Monthly Archives: March 2018
Music and performing arts are an important part of the fabric of Camp North Star in Poland, Maine. From singing in the dining hall, to preparing for the camp musical, to learning how to play the guitar, to performing in your cabin’s Lip Sync Contest performance, there are numerous opportunities for campers to gain an appreciation of music.
Camp North Star’s elective program allows campers with an interest in music and performing arts to choose from an array of activities that includes dance, music, theater and signing. These classes are tools that can be used for campers to express themselves in a way that written or spoken word doesn’t allow them to do. Dance classes give campers an artistic outlet to do what they love, and can create a strong sense of self-confidence. Music classes present campers with a chance to explore music as a way of self-expression, and has provides numerous benefits for the growing minds of youth.
• Stress Relief – playing music brings your energy and focus into a positive activity, which can help alleviate stress. Those reduced stress levels can help get your blood pressure and heart rate down to a healthy level.
• Exercise – Playing an instrument naturally leads to increased physical activity. Whether you’re playing the piano, guitar, strings, or a wind instrument, you’re using your arm and back muscles to play and/or hold up your instrument. And if you play the drums, you even get to do some cardio.
• Coordination – Using your fingers, hands, and feet in a rhythmic manner for a sustained amount of time, while also being conscious of playing the correct tones, can be a challenge for even the most coordinated people. Over time though, playing music refines your motor skills that go beyond the hand-eye.
• Self-Expression – Whether you’re writing your own piece of music or playing someone else’s, music allows you to express yourself in new ways. You also get to be creative when choosing your own unique style and genre.
• Making friends – Whether you use music as an icebreaker when meeting new people, or as a way to actually meet new people – playing in a choir, band, or dance company – music is a great way to make new friends.
At Camp North Star, another benefit of music and performing arts is that it’s also a great vehicle to help create memorable moments. Because music plays such an important part of the North Star experience, it is at the centerpiece of some of our most popular evening activities and special events. Campfires are all about signing and skits. Sign Out is the culmination of several days of practicing your song with several cabins. Dances at the end of each session are always fun evenings with your friends. These are all memories that stay with us long after the camp season has ended.
This week, Steven and Brooke, along with other members of our Leadership Team will be heading to Atlantic City, New Jersey, for the 2018 American Camp Association Tri-State Camp Conference. The conference is the largest gathering of camp professionals in the world! Over 3,000 attendees will come together to learn at over 200 educational sessions, find new products and services at the 300 booth exhibit hall, and best of all, spend time with like-minded people who are dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of children.
Speakers lead the educational sessions with topics including staff training, creating new special events, using social media, managing risks and emergencies, and healthcare. Some sessions are led by fellow camp professionals while others are experts in psychology, social work, marketing, education, law, and medicine. One of the biggest takeaways is sharing and discussing best practices of operating a summer camp with camp directors from around the Unites States to keep making camp safer, more fun and more rewarding for campers and counselors alike.
The exhibit hall is filled with vendors whose merchandise include art supplies, food service, athletic equipment, waterfront products, wearable apparel, outside entertainment, popular trip destinations and more. This is the same venue where in the last few years we purchased our Rock-It and Jungle Jim for the waterfront and new GaGa courts.
One of the highlights of the conference are the two keynote speakers. Dr. Shefali Tsabary is giving the opening keynote on Tuesday. She will outline how camp directors and parents can raise resilience levels within children and help them achieve their most authentic selves. Oprah Winfrey has hailed Dr. Shefali’s work as revolutionary. Thursday’s closing keynote is by Billie Jean King. In addition to being the winner of 39 Grand Slam tennis titles, King has long been a champion for social justice and equality. She will be discussing the unique opportunity in the workplace for generations past, present and future to work together in an inclusive environment.
Camp North Star campers, staff and alumni don’t need to be “under the pines” in Poland, Maine, to feel our camp spirit. It’s certainly not the same feeling however, as when we are together as a camp family during the summer. Over the course of the school year, we enjoy looking at photos of campers and staff seeing each other and reconnecting. And just like that it’s as if you are back at camp with your camp friends. While everyone is back home, there are always signs that tell us all that you or your friends are from Camp North Star. You know you are from Camp North Star when…
1. All the clothes in your closet are dominated by the color of your Eco Team – green, white, blue, or red.
3. Everything you own has your name written or ironed in it. You still find socks with your cabin mates initials embroidered onto it.
4. Throughout the year you are constantly rewriting songs in your head to make them appropriate for camp Sing Out.
5. You hear the number seven and you can’t control your hands banging on the nearest table.
7. You know all the words to “Wagon Wheel”. When you hear it you will belt out the chorus without missing a beat because it takes you back to all those times you were together with your North Star family around the campfire.
8. The disappointment you feel when keep a spotless room all week, and your family doesn’t give you a golden dustpan award.
9. Your alarm ringtone is a bell ringing. You can’t start the day without the sounds of a loud bell because you know that if you wake up to anything else it’s a betrayal to your summer camp self.
10. Your favorite place in the whole world is located under the pines on 200 acres in Poland, Maine.
What’s the common bond that Denzel Washington, Michael Eisner, Michelle Obama and Carly Simon share? They are all former summer camp counselors. Spending a summer at camp won’t transform a staff member into a celebrity, but it will give them valuable experience and teach them skills that will help them succeed in life.
This summer over one million college students and recent graduates will pack their bags and head to camp for work. Camp North Star’s team of directors, counselors, coaches, instructors and support staff will work together to provide our campers with a safe, supervised, rewarding and memorable summer. It’s also a fulfilling experience for our staff.
A summer camp job offers invaluable skill-building, leadership, training and enrichment opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else. The experience allows staff to learn and develop skills that will enhance their job marketability. The corporate world recognizes that the experience as a camp counselor translates into excellent management and personnel skills.
If a staff member’s career goal is working with youth in some capacity, then camp is the ideal place to gain experience with children. Counselors are able to learn how their campers react to new environments, handle homesickness, gain a sense of independence and learn how to form friendships with other campers that were strangers before the summer began.
There’s a misconception that spending a summer working at camp will only benefit you if you’re headed towards a career as a teacher or similar youth development job. That’s simply not true. Being a summer camp counselor and working directly with children teaches staff numerous skills that will benefit them in any future profession.
Leadership – There are endless opportunities to become a leader. Instantly a group of campers look up to their counselors and seek guidance and wisdom from them.
Problem Solving – Plans can change at a moment’s notice at camp. A rainy day can turn an outdoor activity into an impromptu indoor game.
Teamwork – At Camp North Star our staff is a diverse and talented group of counselors from across the United State and around the world. Counselors learn how to communicate, compromise and lend a helping hand to their co-workers.
Work Ethic – Working at camp may be one of the toughest jobs around. Long hours, hot days, challenging campers, all while keeping a genuine smile on your face.
Time Management – Counselors at Camp North Star are supervising campers from wake-up at 7:15 AM till bed time. Be on time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s a six-period activity day. Don’t be late for camp meeting. At the end of the day, staff are able to convince campers when it’s time for lights out so they have enough sleep to do it all over again tomorrow.
A job at a summer camp is much more than being a counselor. It’s being a teacher, role model and hero. Spending two months at Camp North Star can be the most rewarding experience in a staff member’s life. It’s a unique opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of so many people—campers, fellow staff and themselves.