Monthly Archives: April 2017
The directors and staff at Camp North Star are excited to welcome all the new campers that will be joining us this summer in Poland Spring, Maine. Our returning campers enjoy playing the role of “ambassador” to properly welcome and make the new campers feel at home and part of our North Star family. We know some new campers feel anxious and nervous as the prepare for their first summer under the pines. They may be wondering…how will I make new friends?…what is the food like?…will I like my counselors?…what are the best activities to choose?
These are all typical questions that many of our new campers have . The North Star Family Handbook and our Camper to Camper program help answer these questions prior to the camp season. Some of the best guidance comes directly from veteran campers. Here’s their advice for first time campers.
“At North Star, everyone is your friend and everyone is so easy to talk to. My first summer I was nervous I wouldn’t make any friends, but the second I walked into my cabin I was greeted with hugs from people I’ve never met and they have become my best friends.” Hailey J.
“Get excited! Having spirit and loving and enjoying every moment is such a huge part of camp and if you don’t lose your voice at least once while you’re there, you’re not doing it right! Being passionate and excited about camp is something I’m not afraid to show, in fact, I embrace it!” Emma O.
“My first year, I remember being very nervous due to my age (16 years old) and I was nervous that everyone would already have a certain “friend group.” I was definitely wrong. Camp North Star made me feel welcomed right when I got there. To have the best time at camp and for you to be prepared I suggest coming into camp with a positive attitude.” Madison M.
“Be yourself. The community here is very accepting, and I promise that 100%. Just be prepared, the summer of your life is right ahead of you. As the saying ’round here goes – Camp is more than a place, it’s a feeling.” Zach B.
“Don’t be afraid to go to your counselors about any problems or questions, because most likely they’ve been through the same situation.” Sarah N.
“Be sure to follow the packing list. The list is very accurate! You do not need to bring anything extra. Trust me, I over packed my first summer and brought all the extras home untouched.” Jade M.
“Don’t forget to pack bug spray and sunscreen because you’ll need both.” Natalia R.
North Star’s Camper to Camper program connects first time campers with returning campers like these prior to the camp season. They talk on the phone, develop a friendship before the summer starts and the first time camper has all their questions answered. In our next blog, we’ll have advice from current North Star staff who are former campers.
Summer camp is full of traditions. And Camp North Star is no different. From Eco Challenge…to RICHS…to songs at the campfire. Our traditions are woven into the fabric of our culture here in Poland Spring, Maine. Some traditions are more formal and structured, such as announcing the recipients of the RICHS at banquet. Others are more informal. Wacky Wednesdays would definitely be classified as informal, a little silly, and an opportunity for campers to express their creativity.
Breakfast in the dining hall is when Wacky Wednesdays generally occur. Cabin after cabin enters through the doors and the outfits worn by campers, counselors and directors are wacky, silly, crazy and zany. Some outfits will clash – think polka dots and plaids. Others will be more of a costume like animals or fruits. There are usually a few who fashion a sports themed look showing pride for their favorite team or school. Then there are the themed ensembles. Some campers go to great lengths to coordinate a theme with their friends – lumber jacks, cartoon characters, super heroes, onesie pajamas and more.
There are no rules or regulations to Wacky Wednesdays. Some campers and staff get a little wackier than others. To help guide campers to find a wacky look for each week, there is a theme for each Wednesday. The 2017 dress up themes are:
Week 1– Clash
Week 2 – Patriotic
Week 3 – Tie Dye
Week 4 – Sports
Week 5 – Crazy Hair
Week 6 – International
Week 7 – Pajama
The weekly themes aren’t a requirement. We still encourage campers to use their own creativity. The themes are extremely helpful to new campers and their parents when it comes time to shop for camp clothing and pack up their duffle bags.
Being wacky, a little silly, and stepping outside of your comfort zone is all part of the sleep away camp experience at Camp North Star. Summer camp is a place that campers should feel safe and secure to be silly and let their imagination go wild at times. Our campers have the confidence to know that there’s nothing wrong with being wacky on Wednesdays or any other day of the week because Camp North Star is a judgment-free community. Campers can be themselves , which means acting like a kid and enjoying doing that.
Camp North Star campers often tell us that they get more camp sick during the offseason than homesick during the camp season. It’s because they are missing summer camp so much during the school year. With Spring fever in the air, we know many of our campers are counting down the days until they are in Poland Spring, Maine, and driving down Verrill Road for the start of another memorable camp season. Here are a few things you can do at home to get you into the camp mood.
Send a Letter to a camp friend. And we mean actual handwritten letter. No texts. No snap chats. Grab a pen and paper and tell them what’s new with you and all the fun things you are looking forward to doing together this summer at Camp North Star. Think of the smile on your friend’s face when they receiver your letter in the mail.
Enjoy your favorite camp meal. If it’s Tuesday, ask your parents to have your own Taco Tuesday dinner. See if you can have grilled cheese and tomato soup on Friday’s menu. And the meal that can really put you into the camp spirit is a barbecue. Just like the ones we have on Monday nights for dinner when we eat outside in the picnic area.
Enjoy the great outdoors. We know you probably don’t have a private lake or a picturesque 200 acre property with tall pine trees nearby. But find a local park or nature area and go for a walk with family or friends. Imagine yourself being back under the pines at North Star. Remember the sunscreen, bug spray and a water bottle!
Make s’mores. What’s more synonymous with camp than s’mores? If you don’t have access to an outdoor fire pit or a fireplace, try this recipe for indoor s’mores. And before long, you’ll be back at one of our campfires, surrounded by camp friends, singing your favorite camp songs, and roasting two marshmallows to perfection.