Camp Laurel: The All-Encompassing Specialty Camp

As a parent or potential staff member looking at camps, one of the first questions always asked is: “what activity do you specialize in?”. This should be a straight forward answer.  But for Camp Laurel, it’s not that simple. How do you convey that you “specialize” in everything? From Athletics to InterArts to Waterfront, Laurel puts a true emphasis on creating the best programs possible at any camp…anywhere.


The Instructors


            Having the right people in place is integral in running a high-level program. This starts during the hiring process. At Camp Laurel, only people highly qualified in their applied program area are selected to work at camp; basketball and lacrosse staff, for example, have all either played or coached at a high level; ceramics staff hired are all BFA Ceramics/Pottery candidates, etc. But not only are staff talented in their specific area, they are also skilled teachers. This is a very important distinction as all the skill in the world is useless to an instructor if they cannot teach this skill to the campers. In hiring the right staff, a balance of fun and skills progression is reached, and Camp Laurel campers are able to stay engaged while also improving their fundamentals.


The Facility and Equipment


While the instructors teaching campers are very important in running a high-level program, the best instructor is limited without proper facilities and equipment.  At Camp Laurel, all facilities and equipment are in great shape and are consistently updated to make sure that optimal conditions are met for campers; all soccer fields are level with regulation size goals; all sailboats have fully functioning sails and rudders, etc. In addition, there is ample space within each program area. Campers aren’t sitting around, waiting their turn. Instead they are always engaged and learning new skills.


So if you’re looking for a specialty camp of any kind…give Camp Laurel a look!

Brant Lake Sports Academy

Halloween is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up! After a day on the field and down at the lake, the girls at BLSA like to unwind with some fun and creative evening activities. This is probably my favorite time of day because many campers come out of their shell and the group tends to bond as a whole. Through wacky expression, campers let their guard down and truly enjoy themselves.

Polar Bear Challenge Motivates Campers

Jumping into a teeth-chattering cold lake every morning isn’t the most pleasant sounding idea at camp, but you would be surprised by how many people willingly do it and there’s actually a great reason why they do. At camp there is a special club you can be a part of if you jump into the lake every single morning of the summer.

Jump in, splash around and embrace the cold and you’ll be a member of the prestigious Polar Bear Club. Each morning campers from all the divisions jump into the lake to complete the daily task of being in the Polar Bear Club. No skips are allowed, even if it’s extra chilly in the morning, and if you successfully complete this challenge there is a special party at the end of the summer just for you. It’s a silly challenge but there are so many benefits to being a part of the Polar Bear Club because of everything it teaches campers.

For a camper to participate in this means they start their day completing a challenge a lot of people won’t even attempt to do. When a camper starts every morning overcoming a challenge and feeling accomplished, it sets them up to have a positive day where they can accomplish many more things. This ripple effect will translate into campers realizing how much potential is inside them, motivating them to tackle larger and more difficult challenges.

The Polar Bear Challenge also shows campers the importance of determination and to never give up, especially on mornings when it’s a bit nippier than usual. Their hard work pays off when at the end of the summer they realize they are one of few campers that were actually motivated enough to become a member of the Polar Bear Club, the rewarding feeling is something that makes all those cold mornings well worth it.



Camp Laurel South

Many camps claim to be the “full-package”, but not many camps compare to the experience offered at Camp Laurel South. At Camp Laurel South, we combine incredible staff with excellent programming and world-class facilities, all in a family atmosphere. The four-week experience includes instruction in Athletics, Tennis, InterArts, Watersports, Outdoor Adventure and Equestrian from our expert staff who join us from across the country and around the world. In addition to programmatic diversity, campers have the chance to explore the beautiful state of Maine through both age-specific and all-camp trips. Sending a child to camp is a tremendous act of faith by parents and Camp Laurel South takes that responsibility very seriously by creating an environment that encourages both safety and health, and reinforces a positive self-image.


The unique program at Camp Laurel South gives campers the ability to develop new skills in their favorite activities. Our facilities include pristine fields and courts for all major sports, art studios for visual and performing arts, adventure courses, and a 10-horse barn; all laid on the backdrop of beautiful Crescent Lake, a virtual beehive of activity with every watersport you can imagine. Campers are able to tailor their schedule to their personal interests. Whether your child wants to play sports all day, loves to be on the waterfront, or is an aspiring artist – the program at Camp Laurel South provides campers the opportunity to explore all activities at their own pace.


Campers at Laurel South often boast that the Directors, Roger and Dagni, seem more like parents than camp directors. That’s because they create an atmosphere of warmth that they then instill into the staff during the hiring process. Each staff member goes through a rigorous application and interview process before attending a week-long Orientation. Here they have a chance to get to know the program, their responsibilities and the children they will be taking care of all summer. Roger, Dagni and the incredible staff provide each camper with an unforgettable experience filled with friendship, skill development and self-growth.


If you’re looking to send your child to a ca

mp with the “full-package”, take a peak at Camp Laurel South.


Set Green and Gray Aside This Month and Wear Pink

Brant Lake Sports Academy

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s time to show your support! In recent years, many sports teams and organizations have embraced the movement; promoting breast cancer awareness games, uniforms, and merchandise in order to raise money for breast cancer research. For at least one game or one small portion of the season, competing teams are united in a vital cause. In addition to promotions, there are also many organized events that are held around the world, such as walks or runs, to help publicize breast cancer awareness. So grab your team, show your support and wear PINK…it’s for a great cause!

 Why Kids Need Camp Now More Than Ever

Camp Laurel

It doesn’t seem like too long ago when the first iPhone came out, or when wifi started to become mainstream; those were 10 and 20 years ago respectively. As the world evolves and technology progresses, the importance of camp increases exponentially. Kids today are growing up in a significantly more technological world than the one their parents grew up in; a world where they need camp now more than ever. Here’s just a few reasons why:


Camp Teaches Kids How to Interact


The days of calling a friend’s house phone and saying “Hello Mr./Mrs. Smith is John home?” are over. Kids are getting cell phones at a younger age and have mastered the ability to interface through texting, Snapchat, Instagram…the list goes on and on. Through these constant and instantaneous interactions, kids are losing many interpersonal skills they’d have gained through face-to-face interactions or phone calls. This is where camp comes in. Because there is no technology for campers at camp, kids are able to truly be with each other. They talk, laugh, tell stories, and really learn the proper way to interact with one another. Whether in times of happiness or times of conflict, campers gain the ability to better navigate their relationships.


Camp Allows Kids to Focus on the Moment


We often take for granted the fact that we have a “super-computer” in our pocket at all times in the form of a smartphone. This is especially true for kids, who have only ever known a life where technology is readily accessible. But while smartphones are advantageous in an immeasurable number of ways, they also create a very large distraction. Kids are constantly immersed in their screen — surfing the web, perusing their preferred social media feed, or “Snapping” their numerous Snapchat friends. With this, they lose the ability to be fully focused on the moment they are in. At camp, such is not the case. Campers are not allowed cell phones, which creates an environment where campers are engaged in their endeavors. Rather than being immersed in their phone screen, they are immersed in their activities, or their friends. While being fully focused on the moment, campers are able to get the most out of everything they do.


So as technology continues to advance and to weave its way into everyday life…do your kids a favor and send them to camp!

NYC Dance Performances: Fall 2017 – Brant Lake Dance Camp

What an amazing summer 2017 was at Brant Lake Dance Camp. It was a summer full of laughter, friendship, and of course, dance! We’re excited for the year ahead and are looking forward to staying in touch in the coming months. In the meantime, here are some expert dance performances in the New York City area to keep your dance fever alive:

  1. Fall for Dance: Fall for Dance at City Center is open now and is a great way to see a variety of talented dance. Tickets are $10 and they go fast!
  1. Twyla Tharp: Twyla Tharp and her incredible dance troupe are at the Joyce Theatre in late September through early October.

  1. NYC Ballet: The NYC Ballet begins its season with Swan Lake on September 17th.

BONUS – Game of Thrones: Rock Musical: There is a Game of Thrones parody opening on Broadway from October 10th through October 29th.

Camp Laurel

There are many camps across the United States with various program concentrations, but Camp Laurel stands out among these camps. Combining a family atmosphere with world-class programming and facilities, Camp Laurel is truly one of a kind. Campers receive unparalleled instruction in Athletics, Tennis, Watersports, Arts, Outdoor Adventure and Equestrian from our talented staff who join us from all over the world. Sending a child to camp is a tremendous act of faith by parents and Camp Laurel takes that responsibility very seriously by creating an environment that encourages both safety and health, and reinforces a positive self-image.


The facilities at Camp Laurel are second-to-none and consists of pristine fields and courts for all major sports, art studios for visual and performing arts, adventure courses and a 20-horse barn; all laid on the backdrop of beautiful Echo Lake — nine miles around. The program features guided choice where campers are given increasing freedom to select activities as they get older. In one day at camp, a camper can play any sport of their choosing, waterski behind one of our Mastercraft speed boats, work on their serve on one of our 15 hard-surfaced tennis courts, learn to cook global cuisine in our world-class culinary studio, explore the high ropes on our adventure course and ride one of our 20 horses and ponies…all before dinner!


While the program and facilities are impressive, what really makes Camp Laurel stand out is the family environment created by the staff. Jem and Debbie Sollinger, Laurel’s camp directors, have overseen Camp Laurel for 20+ years and know each camper and family on an individual level. The staff are hand-picked from colleges and universities and go through a rigorous application and interview process. Once hired, the staff attend a week-long orientation where they have a chance to get to know the program, their responsibilities and each child in their cabin prior to the campers’ arrival. The directors and well-trained staff ensure each and every camper is having an unforgettable experience filled with self-growth.

With many camps to choose from, Camp Laurel’s premier program, facilities, staff and environment stand out from the rest.

Back to School – Brant Lake Sports Academy

Camp is over?!?!

The summer of 2017 slipped away in a flash and before we knew it we were covered in school supplies and swamped organizing fall schedules. But how do we now transition into the back to school routine? Here are a few tips…

  1. Get a Good Night Sleep. Your day can never start on the right foot when you’re tired and cranky.
  2. Lay Out Your Clothes the Night Before. No one likes being frazzled in the morning trying to find a “good outfit” for the day.
  3. Hang a Family Calendar in the Kitchen. This way everyone (including dad) knows where they need to be and when.
  4. Make Sure All Meals for the Day Are Set. This includes making sure everyone eats breakfast and has their snack/lunch packed in their backpacks. Hungry kids lead to tired and cranky kids.
  5. Remember…YOU’VE GOT THIS! You’ve done this before, you can do it again. Be confident and your back to school transition will be a piece of cake.

I MISS CAMP ALREADY! How many more days until we can make our toilet paper countdown?

Bunk Plaques Add to Growing Camp History

The history of summer camp is as deep and diverse as an ocean, full of life and a variety of characters, it contains an endless amount of history. There are so many stories that can be told within the gates of camp.

One way to leave your bit of history and to make your camp story last a lifetime is through the tradition of decorating a bunk plaque at the end of the summer. With the help of everyone inside your bunk, a plaque is given to every bunk on boys and girls side to decorate however they like to tell a story about their summer. Inside jokes and funny incidents are often inscribed on these wooden plaques, the paint depicts all the fun these campers have experienced this summer. No matter what is painted or dusted with glitter, the plaque symbolizes all the fun camp was able to provide for these campers. The plaque allows for a bunk to bond over all the good and sometimes the rough times of the summer, reminiscing over everything they have gone through together and will remember for the rest of their lives.

This tradition is so special in the way it brings all the campers and counselors together, reminding everybody of how they were able to overcome challenges and accomplish goals as a bunk, the summer wouldn’t have been the same without everyone in the bunk taking part in helping each other.

These plaques are forever hung in the Dining Hall of camp, the one place everyone is gathered for important times of the day. When you look up at your plaque from this summer or summers ago, you are able to remember all the amazing memories you have made at camp and the unique experiences you wouldn’t be able to participate in anywhere else. With your plaque, your history is forever a part of camp.