts, tree nuts and egg allergies.
We also have accommodations for vegetarian meals.
Our Director is gluten free and has been for over ten years. We are very familiar with and comfortable handling special dietary needs and allergies.
We have separate cooking areas and the food is cooked by a designated allergy chef. We also have a designated allergy food station. We do our best to match the meals with the meals that are being eaten by the rest of the campers.
We truly understand the importance of a camper's comfort in knowing that they can feel safe eating in our dining room.
Is Starlight a uniform summer camp?
No. However, we work very hard at Starlight to de-emphasize the importance placed on clothing brands or costs. The dress code is very casual. Most of our campers wear tank tops or t-shirts, athletic shorts, socks, and sneakers during the day and dress slightly nicer for dinner and evening activities, though the focus is still very much on the activities and not what people are wearing. We provide a suggested clothing and equipment list to help you in your packing. There is a nominal amount of required uniform for sports games, trips, special events, etc. We also take a somewhat modest approach to swimwear. Only one piece bathing suits may be worn. Bikinis, tankinis, and cutouts are not permitted.
Do you do anything special as a camp community on Friday Nights?
Friday night is "Family Night" and is filled with traditions at Camp Starlight. Prior to dinner our campers and staff gather in front of the dining hall porch for Shabbat blessings. Followed by a meal with challah, matzoh ball soup and a chicken dish. We finish the meal with cantaloupe, which of course is a tradition, as the kids like to sing "LOPE that's how we spell deee-licious!"
Our Friday night evening activity begins with a short 20 minute service at the Amphitheater down by the lake. Our service is mostly English and includes a few prayers in Hebrew. Campers look forward to the tradition of leading the service as they become older campers. Each week we ask one of our key staff members to speak, and the final week a camper, with a focus on the value of the summer.
After the service is concluded, our camper/counselor chorus sing a broadway or popular song which they rehearsed during the week, followed by the Week in Review, a slideshow of the prior week's photos. We also celebrate camper birthdays.
The first Friday night of camp, our campers participate in Stack the Caps for Kids with Cancer. Where our campers bring new baseball caps to camp which are donated to pediatric cancer patients.
Then it is the moment everyone is waiting for, the Friday Night Show hosted by Hayley and Robbie. In Saturday Night Live format, we kick off the show with the hosts singing the Week in 60 seconds to the tune of We Didn't Start the Fire and the camp singing along. One of the highlights are the hilarious videos created by our staff and campers. And the grand finale is a unique game show where we bring tons of campers on the stage and get messy! Each year we get creative with a whole new show with fun songs that become camp anthems! Our campers can't wait to see what next summer's show is all about!
Will my kid have fun?