Being a Camp Counselor at Camp Starlight

February 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 6.37.07 PMEveryone has that one teacher, babysitter, neighbor, family friend or other adult influence that has made a lasting impression on their lives; a person they credit with shaping and molding the person they’ve become. When you become a camp counselor, you become this and so much more to hundreds of children every year. A camp counselor does so much in the life of a child, but not many people realize how working on staff at Camp Starlight changes and shapes the camp counselors as well.

Camp counselors become experts at time management. They learn how long it takes to get from one place to another, how long clean up, set up and break down takes, and how to effectively manage their time so activities run smoothly camp-wide. They learn the importance of appreciating the time and schedules of others, and campers pick up on this valuable social skill.

Camp counselors become expert communicators. They have no choice but to constantly strive to be good listeners, as kids will remember people who they feel truly listen and hear them, and those who write them off. Counselors learn to speak confidently, while always keeping in mind the effects their words can have on those around them. They learn how to express their concerns and articulate their opinions and expectations without hurting the feelings of others. The ability to successfully communicate with individuals and large groups is a vital and life changing skill that comes naturally from being a counselor.

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 6.40.32 PMProblem solving, conflict management and the ability to maintain a positive attitude in even the most stressful circumstances are all things counselors learn while spending their summers at Camp Starlight. All of these skills are exactly what employers are looking for in the people they hire, and a summer (or two!) as a counselor really sets you up to be the “dream employee” so many jobs are looking for.

Being a camp counselor changes who you are, in a good way of course. Watching hundreds of campers learn more about themselves, create lasting memories and try new and exciting things because they knew YOU believed in them will change your life. You will experience a sense of purpose as you build relationships with campers that you can’t get anywhere else. Being a camp counselor makes you a better friend, family member, student, employee and most importantly, it makes you a better YOU.

Gymnastics at Camp

February 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 4.23.58 PMWhile having fun learning interesting cartwheels and handstands during gymnastics activities at camp, your child also benefits in development areas that will help them become a better person and student. To know more about how your child can benefit from gymnastic activities at camp, read on.

Healthy Lifestyle

The number of obese children in the US is increasing at an alarming state. This increases the need for parents to teach and encourage children to lead an active life, which is exactly what participation in gymnastic activities can do for your child. They get to enjoy physical activity at camp and are also encouraged to be active when they return home. So, don’t be surprised if you see your child engaging more in physical activities instead of sitting on the couch with their iPads.

Social Skills

Your child has the perfect opportunity to build social skills. During gymnastic activities, there will be loads of other campers and experienced coaches whom your child will work with, due to which they learn how be respectful, taking turns, following directions, thinking and working as a team, as well as enquiring when they have difficulty in understanding the way a certain exercise is done.

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 4.25.11 PMOvercoming Fears

If your child has never done something like gymnastics before, it could be a little scary for them, which is why the camp management set attainable goals, so that campers can overcome their fears. This in turn, helps your child develop confidence that there is absolutely nothing they cannot do or achieve.

Self- Confidence & Self-Esteem

Learning gymnastic skills can be challenging and since they are taught through progression, your child gains confidence with each step they take. This enhanced self-confidence transfers to other areas and aspects of your child’s life, including school.

Flexibility

Flexibility is an extremely important aspect, vital for injury prevention as well as to prevent the daily pains and aches one can face from tiredness or exertion. If you didn’t know, there isn’t any other activity that boosts flexibility quite like gymnastics. This improved flexibility not only proves to be effective in gymnastics, but it also helps in the development of several other sports that interest your child.

As you can see, gymnastic activities at camp can prove to be extremely useful for your child. Hopefully, you will find this article insightful and helpful as it highlights all the major benefits your child can gain from gymnastics at camp.

 

4 Tips For The Perfect Cannonball

February 9th, 2015

Things every camper should bring to camp to ensure an amazing summer:

  • Extra underwear
  • Bathing suit
  • This classified, top secret, limited edition guide to doing the perfect cannonball.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.53.49 PMAs the summer temperatures peak, most campers find themselves lounging around the beautiful swimming pool at Camp Starlight, or splashing the day away in the lake. Hanging out in the water is a great way to beat the heat, while hanging out with new friends and making memories that will last forever. When it is time to make things a little more exciting, initiate a camp wide Cannonball contest! Equipped with these researched, tested and proven tips, you can leave camp as this year’s Cannonball Champion.

First, it is important to remember that safety is always of the utmost importance. Remember to always check the depth of the water where you are going to jump. Jumping into water that is too shallow could cause serious injury. If the cannonball contest is taking place on the pool deck, remember not to run. You could slip and fall, and then you’d never get to show off your cannonball skills. You can achieve a perfect 10 cannonball without running and jeopardizing your safety.

Get Some Height: If there is a diving board, use that bad boy to get some extra height and land with a splash. The simple logic behind the perfect cannonball is that the higher you go, the more gravity you have to pull you back into the water with a splash.

Loosen Up: Many believe that the perfect cannonball is created when you fold yourself into a tight, round ball. This is actually not the case. The more area you take up when you hit the water, the bigger the splash. To accomplish this, wrap your arms around your legs, but keep your elbows out to the side, don’t pin them tightly to your body. Remember to keep your form loose and focus on taking up as much space when you land as possible.

The Landing: You loose a lot of splash potential when the bottom of your feet are the first thing to hit the water. If you angle backwards a little bit, your bottom should be the first thing to touch the water. To avoid a knee vs. head accident, keep your knees slightly apart so the force of the impact doesn’t cause your knees to come up and hit you in the nose. Remember to keep your head up so you can see the faces of everyone who is in awe of your perfect cannonball style. Don’t be surprised if there is a line of campers waiting for you when you emerge from the water who want to learn a thing or two from the cannonball master.

 

Why Working at a Camp Is Better Than an Internship

February 2nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.02.36 AMAccording to statistics, there are an estimated 1.2 million camp staff in the United States, and the numbers continue to grow steadily. Now, you might think – “why should I get a camp job over an internship?” Well, working at a camp gives you the opportunity to earn more than just cash. Internships are all about gaining skills and that’s exactly what working at a camp provides, but the question here is that how working at a camp is better than an internship?

The biggest reason why it is better is because working in a camp helps you develop skills that will not only build your resume, but also last you a long time to come. You have the opportunity to lead from the front and solve problems, in addition to fulfilling your responsibilities with utmost sincerity. A camp simply offers real-life experiences that cannot be learnt behind an office desk.

Benefits of Working at a Camp

There are many benefits you can gain by working at a camp. Below we have listed some of the most common:

  • You develop better self-understanding
  • You enhance personal growth
  • You master problem-solving skills
  • Have positive and significant influence in the lives of children
  • You expand/develop a network of peer relations.

How is Working at a Camp Better than an Internship?

Here are a few convincing reasons you should consider working at a camp:

It Builds Character Along with Your Resume

If you do not have character, your resume is pretty much useless. If you make a comparison, you will notice that most interns count the minutes until they are finally done with work, and on the other hand, camp counselors and camp staff dedicate their summers. So, why do they do it? That’s simply because they enjoy what they do. When you work at a camp, you learn to dedicate your time for things besides yourself, as you have the opportunity to deal with adults, kids and other counselors.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.03.53 AMIt’s Not Only about the Money

When you work at a camp, you not only show up every morning because you are getting good money. You show up because your job involves spreading smiles and happiness. You are not confined to an undersized desk, relentlessly waiting for payday.

You Make Kids Smile Instead of Customers

It’s not uncommon to come across interns pretending to be extra nice, so that they can make a sale. A camp job, however, revolves around campers and making them happy. Getting an authentic laugh or smile out of a camper is something more pleasing and enjoyable than selling a particular product to a random guy.

You Learn to Be Selfless Not Selfish

While interns spend most of their time pretending to be busy or surfing the web, every minute you spend in camp is devoted to the campers. Each minute of your time is spent for others, not just for yourself. After all, have you ever seen an intern worrying about the progress of their company they work for, as much as they do for themselves?

So, if you have been considering a job, why not go for it, as you will gain experience and skills that will definitely be of use to you in the future.

Unplugged at Camp Starlight

January 26th, 2015

10532376_10152221993496960_1396692894280105569_nIf your child is like most, they “tweet” their way through breakfast, text at lunch, “like” and “comment” all day long, Snap Chat through dinner, post selfies to Instagram around bedtime and wake up and do it all again the next day. No wonder they stay up to late and want to sleep until noon, they’re busy!

Research has shown kids spend up to 7.5 hours A DAY with their eyes glued to a screen and their fingers frantically pecking away at keyboards. Kids growing up in an age of such accessible and socially acceptable technology can sometimes get lost in the sea of text messages and status updates. Social media can be a hunting ground for bullies, as it is easy to become detached from empathy and consequences when you’re behind a screen. Kids do and say things they would not normally do or say when they’re plugged in, and that can be detrimental to their actual social development. When kids only speak their mind when they are anonymous, or when they try to be someone they aren’t to impress others, they are lacking opportunities to develop self-confidence and character. They may have 1000 “friends” on social media, but are slowly loosing the ability to walk up to someone and shake their hand, introduce themselves, or settle conflict in a responsible and socially acceptable way. Social media isn’t bad in itself, but when we let it take the place of our child’s actual social development, we are doing them a huge disservice.

Which is why, at Camp Starlight, we’re unplugged. Campers leave their cellphones at home, and enjoy a summer without texting, emailing or using social media. At first, potential campers many find this kind of “torture” unbearable, but as they dive deep into the activities that the camp has to offer, they will reevaluate their role online. They will interact with others in a meaningful, personal and relational way. They will improve their written communication skills by writing letters back home to loved ones, and feel the excitement of receiving a handwritten note from people back home, a feeling you just don’t get when you check your inbox. Without a phone in their back pocket to tempt them, they will be able to really focus and listen to what other campers are saying. In turn, when they are sharing a story or experience, they will not be looking out into a crowd of people staring down onto a screen. Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 12.44.25 PM

Campers who arrive shy and a little reserved will leave with a newfound confidence, based on the things accomplished during their stay. They will be able to look back on the summer when they learned to swim, conquered their stage fright, made new friends or discovered their love of magic and apply that self-confidence into their life back home. They will no longer need to hide behind a screen in order to communicate with their peers or feel heard.

As a parent, you can find comfort in the fact that while your child is away, they will be learning valuable life skills that don’t involve how many words they can text a minute, or how many “likes” they can get on their Instagram picture. The skills they learned while they are unplugged will stay with them for a lifetime, and that is better than being retweeted by a celebrity.

Healthy at Camp Starlight

January 19th, 2015

10383035_10152267869246960_185213069933294672_nWhen you combine the ease and affordability of fast food with the ability to literally record days worth of TV to be accessed at any time, your result is kids who are eating junk while watching junk. They are spending more time in front of a screen than they are playing outside. Sometimes the only body part getting a workout is their thumbs from playing video games or their index finger from pointing and clicking all over a computer screen for hours at a time. Lack of exercise and accessibility to unhealthy foods is what has caused childhood obesity to skyrocket in the last 30 years.

According to the Center of Disease Control, more than a third of kids and teenagers were overweight or obese in 2012. The physical risks of childhood obesity are endless; joint problems, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and it leaves them vulnerable to various types of cancers as they get older. Not only can early obesity lead to a lifetime of bad habits that are very hard to break, but the effects on a child’s already very fragile self esteem and body image are devastating. Children who are overweight and self-conscious are less likely to participate in team events or sports, try out for a new sport or activity, or be proactive in making new friends. This is can be a lonely and scary time for kids and teens, and it is absolutely preventable.

At Camp Starlight, we take the health of each camper very seriously. We have been known to sneak exercise into the daily lives of campers by giving it a new name: FUN. We’ve also found a top secret, patented way to keep campers from eating unhealthy foods all the time: We don’t give them access to calorie filled foods all throughout the day. It’s novel concept, we’re very aware.

The menu at Camp Starlight varies by the day. There is always fruit available, and a salad bar is always an option at lunch and dinner. Piping hot soups, vegetarian options and plenty of healthy options are always available. Whether your child needs a menu that is gluten, dairy, soy, or nut free, or they have other specific food allergies, a menu of delicious options can be created for them so they can enjoy everything camp has to offer with a full belly and no annoying or even worse, life threatening allergic reactions. Parents are encouraged to contact the specific camp your child is attending in order to discuss his/her dietary restrictions.Day 2 3

Even if campers do splurge on mac and cheese, shaved steak sandwiches or get creative at the pasta bar, they will easily work off all of those delicious calories in the endless physical activities the camp has to offer. A game of flag football, an afternoon of kayaking (talk about an arm work out!) an early morning mountain biking adventure, an impromptu basketball game vs. the neighboring cabin or an hour dancing away in a fitness class are just a few ways campers can keep their heart rates up while having fun with new friends. Exercise disguised as fun means campers stay active all the time! When campers are so busy running (sometimes literally) from activity to activity, they don’t have time to mindlessly munch on snacks.

Camp Starlight does not offer soda as a daily drink choice, which is a major culprit in the childhood obesity epidemic in our country. Plenty of water keeps campers hydrated as they tackle another day of go, go go!

Although Camp Starlight is not specifically targeted towards weight loss, it is a common benefit that occurs naturally when campers spend the summer here. If weight loss is not a concern for your child, they will still benefit tremendously from the constant activity and plenty of healthy food options provided at camp.

Camp Starlight wants the best for each camper on every level, including their physical health, which is why we are focused on instilling positive attitude towards healthy decisions. A mindset focused on healthy food choices and staying active is an excellent core value to instill in children, and could literally save their lives. By encouraging them to eat right and exercise daily, they are creating habits that will benefit them as they grow, and allow them to live long and healthy lives.

 

Creativity at Camp Starlight

January 12th, 2015

A wise old man named Albert with crazy hair and a mustache once said “Creativity is contagious; pass it on”

10806209_10152478498061960_8407983869405076248_nAt Camp Starlight, we are serious about creativity, and are focused on following the advice of Mr. Einstein by passing the love and excitement of creativity onto every camper that arrives here. By giving campers an opportunity to express themselves through art, music, dance and theatre, we are uncovering hidden talents and gifts that some campers had no idea that they had. In a world where kids are trying so hard to be “cool” they can quickly lose their sense of wonder and imagination, and their creative side can be tragically stunted. These days, we see younger and younger children trading coloring books for Ipads, or choosing to create an Instagram account over creating a dance in the living room. What a plain, boring world we would live in if the imaginations and creativity of our children is not encouraged and embraced!

At Camp Starlight, we give campers a wide range of activities and options to explore their inner artist. Campers can try their hand at watercolors or drawing, ceramics or comic book illustration. For those who have already discovered their creative strengths, these activities can help improve their skill and allow them to spend time doing something that they love. For campers who feel that they’ve never been good at a particular art form, this is a safe place to try without fear of failure or embarrassment. It is also great for their self-esteem to try something new and succeed. There are many other forms of creative expression, such as hip-hop, jazz or modern dance. These options combine music, physical movement and artistic expression, and allow campers to conquer stage fright by preforming in front of other people. Class clowns may find a creative outlet by trying improv and comedy, while the more techy, behind the scenes kids will enjoy working in lighting, stage make-up and stage construction and design. Each of these inner-arts activities combines the unique, personal and intimate aspects of creative arts, while also encouraging campers to work together as a team and as a support system for each other.

Future rappers or singers of America can get an idea of how the music industry works by participating in music production or getting involved in the radio station. Regardless of how each camper expresses themselves, there is a creative outlet on site for them to flourish in. Kids who are encouraged to express their creativity tend to preform better in more structured and formal environments, like the classroom. Creativity also improves a child’s problem solving skills, and builds confidence to explore new and innovative ideas.

When a camper makes something from nothing, whether is a ceramic mug, a poem or a new dance, they gain self-confidence and feel a sense of empowerment that is hard to find anywhere else. It is possible that the strengths and gifts they discover within themselves at camp can launch them into a hobby or even a profession that they enjoy for the rest of their lives. They also learn how to appreciate the unique creativity in other people, which results in more accepting, well rounded and open minded individuals, which we can all agree that the world needs more of.

Discovering, understanding, and expressing creativity does wonders for the growing character and sense of self in a young camper. When campers realize that it is cool to be creative and expressive, a whole world of opportunities is open to them. We can only hope that once campers tap into their own creative side, they pass it along to their friends and peers in the outside world, causing a chain reaction of imagination, artistic expression and creativity; just as good ‘ol Albert suggested.

Things Which Are Quintessentially Summer Camp

January 1st, 2015

Summer camp is a fun and exciting experience and time simply flies by. There are several things and activities to do, which makes it impossible not to miss some of them. However, it doesn’t matter how chaotic, busy, or crazy things get, there are a few things that will always remind you about camp:

1.    Arts & Crafts

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 11.07.09 AMAccording to the American Camp Association (ACA), Arts and Crafts is amongst the five most popular activities at summer camp, and why wouldn’t it? Kids simply love spending a part of their day in a place filled with glitter, paint, scissors, beads, and other craft items. With arts and craft, the possibilities are endless, as the atmosphere not only gives campers the opportunity to relax, reflect, use their creative side and time to socialize with fellow campers and friends.

2.    Campfires

A campfire is a mainstay at every camp. The activities, songs and traditions differ from camp to camp. However, one thing remains consistent and that’s the sacred relevance the campfire holds. The fire symbolizes camp life, and the odor of burning wood serves as a reminder of picturesque settings where camps are situated.

3.    Sing Alongs

Karaoke may be a popular activity for a get-together, but, when it comes to summer camps, there is nothing more melodious than the whole camp singing tunes together. The sing-along are not just about singing songs together, it’s a way of bringing each and everyone together to celebrate the thing which has brought everybody together as one, and that thing is camp.

4.    S’mores

A summer is incomplete without s’mores. And besides, it’s quite hard to resist the pleasure of melted marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between two crackers. Just one bite is enough to bring instant memories of camp.

5.    Bunks

Now, you might get thinking that what’s so special about bunks. Well, they are much more than places where counselors and campers sleep. It’s where everyone becomes families, memories are made and friendships are nurtured.

6.    Bugle Calls

Bugle Calls guide campers through their day at camp. It doesn’t matter if they are bells or bugles only one sound is enough for campers to know what they have to do. Whether it’s showing up for waterskiing, tennis, or even closing the lights at nighttime, these sounds will let campers know about everything.Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 11.06.33 AM

7.    Crazy Wardrobe Preferences

Camp is perhaps the only place where you will get complemented for wearing bright colors, body paint, hats, wigs and other funny clothing to a camp function. Funny isn’t it? But, it’s an experience that will always bring back good memories.

Why Every Child Should Go To Summer Camp

December 25th, 2014

Summer camps are undeniably a fun experience. But what makes it so important that families send their children to summer camps each year? Well, there is more to camping than just singing crazy songs or playing games. Camping is known to provide a lot of positive effects that will matter to your child as they grow up, which is a major reason why so many parents commit to sending them to camp each year. Still not convinced?

Here are a few reasons why you should send your children to summer camp:

Builds Self-Reliance

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 11.00.23 AMSending your child away to summer camps gives them the opportunity to be more self-reliant and independent. Since you won’t be there to do everything for them, they have to do more for themselves, and learn a lot in the process. However, don’t worry. They won’t be left entirely alone, as highly trained camping staff is present throughout the time they are at the camp.

They Make New Buddies

Your child gets to meet new people who they might become friends with. Summer camp provides an environment that is relaxing and pressure free, encouraging your child to make friends with new people. Who knows the friendship may last for a lifetime? After all, that’s what summer camps do: create friendships.

They Will Try New Things

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.59.31 AMThere are loads of interesting activities to do in summer camps, such as archery, rock-climbing, swimming and much more. Sending your child to camp would allow them to discover interests and talents even they or you didn’t know they had.

Builds Self-Esteem

Summer camps will make a major difference to the self-esteem of your child, as they are given the chance to find out who they exactly are outside the pre-conceived notions of their family. This makes them less clingy, more confident and higher in self-esteem.

They Will Appreciate Nature

Most of the activities at summer camps are focused on the outdoors, which means your child has more exposure to nature. This makes them kinder to animals and plants, and environmentally aware. Notice how your child will carry on what they learnt from their small expeditions and nature hikes.

It’s Better than a Summer Spent In front Of the TV

A break from cell phones, internet, and TV gives your child more time to engage in the real world. Eventually they realize there are far better things to do than sitting and texting or watching TV all day.

So, as you can see, sending your child to summer camp provides several benefits. If you want the same for your child, don’t forget to sign them up for summer camp.

 

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.