Monthly Archives: August 2015
By Todd Mitchell
There’s a place among the pines, a place where something amazing happens that cannot be explained.
One of the many mantras at Camp North Star is that “it’s more than just a place, it’s a feeling.” It’s even on the sign entering camp. At first glance, it may seem like a poignant advertisement for those arriving, but it means so much more.
This is my second summer at Camp North Star which is one of the top-rated Maine summer camps. Last year, I tried as hard as I could to fully embrace the thought of camp. It’s all about letting camp take hold of you and making it part of who you are. This year, I again am fully inviting camp into who I am, but I am also looking at how the campers embrace this as well. It’s more subtle of a transition, but it’s still very visible. I am realizing now that what was once originally a place to work, is something much more. When you first get here, camp is just a place but by the end of the summer it means everything.
Camp is summer. There is no way around it. From the waterfront, to the dining hall, The Village to The Bunkhouse, camp is the essence of summer. Though, it is not the place as much as it is the people, camp is nothing without the campers. It’s this little oasis in a world that is volatile. Somehow through the experiences of the campers and the counselors alike, something profoundly magical happens. It can’t really be explained but a visible change occurs. The weight of the world leaves everyone’s shoulders and smiles spread across faces. Camp becomes more welcoming than a home and more tight-knit than a family. It’s a place where playing in the mud is a completely acceptable thing for a 22 year-old to do as much as it is for a 10 year-old to do an interpretive dance to Single Ladies. It a place where individuality it exulted and happiness is the way of life.
Camp for me has become this beautiful place full of beautiful people and experiences. The feeling can’t really be described but the best way I can explain it is through example. On a sunny day, you step out of the main office, you look across to the main field which is full of campers. The feeling of camp is in each joyful smile that spreads across a campers faces. It’s that moment where you completely lose yourself and all troubles melt away and pure, unfathomable bliss runs through you with each excited heartbeat. As the summer comes to a close, there are points of sadness but the feeling is still there and will stay with you until next summer when it bubbles back to the surface and grows stronger with every passing year.
By Niamh Whelan
I was excited when I found out I’d be working for the Sea Dogs’ trip. As an international counselor, I have never even been to a baseball let alone do I understand any of the rules. I was lucky though, not only did I get to go to my first baseball game, I got to go as a counselor.
At breakfast on Sunday morning, they played ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’, and from that moment on I, along with all the campers, were giddy with excitement. As we piled onto the line of yellow school buses, the atmosphere was electric and the short drive to Portland felt like a year. When we arrived in Portland we took a pit stop lunch in the park by Hadlock Field before finally making the long awaited walk to the game.
Once we were in our seats, we looked around at the seas of other camps which surrounded us. Campers from all over Maine had taken a trip to support the popular Boston Red Sox affiliate. We met people from other camps, and it was so interesting to watch the campers interact with each other. The inter-camp competitiveness soon began to creep out. Despite all camps cheering for the same team, there was clear competition between them, who could cheer the loudest, who could support the Sea Dogs the best. When one camp would finish their cheer, another would start the next but the volume would be doubled. When cheering for Sea Dogs finished, the camp songs began and so on. One of the highlights of this camp competition was when on the big screen, all of the special groups or birthday parties got a shout out. Of course all of the camps present got a mention and the enormous cheer that erupted from the Camp North Star campers from the Maine sleep away camp was deafening.
The whole day was a resounding success, from the sun splitting the stones, to the token fried dough that was enjoyed by everyone, to the group of campers I had on either side trying to explain the rules throughout all the innings. Unfortunately the Sea Dogs weren’t as successful, however Camp North Star had a truly awesome day!
By Noa Billick
The Queen of Hearts told Alice that she once believed six impossible things before breakfast: Camp North Star’s Alice in Wonderland theme day would not have been an impossible thing to believe in.
I watched Alice in Wonderland when I was a little girl – since the age of about six years old, this classic Disney film has stuck with me. Little details like singing flowers, letters made of smoke, mushrooms that look like cheese, eating a plate like a cookie, and exactly half a cup of tea have stayed with me.
Our morning was spent watching the 1951 Disney version of Alice in Wonderland while enjoying breakfast. This put us into a thoroughly dream-like mindset, ready for a whimsical day filled with Alice’s adventures in wonderland. After some camp cleanup, we returned to the main field and ate lunch on an incredibly long picnic table similar to the tea party table in the animated film. Our lunch was followed by a very merry un-birthday celebration, where each cabin had their own un-birthday cake to share.
We returned from our cabins to the main field for some mystical activities, such as knocking the teeth out of a giant Cheshire Cat, taking photos with props in front of a giant mushroom, decorating top hats, and playing croquet, amongst many other things.
Counselors and campers alike dressed in Wonderland-esque outfits and celebrated the beauty of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. I felt like channeling my inner Queen of Hearts, so I decided to paint the middle of my lips like a red heart, along with a few other counselors.
I was stationed at the photo booth, armed with a digital camera, a box of props, and some incredible Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum cardboard cutouts. The kids I took pictures of had particularly big smiles! The campers really enjoyed this theme day, as they got to dress up and spent the day as though they were in the classic Disney film. As someone who has attended Camp North Star for six years, this is one of the absolute best weekend activities I have ever experienced. There was so much thought, effort and consideration put into making this theme day the best it could be. Specifically, as a counselor, Camp North Star’s Alice in Wonderland day was one of the most incredible and fun activity days to have been apart of.