Tag Archives: counselor

A Summer Camp Tradition at CLC

Every summer, Lou and Sue Flego visit Chestnut Lake Summer Camp for one of the campers’ favorite traditions: Square Dancing! Younger campers learn simple calls like “Up to the middle with a tap, tap, tap.” while returning campers perfect calls like “Step to an ocean wave.” For two days, the campers practice in their 8-person sets, preparing for the competition on the final night.

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Once the squares are set, the girls take over and coordinate what each set will wear. The build-up to the final competition is pretty intense. The championship bracelets that the winners receive are highly coveted at Chestnut Lake Camp. The campers show up for the final competition decked out in coordinating outfits…there is plenty of plaid and pigtails!

Before the competition begins, Sue lightens the mood with some line dancing. Staff and campers join in as they slide and turn to “Popcorn” and “Montego Bay.” Once the line dancing is finished, the sets form their squares and prepare for the dance-off. Counselors take their spots outside of the squares, cheering on their campers and coaching them through the difficult calls. Lou, Sue, Debbi and Paul judge the squares and ask the sets that miss calls to sit down. After a while, there are only two sets left. Lou pauses to congratulate the final two squares and then moves them to the center.

As the music starts back up, all of the campers and counselors cheer the final sets on as they concentrate on executing each and every call. After the calls become more and more difficult, Lou finally has one of the sets sit down, which means that the only square still standing has won the special Lou & Sue bracelets!

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Square Dancing with Lou and Sue is a favorite Summer Camp Tradition at Chestnut Lake!

Chestnut Lake Summer Camp 4th of July Regatta

The first week of Chestnut Lake Summer Camp 2015 has been amazing! We started preparing for our 4th of July celebration on Saturday.  The lower campus decorated their bunks in patriotic themes while the upper campus turned our golf carts into parade floats.

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On the afternoon of the 4th, our older campers organized a parade for the younger campers. Kaya, Sani and Varsity marched in formation and drove their floats down Chestnut Lake Avenue. As the procession passed the campers, the Kaya, Sani and Varsity threw candy as everyone cheered. Uncle Sam even made a guest appearance at Chestnut Lake Summer Camp!

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Next up for our Independence Day celebration was Regatta. Campers organized into their tribes and started preparing to sail their boats in the pool, but first they watched their division leaders compete in a belly busting competition which was amusing as well. Later that evening the whole camp gathered together on the slope.  We all joined in for the singing of the National Anthem. As the National Anthem ended, our annual fireworks display began high above the stage.

Now the campers are anxiously waiting to see their families on Visiting Day at Chestnut Lake Summer Camp!

Tribal Campfire

Tribal Campfire is one of the most popular traditions at Chestnut Lake Camp. On our first Friday night of the session, after the Community Service Award winners were announced, new campers and staff found out if they would be a Minsi Wolf or an Unami Turtle. The returning campers, who were dressed head to toe in white or green, were bursting with excitement as they prepared to accept new members to their tribes.

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Dressed in red, the new campers and staff were led from the campfire site down to the lake where they stood in a large circle and recited the Tribal Oath with Debbi and Paul. d7290a4e-d25f-4f54-9297-26aab9236e43

As they walked back to the campfire, the Unami Turtles and Minsi Wolves lined either side of the path creating a special and unique atmosphere.

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At the campfire, the two teams sat with their tribes and sang their tribal chants. The new campers and staff in each division were called to stand in front of the campfire while blue team members painted a stripe of their new tribe’s color on each of their cheeks. Excitement grew as they waited for Paul to tell them to face their new tribe. As each group turned around, members of the Unami Turtles and the Minsi Wolves ran to greet their new members. Next up….the first tribal competition.

Staff Talent Show

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The first few days of the CLC Summer of 2015 have been full of energy and                excitement. Campers and staff have been spending time getting to know each other and enjoying all of the fun activities that CLC has to offer.  One of the activities that campers always look forward to is our Staff Talent Show. Our staff never disappoint when it comes to entertainment. This year, there were a variety of performances      ranging from musical numbers to choreographed dances and other crazy acts! Highlights of the evening included the performance of the Beyonce hit “Single Ladies.”     Many of the campers said it was one of their favorites!

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Our campers are now very excited to put on their own Talent Show next week.

Dutch Auction and Hypnotist

The fourth week of camp got off to a great start as everyone welcomed the new campers. That night, we held one of the funniest activities at CLC: the Dutch Auction. Campers meet at the hockey pavilion where they are given special instructions for the activity. To start, they are given a set amount of time to return to their bunks and fill one laundry bag with as many random items as possible. When the campers can go, they leave the hockey pavilion faster than parents on Visiting Day! Once they return, they are given many scenarios to act out utilizing whatever they have in their bag. Scenarios include how Curtis should have proposed to Niki, best Let It Go impression, best Division Leader impersonation and best superhero outfit.

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Dutch Auction was followed a couple nights later by another one of the funniest activities, The Hypnotist. Everyone gathered on the cookout slope to listen to the hypnotist’s power of persuasion. After explaining how hypnotism works, everyone followed along with some basic relaxation exercises. Next, several staff members were selected to go on stage to participate in the show. Staff members quickly found themselves relaxing to the point of sleep, primed for hilarious suggestions from the hypnotist. One of the suggestions included watching an imaginary tv, surfing the channels, going between comedies, sad dramas and scary movies. Some of the other suggestions included driving a bus over curvy roads, trying to get the attention of the ice cream truck that produces the best ice cream in the world and Twitter’s $1,000,000 selfie contest. The authentic reactions of the staff kept everyone amazed and laughing the whole time.

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What a great way to start second session!

Chestnut Lake Camp Staff Talent Show

Three words can be used to describe the main purpose of Chestnut Lake Camp, and those words are. . .

BRING IT OUT!

This catchphrase aims to encourage campers to try new things. Participating in activities they’ve never tried before can bring out a whole new side of a camper!

Our staff firmly believes in the “Bring It Out” philosophy. Each year within the first few days of camp, the staff put on a talent show. They put on the show to encourage the campers to not be afraid to get involved.

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Counselors and division leaders perform silly parody skits, lip syncs, dances, and anything else they want to showcase.

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Later in the summer, campers themselves are able to participate in the annual camper talent show!

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From Camper to Counselor at CLC – Melissa’s Journey!

Melissa Cabrero - CounselorHello Everyone! My name is Melissa Cabrero, I’m 19 years old and I’m from White Plains, NY. This summer I will be a 2nd year counselor at CLC; however, I’ve been involved with camp for much longer! Originally I was a Kaya in the summer of 2008 and have attended every year of camp since. I am a first year student at the University of Delaware with a Communications major and a minor in Theater Performance.  My favorite hobbies include singing, acting, bowling, and anything camp related! I have two older brothers, a younger sister, and an adorable cat named Cyrus.

What is your favorite memory of camp?
The first day of camp is still so clear to me.  I sat at a table with complete strangers, all of us sharing sideways glances and polite smiles. Little did I know that these girls would essentially become my best friends for the next 6 weeks and even after that summer! Some of the best memories I have of camp come from the traditions that CLC gives to all campers. Events like Nancy Tucker, Breakfast and Boating, camp plays, and the highly anticipated Tribal War at the end of each session are engrained in my mind. Of course, along with the traditions, some of the things I remember most are “the little moments”. The aroma of campfires being made, the cool water from the lake, and the sweet chocolate chip cookies after cookout are just a few of the senses that I was fortunate to experience. And of course, everyone remembers their ‘bunk memories’! The greatest thing about them was the moment you had to share at closing campfire, nobody would have any idea what you were talking about while you and your bunk laughed your head off.

Melissa Cabrero

My Varsity Experience

A large part of my time at CLC was spent in Varsity. While having an extra half hour of sleep might seem like a small amount, in camp it was the greatest gift that could ever be bestowed. Seriously, it makes a big difference! Aside from sleeping in, varsity campers also got to stay up later, get a ‘midnight’ snack, and were overall granted much more freedom, especially with electives! The counselors were also integral to my experience. When we were feeling restless we could count on Niki and Kalen to stop whatever they were doing and put on a spectacle, making us laugh until our stomachs and cheeks hurt.  My favorite part of Varsity was being able to take on leadership positions.  While I was nervous about completing a task as a group, in the end planning Halloween, performing our beautification project, and even doing community service hours taught me a lot about working with others. More importantly, it taught me to accept what others had to say. Being exposed to such ideals at a younger age has allowed me to see the world in a new light and shaped my optimistic attitude.

The trips were also a major highlight of my varsity year! Going to Washington D.C, Boston, Salem, Lake George, and Lake Placid was so much fun! What made it even more special was the bus rides with Rich, solving riddles, and giggling in the tents with our flash lights on as we talked about everything hilarious that day. One thing I really enjoyed was staying at the Olympic training center! The idea of eating with athletes of that level was mind boggling, but seeing their plates loaded with food was even more shocking!

Melissa Cabrero - Western Adventure

Preparing to Become a Counselor: My LT Year

The first four years years at camp were filled with endless amounts of laughs, tears, and memories. There is truly nothing else like spending a summer with no cares or worries. It’s the epitome of Hakuna Matata! The idea alone makes me want to go back. However, what happens when you reach the age where you actually have to think about college and ‘real life’? Does the happiness end? Not at all!  My LT year was described to me as the year I would be trained to work as a counselor. Responsibility? Work? Nobody signed me up for this! (Well I mean I did sign up for it but you get the idea). Don’t let the term ‘Leadership Trainee’ intimidate you, because my LT year was arguably the best year I had as a camper! Yes, there is a responsibility you have to fill. Yes, you have to do a community wide service project. However, in no way does that mean that the fun stops. If anything, it’s a new twist on camp life and it spices things up! Not only did I get to give back to the community that gave me so much growing up, but my summer was filled with constant college trips and a 10 day trip to a state I had never even been to before. Singing in the car with Jerrell and five other girls for countless hours doesn’t sound like a responsibility to me. If anything it sounds like a blast, which is exactly what it was! Coincidentally, one of the college visits I made was to the University of Delaware… and look where I am now! Going to Utah was truly a once in a lifetime experience. ‘Roughing’ it out in Cataract canyon’s incomparable to any outdoor camp experience. Who can say that they went white water rafting in the true wilderness, with nothing around them but the sounds of a running river and stars unobstructed by city lights? Then, after spending days on the river, you get to go to Park City and suddenly a hotel bed becomes the best thing you’ve ever slept on. The sudden realization that the LT year is the last year you can call yourself a camper exposes you to things you might have missed before. You start to notice how sweet the grass smells. You start to hear how laughs echo throughout all of camp. You start to notice the flames of the campfire dissipate into the starry sky. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that your LT year makes you stop and think of just how lucky you are. In a word, your LT year makes you thankful. To anyone that reads this, whether you are a parent or a camper please do yourself a favor and experience the LT year. It has opened so many opportunities outside of camp (particularly in college and internships) that you cannot get anywhere else. You are essentially spending 6 weeks having a blast and not realizing all of the vital communication skills you need for any career or environment. The LT year was by far the best way to transition from camper to counselor because it taught me that discipline and fun can go hand in hand if you work hard for it.

Melissa Cabrero - Counselor

What was the transition from camper to counselor like?

Changing my role from ‘camper’ to ‘counselor’ was one of the most fearful things I had ever done. I was entering a side of camp I had never been on before, and the sheer idea of the unknown made the nights before training week sleepless ones. What if my idea of camp would change? What if I wouldn’t like it the way I had previously?  Looking back on such thoughts makes me laugh at myself. I had nothing to worry about! Whenever I am asked about counselor life, two questions pop up. The most popular one is, what do you do? Well it depends; do you want the long answer of the short answer? The short answer would be, “everything”. What do I do? I call my mom on my nights off and tell her how much I love my job. I appreciate naps 100x more than the average person should. I take on the roles of parent, sister, and friend. I stay up all night before the campers arrive to make sure their favorite stuffed animals are ready to be snuggled with. I sit at the health center for an hour or two to ice a swollen ankle. I provide the best hugs to anyone who wants one. I hold back my sobs when packing day arrives, trying to cover my teary eyes with sunglasses. As I get way too emotional while explaining this, I am quickly cut off with the next popular question, what do you make? This answer is not nearly as complex because it’s so clear to me. I make a difference.

Melissa Cabrero - Theater

What is the biggest thing that CLC has taught you?

HOW MUCH I LOVE THEATRE! The auditions for High School Musical in 2008 opened my eyes to how much I enjoyed performing. I did the play to say that I tried it, not to discover one my life’s passions! I can still name every single counselor who has ever helped or taught me about the arts, because they made that much of an impact on me. Even as I look at past programs and costumes, I can tell a story about each rip, splash of paint, and paintbrush that hides behind the backstage curtains. It is absolutely insane to me that I have been able to experience every show camp has put on. Now I get to become one of the drama counselors for the new group of aspiring actors and actresses (I may or may not have teared up when I found out that this would be my new position…don’t judge me)! Every year after that I have auditioned for high school, community, and college productions…and I have everyone who encouraged me to pursue theater to thank!

Melissa Cabrero - Tribal ChiefMelissa Cabrero - Chief

Why is camp important to you?

As I get ready for my next summer at CLC, I can’t help but be in awe of how much I have grown as a person. I entered camp a soft-spoken girl with no idea of who she was or wanted to be. It was because of the ideals that CLC instills upon its entire community that gave me the courage to audition for The Wizard of Oz in middle school. Had it not been for camp, theater would be nowhere on my radar, let  alone as a possible career choice and passionate hobby of mine. Never in my life did I think I would ever participate in a thing like Tribal war, or even become a tribal chief for the best team ever, the Minsi Wolves! (Can you tell I’m a little bias?) When the announcement was made, my jaw had never dropped so low in my life. I can promise you that! If it weren’t for camp, I wouldn’t have written my college essay about my growth as a person and role in community leadership. I would have never been elected President of my school or made friends from Russia, Spain, France, and Israel! I owe so much to this 6-week haven, because it essentially made me the person that I am today. There really are no other words for it… I’m Chestnut till I die!