Camp Laurel Blog

A First Year Counselor’s Story….

Orientation
I had no idea what to expect! Old fashion Scout cabins? Canvass tents? Teepees? How rustic is this camp? The cabins are really cool though; they are definitely “campy”… but fun, clean spaces with lots of bunk beds, cubbies, and big open floors to hang out on. Surprisingly, all of my clothes fit in my cubby! Maybe I managed to follow the packing list, or maybe the cubbies are just the right size, but either way, unpacking is a success!
I also didn’t know what to expect with the food. Very happy to report there are tons of options including a full salad bar every day. I’ve made some healthier choices and learned to depend on other things for energy instead of coffee all day long. An apple at mid-morning Fruit Break keeps you going until lunch!
Tomorrow we’ll be getting to know the campers in our cabins; their names, where they’re from, what they like to do, etc. This is getting me super excited to meet them! Although I’m really nervous they won’t like me as much as the returning counselors. Speaking of which, I was a little intimidated by the returning counselors at first… they already had a close group of friends and I didn’t feel like I’d fit in. Now it’s only day 3 and I already have a great group of friends and the returners are awesome. Everyone is really welcoming! It’s very cool how quickly friendships are formed here.

Week 1
When the campers arrived two days ago it was an amazing scene. They were so excited to see each other. I felt a little left out that I didn’t know the kids yet but it’s been awesome getting to know them.
Today one of our activities was waterskiing. The kids were amazing! Some of them got up on their skis for the first time – I couldn’t believe it! I felt like a proud parent watching them. I was screaming and cheering for my kids out on the water. What an awesome day!!
Week 2
Today was a big tennis tournament. We had six other camps visiting and hosted more than 80 matches. It was great! We also watched the big musical performance last night. I’ve heard the kids practicing for the past two weeks. There are some really talented kids here! I loved watching their friends in the audience cheering them on. Really cool! I can’t wait to see what acts surface at the next campfire and Laurel Idol.
Tonight was Sports Night. Each campus played their own sports league under-the-lights: flag football, soccer, hockey, capture-the-flag, and gaga. It was great!!
Week 3
What a crazy and exciting day! When the parents arrived they literally sprinted down the hill to their kids’ cabins. It was quite a sight! Watching all the moms and dads overcome with joy seeing their kids actually made me cry! Everyone was so happy and excited. I loved meeting the parents, grandparents, siblings, and everyone else who showed up! It was awesome watching the campers show off their cabins, activities, camp friends, and showing their parents this “home away from home.”
That night we had the most awesome/ridiculous candy party ever!  OMG!
Week 4
Right after Visiting Day is trip week. The older campers left for Boston, Montreal, white water rafting, Sunday River, Old Orchard and much more! The younger kids went on trips throughout Maine.  It was a great week. My campers stay so busy! This week there were tons of intercamps, tournaments and the Maine Lakes Sailing Cup. A few of the girls in my cabin went on an overnight camping trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. It sounds like they had a great time! They set up a camp, made meals over a fire and hiked all over the place. And of course there were smores!
Week 5
Wow – my campers have really improved their tennis skills over the past couple of weeks! Now I see why we bring these amazing tennis pros from all over the country…and the world! Some of my campers had never stepped on the court before and barely knew how to properly hold their racquets, and now they can really volley back and forth.  Pretty impressed!
Week 6
College Days has begun! It broke at the beginning of the week and I never could have imagined what this was going to be like!! The whole camp is split up in two teams, American universities actually, and we compete in every kind of event imaginable. From baseball, basketball soccer, gaga… even dance, trivia, canoeing, and crazy jello-filled relays. The campers take the competition very seriously! While the kids get so excited when their team wins an event, my co-counselor and I make sure every night in the cabin we all come back together as a family to bring down the competitive aspect and remember our traditions of being friends first. These have probably been my favorite days at camp!
Week 7
NOO!! I do not want to leave my home! How is it possible that 7 weeks ago I had never been here and did not know all of these amazing people?! The friends that I have made here are going to be friends that I have for the rest of my life…and it feels like I have known them for years. The experiences I’ve had are unforgettable. While it was a little scary in the beginning, every little bump in the road was worth it. Most importantly, my campers feel like my family. Every day for the past seven weeks we have gone to sports and activities together, cleaned the cabin together, eaten all of our meals together, danced, shot hoops, hugged, fallen asleep next to each other, and had more fun than I could have imagined possible.  If that’s not family then I don’t know what it is! I’m already counting down the days until next summer… I can’t wait to see how much they’ve grown in a year!
Jessica
First Year Counselor

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