After a full week of non-stop program (hard to believe we’ve been together for almost a week!), we had a rain day yesterday. So we slept in an extra hour and moved our activities to our many indoor locations: Fieldhouse, Playhouse, Arts Centers, Fitness and Dance Studios, Tanager, Lodge and more. After five straight days of great weather, non-stop action on the lake, on the ballfields and on the courts, it was a welcome break! This morning, we awoke to one of Camp Laurel favorite traditions: The Quest!
During Quest, we break into 16 teams split across age groups and have an amazing day of friendly competition. It’s a great way to break up our busy schedule and allows campers from different age groups to get to know each other and bond. Our Super Seniors lead the effort and do a spectacular job running this amazing all-camp event.
With the first week nearly behind us, we look forward to ramping up our summer calendar as camping trips, inter-camps, tournaments, golf trips and special events crank up. We look forward to the weekend ahead with program days and lots of time swimming, waterskiing, sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking and even snorkeling!
And We’re Off…
It was a magical start to camp. After a flawless arrival day Saturday, our camp family was reunited and the action hasn’t stopped since. Following our traditional Opening Campfire, we leapt right into program on Sunday and haven’t stopped since. We met our Camp Sisters and Brothers, hosted open calls for High School Musical, ran through the Bec and Bago Sports Combines, and were everywhere in 72 hours: from the Lake to the Ballfields, Tennis Courts to the Hockey Arena, Equestrian Center to the Aerial Park.
While the activities and program are running full bore, the part about camp everyone loves best is being with each other. Friends have been reunited. And in short order, the “newcomers” quickly became part of the extended Laurel family.
Welcome home everyone! The best lies ahead…
Our full staff arrived June 15th and we couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead. We’ve spent the last week getting to know one another and learning what being a Camp Laurel counselor is all about.
The Baxter staff took home the “Golden Hubcap” in our annual Campus Competes which featured Laurel classics like Flashlight Sing and Captain’s Coming. Yesterday was “Let’s go to Camp Day” and today we’re unpacking so cabins have that “summer home” feeling when campers arrive. The enthusiasm is mounting by the hour!!
Staff Orientation ends Friday and then it’s all-systems-go as we get ready to greet you Saturday.
Our full staff arrive in three short days, but our summer has been well underway with several Pre-Orientation programs. Camp Laurel’s administrative staff is made up of an almost entirely veteran crew, and this week is the time for them to re-connect with colleagues and greet new staff for the first time.
The week leading up to Staff Orientation is also a special time for everyone to focus on what’s ahead and dive deep into what makes Camp Laurel so special. We’ve already welcomed our incredible group of Campus Leaders, Department Heads and Adventure Counselors. Before the rest of our staff arrive, we’ll also welcome our Small Crafts Counselors, Health Center Team and Equestrian Staff.
These groups of incoming staff are always happy and excited to arrive at Laurel, and ready to learn about the summer ahead. Our Small Crafts staff get extra time on the water to familiarize themselves with our fleet of boats. The Adventure counselors go through specialized training focused on curriculum and safety within their specific programs — outdoor tripping, climbing or aerial park. And the Department Heads and Campus Leaders go through their own training about how to lead incoming counselors and staff.
Everyone is smiling and loves the beautiful Maine weather. We’re thrilled to welcome the full staff on Friday and even more excited for camper arrival on June 23rd!
Camp is right around the corner. Eighteen days to be exact. Our first set of staff arrived and are busy getting everything ready for arrival day!! Our pre-camp crew is made up of about 30 counselors from all over the country. They spend the morning and afternoon mowing, painting, weed-whacking, setting up docks, moving ping pong tables and generally turning camp into our summer home.
But pre-camp is so much more than that. For the 2018 staff experiencing pre-camp for the first time, it’s about getting acclimated to Laurel, exploring Maine during time off and forming some of the best friendships they’ll ever know. The confidence the pre-camp staff gain from being here early is noticeable. They’ve already made Laurel their summer home. When the balance of the staff arrive by June 15th, they’ll see this crop of pre-camp staff and assume they’ve each been at Laurel for many summers. They instantly become a pre-formed welcoming committee.
The anticipation for camper arrival continues to build with each passing day, and this pre-camp season has already proved that Summer 2018 will be one for the record books. We can’t wait to greet all of you very soon!
Throughout all my years being a camper, what I really couldn’t wait for was my chance to be a counselor. Having grown up admiring and looking up to all my counselors, I wished one day, I too would be as cool as they were. Counselors always seemed to be the heroes of camp.
What I loved most about being a counselor was that I finally had the opportunity to be the hero. Guiding a group of campers was just as character-building for me as it was for them. I learned about responsibility, organization and a whole lot about myself from a fresh perspective. I saw myself in them, and therefore understood more about my own childhood.
Of course, there’s always something fun and empowering about calling the shots. If something came up that was unexpected, I had to think on the fly. It was exciting for me to know that my campers were looking up to me.
All in all, hanging out with my fellow counselors, being looked up to, and taking on new responsibilities were the greatest things about being a counselor for me. Having parents entrust their children to me was a great position to be in, because it called on me to become my best and strongest self, for the sake of the campers.
Life is always better with friends, and Camp Laurel is the ideal environment for children to make new friends and create lasting bonds. These are some of the best reasons Camp Laurel’s environment facilitates friendships.
Camp is 24/7
Friends can be made during playdates at home, but a friendship grows when children are also living, eating, and brushing their teeth together. They share tasks and work as a team throughout the summer. This constant contact is conducive to making real, true, long-lasting relationships.
Shared experiences are another crucial element for friendship bonds. Camp friends are special because they share a unique commonality , experiencing everything together at camp. The memories created during seven weeks at Camp Laurel are amazing. In part because of what’s happening, but also because who campers are sharing it with.
Some of the best elements of Camp Laurel are the traditions. Traditions that go back to our first summers and the mini-traditions that pop-up from summer to summer. By attending camp, campers develop shared traditions that help bond them together. They add a sacred element to friendship.
Camp focuses on the positive
At camp, there’s a big focus on harnessing moments and making them special and fun. This teaches children to have a great amount of flexibility both individually and with each other, and it also teaches them to remain positive. Positivity helps children remain in an open and accepting frame of mind.
Camp friends are definitely some of the most special friends. Friendships made at camp are bound by a commonality of experiences that will be cherished for a lifetime.
We often say being a counselor is “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” Being part of the Camp Laurel team is an incredibly fun way to spend a summer. And accepting a position comes with many responsibilities and opportunities for personal growth. The counselor position brings with it an opportunity to give so many children the confidence and independence needed to succeed in today’s world. Camp counselors provide an unforgettable experience for countless campers every day.
Camp counselors spend their summer interacting with campers and other counselors while being surrounded by nature. Counselors view life through the eyes of a child – an experience that will only feel further away as we grow older. Camp counselors not only teach, they also learn. They learn practical, social and problem-solving skills. They learn patience, trust, teamwork, time-management and how to have an impeccable work ethic.
You could work at the local mall, walk dogs, file papers or wait tables over the summer. But at the end of the day, what could be better than spending the summer as a camp counselor: positively impacting the lives of others, working as part of a team, singing songs around a campfire with friends…The list goes on!
When you’re thinking about what you should do over the summer, consider Camp Laurel. You’re applying for one of the most exciting and rewarding jobs on the planet. And that’s why we say it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.
The last thing children are thinking about as they are running, dancing, jumping, singing and playing at camp is what they want to be when they grow up. But parents of Camp Laurel know the things campers experience and learn can directly impact the adults that they become. Spending a summer at camp fosters valuable life skills in campers that prepare them to enter the professional world.
One of the biggest benefits of camp is that campers learn how to work together as a team. Counselors lead by example and demonstrate practical communication skills, compromise, and listening skills. Campers learn to trust and encourage each other. Campers who feel confident working with others at camp build a solid foundation for teamwork in the workplace.
Time management is another important skill campers learn without even realizing it. With a variety of activities available for them to try, campers are responsible for planning their day so they get the most out of each activity. Campers – with a counselor’s help – learn to factor in things like travel time between activities or how much prep time is required between events. Learning the importance of being on time or early will help campers be successful in the real world. They’re also given opportunities to extend grace and courtesy to those who are running behind, and taught to exercise patience when things don’t always go according to plan. Campers learn to be flexible and understanding, while also learning how to prioritize important events during their daily routine.
For many campers, camp is the first time they share a private space with a group of people they don’t know. They quickly learn to organize their personal belongings in a way that makes them easily accessible and out of the way of others. Campers keep their personal space neat and tidy, and are respectful of the people who share their space. Learning how to be organized at camp can directly transfer over to being organized at home and in future professional environments.
Spending a summer at camp is one of the best things you can do for the future of your child. It’s a fun way to build character and prepare children for the real world. Campers learn valuable life lessons on a daily basis at camp, all while having the best summer of their lives. Camp counselors focus on developing the whole camper, and embrace the opportunity to prepare each camper for success. When they eventually enter the workforce, campers will be prepared with the confidence and skills required to be successful.
Camp is the perfect place to be wacky, goofy and enthusiastic about everything. No one ever wants to “kind of” do something at camp. Camp is an all-in environment. Here’s a list showing there’s no such thing as “too much” at camp:
While it’s always impossible to laugh too much, this especially rings true at camp. Whether it’s over an inside joke with your cabinmates or one of your favorite counselors doing something goofy on stage in front of the whole camp, laughter’s a camp constant.
Cheering and Singing
There’s no place where cheering is more prevalent than camp. Cheers are heard at sporting events, as a show of camp unity, at meals (Go Bananas!), even when Dirt Cups are rolled out. At camp, even the smallest moments are immortalized in song and cheer!
The Laurel spirit goes beyond giving it our best effort on the field. Camp spirit is about community; from the friends in your cabin, to the counselors and Campus Leaders, all the way to Jem and Debbie and the rest of the administration. Enthusiasm and spirit can be seen on the basketball court, but it’s equally tangible at a rocket launch, theatre show, birthday party, and more.
At Camp Laurel, there is no such thing as too much “camp.” That’s why most campers and counselors can’t help themselves from telling camp stories during the off-season. Campers and counselors agree life would be so much better if “10 for 2” was actually “2 for 10.”