At Camp Laurel, campers develop in a myriad of ways. Campers may come to camp eager to work on their backhand in tennis, their chords in guitar, their skills as a goalie. They automatically get the intrinsic benefits of living at sleepaway camp: social-emotional development, lifelong friendships, confidence and staying active. At times, however, Outdoor Adventure can be overlooked when evaluating camp’s impact. This program is just as beneficial for campers as everything else at Camp Laurel.
Outdoor Adventure creates self-reliance. Campers learn to trust themselves and expand their capabilities. Reaching the top of the climbing wall for the first time is exhilarating. Campers learn to overcome their fears. Going on hikes throughout Maine’s beautiful local, state and national parks opens up a whole new world for many of our campers.
Outdoor Adventure also focuses on teamwork rather than competition. There is no ‘beating’ the other team. Everyone cheers when someone learns to ride a bike or conquers the Aerial Park. Whatever new challenge captures a camper’s imagination, they will leave that activity with a sense of empowerment. Perhaps the most important aspect of Outdoor Adventure is the ‘outdoor’ side of things. Campers love feeling the crisp breeze through the Maine trees. The raw experience of being in nature make seemingly simple activities – like hiking and camping – memorable. Particularly for campers coming from cities or suburbs. And the best part? Campers are creating and sharing those memories with their closest friends.
When you hear the word “camp,” you probably think of three things right away: campfires, friendship and the outdoors.
Without any of these essential elements, camp just wouldn’t be the same. Spending much-needed time in nature is what brings many of us back year after year, so it’s no surprise that hiking in the natural areas around Camp Laurel is a very popular activity each summer.
There’s nothing like fresh air to remind us of the things that matter in life.
The Healing Power of Nature
Did you know the average person only walks half as much as doctors recommend for a healthy lifestyle?
In today’s world this is especially true; between smartphones and tablets, time spent outdoors is seriously dwindling. But hiking isn’t just a serious workout. It is a way for campers and counselors to soak in the sun, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy each other’s company. Without realizing it, they are improving their physical, emotional and mental health – all while having fun in the process!
The Journey is the Destination
In the high-energy world of camp activities, hiking is the perfect opportunity to slow down. While the summit may be spectacular, the best part of hiking is the camaraderie and togetherness of tackling the trail. Campers have the chance to get to know one another and to experience the outdoors with people they enjoy.
Life is like a trail, and every journey begins with a single step. Whatever your dream may be, it’s waiting for you at the top of the mountain. The journey may be long… but there’s no reason to make it alone. Stick with your camp friends and you’ll be there before you know it!
When your child heads back to school after a summer at Camp Laurel, they will hear a lot of their classmates talking about what they did over the summer:
“I went swimming in my pool. Every day.”
“I played baseball with my friends.”
“I visited my Grandma in Oklahoma.”
But when your child stands up to share his or her experience, it might sound something like:
“I don’t even know where to start! I tried archery and gymnastics, I learned to bake INCREDIBLE French pastries, I crafted my mom a necklace in my metalsmithing class. I swam a lot, but I also went water skiing and sailing! I went camping and learned important outdoor skills. I was in a musical. I rode my first horse. I even went down a zipline!”
The great thing about Camp Laurel is that it’s not a place to send your kids where they’ll do the same ol’ thing they’ve always done. Once they step foot onto camp, they’ll be surrounded by new activities. A camper may discover their love for archery or sailing, but would have never had the opportunity to try it back home.
At camp, your child has a hands-on opportunity to learn outdoor skills such as navigating a hiking trail, learning to make a fire, cruising through an outdoor fitness trail and getting pro-level instruction in tennis, lacrosse or basketball. These are things they would rarely have the chance to learn outside of a summer spent at camp. These skills prepare campers with a sense of confidence and self–sufficiency that can be carried over into many other aspects of their lives.
The lessons campers learn while trying out new activities at camp are invaluable. Learning to work together as a team, whether in flag football or during a mountaineering adventure, is an essential character trait built upon at summer camp. Campers learn to trust themselves and step out of their comfort zone, while also learning to trust their peers and building lifelong friendships in the process.
Campers can explore their creative side, and try new artistic outlets not found in their typical English class or art elective. Jewelry making, cartooning, technical lighting, ceramics, music production, jazz dance and cooking are just a few activities geared toward right-brained campers. When was the last time your child had the opportunity to really get their hands dirty and create a piece of ceramic art? Or learn first-hand what beautiful art can be created out of a piece of scrap metal? At summer camp, giving each camper a once in a lifetime experience is our goal, and we strive to make sure there are unique opportunities for everyone to take part in.
Your child could go back to school with thrilling adventures of playing Bingo with grandma in Oklahoma or delight the class with play-by-plays of their neighborhood baseball games. Or they could teach their class a thing or two about archery, French pastries, sailing, outdoor skills, jazz dance, flag football, ceramics and what is involved in training for a triathlon, just to summarize their first couple weeks at camp.
Give your child the gift of brand new experiences by sending them to a camp where they can do it all. It’ll be a life changing experience for the both of you.
With all of the amazing offerings within camp, it’s hard to believe that anyone would want to leave. But some of the greatest fun children have at summer camp is actually away from camp on one of the many out of camp trips that are arranged throughout the summer. Some are small, an evening or afternoon, while others are overnight camping or hiking expeditions. For many campers, the culmination of their camp experience each year is the multi-day trips that take place toward the end of the summer. Regardless whether it’s one night or many, some of the unforgettable summer camp memories made away from camp include…
Day/Evening Trips From evenings spent eating hot dogs while cheering on the local pro or semi pro sports team at the ballpark to friendly competition on the bowling lanes, lacing up the skates at a local rink or catching a movie at the cinema, campers enjoy a “night out” a few times during the summer. . Sometimes instead of nights its days spent relaxing in inner tubes as they float lazily down a river, enjoying the adrenaline rush that comes from riding the water slides at a local waterpark, or braving the roller coasters of an amusement park. Enjoying some of the most breathtaking scenery in the northeast is always a pleasure on an out of camp hike or nature walk as well.
Overnight Trips One of the best parts of camp is the overnight camping program….spending a night or two at a campsite in a tent with all of your camp friends! It’s no secret that campers love to camp! Tents, campfires, s’mores, hikes, canoes, and a night dedicated exclusively to spending time exclusively with other campers within their own age group are all reasons why overnight camping trips are some of the most eagerly anticipated out of camp trips.
Campers don’t merely look forward to these trips all summer, they look forward to them from the very first day they step foot into camp as second and third graders. As campers grow older, the trips get bigger, and each one is a rite of passage that campers anxiously await. Amusement parks, national parks, and major cities are just some of the places that campers visit on multi-day overnight trips. Sometimes they travel no further than a few hours from camp. Older campers venture across the country to places like California or even over international borders into Canada. Even with such exciting destinations, for many senior campers, it’s the journey with their camp friends and not the place that make multi-day out of camp trips the pinnacle of their camp experiences. Whether it’s one day or several, some of the most exciting summer camp offerings aren’t in camp at all. But they’re still very special parts of camp because they’re shared with people who can only be found at camp—camp friends!