Adventure at Camp Laurel

P10-11 (12)She wasn’t sure what was going to happen first: either her heart was going to beat out of her chest, or the butterflies that were soaring around in her stomach were going to somehow find their way out.

Nervous didn’t even begin to explain how she was feeling as she looked up the gigantic wall. She  knew all she had to do was put her feet, which were now firmly planted on the ground, on one of those colorful rocks, reach up with one hand and grab another one, and she would be officially off the ground. As her sweaty palms met the first rock, her counselor spoke quietly right behind her, whispering words of encouragement and support. As she took the next step and inched her way up the rock wall, she had to remind herself to breathe. Then she heard her friends encouraging her and cheering her on. “Left foot, right hand, right foot, left hand,” she said to herself. The further she got from the ground, the louder the cheers became. She was actually doing it! She was climbing the  wall that she said she would never do from the moment she stepped foot onto camp. She wanted to look down to see the crowd of people cheering her on, but she decided she’d just focus on getting to the top.

As she stopped to take a breath, she looked around and marveled at the sheer beauty of the camp. The tall trees, the blue water, the sprawling green lawns – she had never seen camp from this viewpoint before. She knew she was halfway there because her friends’ chants told her so, and she suddenly got a boost of energy and continued her trek up the wall. Just a few more rocks to climb and she’d be at the top. She wasn’t sure when her nerves turned to excitement, but as she reached for the top of the wall, she felt a power and a confidence like never before. Her friends and counselors erupted in applause and she screamed, “I DID IT!” at the top. As she propelled down to the crowd of supporters, she walked away with a new sense of self-confidence and accomplishment.P10-11 (11)

The wall symbolized everything she was afraid of, and she conquered it. She grew closer to her friends and counselors because of their unwavering support, and she went home with a fresh perspective on obstacles and challenges. “Now, when something is hard or scary, I say to myself: I climbed the rock wall at camp. I got this.”

The Rock Wall, Adventure Park, Ropes Course and Zip Line are all vital parts of the Adventure Program at Camp Laurel. These activities push campers out of their comfort zone. Whether they are climbing the wall on their own, or working as a team to maneuver through the high or low ropes courses, these adventures help campers excel with teamwork, leadership, goal setting, cooperation, positive-risk-taking and trust. These vital characteristics are taken from camp and built upon in the outside world, creating well-rounded individuals who work well in group settings, can trust others as well as themselves, and set goals and meet them. Who would have thought soaring down a zip line or flying through the air on a giant swing could be so important for a child’s emotional well-being?

P10-11 (6)Inner-strength, confidence and accomplishment aren’t only gained through climbing great heights. Overnight camping trips are another activity at Camp Laurel that offer a wide range of benefits. The skills campers learn teach resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, trusting their instincts and being in touch with their surroundings. The overnight camping experience helps campers develop a strong sense of teamwork, as they work together to set up tents, build fires, cook their meals and explore the woods.

As campers climb, camp and fly their way through camp, they are creating lasting memories, gaining valuable life skills, and experiencing adventure in a safe and supervised environment.

Campers will come home from camp different than from when they arrived. They will come home more confident and courageous – thanks to all of the amazing activities, like the Adventure Program, that Camp Laurel has to offer.

What it Means to be a Camp Counselor

P01 (19)Everyone has that one teacher, babysitter, neighbor, family friend or other adult influence who has made a lasting impression on their lives; a person they credit with shaping and molding the person they’ve become. When you become a camp counselor, you become this and so much more to hundreds of children. A camp counselor does so much in the life of a child, but not many people realize how it shapes the camp counselor as well.

Camp counselors become experts at time management. They learn how long it takes to get from one place to another, how long clean-up, setup and break down takes, and how to effectively manage their time so activities run smoothly. They learn the importance of appreciating the time and schedules of others, and campers pick up on this valuable social skill.P01 (6)

Camp counselors become expert communicators. They have no choice but to constantly strive to be good listeners, as kids will remember people who they feel truly listen and hear them. Counselors learn to speak confidently, while always keeping in mind the effects their words can have on those around them. They learn how to express their concerns and articulate their opinions and expectations without hurting the feelings of others. The ability to successfully communicate with individuals and large groups is a vital and life changing skill that comes naturally from being a counselor.

Problem solving, conflict management and the ability to maintain a positive attitude in occasionally stressful circumstances are all things counselors learn while spending their summers at camp. All of these skills are exactly what employers are looking for in the people they hire, and a summer (or two!) as a counselor really sets you up to be the “dream employee” who so many employers are looking for.

P01-01 (2)Being a camp counselor changes who you are, in a good way. Watching hundreds of campers learn more about themselves, create lasting memories and try new and exciting things because they know YOU believe in them will change your life. You will experience a sense of purpose as you build relationships with campers that you can’t get anywhere else. Being a camp counselor makes you a better friend, family member, student, employee and most importantly, it makes you a better YOU!