Camp Laurel was a huge success this summer even during a pandemic. We knew how important it would be to have this camp for the kids so that they could reconnect and make new friends. After spending over a year at home in isolation, we knew leaving home and their families would be difficult, but our campers took that leap of faith knowing camp is a second home and a safe space.
This year’s theme is P.R.E.S.S. Play, which was all about unpausing our lives, learning from the past year and finding ways to get back to our ‘normal’ lives. Our goal was for campers to learn how to PERSIST and reach any goal they set, RISE above any hardship, EXPRESS their true and authentic selves, gain the STRENGTH to speak up for themselves and out about the things they care for, and the SPIRIT to make a difference in the world.
The first day, campers were dropped off in a very organized and safe manner. Each one was given a COVID test before joining their cabin AKA their “safety bubble” for the week to ensure everyone would leave camp healthy and would not put anyone at home at-risk. Once with their cabins, campers got to unpack, meet their cabin mates and create a cabin name. Although it was important to keep masks on and stay in our bubbles, all cabins were still able to be together (socially distanced) during meals and evening programs which was so valuable for the sense of community. A big shout-out to our counselors for keeping campers safe and reminding them the importance of the masks and bubbles!
The first evening program was our fabulous Runway Show where cabins worked as a unit to create an outfit for their counselors out of recycled materials. Campers were able to get so creative with the supplies, EXPRESS themselves and even wrote stories to share with other cabins that brought their designs to life! This was a great ice breaker program that encouraged campers to speak in front of the group and EXPRESS themselves through their costume!
The next morning, cabins were off to enjoy activities like archery, low ropes, arts & crafts, sports, water fun, and more! These programs invited campers to step out of their comfort zones, RISE to try new things, step up as leaders, and get creative. Water fun was especially fun since we were up in the mountains and had the sun beating down on us. One of our counselors, Shout Out, re-created her incredible dunk tank for campers and counselors to give trivia a SPLASH! This allowed campers to have fun in a safe space with their cabin. Another great activity was gaga ball which was also made possible by Shout Out and her cabin, THANK YOU EXPLORERS! Each program encouraged campers to explore a new aspect of themselves to build onto. Low ropes was all about trusting oneself, trusting another person, and encouraging others. Arts & crafts was where campers could EXPRESS themselves, be that through a self-portrait, tie- dye shirt, or friendship bracelets. Archery, reminded campers how important practice is and PERSISTING through challenges in order to reach a goal.
If you ask our younger campers what they want to be when they get older, many will say: a C.I.T. (Counselor In Training) which is a long-standing tradition for senior campers of classes focused on enhancing valuable life, leadership, and other skills. The program looked different this year, but we wanted to ensure our seniors got a glimpse into it so that they do not miss out on the experience. Spicy, a former camper and C.I.T. herself, lead the classes this year and really gave our seniors an unforgettable experience! One of the classes helped prep our campers for various interviews and applications which they can take with them when they want to get jobs or apply for schools. The whole week prepared them to step up as leaders for our Final Campfire and be our MCs which was great for our younger campers to see the older ones stepping out of their comfort zones!
We are so proud of our summer camp this year. With the help of our volunteers, staff, donors Board of Directors and our entire Camp family, we were able to provide an emotionally and physically safe space, 100% COVID free for each everyone! Campers went home with a sense of community, independence, and feeling more confident in their abilities. Camp Laurel built back the community that so desperately needed to connect, we are truly grateful for all the support in making summer Camp happen this year. THANK YOU!
Here are just a few of the wonderful letters we have received from camper parents.
“Both girls love the experience and enjoy knowing new people. As well as being exposed to new and wild adventures.” Camper Parent
“Both my campers love all what camp had to offer, they both made new friends and got to experience a new environment.” Camper Parent
“My camper has been able to find activities they did at camp to entertain themselves around the house. She also has not talked about a traumatic event that took place about a month before camp.” Camper Parent