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Posts Tagged ‘camp experience’

Camp Trips

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Campers love their camp campuses. They’re green, picturesque, and often feature facilities for just about any activity a kid can dream up. One thing campers also love, however, are camp trips. Camp trips are a lot like school field trips. They’re a special time away from the daily routine. Campers get to board buses with their friends and go off on an adventure outside of the camp environment. Yes, playing by the camp Waterfront with friends is a great way to spend a summer. But taking in a baseball game, visiting a local amusement park, or going bowling with them adds an extra element to the camp experience because it allows campers to do normal “friend things” with some very close friends who they often only get to see during the summer.

Rites of passage are a big part of camp and trips are among those rites. While all campers enjoy some of the same trip destinations throughout the summer, other places are reserved for campers of certain ages. In this respect, trips become a way for campers to mark time in their camp experience. An exclusive trip makes that specific summer unique because it’s the only summer of their camp experiences that campers go to that place.

Camp trips also help campers put their summer camp experience into perspective. Sure, they could do just about anything they do on a camp trip without having gone to camp, but doing them at camp makes them part of camp. The memory of having done those things at camp makes them more special, which is likely why there is always a tinge more excitement in the air on a trip day.

What I learned at Camp Weequahic

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

The Camp Weequahic blog is where the guest blog for this week originated. It was first published on that site on January 28, 2014 and was written by a former camper who very eloquently explains what 8 summers at camp meant to him.

Camp Weequahic has been my home away from home for the past seven years. It was a place where I could escape the stresses of everyday life and relax with those whom had become my summer family. Though my time as a camper ended this past summer, the lessons and values I took away from my camp experience are ones that have molded me into the person I am today and will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Weequahic has taught me that staying true to oneself will always lead to friendship. Living in a bunk with other kids my age for the first time was a daunting task. However, because I was myself and did not pretend to be anyone I was not, I formed inseparable bonds with my bunkmates, all of whom I am now proud to call my best friends.

Having made these friendships also taught me how to maintain friendships across a large geographic area. I am one of the campers who does not hail from the Tri-State area. The distance between us during the winter encouraged me to keep in contact and maintain the friendships, so that when we returned to camp, it was like we had never left.

Weequahic has also taught me leadership skills that apply to everyday life, such ashow to take different people and make them work together in a cohesive unit. When leading my color war team, I had to make sure that each and every kid was engaged and having fun; otherwise, the mere thought of him or her respecting me and color war in general would be long gone. This is where I learned how to make everyone come together, to lead the way in having fun while working together to achieve a common purpose: winning.

In doing so, I learned possibly my most valuable life-lesson. Here is a quote from Maya Angelou that epitomizes my new mantra: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Staying true to this belief has not only furthered my relationships with those around me, but it will enable me to easily form relationships in the future.

If it were not for camp, I would have never understood this quote to its full capacity. The lessons I learned at Camp Weequahic are ones that will follow me for the rest of my life, guiding my choices and experiences. If it were not for Weequahic, I would be a completely different person than I am today.

Noah S.

Camp Souvenirs

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

It happens while you’re unpacking.  You happen on an oddity or two—or ten—in your child’s bag or maybe shorts pockets.  Crazy little circular chains of rubber bands (dozens of them!) seem to be tucked into every crevice of clothing your child could find; a water bottle filled with what appears to be sand and lake water, or a pocket full of leaves.  These are but a few of the little treasures that made their way home with your camper.  You ponder over your child’s spoils from camp for a few minutes and try to figure out what it’s about.  Then you finally decide to ask about ‘a Ziploc baggie full of sand?’

‘From the waterfront!’ Your child proudly declares.  ‘I wanted something to remember the fun I had there this summer.’  You sit the bag (that you were considering throwing out a few seconds before your child walked into the room) down on the nightstand and make a mental note to pick up a container that will do it a little bit more justice than a Ziploc baggie.

‘And what about what about those rubber band things?’

‘Bracelets’.

‘Ahhhh…Of course.’

The souvenirs that find their way home from camp are always one of your favorite parts of unpacking.  It’s become a game for you, trying to guess the chain of events that led to you finding that random piece of burnt rope alongside your child’s socks and putting it together with the years prior to this summer that he and his camp friends spent plotting their rope burn strategy.

‘Rope burn?’

‘We won!’

‘Yes!’ You guessed one.  You’re starting to get good at this.  What you begin to realize is that the random discoveries you’ve been fishing out of your child’s luggage like an archeologist at a dig site aren’t random at all.  They’re memories.  More importantly, they’re the summer’s best memories in the form of rubber bands, lake-water filled water bottles, sand filled Ziploc baggies, and, yes, even burnt pieces of rope.  The candles and ceramic animals are obvious.  You like them, too.  But it’s these special little surprise finds that tell the more complex story of your child’s summer–the reason you’ve come to like, actually anticipate, unpacking after your child returns home from camp.  You’re not exactly sure what you’re going to find or what it will mean, but you can’t wait to find out.

Finding Your Way Home to Camp

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

This week’s guest blog comes to us from Camp Starlight Directors David and Allison and speaks to feeling of home and belonging that many campers and staff find at summer camp.

The last week of camp seems like it was yesterday.  That feeling of holding on to every moment and hoping that time would just stand still. As the Olympic scores are announced, you rushed the lake cheering, hugging and tears began flooding your eyes. You left your legacy with your bunk plaque this time just a simple phrase, so simple, but says so much. You watched the camp enter the banquet and in awe of the fantasy world you created full of the memories of the summer. The songs from the closing show and the beautiful stroll down to the lake.  The serenade of the alma mater and the candle flickering in the night. The vision of fireworks reflecting on the lake .  The trumpet echoing taps from the mountains.  And of course, that moment when together we all looked up to the sky and David’s words that finally had found a special meaning …”may the stars of Camp Starlight keep you warm throughout the winter and lead you back to us next summer.”

As the buses rolled away that summer and you began the journey back down the camp road, you promised yourself that you would return to Starlight some day.  There are so many things that draw you back: reuniting with friends, sharing your own experience with other campers, taking the role of a coach or teacher, the thrill of being a General or Sing Leader, taking on a leadership role of an ADL, Division Leader or one day a Head Counselor, a chance to get in the ring and wrestle in slushies, shaving your legs for Ms. Starlight, being in the rec hall and singing friends and the alma mater.  It is not hard to imagine at all.

Oh, and then life began to get complicated. Applying to college,  going to college, chosing a major, the pressure of internships and the like. And you start to wonder if that promise you made to yourself will ever come true to go back to Camp again.  But before you let the door close on what has been such an important part of your life, don’t believe that the “real world” doesn’t value the experience of working at a summer camp.  Camp Starlight provides a continuous opportunity to grow, educate yourself and develop a social network that will help you further your relationships both professionally and personally.

And opportunities are abound.  Camp is like a mini city.  The experience of working with children will be to learn about teaching and child care. Athletic learning to teach, coach, organize and scheduling are great skills to help with a career in sports management or teaching.  Our health center staffed with highly skilled nurses and doctors many of whom have worked in ER, Surgery, Pediatrics, provides a great resource for someone considering to go to med school or nursing.  Our active social media site provides is a great place to publish a blog, photograph or learn the ins and outs of building a social media community. A special events department is like no other to learn about event planning.  A complete infrastructure with its own sewage plant, dam, generators that would engineer.  Our theater has been a true starting point  for aspiring actors, writers, stage managers, producers and musicians. Thinking of becoming an aeronautical engineer, well maybe we can’t help you, although you never know what we have in store for the Olympic break. The opportunities are as endless as are the mountains in Pennsylvania.

So if your heart belongs at Starlight this summer, give us a call and let us see if we can help you find your way home.

David and Allison

This blog was originally published to the Camp Starlight blog on February 14, 2013.

Camp: Future, Past and Present

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Whether your Holiday Season has ended or is about to begin, summer camp season isn’t far away! In fact, on December 8th 2010, next year’s campers wore their camp shirts in numerous cities to mark the 200 Day Countdown To Summer. If you’ve never gone to camp, it may be difficult to understand what drives this passion for camp all year—but campers know that camp is contagious, FUN, and essential! The camp experience helps children develop into well-rounded adults inenormous and complex ways, and that’s really important—but having FUN and intense youthful experiences is how it all happens. That’s the brilliant combination of camp. The experience includes serious AND hilarious moments—often simultaneously! The whole experience is much like the two sides of a single coin, or the double-faced image of Janus, the Roman god who can see into the past and future at the same time—and the origin of the name for the first month—January.

The serious side of camp includes feeling part of a unique community, identity development and participating through the years to make irreplaceable memories. If you don’t understand why camp is such an important American institution, in 1998 Ira Glass and the This American Life radio program attempted to investigate the topic—#109 Notes on Camp. The program addresses why people who love camp say that non-camp people simply don’t understand what’s so amazing about camp and attempts to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between camp people and non-camp people!

It also highlights how fun, tradition, stories, community and being human are all part of identity development at camp. With his signature quirky style, Ira assembled more “truth is stranger than fiction tales,” where real campers tell stories of camp in days gone by and explain why the camp experience is so special. Hundreds of campers responded to his call for stories and the program shares a selection, so if you’re interested in history and interpreting American culture, you’ll find the reminiscences fascinating. Just remember that all camp experiences are not like the stories told—the point of the program is to illustrate the intensity of the experience! It ends with campers talking about becoming camp alumni and how their camp experiences won’t ever be forgotten.

As we all know, time passes and our camp years are limited by the fact that we’re only children once. It’s easy to feel briefly melancholy at year’s end as time waits for no one, but of course, December also means that the promise of a new year is around the corner! In January, we’d like to continue looking backwards and forwards while thinking about camp and we’d especially love to hear from camp alumni. What’s the funniest thing that happened to you at camp? How did camp contribute to your adult life? We’d like to hear about the memories you hold dear and close to your heart, or what you wish for campers next year? If you’re counting the days until camp starts, what are YOU planning?

For now, “Happy New Year” to everyone and let the countdown to Camp 2011 begin!

Deborah-Eve

Thanks for the images wikipediaquinn.anya, and megawheel360.