Camper and Counselors took no time transitioning back into regular program yesterday after a great weekend. We had two full activity and program days and now look forward to a great week ahead. This week, our Bec and Bago campers (those campers who have completed 7th, 8th and 9th grades) ventured out on their Extended Trips. These trips are always a summer highlight. Juniors headed to Boston for a 3-day tour of the city and all its great sights. Seniors headed to Montreal for a four-day Canadian adventure. And our Super Seniors departed for their 7-day tour all over Maine and New Hampshire.
While the older campers are breaking up the summer with these great trips, our younger campers are taking full advantage of having run-of-the-camp. This week we’re looking forward to the Laurel Olympics – a great day of competition, spirit and fun. We’re hosting Tennis, Baseball and Basketball Tournaments at Laurel and of course looking forward to some great evening programs including A Night At The Museum, Twilight Tubing and everyone’s favorite: Around The World.
As we finish up activities and programs today and head to Council Fire tonight, we’re anticipating the arrival of our guests from all over all the country tomorrow. It’s very hard to believe we’ve been here for four weeks tomorrow! Time flies.
As you venture to Readfield tomorrow, please remember to dress appropriately for camp (sneakers are always the best) and dress light. It’s going to be warm and while we have plenty of water stations around camp, remember to stay hydrated and take advantage of shady areas and, of course, take a dip in Echo Lake. It’s magnificent.
When you arrive, please cooperate with our Greeting Staff and wait at the camp entrance until 9:30 AM when the front gates open. Then meet your child at his or her cabin and begin the day. If you have two or more children with us, you’ll meet at the cabin of your youngest child. If you follow this simple plan, everyone will meet up and no one will be disappointed.
After meeting your children and their counselors – enjoy camp. Let your kids show you everything and introduce you to everyone! Play tennis; watch your kids ski or sail; go to Fitness and Dance. Check out ChefCamp, Lacrosse, Soccer, Rockport, Basketball, Ceramics and the Equestrian Center. Please meet our incredible staff. We are incredibly proud of our counselors and we want them to know you. In addition to your child’s Counselors and Campus Leaders, be sure to say hello to Joie, Lauren and Jon, our three Head Counselors. They’re the best of the best and know your children really well!! Also, make sure to see Peter, our assistant director and everyone’s favorite. Lastly, don’t miss our five amazing Program Area Directors and 26 Department Heads.
Our Visiting Day Lunch Buffet will be served at the Lodge, or you can go to the Fieldhouse for BBQ Sandwiches… or, go to both! There’s dessert is in both places and a special ice cream stand at Tanager by the Lake.
Please read your Visiting Day Handout when you arrive for more details. Your kids (and we) cant wait to see you! Travel safely!!
Perhaps the greatest feature of Camp Laurel is our staff. We spend most of the year recruiting, interviewing and hiring counselors to work with us from throughout the country and a few countries abroad. While we are very proud of our facility and our program, it’s our Counselors, Department Heads, Coaches, Program Area Directors, Campus Leaders and Head Counselors who steal the show.
With a 90% summer return of administrators (and a 100% return of Head Counselors and Program Area Directors), we have incredible continuity on the campus and program sides of camp. And while most counselors can be with us just a summer or two or sometimes three — we have some lifers who are young teachers and make a career out of being with kids all year round.
We are very deliberate and intentional about our hiring process. We not only personally interview every staff member, we are fastidious about written and verbal references and making sure new staff understand the philosophy, feel and tone of Camp Laurel, as well as the campers they will be working with all summer.
We are excited for you to meet these terrific and talented counselors Saturday when you come for Visiting Day. We are very proud of them and the work they do with your children. We’re very sure you’ll be very pleased and impressed.
One of the great parts of going to camp in Maine is the natural resources at our disposal. From the rocky coast of Camden and Kennebunkport to Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park — Maine has it all. In addition to our in-camp adventure program (Rock Climbing, Aerial Park and Mountain Biking), Camp Laurel has an extensive Outdoor Tripping program where campers take one, two and three night overnight trips to locations throughout the state.
The trips are relatively low-impact and available to every camper who has an interest in the great outdoors. We encourage all Acadia and Apache campers to try at least one overnight trip – and most do. The expressions on the faces of these young campers when they return to camp, having conquered hiking, sleeping under the stars in a tent and cooking their food over an open fire are priceless.
While we love our in-camp programs, sometimes it’s great to connect with nature and enjoy Maine – The Way Life Should Be!
As we enter the third week of camp, we begin to wind down the “First Rotation” of the summer. This rotation – or scheduling cycle – started on Day 1 and finishes this coming Friday. For the last three weeks, each camper participated in a maximum of 10 programs, thereby allowing focus, structure and skill progression in each of these 10 areas. Instead of participating two or three times, Laurel campers participate every other day in the same activity on a rotating basis, allowing for a much greater mastery of skills.
In addition to a full week of program, five Laurel alumni in their 30s visited this weekend from New York and spent an hour with Jem and Debbie and the Super Seniors talking about their camp experiences. It was a great night as these five terrific former campers (now all highly successful in their own fields) shared their memories of camp. It was a great night!
We had our annual Triathlon yesterday with more than 95 campers participating in this great event. Tonight is our Carnival, a true highlight of the summer with games, bouncy rides, fun-houses, fried dough and more. Our Senior Bec and Bago campers depart tomorrow for their overnight rafting trip on the Kennebec river. And, after Sports night on Thursday, the Laurel Dance Show hits the stage under the lights of the Fieldhouse.
On Saturday – we begin the Second Rotation of the summer. And we’re psyched!!
Going to camp in Maine means spending your summer on an incredible lake. Maine lakes are among the cleanest, biggest and most beautiful in the country.
At Camp Laurel, we are fortunate to be situated on Echo lake, which is 9 miles around and a mile wide.
Echo Lake is home to Camp Laurel and two other camps — Vega and Winnebago. We are part of the Echo Lake Association and take an active role in keeping the quality of the lake extraordinarily high. We are also part of the 30-mile Watershed Association, which monitors the activity of the 7 interconnected lakes around Readfield, Maine.
Every water sport is available to our campers:. Swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddling, sailing, waterskiing – and campers take advantage of the lake every day. Many – multiple times per day.
Many camps around the country have pools – but very few private camps in Maine have them. They’re not necessary because of the quality of our lakes. It’s been said that because Echo Lake is so clear – you can play cards at the bottom.
While we love all the activities and programs at camp – we particularly love the beauty and recreational opportunities that Echo Lake affords all of us.
Our intercamp calendar is chock full of sports this week: Baseball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Basketball, Softball and Tennis. Our outdoor trips are traversing all over the state: Bradbury State Park; Three Rocks; Camden; Tumbledown Mountain; Belgrade Lakes and Acadia. We take a break mid-week to hit the best water parks in Maine and enjoy the beautiful July weather. And, of course, program is in full swing in Readfield.
From every corner of camp, campers are taking advantage of our incredible staff and their expertise. While the core team sports (soccer, basketball, baseball, softball and lacrosse) are required for all campers 7th grade and under (plus Tennis and Instructional Swim), we have 25 other programs and activities from which campers can select for their weekly schedule. We are incredibly proud of the high level of instruction and curriculum at camp. We can’t wait for you to see the progress your children make when they return home in early August. From Dance to Fitness to Chef Camp, Equestrian to the Aerial Park and Waterskiing, the level of expertise in our programs is remarkable. In fact, one of the great parts of our program is our One-On-None instructional sessions, where campers participate in small groups with other skill-appropriate campers and an instructor for an one intensive training in one of our core activity areas.
While we’re staying busy with our remarkable program, intercamps and trips; we can’t wait until tomorrow’s July 4th BBQ Dinner and Fireworks Show over Echo Lake!!
Our first week together was incredible. Campers and counselors are settled into their cabins and it feels like we never left. We’re in the midst of our first program cycle – or First Rotation – and after a full week of in-camp activities, leagues, programs and special events, we look forward to the weekend ahead.
Today we break up the routine and daily schedule and have our first S-Day of the summer – the Quest. Quest is a favorite and storied all-camp event, led by our Super Seniors. The camp’s intentionally broken up into 16 small teams, across all age groups, and campers spend the day in fun and friendly competition. It’s a great, spirited day and a chance for our Super Seniors to show their leadership skills to the whole camp for the first time this summer. Even though the Quest is friendly fun – everyone wants to win the grand prize: a full service Chinese Food Buffet Dinner at Alliquippa (Jem and Debbie’s cabin). We can’t wait!
It was a flawless Arrival Day on Saturday and by Sunday morning, we were in full program at camp. From the Equestrian Center to the Lacrosse Field, the Dance Center to ChefCamp and the Lake to the Mountain Biking Track – we were off and running. Structure and routine is so important for the first few days of camp and we had everyone moving with their groups all over camp. The weather was — and continues to be — magnificent. It was so great and fulfilling to see campers and counselors quickly become a summer family.
After our first A Day on Sunday, we slid into our first B Day today, which will be followed by campus evening programs including the Sequoia Hockey Combine, the Bago Football Combine, Apache Egg Drop and Baxter Scavenger Photo Hunt and, of course, the all-important Acadia and Apache Camp Brother and Sister pairings with the older Bec and Bago campers. Tonight, everyone in camp will have a Big Brother or Sister and “camp families” will be born.
We have an amazing first week in store…and the fun is just beginning!!
As we await the arrivals of our campers from far and near, our entire staff is pumped, energized and counting down the hours. Our campers from the West Coast arrive this evening to get adjusted to East-Coast-Living, and then tomorrow it’s all systems go as we welcome everyone back to Readfield for our 68th summer together.
It feels like just yesterday we were hugging and saying our goodbyes at the Closing Ceremony – but tomorrow night it’s back to the shore of Echo Lake for our Opening Campfire to welcome everyone home.
We couldn’t be more excited for what lies ahead. Sure, there are going to be some very normal butterflies and nerves. But before each camper closes their eyes in their cabins tomorrow night – they’ll know their new summer family is fully ready to watch over them for the next seven weeks. The fun is about to begin!!