Camp Laurel Blog

Monthly Archives: June 2010

Off and Running…

What an incredible start to the summer! Our campers are finally here and we’ve jumped right into full activity. Everyone arrived safely on Saturday and met their counselors and cabinmates. Saturday night we had a relaxing and fun opening campfire where members of the Camp Laurel family shared stories and played music. On Sunday, we distributed everyone’s schedules and dove into camp! By Monday, camp was buzzing with activity from waterskiing in the lake to throwing pots in ceramics to playing soccer on the fields. It sure is great to be back!

We Can’t Wait to Welcome Campers!

Wow this week of orientation just flew by! Our staff spent the last week getting to know one another and learning what being a Camp Laurel counselor is all about. What a great time it’s been! The staff campfire showed us what incredible talent we have with us this summer. The ladies of Kennebec took home the trophy in the annual Campus Competes where we played Captain’s Coming, Flashlight Sing and other great camp games. Well done ladies! We spent all day yesterday unpacking camper bags and making the cabins look great so everyone will feel right at home when they arrive. Today, our staff had the day off so they’ll be nice and rested when the campers arrive tomorrow. Only one more day! We can’t wait!

Staff Orientation is in Full Swing!

The summer is just around the corner! Staff Orientation is in full swing and our staff is having a blast. We couldn’t be more excited about our new staff members…plenty of familiar faces around as well. Yesterday we went wild for Staff Chaos and we got some great photos for Laurel Today. Field night was a blast as well. Last night we had a professional square dance caller come in and we had ourselves a little Hoe Down. The weather’s been amazing — 80s and sunny almost every day. Still plenty of fun events going on the next few days. Tonight is the Orientation campfire. We can’t wait for the campers to arrive Saturday!!

Pre-Camp Has Arrived…

Just about 15 days until we’re all together again on the shores of Echo Lake. We’ve been in Maine for about three weeks with 20 counselors who joined us from all over the United States who are part of our Pre Camp Crew. Along with our contractors (builders, roofers, hard court painters, electricians, landscapers, turf and field specialists, boat mechanics and others) these counselors are weed-whacking, cleaning up and getting everything ready for your arrival.

It’s a lot like regular camp now….except there are no campers yet. We get up…have breakfast…then have four hours of activity in the morning (working on the grounds, setting up all the sports equipment, moving picnic and ping pong tables, raking leaves, getting the barns ready, etc.) Then we have lunch…followed by more activity (setting up docks, putting in the slalom course, sorting staff shirts, setting new routes on the Climbing Towers) until it’s time to…eat dinner. After dinner the counselors get a good break, play volleyball, take a swim, work out in the Fitness Center and enjoy Maine.

In a few days, all the pre-season training will begin. Inner Quest from Virginia comes to certify the adventure staff; swim staff update their waterfront certifications; outdoor trippers head all over Maine and New Hampshire to scout our camping trips; equestrian staff will break-in our ponies and horses…and it will all come together.

Debbie and I love being up here at this time of year…but we can’t wait for you to get up here. Anabel and Madeline love it too…but are already asking when the campers will arrive. Baby Tess has also given Maine the thumbs-up. Tonight we have our annual Pre Camp bar-b-que at Alliquippa to thank these awesome counselors for the hard work.

Get psyched! We’ll see you in Readfield before you know it!!

As always,

Jem

Life, Unplugged

I don’t know about you, but my kids are constantly plugged into something, whether they are texting their friends (does anyone talk anymore?), bopping along to Lady Gaga’s latest, updating their Facebook status, researching a school project online and creating a multi-media presentation, or playing games on my iPhone while I desperately try to finish a conversation at the vet’s office.

Some days I can win a battle or two (no texting at dinner!) but the war is ongoing. And honestly, I’m not the best example. That iPhone I mentioned is never far from reach, and right now I’m surfing online, listening to my own brand of pop music, answering text messages as they come in and writing this blog.

Don’t you wish there was a place where we could all live life unplugged? We adults may not be so lucky; but for our kids, that place is summer camp.

Knowing that someone out there is cultivating a culture of back-to-basics, low-tech life is an irresistible draw for me as a parent. My husband and I love the outdoors and frequently take our kids on short camping trips, but these offer only a short break from the world of “screen time”. Monday morning comes and before the sleeping bags air out, we’re all rushing to see what awaits us in our email inboxes.

As a mom, I worry about the long-term effects of all of these tech ways of communicating. I’m not alone. Several studies have suggested that kids who spend too much time plugged in lose some skills for interpersonal interaction. Let’s fight back.

At camp, social interaction is done the old fashioned way – face-to-face. Campers and counselors alike leave their cell phones at home and get back to a simpler life, when there is an art to conversation. If you were a camper, think back to your best memories. All of mine involve revolve around interpersonal interactions you just can’t get through an email: telling stories around a camp fire; sharing hushed secrets late into the night; telling the worst jokes you ever heard; huddling together to decide the best capture-the-flag strategy.

Friendship doesn’t need a high-tech interface. Don’t think your kids will get with the program? Check out this Seventeen article where teen girls share their favorite summer camp memories. Not one involves a cell phone, I promise!

Thanks to Pink_Sherbert_Photography and eron_gpsfs for the photos!

Olivia

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