An amazing closing ceremony led by our Super Seniors concluded the final chapter of Laurel 2018. Campers from each campus gave a speech about the moments they’ll cherish forever and there wasn’t a dry eye around the fire by the time Taps played over the east end of Echo Lake.
As everyone is gearing up to head back to school, we wanted to offer our campers, counselors and all our camp families a heartfelt thank you for sharing this past summer with us.
To our incredible counselors:
Thank you for everything you did for your campers this summer. We’re so proud of your hard work and dedication. It’s amazing to think of all the hours you spent teaching, leading, laughing and smiling this summer.
To our amazing families:
Thank you for giving your children the opportunity to experience Camp Laurel. It’s a tremendous honor and responsibility for us to care for your children, and we always aim to give them the best experience possible.
And to our wonderful campers:
We hope you enjoyed summer of 2018 as much as we did! We loved watching you learn new skills, grow and build lasting friendships. More than anything, we loved creating lifelong memories with you.
We appreciate all that each of you did to help write the story of Laurel 2018 — it was an unforgettable season on the shores of Echo Lake. We know you’ll be keeping the Laurel Spirit alive in the winter.
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!
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.”
Kids today have so much going on. The school year is full of schedules, deadlines, and commitments that can sometimes overshadow the importance of play. Maneuvering between school and team practices and recitals – their schedules keep them constantly on the go! Each setting has different expectations and before they know it, the days have turned to months. Camp is different. We want campers to enjoy every moment.
Camp strives to meet kids right where they are. It’s a safe place for kids to act like kids. Camp Laurel is serious about fun, and is a place where kids can be fully immersed in childhood play. They’re playing sports, laughing, chasing lightning bugs, playing games in the cabins, singing songs around a fire and putting on shows. Campers are being exactly who they are meant to be – kids.
Counselors join in on the fun as well: Mature enough to be caring and responsible, but not too old to have lost their childlike wonder. Counselors utilize their summers to embrace their inner child. They engage with campers every day.
The summer is a time where kids can relax and enjoy this fleeting time in their lives, so vital for their growing minds. As adults, we know how fast this time goes, and we should encourage the children in our lives to spend as much time as they can playing, laughing, trying new things and being with their friends. And that is exactly what Camp Laurel aims to offer every camper each and every summer.
As the school year progresses, college students are faced with the question of where to work and what to do during the summer. While acquiring an internship can give you experience in your respective field of work, the benefits of working as a camp counselor are too large to ignore. For eight weeks, you’re working in a fast-paced environment with people from all different backgrounds. These eight weeks present rewards, challenges and an ability to maximize skills you may have never realized you had.
Living in a cabin day-in and day-out with campers and co-counselors is a unique experience. As a camp counselor, you’re presented with the task of nurturing each individual camper in order to establish strong relationships and ensure a safe and fun environment for all. The ability to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each individual is a valuable skill in any profession.
The environment at camp allows counselors to discover the best version of themselves. This environment of acceptance fosters the development of each counselor’s confidence and skill set. With higher confidence comes clearer decision making, better communication and stronger performance in many areas of life.
At camp, you’re both a coach and a mentor to the campers in your cabin, but also to the rest of the children at camp. Camp transforms counselors into leaders with the drive to be successful. The confidence established at camp can be carried over to all aspects of life; from going on a job interview to giving a presentation to your boss — having confidence allows for the highest success rate.
Team Building and Problem Solving
Working with co-counselors teaches valuable lessons both in teamwork and problem-solving. Although your co-counselors are close to your age, each individual possesses their own unique skill set. This diversity presents the opportunity for understanding and appreciating different cultures, working with varied experience levels and finding a common ground to resolve conflicts and effectively problem-solve.
Becoming a Leader
The combination of the skills learned as a camp counselor include communication, problem-solving, flexibility, individuality and confidence, all of which are key factors in being successful in any workplace. When faced with the decision to apply for an internship or a counselor at a sleepaway camp, take into consideration that in just eight weeks, skills will be developed that are beneficial for life.
There is a buzz in the air every morning at camp; a feeling that puts an extra pep in our step even before our feet hit the floor. Counselors wake up with a sense of excitement and readiness for the day. The energy of camp is hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it yourself. Being surrounded by positive people is a natural stimulant that gives campers and staff a boost of energy every day.
It’s easy to be in a good mood when nature is everywhere. There’s the beauty of Echo Lake, the forest and sprawling fields. It’s the soft breeze between the trees in the morning and the glow of the campfire at night. The beauty of camp is refreshing, and spending a few minutes appreciating the vast beauty is usually enough to get anyone going.
There’s also a beauty and energy in the people of camp. The relationships, activities and memories create a unique sense of contagious positivity. Campers can’t help but run freely across camp because there’s so much excitement surrounding them! Of course, not every moment is rainbows and butterflies, but campers feel upbeat, encouraged and excited for the majority of their time at camp.
Campers and counselors feed off the genuine energy and positive vibes of each other. There is something about camp that keeps the energy alive from sunrise to sunset. Spend a summer at Laurel so you can feel it for yourself!
Going to camp in Maine means spending your summer on an incredible lake. Maine lakes are among the cleanest, biggest and most beautiful in the country.
At Camp Laurel, we are fortunate to be situated on Echo lake, which is 9 miles around and a mile wide.
Echo Lake is home to Camp Laurel and two other camps — Vega and Winnebago. We are part of the Echo Lake Association and take an active role in keeping the quality of the lake extraordinarily high. We are also part of the 30-mile Watershed Association, which monitors the activity of the 7 interconnected lakes around Readfield, Maine.
Every water sport is available to our campers:. Swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddling, sailing, waterskiing – and campers take advantage of the lake every day. Many – multiple times per day.
Many camps around the country have pools – but very few private camps in Maine have them. They’re not necessary because of the quality of our lakes. It’s been said that because Echo Lake is so clear – you can play cards at the bottom.
While we love all the activities and programs at camp – we particularly love the beauty and recreational opportunities that Echo Lake affords all of us.
Every summer, millions of students close their books, say goodbye to homework and depart for summer camp. For a month or two, they stay busy doing activities, exploring nature and making new friends. All that anybody hears from them is the occasional cheery postcard dropped in the mail between activities.
Weeks later, they return home smiling, suntanned and filled with enthusiasm, leaving everyone that stayed home wondering: what happened out there that was such a blast? Their peers who don’t attend summer camp are sure to look up from their phones when everybody gets back to school and ask two questions summer campers know well: “Where have you been? And, why do you look so happy?”
Challenge by Choice Helps You Believe in Yourself
Contrary to popular belief, the real attraction of camp isn’t that it’s easy, or “all fun and games.” The real attraction of summer camp is that it teaches you the rewards that come from new experiences and meeting new challenges. When you realize that challenging things can also be fun, difficulties like homework and making friends at school that used to seem scary and difficult become easy and engaging. You realize that just like any game, the secret is to enjoy playing win or lose. This is an important life lesson and a main reason campers tend to seem happy and energetic.
Learning that Exercise Can Be Fun
Another reason for all the post-camp smiling might seem obvious to some: physical activity. Endless scientific studies have shown the negative effects that getting too little physical exercise can have on people, particularly young people who are still growing. So, it’s a good thing that summer camp is basically a crash course in exercise, introducing campers to tons of high-energy sports and activities.
Campers don’t just do activities at camp — they take skills home and pursue their passions independently, whether it’s playing for their school sports teams, joining a climbing gym or working on their tennis game.
In short: at camp, the endorphins are flowing!
Digital Detox Works Wonders
Technology isn’t all bad, but most parents agree that spending too much time playing SnapChat stories and scanning Instagram can have a negative social effect on children and teens. After all, can you imagine how different your childhood would be if you hadn’t spent most of it outside, making your own fun with your siblings and friends?
In our digital age kids feel a lot of pressure to stay “active” with a wide range of social media activities, and that can become incredibly stressful, not to mention invite bullying. Camp is a chance for campers to cut their ties to technology and concentrate on the things that make childhood fun. Namely, making new friends, discovering new things, and getting back in touch with nature.
What it All Means
Summer camp has a lot of fun activities, yet when people reminisce about summer camp they aren’t usually talking specifically about sailing, or basketball, or ceramics, or campfires. No, they always talk about “the summer camp experience” — that unmistakable mix of nature, friendship and activities that somehow turns fun and games into a chance for growth and self-discovery.
When you look through photos from time spent at camp, it’s always bittersweet; these are times that go by quickly and are memories that will last forever.
No matter their background, campers will all tell you that camp is a life-changing experience. Campers are introduced to life-long friends, given a chance to practice their real-world social skills, taught the value of unplugging from the digital world and focus on being present in the moment.
With all that summer camp offers, why wouldn’t you look happy when you come home?