During the summer season, many people visit camp while it’s in session. Some are alumni, some are colleagues, but most are families who are looking at which camp to send their children to the following year.
We show them around camp; introduce them to lots of campers and counselors; show them the facilities, cabins, and Lodge; give them a ride in one of our five Mastercrafts ski boats; and give them a snack.
Many of the camps these families are touring have really nice Tennis Courts, Fitness Centers, Culinary Centers, Ropes Courses and Lakes. (We’re biased, of course, and think ours are truly special). But the overwhelming comment we receive from these visitors is not at all about the facilities. It’s about the people. Their mood. Their sense of comfort. Their smiles. And the spirit and happiness they exude.
We couldn’t agree more when these visitors tell us they select Laurel for the environment and the community we’ve built here in Readfield. That makes us happy and makes us smile more than anything else!
One of the things we speak about a lot at camp is “modeling.” Modeling good behavior, appropriate language, social responsibility, good sportsmanship and so on. We, of course, expect and trust our counselors to be excellent role models. We also except – and appreciate – when good modeling comes from our oldest campers: Super Seniors.
Becoming a Super Senior at Laurel is a right of passage. Some of our Super Seniors have been with us for four or five years, and others have been at camp for seven or eight. Whether a Super Senior grew up with us or started in Readfield later in their camping career, they have united as one group this season and are an incredibly well-respected, energetic and fun group.
It’s been gratifying to watch the Super Senior Class of 2019 emerge the last five weeks and, although they are currently out-of-camp on their seven-day Extended Trip throughout Maine and New Hampshire, we look forward to their return and the leadership and spirit they’ll exhibit during the last two weeks of the summer.
As we pass the midway mark of camp, we stop and take a look around about what we’ve accomplished the last four weeks and what we have in store the next three. In addition to our regular program, our Bec and Bago campers depart tomorrow on their traditional Extended Trips. Junior Bec and Bago head to Boston to enjoy all that city has to offer. Our 8th graders (Senior Bec and Bago) leave for the Canadian border and the great city of Montreal for an incredible four-day adventure. And our Super Seniors depart on their seven-day trip throughout New Hampshire and Maine.
While this is happening, our younger campers have the “run of the place” and love having all the program specialty areas to themselves. Of course, we mix in some special treats for them, normally reserved for our older campers. Wednesday is the Laurel Olympics – truly one of the summer’s special event highlights. Last night’s performance of FAME was out-of-sight! Well done to this well-rehearsed cast and crew. And tonight is our annual Group Sing. Lots of great times behind us…and lots of amazing things to come!
We’re very excited to see you on Visiting Day! Your children can’t wait to see you and look forward to introducing you to their friends and counselors and demonstrating some of the skills they’ve acquired during the first month of camp. Here are a few reminders that will help you have a great visit.
Camp opens to visitors at 9:30AM tomorrow morning. We encourage you to arrive by 9:00AM so that you can park, pick up the schedule of the day, enjoy a cup of coffee, and get directions to meet your child(ren).
While you are welcome to bring a modest amount of food, please ensure that you absolutely avoid products with nuts. Also, keep in mind that, on Sunday, all goodies left from Visiting Day will be donated to a local food bank, so don’t overdo it.
The forecast is for a hot Maine day with chance of thunderstorms, so please take it easy, dress accordingly, and drink plenty of fluids, which will be available at multiple locations around Camp.
Hard as it seems to believe, Thursday begins the Second Program Rotation of the summer. One of the hallmarks of Camp Laurel – as our camp families and parents well know – is our unique and skill-focused scheduling system, which allows campers to try a great variety of different sports and activities at a young age, and dive further into mastering skills in more programs of choice as they get older.
For the last three weeks, campers have participated in a base of 10 core activities (which includes a balance of team sports, water activities and individual pursuits) on an A/B alternating basis. Built within that framework are certain requirements and certain electives, depending on a camper’s age. The electives were selected at home with each camper’s parents. The younger campers have mostly requirements and a few electives, while the older campers have more choice in their scheduling day. Nothing is left to chance, and the schedules are set for 3.5 weeks and campers see real progression within that time. For the Second Rotation, campers make their selections with the help of their counselors. It’s great to see the interaction among campers and staff as they go through process. It’s very “collegiate like” and campers are excited to make selections and see the results as they embark on their new scheduling rotation.
Also this week, we had an amazing Carnival last night, are into a nice round of all-camp programing, and everyone’s psyched for tomorrow’s First Rotation Dance Show.
Even though the world around us continues to whiz by at a dizzying pace, it’s so refreshing to be secluded and disconnected in Readfield, Maine. No 24-hour cable news; no iPads; no newspapers; no outside gossip. Our own world where we can just be. Play. Exist. Relax. Unwind. Learn how to overcome hurdles and obstacles in life. And be each other.Now that cabin groups are functioning like a family (with the usual familial speed bumps and ups-and-downs) we go into the next phase of camp. Campers are taking advantage of spending time with each other; their counselors; and of course focusing on their mastery of skills recently developed or, perhaps, never knew that actually had.
After two-and-a-half weeks of camp, we are very mindful of “switching it up.” While the base of our program – Athletics, Waterfront, Tennis, InterArts, Adventure, Equestrian has never been stronger – our In- and Out-of-Camp S-Days are a welcome break from the routine. It’s a great balance of instruction, recreation, competition, trips and more.As we approach the weekend, we look forward to more exciting programming, our All-Camp Campfire, and of course Sunday’s Camp Laurel Annual Carnival. One of the highlights of the season!
The energy at camp is palpable as we’ve fully hit our stride near the completion of Week #2. On top of the already active daily program, our camping trips have been in full swing with more than 95 campers having taken advantage of our day and overnight excursions through the great state of Maine and into New Hampshire. Our Intercamp and Tournament calendar is proceeding with great results as campers test their skills and sportsmanship playing neighboring camps in Basketball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Baseball and Softball. There’s more to come in Atheltics, in addition to Tennis, Swimming, Gymnastics and even Climbing!
Today, we’re in the midst of Traditions Day (Polar Bear Plunge, Bec Swim, Bago Sprint, and of course the ever popular Acadia and Apache Rainbow Games). Tonight’s an all-camp Campfire and then we swing back into tomorrow’s A-Day.
Camper phone calls begin this week. While most families connect on the phone with their campers, some chose to do their communication the old-fashioned way: letter-writing.
While we’re running full force in all areas of camp, we’re ever mindful of everyone’s heath and make sure to build in time for rest and recharge. We’ve got so much to look forward to ahead…and we cant wait, waking up each day with the excitement of what lies ahead.
As we approach the mid-point of Week #2, it’s so gratifying to look back and see all we’ve accomplished in such a short period of time. The past ten days have been non-stop activity and beautiful weather. It was great to take a break today, head out of camp on day trips, recharge our batteries, decompress, and enjoy the great state of Maine.
After an incredible July 4th cookout and fireworks celebration last night, our youngest Acadians and Apaches ventured to FunTown USA for a day of rides, friends, and splashing around in the wave pools. It’s another warm and sunny Maine day, so the waterpark is a very welcome retreat. Our Junior Baxter and Sequoia campers hit Aquaboggan for their water adventure, while Senior Baxter and Sequoia group toured the seaside town of Boothbay Harbor, and its rocky coast, fishing boats and terrific coastal sights. Bec and Bago are in Old Port at the docks, home of some of the best lobstering in the world. Our Super Seniors enjoyed their day – and encore – at SplashTown.
We hit the regular program stride again tomorrow and it’s a menu of activity from the Ball Fields to the Courts, the Playhouse to the Equestrian Center, the Climbing Towers to the Metals Studio…and more.! And let’s not forget about Sunday night’s annual Ronny Romm Hypnotism Show – a summer highlight! We can’t wait for the weekend and the week ahead.
How could it be we’ve been here for almost a week already? You’d never know it by looking around camp. Campers and Counselors look as if they’ve been functioning like a family for a long time. Of course, like in a home, there are always some “learning moments” in cabin life when everyone takes a little time to digest and step back to relax…and that’s all part of camp. Cabin life is all about learning to live and function together as a group and learning the skills to be tolerant, kind, flexible, forgiving and giving.
Outside the cabin, campers are honing skills all over camp. Tennis, Basketball, Lacrosse, Fitness., Metalsmithing, Aerial Park, Stand-Up Paddleboarding and more. Counselors are finding great satisfaction as campers master a variety of skills. Intercamps and Tournaments kicked off today and campers wanting more competition will start to participate in these competitive games which take place throughout the next five weeks.This week is going to be amazing! We’re so excited for THE QUEST, one of our best all-camp all-day events kicking off tomorrow morning. Then July 4th and the very best fireworks display in Kennebec County right on our lake. And let’s not forget Fridays first out-of-camp “S Day” of the summer when we’ll venture out by group on day trips all over the beautiful state of Maine.