Camp Laurel Blog

Monthly Archives: July 2011

Sing, Sing a Song

There is something about singing that brings people together. Perhaps that’s why singing (and music in general) is such an important part of camp. The silly or sometimes sentimental words of a “camp song” can set a mood, evoke a feeling, and create atmosphere. Music is a universal language that everyone understands. Perhaps this is why so many American summer camps open and close their summers with sing-alongs. Sing-alongs are fantastic ways to say both “we’re together again” and “until next time.”

Ask campers to name some of their most favorite moments of summer camp and, most assuredly, they’ll name more than one that involves singing in some way…that first exciting night of camp, campfires, zany and often spontaneous dining room rituals, fun times with fellow campers and counselors inside the bunk, and saying goodbye at the end of the summer. More importantly, ask any current or former camper to sing his camp alma mater and he’ll do it as if it’s second nature. The words of a camp’s alma mater are magical—a way to instantly transport one back to camp and those summers filled with fun and friends.

Many parents say that their children even sing camp songs constantly throughout the winter as a way of remembering their time at camp. Some of them even admit that they can’t resist the temptation to join in.

Camp Rolls On…

Great things are happening at Laurel this week! On Tuesday, Junior Bec and Bago returned from their overnight trip to Boston and won’t stop raving about their incredible trip: Duck Tours, Fire and Ice, Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, plus much more. On Thursday evening, Senior Bec and Bago returned from Montreal and they had a absolute blast!! Jet Boating was a once-in-a-lifetime thrill! The Super Seniors are still out on their 7-day trip all over Maine and New Hampshire and all reports have been wonderful. Meanwhile in camp, Acadia, Apache, Baxter, and Sequoia have had the camp to themselves and are taking full advantage. We’ve had tons of intercamps, camping trips, Crack of Dawn fishing, special Log Cabin visits, S’mores, and much more! It’s Cookout tonight. We gotta go!!

Visiting Day and Off We Go…

What an incredible Visiting Weekend! Guests joined us from all over the country to visit their campers, meet their counselors and spend the day at Camp Laurel! Even with the heat, everyone had an awesome day!! On Saturday evening, we enjoyed cabin and campus parties. Sunday was a full program day with all program areas running at full speed. Sunday evening was Sports Night highlighted by some unbelievable games during Baxter Hoops and the Apache’s now-famous Honey Badger Hunt. Monday was an S-Day and our older campers headed out to Montreal, Boston and Ogunquit, leaving Acadia and Apache to rule the roost. We took everyone bumper-tubing followed by some great in-camp special events. It’s going to be a great Week # 5 ahead…

Visitng Weekend…

Camp is moving and shaking as we get ready for Visiting Day tomorrow. Tuesday was the Big Show where Baxter, Sequoia, Bec and Bago joined forces to put on a spectacular showing of High School Musical. The crowd went wild as our older campers shined in the spotlight! It was out-of-sight!! Wednesday was an S-Day with trips going out all over the state. We had campers out for the day to Aquaboggan, Rummels, Old Port, and Funtown/Splashtown. Thursday was an annual camp highlight…Group Sing! Each group in camp sang a popular song with the lyrics customized to a camp theme. It was waaaaay cool!! The Super Seniors took First Place despite a brilliant showing by all campuses! We can’t wait to see all of the families who are visiting on Saturday! Safe travels!!

Second Rotation Begins…

What an exciting past few days at Laurel! On Saturday we started the Second Rotation of program and every camper received a brand new schedule. We’ve already heard great things from campers who are trying new activities for the first time. Sunday featured one of the highlights of every summer—Carnival! We brought in bounce houses, an obstacle course, a dunk tank, and everyone’s favorite…Steve’s Fried Dough Stand! New this year was a professional photo booth where campers got instant photo prints of themselves and their friends…it was a huge hit! Monday night was our first Dance Show which showcased some incredibly talented Laurel campers who showed off the moves they’ve been learning all summer in the Dance Studio. Very impressive! Some highlights of the coming week include the Big Show (High School Musical) and Group Sing….and ore than 30 intercamps and tournaments. We’re psyched!!

Let’s Go on a Trip!

With all of the amazing offerings within camp, it’s hard to believe that anyone would want to leave. But some of the greatest fun children have at summer camp is actually away from camp on one of the many out of camp trips that are arranged throughout the summer. Some are small, an evening or afternoon, while others are overnight camping or hiking expeditions. For many campers, the culmination of their camp experience each year is the multi-day trips that take place toward the end of the summer. Regardless whether it’s one night or many, some of the unforgettable summer camp memories made away from camp include…

Day/Evening Trips
From evenings spent eating hot dogs while cheering on the local pro or semi pro sports team at the ballpark to friendly competition on the bowling lanes, lacing up the skates at a local rink or catching a movie at the cinema, campers enjoy a “night out” a few times during the summer. . Sometimes instead of nights its days spent relaxing in inner tubes as they float lazily down a river, enjoying the adrenaline rush that comes from riding the water slides at a local waterpark, or braving the roller coasters of an amusement park. Enjoying some of the most breathtaking scenery in the northeast is always a pleasure on an out of camp hike or nature walk as well.

Overnight Trips
One of the best parts of camp is the overnight camping program….spending a night or two at a campsite in a tent with all of your camp friends! It’s no secret that campers love to camp! Tents, campfires, s’mores, hikes, canoes, and a night dedicated exclusively to spending time exclusively with other campers within their own age group are all reasons why overnight camping trips are some of the most eagerly anticipated out of camp trips.

Multi-Day Trips

Campers don’t merely look forward to these trips all summer, they look forward to them from the very first day they step foot into camp as second and third graders. As campers grow older, the trips get bigger, and each one is a rite of passage that campers anxiously await. Amusement parks, national parks, and major cities are just some of the places that campers visit on multi-day overnight trips. Sometimes they travel no further than a few hours from camp. Older campers venture across the country to places like California or even over international borders into Canada. Even with such exciting destinations, for many senior campers, it’s the journey with their camp friends and not the place that make multi-day out of camp trips the pinnacle of their camp experiences.
Whether it’s one day or several, some of the most exciting summer camp offerings aren’t in camp at all. But they’re still very special parts of camp because they’re shared with people who can only be found at camp—camp friends!

Acadia National Park, Carnival, Tournaments…Program Roars On!

It was another exciting week at Laurel as the summer flies by! We’ve had tons of intercamps and tournaments, camping trips to Acadia National Park and various Maine State Parks, awesome evening programs, and lots of in-camp specials. On Tuesday evening, Senior Bec and Bago set out for their annual whitewater rafting trip down the Kennebec River and they can’t stop talking about how much fun it was! On Wednesday, our older campers got a chance to check out Funtown/Splashtown, Boothbay Harbor, and Freeport while Acadia and Apache had camp to themselves all afternoon to play Ga-Ga, Wacky Relays, and lots of other fun games. Thursday was our annual 5-Year-Club trip. Campers who have been at camp five or more years were treated to a special barbeque meal and then hit the town to catch a movie. They also received their 5-Year-Club shirt with their own personalized message on back. Program is in high gear this weekend and next week as we look forward to more instructionals, Carnival, the Dance Show, and this year’s Big Show, High School Musical. We can’t wait!

Great Weather…Great Fun

We don’t know where the first two weeks went! It seems like we just got to camp.  It was an amazing week.  Yesterday we had Traditions Day.  The Warren Williams Bago Sprint…Bec Swim…Sequoia Olympics…Polar Bear Plunge at 7:30AM  and the traditional Council Fire.  Today was program-galore….Camping trips, Climbing Competitions, Swim meets, Tennis tournaments, Intercamps, Golf, Ice-Hockey, Mountain Biking and more. The fun never stops.  Rehearsals for High School Musical are in full swing. Gourmet Cooking is amazing.  We need some rest…

Crazy Days and Whacky Nights

Parents, do you ever log onto your computer to check out the camp photos for the day, see your child painted in blue from head to toe or maybe wearing a crazy wig and big nerdy glasses and wonder, ‘What in the world?’  The answer probably has something to do with your summer camp’s special events and evening activities.  For fifty plus nights (and some days) summer camps entertain your children with some of the zaniest games and wackiest contests that they can come up with.  Why?  Because it’s fun to be painted in blue from head to toe…seriously.  Or at least it is when your cabin is performing a dance to the Smurfs theme in front of the entire camp and you’re Papa Smurf—or Smurfette.  And seeing images of your children and their counselors slipping, sliding, and splashing around in what appears to be multi-colored goo…it’s a camp thing…a really fun camp thing.  Eye patches are always fun.  So is spending a day pretending to be pirates and searching for buried treasure.   Becoming a secret agent and collecting clues to decode a message or pretending to be wild animals is also a great way to spend that occasional non-program day.  From trivia contests to talent contests and everything in between, some of the greatest moments of summer camp happen during the crazy days and wacky nights!

MT. VERNON AND CASCO – Home of the Laurel Camps

If you know Camp Laurel or Laurel South, you’re familiar with Mount Vernon or Casco. You might think of them as way stations on your way to or from camp – but they’re much more than that.

Elizabeth Arden health spa hereMount Vernon is a gem in the Kennebec River valley. The tiny beach next to the community center; the former church with Victorian stick-work; the 200-year-old gristmill; the brick general store selling everything you could possibly think of (from bait to pesto) – all make it worth more than drive-through on the way somewhere else.

Filled with artists, writers, educators, farmers and retirees, it’s got a quirky, eclectic but very real community feel. It’s also got plenty of history. Elizabeth Arden built a health spa here. Her guests included Eleanor Roosevelt, Judy Garland and Ava Gardner.

Olde Post Office CaféMount Vernon has a “hippie sensibility” – really a spirit of independence and self-reliance – that dates back to the 1700s, Downeast Magazine has written. With only 1,500 residents – along with moose, deer and bald eagles — the town packs a lot into its hilltop meadows, wooded valleys, ponds and lakes.

If you have time for only one thing in Mount Vernon, head to the Olde Post Office Café. It’s the unofficial town center for breakfast or lunch. You won’t regret it.

Casco, in the Sebago Lakes Region, also dates its founding to the 1700s. It too was a mill town. In the 1840s, steamboats on Sebago Lake and the canals carried tourists and freight. The lake – since 1938, part of a state park – helps shape the town’s character, and provides plenty of recreational opportunities.

Sebago Lake, Casco, ME

Point Sebago Resort offers many of the amenities of Laurel South (for those who are not of camp age), while the town itself – about the same size as Mount Vernon – has a variety of good restaurants. One of our favorite stops is Webbs Mills Variety just down the road from camp. It’s meatloaf sandwich is a favorite. And how about Crescent Lake? It is truly one of southern Maine’s most beautiful. There’s really nothing like it.

Blacksmiths WineryYou also can’t leave Casco without a quick stop at Blacksmiths Winery for a sip on the famous Porch or in the Tasting Room.

Casco’s not far from Portland – providing a nice counterpart to city and ocean tourism for anyone heading back and forth from Laurel South.

So, join us at camp this summer for a visit…and get a taste of the local color in Mt Vernon or Casco.

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