Camp Laurel Blog

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Come Rain or Come Shine…

Do you ever wonder what happens at camp when it rains?  We assure you, it’s nothing like those scenes in movies that depict bummed out campers forced to spend entire days in their cabins or bunks .  Typically, it doesn’t rain all that often in the northeast during the summer and, whenever possible, activities proceed as planned.  We never let a few sprinkles get in the way of our regular activities.  But on those rare days when there is just no way around it, we’re ready!

When we wake up to a morning that makes outdoor activities unrealistic, we swing into action by implementing alternative programs.  Camp is just as fun and active when it’s a little bit wet outside as it is when the sun is shining.  By utilizing our indoor facilities, we’re able to keep the action going by combining our regular programs that are already completely or partially indoors, like gymnastics and arts and crafts, with special activities, like games, trivia contests, or sing-a-longs.  Sometimes, we simply move some of the things we normally do outside to an indoor location.  Ga-ga, basketball, and soccer, for instance, all adapt well to indoor locations.  By making just a few minor adjustments, we’re able to make sure that everyday at camp is full of good times and memories for our campers, not just those days when the sun shines.

A Look Behind the Scenes

Every day, we rely on a several teams of individuals to make camp happen.  Everyone knows about camp counselors, the people on the front lines, but not everyone is aware of the people who work behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly.  Running a summer camp really is more than showing up in June ready to welcome campers and have fun.  There are a myriad of staff members who perform the often thankless job of working “behind the scenes” at camp.  They are a very diverse group of individuals.  Some of them answer the phone when you call the camp.   Others schedule daily activities, arrange transportation, or cook the food.   Still, others take care of your children when they’re not feeling well, or look into your concerns about their daily lives at camp.

The fact of the matter is that summer camps require individuals of many interests and talents to operate successfully, and the measure of a good summer relies on the abilities and passions of these individuals.  They often work long hours, from sunrise until the wee hours of the morning simply because they love camp.  If you ask any one of them, they’ll tell you that they do what they do because, in the end, it contributes to a successful summer for campers and their parents.  They also might be a little coy in admitting that it’s just plain fun for them.

Furthermore, these people are so good at their jobs that we don’t even adequately know how to thank them.  They work with passion and without regard to anything but making sure our campers and their parents have the best possible experience at our camps.  It truly is a thankless job , in many ways, to work behind the scenes at an American summer camp.  But we are thankful!

The Importance of Being Creative

Arts and Crafts at summer camp is more than just stringing together a few beads to make a bracelet or gluing some spray painted macaroni to a cardboard picture frame. It’s a program that gives campers the opportunity to explore their creative interests in several different types of art by offering a diverse array of age appropriate projects. Of course there are the traditional projects that are just plain fun, like paper mache and tie-dying. However, many summer camps also offer campers the opportunity to try things that are not only artistic but could be useful skills or even careers, such as metal work, jewelry making, calligraphy, cartooning, or soap and candle making. Just like sports programs at camp, many campers have discovered a passion in their summer camp’s Arts and Crafts programs that they later pursued further.

Another way in which summer camp Arts & Crafts programs benefit campers is by providing a creative outlet for children who are being given fewer chances to explore the arts in their school programs. Ashfaq Ishaq, PhD, argues that without being given the appropriate opportunity to explore their creative sides, children will not learn how to combine creativity with acquired knowledge to reach their full potential. Art encourages spontaneity and exploration, two things that allow us, as people, to be innovative and prolific in our thinking. Creativity also refines problem solving skills by helping us understand how to think “outside the box” when traditional solutions aren’t practical. All three qualities are considered crucial to success in a child’s education as well as their adulthood careers. Summer camp Arts & Crafts programs also give campers the opportunity to try some projects that might not be available in traditional school art programs, such as throwing clay on a pottery wheel.

For many campers, summer camp has become a way of maintaining tradition in environments that are ever changing. Faced with a fast paced, changing world in the winter, children can still depend on summer as a way to fall back on activities and hobbies that may not be greatly valued in conventional schools anymore but are useful and bring satisfaction. Arts and Crafts may be a dying art within American school systems. But it’s thriving within American summer camps.

Winding Down…

We were in full camp mode for one last day: Gym Show, Sailing Races and the Apache Challenge. Tonight was the Steak and Lobster Banquet and Reprise. It was sensational as we called back the most memorable 12 acts of the summer. We then saw the 32-minute Highlights Video recap of the season gone by. Tomorrow we’ll wake and spend one more day together as a camp family before joining by the lake for the Final Ceremony. Where did the summer go?

College Days Is Here!!

College Days is in full swing. After an amazing break-out, we divided into our two colleges: Villanova and Temple. We’ve been competing for four days in Athletics, Track and Field, Swim Meet, Sailing Regatta, Chaos, Relay, Tug o’ War. The action hasn’t stopped for five minutes. Super Seniors are leading the way and it’s getting down to the wire. Tomorrow is Float, Plaque and Grad Sing. It’s anybody’s race…and it’s gonna be hot!!

What I Learned at Camp

Summer is winding down. Wait – we just got here!

That’s how fast camp goes. One day a kid boards the bus with nervous anticipation. The next, he heads home on the same bus with a smile and a lifetime of memories.

They don’t even realize that – in addition to having tons of fun – they’ve grown a lot.

The other day, we asked a few of our campers what they learned this summer. Here’s what they shouted – er, said:

  • Counselors are cool. We talked about everything.
  • Before I went to camp, people said the food stinks. It didn’t.
  • I learned I could swim a lot farther than I thought. But the waterfront guys told me I could do it all along.
  • It’s impossible for my counselor to pack everything back up the way my mom did before camp.
  • It’s okay to wake up early if you don’t know what time it is.
  • I’m not sure, but I may ask my parents if I can do yoga when I get home.
  • Sometimes when people say “hurry up, you’ll be late,” they really mean it. Sometimes they don’t.
  • I always thought I liked lacrosse better than soccer. Now I’m not sure.
  • I saw my sister less this summer than I do at home. But it was still nice having her here.
  • No one will clean up your cabin for you, except you.
  • It’s really nice if your parents write a lot, even if they don’t say much in their letters.
  • It’s hard to canoe when your paddle falls in the water.
  • I have eight new best friends.
  • When they tell you to bring a sweatshirt and a blanket, they know what they are talking about.
  • I was positive I couldn’t live without my cell phone. Now I forget where I put it in my room before I left.
  • How come no one ever told me that waterskiing was so much fun?
  • It’s good to go on trips away from camp. And it’s good to come back.
  • I like my new nickname a lot.
  • When I came to camp I missed my dog. When I go home I’m going to miss my horse.
  • Maine is an awesome state!
  • It feels like I grew five inches, but the nurse says only one.
  • I still can’t sing, but our play was amazing anyway.
  • My goal in life is to come back as a counselor.

“Sports Camp” Isn’t Just a One Sport Term

It’s no secret that summer camps offer campers the opportunity to sample many different sports, but what may not be evident is why this may be preferable to sending children to a camp at which the focus is exclusively on one sport. Dr. Jared Wood, a sports psychologist, believes children should be encouraged to try many different sports in order to find their favorites. He warns that focusing on one sport too early in youth often “unnecessarily limits a child’s interest and skill development.”

Many child development experts recommend that children be given the opportunity to try out a sport before committing to it because it’s important for them to develop their self esteem prior to joining a team and engaging in intense training. When children enter a sport with confidence, they’re more likely feel that they can do well and, therefore, strive to do well. Many summer camp sports programs subscribe to this recommended combination of skill instruction and giving children the opportunity to use those new skills on the field or court. Summer camps also emphasize skill development over winning or losing. Campers learn sports skills in a supportive atmosphere and are taught by specialists who are proficient in their respective sports Many summer camp sports programs are headed by college or high school coaches who lead counselors who played at the high school and college level. This type of approach permits campers to try out various positions and get comfortable with the rules and general flow of a sport without feeling pressured to do well by overly zealous parents and coaches.

Another benefit of summer camp sports programs is that they offer a healthy mix of team and individual sports. Child experts point out that some children prefer and perform at their best as part of a team while others are happier and better off playing individual sports. By being able to simultaneously sample tennis and lacrosse, for instance, campers can get a feel for which one leaves them feeling the most motivated to further develop their skills while still being able to have a healthy appreciation for the other.

The variety offered at summer camp also gives campers the opportunity to try sports to which they may never have been exposed or would not otherwise have the opportunity to try. Many a camper has tried a sport for the first time at summer camp and then gone on to play on a travel team, high school team, or even a college team. Sports psychologist and author, Richard Ginsburg, Ph.D., suggests that children should be at least “12 or 13” before being encouraged to commit to one sport. Dr. Wood agrees, “It’s pretty clear that early specialization is much more likely to lead to burnout than it is to a scholarship or Olympic medal.”

So when you’re determining which type of summer camp is right for your child. Consider the benefit of a summer camp that offers a diverse array of sports that will permit your child to sample a variety of choices.

The Action Never Stops!

Nonstop action is what Camp Laurel is all about as the days keep flying by. Tuesday started off with a delicious Dunkin Donuts surprise for breakfast. On Tuesday evening, Frosh and Junior Acadia and Apache treated us all to a Beatle Maine-ia, a revue of Beatles songs that totally rocked the house! Wednesday was an S-Day and Baxter, Sequoia, Bec, and Bago ventured out of camp to catch a movie while Acadia and Apache had camp to themselves all afternoon. Apache had their annual Ping Pong tournament while Acadia had a Ga-Ga tournament. Thursday evening featured our second Dance Showcase of the summer. Congrats and great job to all the campers and staff who participated! What a show!! Still much more to come this week including the Senior Acadia and Apache performance of 101 Dalmatians and the Sports Night Championships and Tailgate Party.

Triathlons, Trips, Shows and More!

Another awesome week at camp with lots going on! On Sunday, the Super Seniors returned from their 7-day trip with big smiles and stories about how fun and relaxing it was. We also brought in the experts from Sherpa Fit this past weekend to run a triathlon for 42 campers who decided to compete in this amazing Run-Bike-Swim program. It was fantastic!! Our Junior Acadian girls went blueberry picking at a local organic farm and brought back some incredibly juicy and sweet berries. Apache and Acadia hit the town to catch a movie, while Bago competed in the Greek Games and Sequoia had Viking Day. Monday featured a new camp tradition started last summer…The Julius C Band! Julius C came in from New York to put on an incredible interactive concert. It was a rockin’ performance once again! We can’t wait to have them back next summer. Lots still to look forward to coming up this week, including tomorrow’s production of Beatle Maine-ia.

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