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.
How could it be that so quickly – almost instantly, in fact – old friends reunited and newcomers felt like part of the family? It happened because we have engaging, warm and amazing staff members who greeted your children at the plane or motorcoach departure areas and made sure they were well taken care of on the trip to camp. And it happened because when they arrived at camp, they were met with open arms and embraced like family members who hadn’t seen each other in a year!
After arrival and the requisite head checks, we had a great Opening Ceremony and longevity recognition awards. The very next day we took some informal cabin pictures and then fell into regular program and activity for our first A Day of the summer. All areas of camp were humming and the program looked great with campers honing new skills and experimenting in new arenas perhaps not yet tried. What an amazing first few days!
One of the best days of Staff Orientation is called “Let’s Go To Camp.” On this day, Acadian and Apache Specialists play the role of campers and attend programs throughout the day while Program Staff run their various activity areas.
It’s great to see the Specialists having a ball on the Climbing Towers, on the Lake, Courts, Fields and Arts Activity areas…and even better to watch our Program Staff perform and master their sills!
After Let’s Go to Camp and a solid week of Orientation, our counselors enjoyed a well-deserved day off, and we spend tomorrow in final preparations for Wednesday’s arrival. Counselor chaperones leave for Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, South Florida, New York City, Westchester and Chicago bright and early tomorrow morning. We know you’re preparing for a final day and family dinner tomorrow, so enjoy these moments. Wednesday can’t come soon enough.
And parents: We’re ready for your children! We’ve got you covered and we’re ready to take and care for them as you fully expect and deserve.
It’s been an incredible four days of Orientation as we hit the half-way mark. Our Head Counselors, Campus Leaders and Department Heads have done an incredible job preparing our staff for the summer ahead.
Training workshops, program development, and policy and procedure sessions have dominated the week so far, and we now move into Orientation Phase 2: Learning all about the campers who’ll join us on Wednesday and continuing to build curriculum in our program and activity areas.
Of course, Orientation wouldn’t be complete without the annual Campus Competes, Field Nite and Wing Nite topped off by Max and the Mainely Treats Ice Cream Truck. It’s a busy weekend ahead as we continue to prep for Arrival Day!
We’re sailing, climbing, hiking and riding our way to summer one training session at a time. Our full staff arrive tomorrow, but summer is well underway with several Pre-Orientation trainings. We’ve welcomed our Campus Leaders, Athletic and Inter Arts Department Heads, Adventure, Medical, Equestrian and Sailing staff. For returners it’s been a great week re-connecting with colleagues and greeting new staff. First-timers are learning what makes Camp Laurel the wonderful place it is.
These incoming staff groups are always thrilled to arrive at Laurel. Small Crafts staff have extra time on the water to familiarize themselves with Echo Lake and our fleet of boats. Adventure counselors go through specialized training focused on safety and curriculum within their specific programs – outdoor tripping, climbing or aerial park. Our administrative team of Department Heads, Program Area Directors and Campus Leaders is made up of an almost entirely veteran crew and they’re preparing to lead our counselors through Orientation.
For the next week, staff will learn about their job as camp counselors: living and taking care of campers, and teaching at a program area. Everyone is smiling, the Laurel spirit is alive and well around camp and we’re pumped to welcome counselors tomorrow. And, of course, we’re ecstatic for camper arrival on June 26th!
Looking back at my first summer at Camp Laurel I fondly and vividly remember getting off the bus to loads and loads of cheering campers and counselors. I met my counselors and my new friends and made my way to my cabin where my bed was neatly made. Arriving at camp for the first time felt like a whirlwind, and then it was calm as I read the letter from my parents that was waiting on my pillow.
Heading into my Super Senior summer, I remember cheering for the same friends – and all the younger campers – as they got off the bus. Some had butterflies – I’m sure – like I hadn’t since my first summer. I watched with excitement as the youngest campers eagerly awaited meeting their counselors and cabinmates. I also felt a twinge of sadness because I knew that even though the summer I’d been looking forward to every year at camp was here, it meant I was that much closer to my final days as a camper.
Experiences at camp summer after summer brought remarkable transformations to my life. Over the years I learned to trust others, build relationships, accept guidance and develop decision-making skills. More than that, the friendships I made and the memories we created will last a lifetime. Spending my summers growing up at Camp Laurel has shaped me in the most positive ways.
Camp Laurel is the ultimate place to let loose, be comfortable and be yourself. All summer long, campers are rocking face paint, transforming into super heroes, improving at their favorite sports and activities, and letting their imaginations run wild. Counselors let their inner child emerge, too. Everyone at camp feels safe: safe to use their imaginations and safe to be themselves.
Camp Laurel encourages campers to be themselves in a variety of ways. Planned down time allows campers the opportunity to explore and socialize with friends in a way that is supervised, but not overly structured. Campers have a catch, shoot hoops, play ping pong, and explore their interests. During structured activities, children are supported when they speak their minds, share opinions and talk things through. They learn to listen and respect one another. This allows campers to see different sides of a situation. Every summer, campers grow socially and emotionally in a unique way.
Counselors capitalize on their strengths of being fun, relatable, silly and responsible. They take pride in being role models. They help set the tone all summer by calming themselves down when it’s time to be more serious, and campers learn to differentiate times to be silly and times to be focused.
Children are often expected to be focused and serious throughout the school year; at camp, they foster their childlike wonder more often. At camp, children feel safe to show off their relaxed and sometimes silly side.
Traditions, friends, life skills, self-esteem…campers may not realize it all at once, but the benefits of camp go on forever. It’s always a great thrill seeing our teenage campers take on leadership roles at camp. For many of them, it’s their first experience being called on to lead others. Whether it’s spending time with their Camp Little Brother or Camp Little Sister – carrying on traditions or setting the right example – Camp Laurel naturally allows campers to become role models and mentors to younger campers.
At Camp Laurel, our oldest campers in Bec and Bago get the best of both worlds. They’re still connecting with friends they’ve grown up with each summer but have the added bonus of passing on camp traditions. Campers remember looking up to older campers from their first summers. For many of them, being a mentor is one of the best aspects of Camp Laurel. The pride of being a leader brings many former campers back to camp as counselors.
Camp is so much more than hanging with friends and being away from home for the summer. Of course, it’s fun and allows campers to unplug, enjoy nature and build lifelong friendships. But it’s also a growing and maturing experience, and naturally develops leadership qualities they’ll use through their life.