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A Summer Experience at Blue Star Camps


Rock Wars 2001! The most anticipated day at camp and I was chosen as Spirit Leader for Pioneer Girls, Millennium Pop Blue Team. Exciting costumes, healthy competition, constant cheering, old-fashioned Coca Cola bottles, body paint, fire burning contest, and greasy watermelon. Horses running past the cabins and the Spirit Leaders screaming “COLOUR WAR!” wake the children at 6.30 in the morning. The idea of the day is to gain points for your team; these are awarded for various sports activities as well as cleanest cabin, cleanest lunch areas and for massaging the judge’s backs! Meal times remain silent, as any team to make a sound loses points and the finale of the day is a fire building and song contest between both teams. It was an experience through which I learned how to organise, motivate, and lead people as well as how to negotiate positive outcomes to conflicts. While the Millennium Pop Blue Team, won over the Retro Rock Red Team (of course!) everyone was a winner in the end. We had engaged in a day of healthy and friendly competition, divided in the morning while uniting as one at the end of the day.

Magic. Excitement. Friendship. Laughter. Love.

It is hard to believe that nine weeks have elapsed since I began my summer at Blue Star Camps. I knew no one. Yet everyone felt the same way and whilst sharing our anxieties and excitement I met the people who were to become some of my best friends.

Our first day was to be the first of very many busy Blue Star days. It was Staff Training Week. We were taught how to deal with children in different situations, ranging from homesickness to refusing to eat! It was ensured that staff members had excellent relationships before the camp season began – enabling us to work together to ensure that Blue Star campers had wonderful and very special summers.

My cabin was filled with caring lovable children. My co-counsellor and myself were given a fantastic group of girls with whom we could relate to and earn the respect of. They all contributed to making our job so enjoyable and rewarding with constant love, caring, and attention. From a normal 19-year-old girl, I became a responsible, motivated, adaptable and independent person with 14 children who were my responsibility. I was given the opportunity to master real-life problem-solving skills, become a leader, and most importantly to have a significant and positive influence in the lives of children. I had to supervise campers’ hygiene habits and become skilled at the ability to personally make telephone reports to parents of campers, to observe camper behaviour, assess its appropriateness, and apply appropriate behaviour management techniques. These are qualities, which represent the key to success in one’s career, and indeed they are keys to success in life.

Blue Star provides campers with numerous exciting and adventurous days. Throughout the summer, campers felt the excitement when they experienced the Zip Line at the New Lake, Carowinds theme park and July 4th Independence Day was concluded with a fireworks display, which lit up the sky above camp in the Blue Ridge Mountain. All the campers gathered on the Blacktop and Granny’s Camp Store Porch, for three hours of fun at the Blue Star carnival. Asheville musician Billy Jonas gave a variety of performances and never failed to create an indescribable atmosphere. Billy’s first performance for the staff evoked feelings of camaraderie and citizenship from a group of people that has known each other for such a short time. The HeRo Pavilion was always jam-packed for his further visits with people dancing and singing.

Then there was the overnight. The campers carry their own bags to the campsite, which can only lead to an hour of constant complaining! I didn’t know how to cook nor start a fire before camp; I had never been camping, and had never wanted to go camping! Yet it was the most amazing experience. I learnt to start a fire on my own, cook food for all 14 girls, organise our kids so they all got EXACTLY the same amount of Hershey’s chocolate for their smores. These are gram crackers, melted marshmallows, and melted chocolate.. definitely a highlight of camp! We slept outdoors, told stories by the campfire, sang songs, and bonded with fourteen amazing children.

Before our campers started leaving we had a Key Log ceremony. We sat around a fire, and each person dedicated a twig to someone or something special. The fire is generally kept burning with the sticks dedicated to the hope of continued friendship and summers filled with returns to a beautiful home away from home, the beautiful place that is Blue Star Camps.

Blue Stars magical setting lent itself to catalysing lifelong friendships and the type of relationships that leave indelible impressions on our hearts. Blue Star is a sanctuary from the stresses of the “outside world” and it was my job, as a counsellor to affirm that it is possible to live in peace, friendship and harmony. The fact that Camp is busy and so active throughout the summer often precludes us from detecting all of the wonderful things that can happen in such a short time. We do not realise the beautiful miracles that occur in our midst every single day. Our campers form lifelong friendships and connect with people around the world. They keep in touch and value the days they spend at Blue Star.

If you would like to take part in a Camp America experience, contact them at: Camp America, Dpt CDR02, 37a Queens Gate, London, SW7 5HR. Tel: 020 75817373. Web: www.campamerica.co.uk

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