Friendship without borders: a day of international summer camp life


Summer camp life is centered around the three core values ​​of friendship, family and tradition – and of course the experience of international camps is no exception!

Whether it is a foreign camper who wants to experience American culture or a local camper who wants to experience the culture of the international summer camp, America’s Finest Summer Camps offer campers a chance to get in touch with new cultures. (Plus, you’ll enjoy the fun of sports, singing around the campfire, and playing by the lake!)

Common values

Campers in the international camp may come from different countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, China, South Korea, etc. But the common reason for everyone to participate in the international camp is: a traditional American cultural experience that is still fresh in memory.

After arriving at the camp, the counselors will emphasize that the campers learn to appreciate the differences in various cultures and also emphasize the commonalities of people.

Every one of us loves the family, and everyone loves to laugh. Regardless of whether you have seen bonfires, marshmallows or fireflies in the past, the first time you sing around the campfire with the international campers will be an unforgettable memory for every camper.

Fun: Common Language

Although English is the official language of the international camp, campers from different countries can share and experience different languages ​​and cultures. Perhaps you will accidentally find other campers who speak the same language to joke with you. “Wow, you speak Spanish too!”

Experience the United States

The main reason for attracting international campers to come to North America is to hope to experience the traditional American culture… Of course, the experience of culture after the international camp is two-way!

When it comes to American tradition, it is hard to have a more typical example than the summer camp. From the flag-raising ceremony in the morning to the ridiculous songs around the table at dinner, the seemingly normal routines for the old campers returning to the summer camp are fascinating for the youngest partners from Europe and Asia. Plus, who doesn’t love an evening spent making s’mores around the campfire?

Thanks to the excellent counselors of the camp and the traditions of the past decades, every international camper can come home with good memories and countless stories.

Camper Friendships

Friendship has no borders. In the era of rapid modernization of the world, most of the partners are still unable to effectively contact and communicate with their peers in other countries.

The international camp offers children the ability to make face-to-face friendships with other campers from around the world.

Happy Times at Camp

Whether camper’

Whether it’s making good friends overseas or learning about a country’s language and traditions, the experience of the international camp will be a wonderful and profound memory for every camper.

Even if you have never gone abroad, a summer at America’s Finest Summer Camps will definitely bring you an international experience!



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‘Twas the Night before Camp

‘Twas the night before camp and all through the land,
The day many had awaited for months was at hand.
The bags were all packed and sent off to camp,
The envelopes and stationary pre-addressed and stamped.
Of their new campers the counselors wondered,
Of how awesome it will be to meet them, they pondered.
The cabins were ready, the beds assigned.
Welcome signs for the morning, carefully aligned.
The Directors and Senior staff feverishly prepared,
For all of the campers who soon would be there.
The campers, they slept hardly a wink,
That they would soon be with their camp friends was all they could think.

Moms and dads sat together working through lists,
Careful to make sure there was nothing they’d missed
Sing-alongs, special activities, and the opening night show,
The countdown was almost over, it was nearly ready-set-go.

In the morning, there would be lots of cheerful well wishes,
Before the campers boarded buses and planes for a summer sure to be auspicious.
The parents would wave as the campers  rolled out of sight,
And assure each other, “They’ll be alright.”
Soon summer camp would come alive,
As buses full of campers began to arrive.
Some hugs, laughter, and maybe a cheer,
The summer of 2011 would finally be here.

And as the first day of camp turns into the first night,
A happy to summer to all, and may every day excite!

Three Reasons Why Campers Love Camp Laurel

Children are gearing up for the final push in the school year. College students are finishing up projects and studying for finals. If you couldn’t hear the buzz in the air signaling summer right around the corner, here are some extra reasons camp people are getting excited for this summer.


During the school year, children might be lucky to have classes with friends, but their primary focus is learning. Peer interactions are limited to hallway conversations, lunchtime, passing friends between classes and recess for younger children. At Camp Laurel they spend all morning, afternoon and evening interacting with their peers. Whether they’re huddling up in flag football, finishing a project in ceramics, rehearsing their lines for the upcoming play or hanging out in the cabin, campers are always encouraged to interact with their friends.

Time is Different

Campers learn that time at camp works differently. Throughout the school year there are several countdowns usually measured in months. Two months until winter break, six months until spring break and nine months until summer. At Camp Laurel, we’re counting time both ways. We know there is always something fun and exciting on the horizon, but we also measure time in weeks that have passed. Everyone realizes their time at camp is limited and they’re looking to make the most of it. Camp has so many “you had to be there” memories because campers are living so vividly in the moment and those moments stick with them.

Built for Children

Thinking about the “real world” from a child’s perspective reminds us that children are often told to prepare and wait until they are grownups. Camp, on the other hand, is an environment dedicated to youth. Campers create incredible memories because camp focuses on who and where they are now. Camp is a place all about children living in the moment and being themselves.

A One-of-a-Kind Basketball Camp Experience

Camp Horseshoe Basketball Camp is a unique experience like no other! Campers spend five days at Camp Horseshoe’s gorgeous 140 acre Northwoods facility; a state-of-the-art campus featuring every athletic, adventure and waterfront activity under the sun, along with high-level basketball instruction from some of the top high school basketball coaches in the country.  We have a long tradition of success, with alumni that includes multiple NBA players and a long list of NCAA student athletes.

High-Level Instruction

Our cabin and activities staff are highly trained and committed to making sure that every camper is safe and enjoying every moment of camp!   Our basketball program is run by a team of some of the finest, most well-respected coaches in the midwest, featuring former IBCA Coaches of the Year award winners and Illinois state champions.  Our program is performanced planned, featuring plenty of invaluable, one-on-one instruction in technique and skills as well as two regulation full court games for every camper each day.  There will also be plenty of time for off-court leisure activities.

Authentic Summer Camp Experience

Camp Horseshoe Basketball Camp creates the ideal atmosphere for campers to get the absolute maximum out of his week long experience.  Campers will have the opportunity to enjoy everything we have to offer including our lifeguard-supervised waterfront which features brand new inflatables; tubing, fishing, climbing wall, high ropes course, 300-foot zip-line, trampball, archery, tennis, pickleball and so much more!  All of our facilities from the courts to the cabins and bathrooms are new, clean, and up to date.  Our health center is staffed by registered nurses who live on the premises.

Camp Values

At Camp Horseshoe, each Horseshoe boy is cheered, included, and accepted.  Our goal is to help you become the best basketball player you’re capable of being, nothing less. Our basketball coaches provide the campers with daily motivational messages relating to life both on and off the basketball court, such as developing confidence, integrity, teamwork, passion and determination. We’re confident that your son will leave Horseshoe Basketball Camp with improved skills both on and off the court, meaningful relationships, and amazing memories that will last a lifetime!

Life Skills You Learn at Camp

Camp Laurel: 

Going to camp was never about learning “life-skills” when I was a camper. I loved camp and returned every summer to have fun and hang with my friends. I didn’t realize until much later in life how beneficial spending every summer at Camp Laurel would be. So, with the ability to look back now, I’m going to talk about the most meaningful skills I gained because of my time as a camper.

First Impressions

My college roommate once asked me how I was able to introduce myself to anyone and everyone so easily. This was the first time I realized how big an impact camp had on me. Camp Laurel helped me learn this early on because no matter how tight-knit our friends were, we were always excited to meet new campers and counselors.

Camp also taught me to get to know people beyond first impressions. Sometimes it’s easy to make snap-judgments of people, but at camp I learned to never judge a book by its cover.


My second night at camp I participated in one of my favorite camp traditions: Egg Drop. It seems so simple: our cabin is given supplies to safely drop an egg from the top of our climbing wall without breaking it. Looking at it now, I can see how intentional that evening program was because it allowed everyone in our cabin to creatively find a solution to our dilemma. But this is one of a countless number of opportunities to campers are given to communicate.

Clean up, cabin dance-offs, Group Sing, College Days…All things that helped me learn how to communicate effectively with a wide range of other campers and counselors.

Trying New Things

There’s no place like camp to try new things. For seven weeks, I had the opportunity to learn how to waterski, climb, become a Laurel Gladiator, shoot a bow and arrow, try out for the play, learn an instrument, go camping, make something (anything!) in ceramics. And those are only the things that pop into mind on top of enjoying the things I loved before camp like basketball, tennis and painting. Camp Laurel let me get out of my comfort zone in the most comfortable way. I was able to try so much because the counselors were willing to instruct and coach me with a positive attitude. I never felt like I wasn’t good enough at something. Now, when new opportunities come about, I’m excited to try them and learn how to get better.

Spring and New Beginnings

Brant Lake Dance Camp:

Given that Spring and New Beginnings are the themes of the month and we all LOVE to Dance, let’s try something new together! At Brant Lake Dance Camp we encourage everyone to try as many different dance forms as they can while at camp.

Diversity in your training will not only make you a stronger dancer it will exercise your brain and stimulate your creativity as well. So, if you love your Contemporary at home try a Jazz class and a Modern class at camp. There is sure to be new ways to move and your body that you’ve never thought of before and you’ll love the way you feel when you master a new combination. Even better you’ll love the addition of this new found technique in creating your own Enchoreo piece. 

“Our Guest Artist, Lynn, inspired me to try some things I never had done before and I liked them so much I used them in my Enchoreo piece.”

With three levels of Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop and Modern professionally taught at BLDC you’re sure to find a new Love of Dance to add to your current Love of Dance.

The Importance of Camp Routines

Camp Laurel South:

Camp is all about having fun, developing friendships and creating memories that last a lifetime. Campers love the activities, living with their closest friends and trying new things. They could go on and on about how much they love wakeboarding, playing ping-pong during free time or simply laughing through every day. What campers (and counselors!) don’t always realize is how impactful their camp routine is.

To an outsider, summer camp may look like little more than highly organized chaos: but the scheduling of Laurel South is very intentional, sophisticated and made for the benefit of each camper. Campers are waking up and going to sleep at roughly the same time each day. Meals are well-rounded with plenty of options. Campers are active for several hours and they’re constantly smiling. And while they experience different activities from day to day, the time spent at these programs is the same.

Camp is unlike anywhere else because everyone is in a similar routine. And research shows that children and adults who have a structured schedule sleep and generally feel better. The routine of camp is often overlooked, but camp directors and parents know it’s one of the best benefits for children.

Spring Cleaning and Prepping for Camp

Brant Lake Dance Camp

I know that it’s a bit early but, I am definitely thinking of Spring. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved all of the snow that we’re having at Brant Lake this Winter but, I find myself crossing the street just to walk in the sun.   

I’ve decided to do Spring Cleaning early. I guess you can say that I’m trying to give Spring a little nudge, (or maybe because I can’t find my Airpods). I know, you’re thinking, why am I writing about Spring Cleaning on the Dance Camp BLOG? Well, for two reasons

  1. An unexpected snow day is a great time to sort through all of your dance clothes and make room for new! I mean, we all have that leo lurking in the way back of the drawer that we have loved and can’t say goodbye to but, maybe we need to do a @MariKondo and thank it for all it has given to the joy in our lives and move on.
  2. Make a list of my favorite things that I can’t live without and are coming to camp with me. (Clever how cleaning up can bring us to this list.)


  1. My comfy cozy slippers (to walk to breakfast in)
  2. My good luck green headband (We’re going to win this summer!)
  3. XL water bottle
  4. Yellow rain jacket (because, we believe that when the rain is bouncing off the ground, it is still keeping me dry.)
  5. Tie dye tank (/shorts) for Tye Dye Tuesdays                                     
  6. My Hawaiian print shirt for Luau
  7. Coda (you remember da puppy!…stuffed with rainbow sprinkles?…)
  8. Comfy old tee shirt
  9. RAINBOW TUTU (I found it in the back of my drawer!)
  10. Animal onesie

So, don’t wait for the next snow day, do your Spring Cleaning and make your Top Ten List to bring to camp this summer.

(Special thanks to our Directors of Fun, Liv ‘n Sassy who helped put this list together.)

Snail Mail – Handwritten Letters are Much More Personal


When was the last time you wrote a handwritten letter? When was the last time you went out to the mailbox to find a handwritten letter addressed to you? If you are like most people, receiving a letter in the mailbox instead of an inbox is a special treat to be treasured. The idea that someone took the time to sit down and put their thoughts to you on paper, find an envelope, a stamp and get it out into the mailbox is something to be admired in this fast-paced world, which is what makes receiving mail so special.

At America’s Finest Summer Camps, campers look forward to filling their friends and family back home in on the details of their camp experience through a series of handwritten notes. But participating in the ancient art of “snail mail” is about more than just touching base with friends and family back home. Writing and receiving letters benefits campers in many ways.

During their break away from school, students typically have fewer chances to practice their basic reading and writing skills. Writing letters helps campers fine-tune this skill in a way that is fun and personal. There is no pressure to get all of the spelling right or indent properly, just an opportunity for campers to practice their penmanship and creative writing skills. Receiving letters from home also gives them a chance to brush up on their reading skills.

For campers who are growing up in a technology-driven world, a letter from home while at camp may be their first experience in getting something personal in the mail. There is an anticipation that comes with waiting for the recipient to receive their letter, and then excitement in receiving the response. This experience could foster a love and appreciation for handwritten notes in campers, and encourage them to continue the tradition throughout their lives.

A letter from home can be just the thing a homesick camper needs to feel better. A letter is a tangible treasure campers can hold onto and look back on whenever they want. It is a tangible reminder of their life back home and a connection to their loved ones.

Campers can write as many handwritten letters home as they wish. They are encouraged to use their quiet times to reflect on their day and write about their experiences and adventure to share with people back home.

A summer at sleepaway camp introduces campers to some of life’s most simple pleasures, such as songs around a campfire, enjoying a sunset and appreciating the art of snail mail. Just another way America’s Finest Summer Camps gives campers experiences that they may not have had anywhere else!

Rainy Days at Camp

A rainy day at camp is better than a sunny day stuck at home!

Summer weather in the northeast can be unpredictable. Sometimes you have weeks of high temps and sunshine, other weeks you’ve got off-and-on rainstorms. Thankfully, America’s Finest Summer Camps are designed to provide an exceptional camp experience, rain or shine.

When it rains, the entire camp is prepared. There are countless indoor activities to keep campers entertained and occupied until the sun comes back out.

Performing Arts

There is no better way to spend a rainy day than enjoying a good show. America’s Finest Summer Camps give creative campers an outlet to work on their performance and musical interests. From theatre improv to dance and instrument practice, campers can express themselves through the creative arts. Regardless of skill level, every camper is welcome to participate in some of the many performing arts options at camp!

Creative Arts

While music, theatre, and dance may be the rainy day option for some, other creative campers prefer the visual arts. America’s Finest Summer Camps introduce campers to woodworking, ceramics, drawing, jewelry and candle making. Aspiring artists can channel their inner creativity in many different activities at camp.

Other Rainy Day Options

The America’s Finest Summer Camp experience is designed to give every camper a unique and personalized sleepaway camp experience. This is why some programs offer additional options for campers who have specific interests, such as radio broadcasting, science, cooking, and digital photography. These options keep kids in their zone as the rain comes pouring down.

 Indoor Athletics

While many of camp’s sports programs are designed to be played outside in the beautiful summer weather, some indoor options allow campers to stay active without getting soaked. Gymnastics, fitness and aerobics, figure skating, and basketball are a few examples of sports that can be moved indoors. These options give campers plenty of possibilities for rainy day fun.

America’s Finest Summer Camps always have a plan. Camp staff and counselors are prepared for rainy days and have tricks up their sleeves to ensure a rainy day is still just as much fun as a sunny days. The best part about rainy days at camp is that you are still surrounded by friends.

We never let a little rain ruin our fun at camp. No matter what the weather forecast says, campers fill every day with new activities, great food, new friends and adventure!