Can Camp Prepare Your Child For College?

December 18th, 2014

As your child grows, the time for college comes closer, and when the moment finally comes by, there are several questions that begin to pour through a parent’s mind. Questions like will they make friends? Will they work hard? And, where are they going to be heading after this? The thing is that it’s natural to worry as a parent. However, these fears and doubts can be lessened, and all you need to do is send your child to camp. Believe it or not, a good summer camp can really prepare your child for college. Not convinced? Read on as we further elaborate.

The Challenges of Going to College

There are several challenges that going to college presents to your child, but there are three which stand out:

  • Academic rigor increases.
  • There is considerable uncertainty (will I be able to fit in socially? Can I adjust with this roommate?)
  • Being away from home, friends, and family.

How Camp Prepares Children for College?

Kids Learn New Skills

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.56.17 AMUndoubtedly, camp covers a little when it comes to the first challenge, but it does quite a lot in preparing your child for it. How? Well, your child learns a lot in camp. They develop different skills in the process, as it pushes them out of their comfort zone, so that they can try things they haven’t before. The scenario is pretty much the same in college. Coping up with the difficult studies, working hard to maintain it, can be difficult, but if your child has already been to camp, they will work hard and out of their comfort zone to achieve the results they desire.

Kids Learn Who They Really Are at Camp

Camp allows kids to try new and exciting activities, as well as meet new people. This can prove to be quite conductive for the growth of your child. They are given the opportunity to be comfortable in their own skin, which is essential in college.

Kids Learn to Face Competition

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.54.30 AMCompetition is everywhere and same is the case when it comes to college. Kids learn to both succeed and fail at camp, which is a crucial part of their growth process. There is a lot at stake in college and fearing the competition can be harmful for the progress of your child. Sending your child to a good camp can help them to learn a healthy level of competition.

Kids Learn to Take Care of Themselves

In camp, there are no parents or family around to do stuff for them, and kids have more time to do things for themselves. They take care of their own things, make their own bed, and so on. This along the way helps them to learn to take care of themselves, and that too, in an extremely fun way. Since your child will be spending more time in college than at home, this is something that will certainly help them in college.

So, find a good camp and send your child to it now, as it would help them to develop the essential shock-absorbers for the bumps of college life.

Holidays – Starlight Style

December 16th, 2014

As 2015 gets closer and closer, the weather transformation around us is in full swing. The holidays are rapidly approaching and many different things come to mind such as food, celebration, home, and even some of the words that embody Starlight…

As we look forward to the holiday season, looking at the founding principles of Starlight can be a great way to tie together our experiences at camp.

TRADITON. Much like the tradition at camp, every year we are all gathered to celebrate the times we have had and enjoy one another’s company. Every family might have it’s own tradition just like Starlight has it’s own traditions, all of which are surely fantastic.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 8.24.02 AMFAMILY. Similar to tradition, even when we are away from camp and with our families at home, we are constantly remembering the togetherness of the Starlight family. Recalling the times with our camp brothers and sisters and the great bonds created during summers at camp.

FRIENDSHIP. When coming together for the holidays it’s always exciting to see friends to catch up, share stories, and create new memories. We always have our camp friends, too. We share our amazing summers together but it is also a remarkable feeling to have reunions, see each other at school, or maybe even share a holiday together!

FUN. At the heart of things when it comes to combining theses principles at camp and during the Holidays, is fun. Fun at home with your family and friends can be simple yet the some of the most cherished memories. Whether it’s at camp or at home we will always be thankful for the times we’ve had.

SPIRIT. It’s a great feeling to get in the holiday spirit and rejoice with everyone around us. The holiday season only comes once a year just like camp and we cherish every moment of it. The smiles, laughter, and satisfaction that take place at camp are easily comparable to the moments ahead of us.

ADVENTURE. Much like the trip we take to camp every summer, celebrations we have with our friends and families can be the experience of a lifetime. Travelling to see loved ones can be a journey, but we live in the moment just like we do at camp. Our time at camp is limited during the summer, but we are sure to make every second count!Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 8.26.00 AM

 And as we draw closer to joining as one next summer, we’d like to think of the Starlighters (past and present) and hope they can take themselves back to those moments and remember how much the Camp Starlight family truly has to be thankful for. We thank you for the memories we have created and for so many more to come!


We wish you all the best during your Holiday season!

Unique Opportunities at Camp Starlight

December 11th, 2014

When your child heads back to school after a summer at Camp Starlight, they will hear a lot of their classmates talking about what they did over the summer:

“I went swimming in my pool. Every day.”

“I played baseball with my friends.”

“I visited my Grandma in Oklahoma.”

But when your child stands up to share his or her experience, it might sound something like:

“I don’t even know where to start! I tried archery and gymnastics, I learned to bake INCREDIBLE French pastries, I crafted my mom a necklace in arts and crafts. I swam a lot, but I also went water skiing and sailing! I went camping and learned important outdoor skills. I was in a musical. I even went down a zipline!” 

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.50.28 AMThe great thing about Camp Starlight is that it’s not a place to send your kids where they’ll do the same ol’ thing they’ve always done. Once they step foot onto camp, they’ll be surrounded by new activities. A camper may discover their love for archery or sailing, but would have never had the opportunity to try it back home.

At camp, your child has a hands-on opportunity to learn outdoor skills such as navigating a hiking trail, learning to make a fire, cruising through an outdoor fitness trail and getting pro-level instruction in tennis, lacrosse or basketball. These are things they would rarely have the chance to learn outside of a summer spent at camp. These skills prepare campers with a sense of confidence and self–sufficiency that can be carried over into many other aspects of their lives.

The lessons campers learn while trying out new activities at camp are invaluable. Learning to work together as a team, whether in flag football or during a mountaineering adventure, is an essential character trait built upon at summer camp. Campers learn to trust themselves and step out of their comfort zone, while also learning to trust their peers and building lifelong friendships in the process.

Campers can explore their creative side, and try new artistic outlets not found in their typical English class or art elective. Jewelry making, cartooning, ceramics, music production, jazz dance and cooking are just a few activities geared toward right-brained campers. When was the last time your child had the opportunity to really get their hands dirty and create a piece of ceramic art? Or learn first-hand what beautiful art can be created out of a piece of scrap metal? At summer camp, giving each camper a once in a lifetime experience is our goal, and we strive to make sure there are unique opportunities for everyone to take part in. Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.49.54 AM

Your child could go back to school with thrilling adventures of playing Bingo with grandma in Oklahoma or delight the class with play-by-plays of their neighborhood baseball games. Or they could teach their class a thing or two about archery, French pastries, sailing, outdoor skills, jazz dance, flag football, ceramics and what is involved in training for a triathlon, just to summarize their first couple weeks at camp.

Give your child the gift of brand new experiences by sending them to a camp where they can do it all. It’ll be a life changing experience for the both of you.


Interning at Camp: The Ultimate Summer Job

December 9th, 2014

In today’s society of college students there is an underlying pressure to get the coveted internship or summer job to boost your career. According to, an internship is defined as “any official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession.” The experiences our staff endure and take away from working at camp are limitless, but the idea of a camp internship can easily translate to many fields in the workplace.

Connor Lange, a recent graduate of Iowa State University completed an Exercise Science internship while working at camp as a Fitness Specialist. Lange shared what he learned from his experience, “I learned how to effectively manage my time, coordinate events for a variety of age groups, communicate with both facility and the kids, work as a strong team, and manage my work life and personal life in an effective way.”
10526136_10152177443296960_5570309213981646310_nWhile working at camp is indefinitely a fun experience, being able to take away real skills and knowledge for future careers is a translatable yet rewarding experience. There are thousands of options of companies; an organization to intern with, but camp does offer something special. Lange went on to mention, “I would recommend Camp Starlight over a traditional internship because I learned more about the aspects and skills needed to be successful in my work field. Also, during my summer at camp, I learned more about myself than I ever thought I would. I learned more about myself this summer than I did in my four years at college.”

Austin Nelson, a Senior at Ohio Northern University studying Business Management recently completed his internship working as apart of our Programming and Operations Department. Nelson eventually would like to work in the sports industry and shared his experience about this past summer, “Coming from a non-camp background, it was interesting to see how Starlight operates and runs as effectively as it does. I learned how to meet deadlines effectively, work with all different kinds of people, and balance the idea of work and play at camp.”

Another huge benefit of working at camp is the ability to have so many co-workers and learn from all different personalities. With staff coming from all over the world, the culture and diversity at camp is unlike any other. “I cannot think of any internship or even study abroad program that offers the same level of diversity that a summer camp does. I learned so much about other cultures. I would not have learned this in a typical internship position,” Nelson added. Rather than being a typical intern, our summer staff are growing, learning, and enjoying the summer as the best two months of their lives.

“The camp atmosphere is truly evident because of how passionate all the staff members are about making the summer the best summer of their entire life for not only the kids but for everyone else in the camp, said Lange.”

While some may not think of camp as a place to intern, Starlight offers internships for all majors and works with many colleges and universities to create distinguished, one of a kind internships for our staff. Even with the stress of getting that sought-after internship, sometimes the simplest things like camp can provide the most gratifying experiences.

Leap Of Faith

December 4th, 2014

She wasn’t sure what was going to happen first: either her heart was going to beat itself right out of her chest, or the butterflies, no, eagles that were soaring around in her stomach were going to somehow find their way out.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.42.45 AMNervous didn’t even begin to explain how she was feeling as she looked up the gigantic rock wall. She knew all she had to do was put her feet, which were now firmly planted on the ground, on one of those colorful rocks, reach up with one hand and grab another one, and she would be officially off the ground. As her sweaty palms met the first rock, her counselor spoke quietly right behind her, whispering words of encouragement and support. As she took the next step and inched her way up the rock wall, she had to remind herself to breathe. Then she heard her friends, encouraging her and cheering her on. Left foot, right hand, right foot, left hand, she said to herself. The further she got from the ground, the louder the cheers became. She was actually doing it! She was climbing the rock wall that she said from the moment she stepped foot onto camp that she would never do. She wanted to look down to see the crowd of people cheering her on, but she decided she’d just focus on getting to the top.


As she stopped to take a breath, she looked around and marveled at the sheer beauty the camp was enclosed in. The tall trees, the blue waters, the sprawling green lawns; she had never seen camp from this viewpoint before. She knew she was halfway there because her friends’ chants told her so, and she suddenly got a boost of energy and continued her trek up the rock wall. Just a few more rocks to climb and she will be at the top. She wasn’t sure when her nervousness turned to excitement, but as she reached for the top of the wall, she felt a power and a confidence she had never felt before. The entire camp erupted in applause and she screamed “I DID IT!” at the top. As she propelled down to the crowd of supporters, she walked away with a new sense of self-confidence and accomplishment.


The rock wall symbolized everything she was afraid of, and she had conquered it. She grew closer to her friends and counselors because of their unwavering support, and she went home with a fresh perspective on obstacles and challenges. “Now, when something is hard or scary, I say to myself ‘I climbed the rock wall at camp. I got this.”


The rock wall, ropes courses, rope swing and zip line are all vital parts of the Adventure Program at Camp Starlight. These thrilling activities push campers out of their comfort zone, and they emerge a little different than they were when they started. Whether they are climbing the rock wall on their own, or working as a team to maneuver through the high or low ropes courses, these adventures help campers excel in areas such as teamwork, leadership, goal setting, cooperation, positive risk taking and trust. These vital characteristics are taken from camp and built upon in the outside world, creating well rounded, brave individuals who work well in group settings, set goals and meet them, and can trust others as well as themselves. Who would have thought soaring down a zip line or flying through the air on a giant swing could be so important for a child’s emotional well-being? Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.41.06 AM

Inner strength, confidence and accomplishment aren’t only gained through climbing great heights. Overnight camping trips are available for older campers via the Adventures Program, and offer a wide range of benefits for those to take part in it. The survival skills the campers will learn will give them a peace of mind that they have the tools they need to make it should they ever get lost in the woods. This also teaches them self-sufficiency, trusting their instincts and being in touch with their surroundings. The over night camping experience helps campers develop a strong sense of teamwork, as they work together to set up tents, build fires, and explore the woods.


What some campers accomplish on two feet, others can accomplish on two wheels! Mountain biking is another popular feature of Adventures Camp, and is an exhilarating way for campers to experience the outdoors. They will learn bike safety, get a great workout and experience the thrill of positive risk taking.


As campers climb, camp and cycle their way through camp, they are creating lasting memories and experience adventure in a safe and supervised environment.


Campers often write home about taking the “Leap of Faith” a favorite camp tradition that involves climbing to the top of the star jump taking a deep breath and jumping off, placing all of your trust in the ropes and harnesses that are attached to you. The scariest part is making your feet leave the platform, but once you do, you’re in the air and everything that was scary and impossible about making the jump is far behind.


Campers will come home from camp different than from when they arrived. They will come home more self assure, confident, brave and strong; thanks to all of the amazing activities like the Adventure Program that Camp Starlight has to offer.


Looking Forward to Summer Camp

November 11th, 2014

As we head into the colder winter months, children are settled into their school routines and deep into schoolwork, homework and after school schedules. This is also the time of year for children to look forward to the carefree summer months ahead at sleepaway camp. For Starlight campers – and camp staff too, by the way – summer camp is a magical experience that is difficult to capture in words. Camp is a place to enjoy powerful experiences for a lifetime of memories and lasting friendships.
Reconnecting with Nature Being a camper means unplugging from electronics and connecting to the natural environment. Camp Starlight is a delightful spot surrounded by mountain views, acres and acres of woodlands and two private spring-fed lakes. Children discover the joys of activity in the greenery of the countryside by day, and gathering under the starlit sky at night. Returning campers look forward to shedding the constraints of winter clothing, schedules and schoolwork. At camp, they can take advantage of spontaneous learning opportunities as they pursue activities in a gorgeous piece of paradise on camp grounds. Summer camp gives children back their opportunity to explore the outdoors and reconnect with nature. Face-to-Face Relationships In today’s world of social media, too many young people communicate with friends through texting and posting. When children look forward to summer camp, a large part of the excitement is the anticipation of picking up relationships with established camp friends and making new ones. Just spotting a former bunkmate and saying hello can conjure up wonderful memories of athletics activities, outdoor adventures, fine arts and crafts projects, water sports, performances and Olympics enjoyed together. Over and over again, you hear campers and camp staff describe the camp experience as being a part of an extended family. And it is within that Camp Starlight family that campers share their joys, work out their problems and hone interpersonal skills that will last a lifetime.
The Freedom to Explore Campers look forward to the opportunity to build on current interests and explore new ones at camp. From the moment reveille sounds in the morning until the end of the evening program and Taps, campers join their camp friends for a full day of engaging activities. Whether it is perfecting the butterfly stroke or learning to kayak, meeting the challenges of overnight outdoor camping or participating in musical theater performances, campers look forward to participating in stimulating scheduled activities while enjoying the freedom to explore new options within the structure of the camp day. Two daily elective periods insure that campers can choose from an extensive roster of activities, providing the space to grow as an individual by pursuing personal interests. Now is the time that many campers start renewing camp friendships and look forward to the excitement of the summer ahead.

The Anatomy of a S’mores

November 6th, 2014

At Camp Starlight, everyone looks forward to getting in on the action and making s’mores. But what is it about s’mores that gets us asking for – you guessed it – some more?

The sticky, ooey, gooey, utterly delicious ingredients, that’s what!

People say there is a National S’mores Day celebrated on August 10 every year, but you don’t have to wait until then to eat s’mores. To make s’mores, you start when the sun goes down. Everyone gathers around the roaring camp fire hungry for an after dinner sweet treat. Bring along chocolate bars, graham crackers and marshmallows. It doesn’t matter if the chocolate is milk chocolate or dark chocolate – you pick. And don’t forget the skewers, unless you are planning to use twigs like the old days.

Very carefully, break the graham crackers and chocolate into squares. A half of a regular sized chocolate bar and two attached graham crackers will do nicely. Remember, you are kind of making a chocolate and marshmallow sandwich, so you will need two squares of graham crackers.

Now for the best part. Stick your skewer, or twig, right through the center of the marshmallow so it doesn’t fall off. Then roast the marshmallow over the fire until the outside is brown, not burnt, and the inside is really, really gooey. If the marshmallow does fall off into the fire, don’t worry! Just take another one and start over.

When the marshmallow is done, it is time to put together your s’mores. Use one piece of graham cracker as the base, then place the chocolate on top, and then put the hot marshmallow on top of that. Be careful not to burn your fingers! Then add the last layer, the other piece of graham cracker.

But the s’mores is not ready for eating yet!

Just wait a minute or two so the hot marshmallow melts the chocolate just a little bit. Now, take a bite and enjoy your sticky, ooey, gooey, oh so good chocolate marshmallow graham cracker treat!

My First Year as a Counselor

October 14th, 2014

I went to Camp Starlight as a camper for 8 summers. I remained in the same bunk with the same group of girls since I was a junior all the way until CA summer. I was understandably nervous about joining the starlight staff for the summer of 2014, but knew that it was an experience I must complete in order to complete my journey at Camp Starlight. Undoubtedly, this summer exceeded any of my previous expectations. I was a Lower Deb Counselor (GO UNICORNS) and I couldn’t have asked for a better

group of girls to spend my summer with. I admired their constant positivity and energy at every activity and in the bunk. My co-counselors and I became the best of friend, and I learned more about teamwork and responsibility than I thought I could ever learn anywhere. Outside the bunk, I was a lacrosse specialist and it w

as amazing to get to know almost the entire girls side. Every group of girls brought forth a different contribution to the program, which only added to my incredible experience as a coach. I truly thought my years as a camper were the best it was going to get, but my first year counselor experience exceeded anything before it. I learned so much about myself, while spending every second with the people I came to love the most.

Devon H.

My Interview With Megan Panelas.

October 7th, 2014

Sometimes we get so much good stuff over the summer that we can’t publish it all at once. The following is an interview conducted by 2014 Lower Deb Sydney M. during the summer of 2014 with her Division Leader, Meagan Panelas…Recently, I interviewed Megan Panelas, the Lower Deb Division Leader. I’m sure you will learn something new about one of our staff members.The first question I asked Megan was why she wanted to work at a camp. she told me she wanted more experience with kids. she said she specifically chose Camp Starlight because she saw the video yearbook and wanted to join instantly. Megan has been working at Camp Starlight for a long time. Megan has been here for thirteen years. She has been a Division Leader for eleven years in a row.

Megan wanted to be a  Division Leader because she likes special events and she wantedto be more involved in them and what better way to get involved than to be in charge of them? Her favorite thing about being a Lower Deb Division Leader is picking the annual Lower Deb mascot and meeting new campers and counselors every year. Megan says she is from London, Canada and she went to school at the University of Guelph. During the winter, Megan is a pre-school teacher. No wonder why she is so good with kids! Interesting enough, Megan’s first job was as a singing waitress! Megan loves animals, especially unicorns, hippos, dragons and flamingos. Before Megan was a Division Leader, she was a theater specialist and an ADL for the upper inter girls. The thing she likes most about the Lower Deb girls are that they are old enough to do anything on camp and like all evening activities. I asked her if she had any pets and she said she has three cats! Their names are Cringer, Roxy and Marbles. “I love them dearly.” she says about her cats.  She even Skypes with her cats. I had so much fun this year with Megan as my division leader!

-Sydney M.

A Staff Member’s Favorite Part of Camp:

September 18th, 2014

Have you ever tried to thing about your absolute, favorite part of camp? I bet it’s hard to think of just one. There are so many activities, events, and moments at camp that can turn into a favorite in just a matter of seconds.

From a staff perspective, it’s hard to choose just one favorite part about camp. Most staff members have never experienced anything like Camp Starlight before. Every day of the summer is new and exciting for them. They could wake up and say, “That was my favorite part of Camp”, until something even better is thrown at them, and they change their mind over and over again.

My favorite part of camp is possibly one of the most anticipated days of the summer. When the Starlight Summer really begins, welcome day, the first day.  The energy that is flowing through the camp, even before the busses arrive, is crazy. Counselors are so excited to meet their campers and really get the ball rolling.  As those first buses pull up, there is an intense mix of emotions; excitement, anxiousness, happiness, and even a slight feeling of fear. But once all those kids run off the bus carrying sports equipment and bus bags, and the biggest smiles you could ever imagine, the atmosphere drastically changes and it’s one of the best feelings in the world! You suddenly know that you are in for the best summer of your life, and can’t wait to see what’s next in store!

So staff, what is YOUR favorite part of camp? Comment in the section below, or feel free to send us your own personal blog at