Camp Laurel Blog

Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Fun Begins…

The Campers are finally here! After 10 months of waiting, the 2011 season has started off with a bang! Everyone arrived safely on Saturday and was introduced to their counselors and cabinmates. Saturday night we had our opening campfire and heard some music and stories from some of our most talented staff members. On Sunday, we jumped right into regular program with campers all over the fields, tennis courts, inter-art buildings and Echo Lake. On Monday night, we had some super fun evening activities including Egg Drop for Acadia and Baxter, ACFL and SHL combines for Apache and Sequoia and Sports Night Drafts for Bec and Bago. We can tell by all the Laurel smiles around camp that this summer is starting off just right!

Summers and Camp Belong in Maine…And So Do You!

Camp Laurel is a proud member of the Maine Camp Experience. We think Summers and Camp Belong in Maine…And So Do You! Enter to win a Maine Vacation by visiting the Maine Camp Experience website…just follow this link:

Why Maine…

Lakes…Pine Forests…Even Moose
There’s a reason people talk about Maine in such reverential tones. The state has 2,200 lakes. Warm, inviting, crystal clear bodies of water that make most other lakes look like swimming holes. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of pine forests.

Temperate days and comfortable nights, where you feel you can touch the sky. And more miles of beautiful coastline than California. Even mountains — Mt. Katahdin is one of the highest peaks in New England. It’s the perfect setting for summer, one that can’t be matched anywhere.

As Forbes noted, there’s something unique about summer camps in Maine. From our acres of prime waterfront to our unspoiled wilderness, Maine has been the only destination of choice for thousands of camp families, with friendships that stretch from generation to generation.

Our summer camps feature the finest facilities, the most sought-after staff and the most unique range of off-site trips. And with more than 100 Maine camps, there’s something to suit everyone.

Geographical Diversity
The lure of Maine extends way beyond the Northeast. Our campers come from throughout the U.S., some from all over the world. (More than 20,000 campers live in 30 states, and several countries!)

Your children will learn to stretch their boundaries and experience life through the eyes of someone whose life is not a mirror image of their own.

Easy To Get Here…Hard To Leave
Maine is a lot closer than you think. An easy drive or flight from most places in the Northeast– about the same distance as a winter ski trip. A great vacation for the entire family.

Whether you’re looking for the famed seaside resorts of Bar Harbor and Camden or a lodge on one of our pristine lakes, Maine has something for everyone — especially kids! Come and visit our Maine Camps and you’ll never want to leave.

We Can’t Wait For Campers to Arrive!

Camp is only hours away!!!  Our staff spent the last couple of days unpacking, setting up cabins, making work wheels and nametags and getting each cabin and bed set just right so when campers arrive, they’ll feel right at home.  Laurel Today is up and running so make sure you check out photos of Staff Orientation right on the Camp Laurel website.  Everyone here is so excited for the Laurel Family to reunite once again!  Safe travels to everyone this weekend.   We can’t wait for you to get here!!

Got Communication?

Parents: Camp is near. You’re packing bags, making last minute preparations, and listening to endless stories with increasing enthusiasm about what happened during the summer of 2010 in eager anticipation for summer of 2011 to begin. You’re checking and re-checking to make sure all of the paperwork has been submitted and the bag pickups have been scheduled. So we figure now is the perfect time to talk about the importance of maintaining good communication with your Camp Directors—now and throughout the summer.

Camp is a big deal for your children and for you. Whether you’ve planned a quiet summer at home or have an awesome vacation planned, we know that your top priority is to know that your children are having an amazing summer. You can help, simply by being informative.

We’re first and foremost concerned for your child’s safety and well being. Some of you probably wonder why we ask for photos of your children prior to camp. It’s so that we can show them to your children’s counselors when we discuss your children’s activity preferences with them so that they can greet campers by name from the moment they step off the bus and have full knowledge of how to make their summer successful.

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of communicating medical issues. Whether it’s an allergy to certain foods or insects, perhaps a dietary restriction, asthma, a vitamin deficiency, or wetting the bed, your camp directors need to know so that these matters can be handled appropriately as situations relating to them may occur throughout the summer.

We also want to know what your children’s interests are. If we know your child can’t get enough soccer, for instance, we can make sure that he/she gets maximum exposure to soccer during the summer. Knowing what your children like only helps us guarantee they have the summer of a lifetime.

Personal family matters are never easy, but if there is something happening at home—a divorce, illness in the family, academic issues, etc. it helps us to know. Perhaps it’s a positive development. Your child has landed a new role in a film, has made a particularly competitive athletic team, has earned a special honor at school. Whatever IS your children’s lives at the moment they come to camp, we want to be able to channel it into an amazing summer for them. And we’re confident we can. Otherwise, we wouldn’t ask. As your child’s “summer family”, we want to know how we can help them be at their best.

If anything comes up between the time you put your child on the bus or plane to come to camp and the time we put them back on the bus or plane to come home that might affect his or her summer, please call us. We want to know what’s happening. We want to understand how we can make your child’s stay at our camp effortless and memorable. Even if it’s minor, if you have any reason for pause, please call us. We want to be proactive in making your child’s experience memorable.

Lots of Fun During Staff Orientation!

Staff Orientation is in full swing! All our staff is at camp learning the ins-and-outs of being a camp counselor and having a blast. It’s certainly a talented crew! We’ve had a jam-packed week so far with Leadership Training Sessions, Health and Safety Seminars, Typical Day At Camp, Role Playing, Staff Chaos, Campus Competes, Field Night, CL Drafts, Swim Tests, Driving Tests and so much more. We even brought in Maine’s premier Square Dance Caller, Al Hipkins, for a little Hoe-Down last night. Yeehaw! We still have a lot to do before camper arrival day on Saturday but we can’t wait. Only 5 days till camp!!!

Staff Arrival Day!

Our incredibly talented counselors arrived yesterday from all over the country and even the world! We’ve had a chance to meet everyone and we couldn’t be more excited. We have Division 1 college athletes, teachers, world-class tennis pros, future famous artists and much, much more! The one thing they all have in common is that they can’t wait to be Camp Laurel counselors! Over the next eight days, our staff will learn everything there is to know about Camp Laurel while making friends and preparing for the best summer of their lives. We’re in for an amazing camp season!

The Countdown Continues!

The countdown continues as the days fly by! Only 11 days ’till camp! This week we’ve been honored to welcome Camp KidsHearNow, a one-week camp for children with cochlear implants, sponsored by the Barton G Kids Head Now Foundation out of Miami.  Barton G and his co-sponsor, Jill Viner, are here this week enjoying their time with the kids!! The campers have experienced Rainbow Games, Waterskiing, Gold Rush, Ga-Ga, Campfires, Viking Day, Basketball, Climbing and so much more. Everyone is having an incredible time and already talking about coming back next year. Also around camp, our Adventure, Smallcrafts and Equestrian staff members have arrived as well as all of our Department Heads. The rest of our staff arrive Thursday and we can’t wait!!

It’s Almost Here…

TennisLook at the horizon. What do you see? Camp!

The big day is near. Soon, your child leaves home for a summer of fun, excitement and growth.

Scary, isn’t it?

Sure. New experiences usually are. But we’ve got some ideas to help.

Talk with your child. And we mean “talk honestly.” It’s great to chirp about the wonderful days ahead. But be sure to acknowledge that fears and worries are okay.  They’re normal. Let your son or daughter know that everyone – even you! – gets nervous before doing something different. Remind your child that directors, campus leaders, counselors and staff members know about nerves – and they’ll be there to talk, day or night.

ArcheryDon’t say, “And if you get homesick, you can come home!” Though reassuring, it sends the wrong message. It focuses on the negative – and undermines the idea that you’ve selected that camp because you trust the directors and counselors so much. Emphasize instead that while homesickness is normal, it goes away – and everyone at camp will help make it disappear. (It’s also a good idea to not say too much how much you’ll miss your child – or how badly everyone will feel that they’re not at the annual 4th of July fireworks or family reunion.)

Campus TimePrepare together. Read the packing list with your child. Go shopping with him or her. Your child will pick out items he or she really likes – while at the same time sharing a quiet, unhurried conversation about camp.

Reinforce camp policies on things like cell phones. You may want to give your child a phone to call home “just in case” — but that’s the wrong “call.” For one thing, it contradicts what you’re saying about the counselors’ and directors’ ability to help. For another, it encourages “bending the rules.” For a third, it shifts your child’s focus from having fun and making new friends, to sneaking off and being alone.

SailingDon’t let your own anxieties affect your child. As a parent, you may feel trepidation too. You’ll miss your child – and fear you’ll miss out on his or her growth. That’s natural. But don’t burden your kid with those thoughts. Tell your spouse and friends instead!

Camp is a time of independence. Of spreading wings. Of making new friends, forming strong bonds and creating vivid memories in a non-family, out-of-school environment. The days leading up to camp may be anxious – for campers and their parents. But the rewards will be well worth a week or two of very normal nerves.

We can’t wait to see your son or daughter at camp!!!

What is ACA Accreditation?

The American Camp Association (ACA) is the parent organization of American Summer Camps. The most reputable American summer camps voluntarily adhere to standards set by the ACA and, in search of accreditation, undergo a thorough evaluation process every three years during which their processes, facilities, emergency plans, staff training, and operations are very carefully scrutinized and then scored. Based on their scores, summer camps either receive accreditation from the ACA or are told what they must improve in order to be accredited.

The ACA accreditation is no small feat and receiving it requires a tremendous amount of meticulous effort on behalf of summer camps. However, it’s worth the reward. ACA accreditation elevates a camp’s reputation and credibility to other camps. However, more importantly, parents thinking of sending their children to camp should be concerned about ACA accreditation. ACA accreditation provides that extra peace of mind that the summer camp you’ve chosen for your child goes that extra mile to insure that everything they do—and how they do it—is nothing short of top notch.

For all four of America’s Finest Summer Camps, merely meeting the minimum guidelines for accreditation is unacceptable. We strive to meet and exceed all expectations of the parents who choose to send their children to one of our camps. For us, “premier” isn’t merely a title given to a great camp, it’s a state of mind. We are proud to be the best and offer the best. As such, we never stop preparing for standards. We do not simply breathe a sigh of relief and spend the next couple of years resting after the ACA pays its bi-annual visit. We’re constantly updating policies, improving and maintaining our facilities, re-evaluating our current procedures for best practices, and working to be nothing short of excellent.

Camp is Looking Great!

Less than 3 weeks ‘till camp and we can’t wait! More and more staff members and counselors arrive each day to help us get 100% ready by June 25th. The precamp crew has been busy finishing up all the weed-whacking, mowing and painting and the grounds look incredible! It looks like they’ll be done just in time to join the rest of the counselors for Orientation. All of our CLs and ACLs arrive this week to begin their six-day Workshop with Jem, Debbie, Peter and Claire. The new Mastercrafts Pro Star 197s are in the water. The horses are coming Saturday. Camp is just around the corner!!

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