Happiest Place on Earth

Via http://changewithinchangetheworld.tumblr.com/

“Camp is the happiest place on Earth, obviously…but why? Why does anyone who has worked at camp feel like it is the best place to be?

The answer: Because we, as humans, spend our whole lives looking for a place to be the truest form of ourselves that we can be, camp allows us to do that. It is the one place that we can feel safe in our most pure skin. The people we meet at camp are the people that show us who we are. They don’t tell us what to be, but they allow us to show our true selves. Rather than deciding who we are, they give us the opportunity to show them who we are.

Camp is the only place I have been that has given me the freedom to be the person I want to be.

This is why I go back, and until I feel free to be myself in any setting, I will continue going to camp to find my center.”


We couldn’t have said it any better.


How To Tie-Dye.



bulls eye

Week two is over!

Wow, “Summer16” is going way too fast.

Week two is often a favorite amongst campers, counselors, and parents alike.

Why, you ask?

Because, this is the week that we tie-dye!!!

Next week, Week Three is “Peace, Love & Camp” when we will all be wearing our new tie dye. So grab a shirt, grab some dye and lets get to work so we can be on fleek in our tie-dye all week!

~Follow these steps in order to max out your tie-dye swag~

White shirt
Tie-dye in a squeeze bottle
Zip-Lock bag

1. Put on gloves.
2. Take your white shirt, lay it out on the table.
3. Pinch it in the middle. pick it up so it looks like a ghost (BOO!) put rubber bands tightly around the shirt about two inches apart from each other.
4. Take your shirt and soak it in a mix of water and soda ash and then ring it out.


5. Place the shirt in a tray, if possible elevate the shirt on a rack in the tray.IMG_0665
6. Take your preferred colors of dye and put one color on each section between the rubber bands. Make sure to get in the creases of the shirt.
7. Put your shirt in a Zip-Lock bag and let it sit for at least twenty-four hours then take the shirt out and the rubber bands off.
8. Rinse your shirt in the sink under cold water for a minute.
9. Put your shirt in the washing machine by itself with a quarter size of detergent. Wash either on a speed cycle or a cold water cycle. When done put in dryer.
10. Now wear your shirt for “Peace, Love, and Camp” week and show off your swag!


-Dylan Harrison

Meet The Staff

Ok, it’s here.

The school year has come to a close and the camp anticipation is at it’s peak. Meet the staff day, it’s an important time. Really, this is one of the few times that parents will have an extended conversation with their camper’s counselors.

First Impressions

This day is all about first impressions.

– Staff is making first making first impressions on parents.

– Staff is making first impressions on campers.

– Campers are also making first impressions on the staff.

As counselors, we are just as excited to meet our campers as the campers are to meet their counselors. However, we are not the only ones making first impressions. Campers are making their first impression on us too so don’t be afraid to talk and tell us about yourself. We want to be able to learn about each of our individual campers. The sooner that happens, the better the summer will be.

Questions are ok

Ask us questions.


I would much rather have a parent ask me questions and be comfortable leaving their camper with me for the summer then having a parent who has no clue what is going on and have many questions that are never answered.

We want you as a parent to be overly confident that we as counselors will be able to watch after your camper all summer. Expressing your concerns can help us reassure you that everything will be ok.

Learn about the counselors

Campers will come home and talk about their counselor “Buddy” and as a parent, you will probably have no clue who “Buddy” is… So on meet the staff day, try to learn the counselor’s names and faces (sometimes we forget so just try…).

For both parents and campers, don’t stop at learning the counselor’s names. Find out where they are from, what they do during the year, etc… Campers often find common interest with their counselors which makes it easier for us to connect with you on the first day.

Knowing more about your camper’s counselor often gives parents confidence in them. It is comforting to know that your counselors are good, nice people and genuinely care about your campers.

We all live ten long months just for these two…
Well, the two are here #Summer16

-Dylan Harrison

Camp Is Key (3)



By: Dylan Harrison

Summer camp
[suhm-er kamp]
1. Making life long friends.
2. Joining a life long community.
3. Joining life long group chats with said friends.

Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

Why Is it that when you walk around camp, you can look around and easily find people that have been here for five, ten, or even fifteen plus years?
Simple- The unique sense of belonging and community at camp that is unmatched by any where else you may go in life.

“You belong with me” at camp…
– T-Swift

Everybody at camp comes from different backgrounds and have different personalities, but at camp we all belong (cheesy, but true).
As campers (and counselors alike) find their place, (as discussed in previous post) they make new friends along the way. Many of these friends will not go to their school.

Ever hear of the phrase Camp Friends?
Well, thats where it comes from.
(Mind = Blown)

I am still friends with many of my camp friends that I met my first year at camp (when I was 5 years old… wow, I’m getting old). I actually keep in contact with my camp friends more than most of my school friends.
Yea, so that “life long friends” thing… it’s actually real.

What makes these friendships so strong?

Camp Friends don’t bond and become friends over complaining about homework. They don’t bond based on how well they did on a test. No, camp friends build genuine relationships based on shared experiences and interest. This is what makes a camp friendship so strong.

Camps or Community? Hmmm…

Well we all know that the answer is “Camps”. But that doesn’t mean this is a community!

Everybody at camp has the common bond of… well.. being at camp… We all understand the quirks of it.

– Where else in the world can the entire establishment split into two teams, battle all week, pouring everything they have into this battle in order to win. Then, in a matter of the last thirty seconds of this battle, become best friends again?

Boom. Color War.

– Where else in the world can you walk around in a a wig, cape, glitter suit, or whatever else your heart desires and not get a single look of confusion? Actually, people will probably compliment you on your attire.

I will.

Go you.

I’m jealous.

Summer Time Vibes

Walk around camp and you can feel this vibe in the air. It’s mostly a mix of sunscreen and sweat… but when you get past that, there is this distinct sense of community is in the air.
From the youngest campers to the oldest staff members, we all belong to this community.

This is the place where no matter your age, you can still “Play pretend, give each other different names, build a rocket ship and fly it far away”. Or build regatta boats and float them across the pool… same thing.

Camp Is Key (2)


Come In,
Get something out.

By: Dylan Harrison

Summer camp
[suhm-er kamp]
1. Where campers gain independence.
2. A place to have new experiences.
3. Where every morning mimics a High School Musical Scene.

Miss Independent

Campers are granted independence that they could not gain anywhere else. Not that they are set free to do what they want (obviously), rather they are in a fun, safe environment where they can make decisions for themselves and deal with daily challenges.

In a stress free environment, campers are able to make decisions that they might not be comfortable making elsewhere. Maybe they will decide to venture off from their friends for a period by choosing a different select. Maybe, they will try a new food. Who knows, it’s up to them.

“And if not old, then maybe new”

Returning campers often come to camp to reunite with old friends from previous years while maybe finding some new too (“Nice alma mater reference.” Oh, why thank you!). As a new camper, this may not be the case. Coming into a new camp and a new group will present the opportunity to make new friends, but this is effortless in the camp environment. Meeting new people and making new friends will teach campers valuable social skills that they will benefit from both immediately and later on in life.

For those that are returning (and those that are new too). There are plenty of other ways that camp allows you to experience independence.

How so?
Well, let me walk you through some examples.

Ex 1: Campers are responsible for their belongings and keeping them organized. Pretty self explanatory, right? But when Young Wade (refer too previous post) loses his towel day two, he’ll learn to put it in the same place every time there after.
And he never lost it again…

Ex 2: Night Owls, You get to make your own beds every morning. Nobody is going to make it for you. “Oh no, it’s a tragedy”. No it’s not. You’ll be fine.

NO, it’s not that hard to do.

YES, counselors will help.

NO, we will not do it for you.

I can speak for myself when I say that this was a new experience for me (yes, I was a Night Owl camper who didn’t make my own bed at home) and I’m sure it will be a new experience for many of you who are new.

“Wow, my camper might actually become organized?!”

– Every parent reading this.

Well, odds are they won’t be Monica Geller by the end of the summer, but they will understand the importance of organization.

Simple tasks such as these will help campers to slowly gain independence. Campers will come out of camp with new experiences that will benefit them throughout their life. Although most campers do not realize this while it is happening, being a former camper myself I can look back and reflect on what camp actually taught me.

Throughout this summer, understand that a mistake is not a bad thing. It is a learning experience. Like Young Wade did, take mistakes and understand why they happened and learn from it. This is how campers will grow, and this is how campers will have a great summer.

East is east and west is west!
Clean bunk beds are the very best!

Camp Is Key

2a80a079191d67b5f01e8f19eb94942d #1

By: Dylan Harrison

New Activities.
New Talents.
New Experience.

Summer camp
[suhm-er kamp]
1. A place to be yourself.
2. A place to explore new activities.
3. Where every Thursday night is like a Bar-Mitzvah #Social.

Whether or not campers know it, these definitions are huge reasons many of them love camp so much.

At camp, campers aren’t judged on what they are not great at. Rather, we praise them for what they thrive in.

“I’m not an athlete”

– Not good at sports? cool.

– Not artistic? cool.

– Oh, but you’re good at dancing? Awesome, you better be on my color war dance team!

– I see your artistic skills belong on the walls of ~Wynwood~ See you in cartooning.

Nobody cares if a camper is not good at something. At camp, we are only concerned with what you are passionate about. Not only do we encourage campers to continue what they love, but also push them to try new things and find new interest. With so many activities throughout the summer, everyone finds something they excel in.

“I’m sick at basketball. They say I’m a young Wade. So I guess I’ll be stuck on the court all summer?”

Woah, woah. Hold on there “Wade”. You’ll be doing much more than one activity…

Beyond finding activities they excel in, campers are exposed to things they would never do on their own.

Ex: Last year yoga was introduced to camp, most boys saw this on the schedule and had no interest (However, I was extremely excited for it). After week one, yoga was a favorite activity amongst boys and girls. (Even “Young Wade” found a new interest!)

Not every camper will come in day one with their niche activity figured out, but when they find where they belong, everyone will take notice (I’ll even give them a high five). With a wide variety of activities from sports to science, there is room for everyone to succeed.

The most important thing is for campers to come into the summer open minded.
As long as a camper comes in willing to try new things and meet new people, this will be their best summer yet.

…Just ask Young Wade.

The Power of Camp

There is no place anywhere else like it. You can ask just about anyone who has attended or worked at a summer IMG_0010camp, and they will all tell you how it holds a special place in their heart (especially here at ELC). The best (and crazy) part about that unique collection of memories is that everyone will have a completely different story or a completely different reason why they feel this way. It’s this whirlwind of positive vibes and crazy emotions that forces each of us to break a smile when we think about it. It’s in that grin that you know the Power of Camp worked.

Some questions may pop up like “What is the Power of Camp? or Where does it come from?” In all honesty, that’s something only you can figure out, that’s the best part of about it. Yet, I can make some guesses where it all comes from…

  • Friendships. One of the craziest things to witness at camp is the last couple days of camp. There’s a staleness in the air. The pit in stomachs and swelling of eyes truly shows how much you grew over the summer and how important the friendships you made are. It says a lot about what camp friendships truly mean.
  • Counselors and CampersIt doesn’t matter whether you’re the camper or you’re the counselor, the opposite made an impact on you. It’s impossible to spend that much time together and not create a bond that can only be compared to a favorite teacher/student. It could be anything from a prank, a moment of greatness, or something as simple as talking. It goes with you, long after camp ends.
  • Growing UpSummer Camp is one of those things that help you grow as a human being. It’s crazy to think, especially for the Night Owls, the extended time you go without relying on technology…and in reality, it’s a beautiful thing. (I can’t think of too many places where you can do that anymore) It’s a great place to figure out who you are and who you want to be.
  • Color War. I’m not sure I can accurately describe or explain what all goes with color war, so I’m not going to try. If you’ve been through a color war, you know. If you haven’t, you should try it.
  • Ten for Two. The fact that an idea like this exists, truly shows you the power of camp. We work and do our best in life/school so that for those two months of that year, we can just enjoy everything that is camp. It’s an atmosphere of fun and activities that can’t be achieved anywhere else for 2 months.

The Power of Camp is an amazing thing. It’s something that will truly change your life. I can’t wait to see where it comes from in 2015.

I’d love to hear how The Power of Camp has affected you…. feel free to leave a comment on here or even on our facebook page. #10for2

Technology and Education at ELC

At Eagles Landing Camps and the Night Owls, we not only look for continuing education for the camping industry but also to meet and spend time with camps from all over the country, specifically the Northeast.  As anyone who has explored our web site, since 1998 Eagles Landing Camps has emulated traditional day and resident camps in the Northeast. Matt’s experiences at many traditional camps, such as Camp Laurel, Winadu, Raquette Lake, Elmwood, and Breezemont, have ensured this.


As camp professionals we are always looking to better ourselves, stay ahead of the curve, and make positive changes to our camp. There are many ways to do this. Recently two members of our administrative staff spent a couple of days at a camp conference held by our Database provider CampMinder, in Boulder, Colorado.  To go along with that, in March four of us journeyed to the Tri-State Camping Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey to attend three full days of continuing camp education with the best camps in the Northeast. While we are in South Florida, from year to year these events assist our team in assessing the staff, programming, and special events.


In Colorado, we were entertained and educated by our new database provider CampMinder.  At this event we became well informed on many different methods that will make our parents camp experience carefree. Using this web-based program parents will be able to log in to their “CamperInTouch” accounts to access forms, view pictures, email their campers and so much more.  The ELC team was also very intrigued by some of the progressive ideas that the CampMinder squad is working on for the future. Each idea is one that will allow our families, campers, alumni, staff, and Eagles Landing to communicate during the summer and school months.   From learning the ins and outs of the database, to better ways of communicating with our families through social media, this event allowed ELC to continue to broaden our horizons and continually try to improve the experiences of our camp families.


In New Jersey, the ELC administration attended the American Camping Associations Tri-State Camping Conference, the largest gathering of camp professionals in the US.  Here we attended many classes to enhance our camp knowledge.  The sessions included various levels of education fro the beginning staff member to the most experienced camp operator.  Our staff spent their days learning from veterans of camping, being participants in open discussions and sharing best practices, and listening to published psychologists speak about adolescents today. Overall, our staff loves being around other camp professionals because it allows us to take the best from all and bring it to ELC for our campers!


All of the Administrative team as well as some senior staff members eagerly anticipate both conferences to gain insight from other camp professionals. Gaining perspective from others usually enables us to make our campers and parents experience with Eagles Landing Camps better, each and every summer.

A Night Owls Counselor Experience at ELC

I have had several years of day camp experience from being a camper during my childhood to becoming a camp counselor.  When I decided that I wanted to try something different for a summer, I saw an advertisement on my college campus for Eagles Landing Camps and The Night Owls and how it would be a summer job near the beaches of South Florida.  I told my parents about it and they thought that it would be a long shot, but it was worth a try and it would help to build my resume as a future educator. 

After being offered the job, I made my flight reservations and prepared for travel to ELC.  When I was on the airplane, I was scared to death.  “What if they don’t like me?”  “What if I don’t fit in?”  I can’t think of a time that I have been more nervous.  Once I arrived in South Florida, I was picked up at the airport by camp staff.  I was in shock when this extremely friendly guy got out of the van, introduced himself, and said “You must be Kyle.  I have heard great things about you!”  It was so nice that he knew exactly who I was and he knew how to instantly calm my nerves.  Once we arrived at camp, I was directed where to take my belongings.  I was expecting to find a cabin without screens and bugs flying around everywhere.  I was wrong!  I walked into my bunk and I was amazed!  There were beds with mattresses, large windows with screens, plenty of storage space, and even a television!  
After getting my luggage situated, I went for a walk around the campus.  I was expecting to see gravel walkways, log buildings, and wild animals.  This was not the case at all.  I walked out of the doors and was greeted by Florida palm trees, a lake, and a covered sidewalk that stretched around the entire campus to prevent getting drenched in the Florida storms.  I also expected to see open fields for activities — not an astroturf football field, baseball field, and two huge swimming pools.  Again, much more than I was expecting.  While I was walking, I met a group of counselors who all introduced themselves and they were very hospitable.  They invited me to dinner and it was the start to a great group of friends. 
Weeks after the campers had moved in, camp was well on its way.  The counselors were all forming close bonds with each other and the kids.  One day, my Division Leader approached me about an upcoming competition called SongFest.  He knew that I was a Music Education major and he asked me to write a few songs to teach the kids for the event.  It was great to be given a leadership position.  Teaching the Hercules boys was such a rewarding experience, but it all came to a climax when we actually won 2nd place in the competition!  Watching the kids fly out of their chairs for something so simple really made me realize that I had just given them a memory that they would not soon forget.  A few weeks later was Color War and I had no idea what to expect.  Counselors kept saying how it was intense and stressful, but it’s camp –how can it be stressful?!  After spending an entire weekend decorating, writing chants and shopping for the craziest outfits I could find, I could then see where the counselors were coming from.  Yes it was intense, but it was also EXTREMELY fun!  To the campers, it is one big competition, but to the counselors, it is a chance to watch the kids form bonds and work as a team.  Although our team lost, the camp immediately reunited with new friendships and an understanding of teamwork and sportsmanship.  
Soon after Color War ended, it was hard to believe that it was the final day of camp.  Even though there were so many fun activities planned for the day, it was hard to believe that I would be saying good-bye to my close friends and campers.  As we said our farewells, it was a mixture of emotions.  We were sad that it was over, but happy to have been able to spend an entire summer together.  After camp, I was taken back to the airport for my flight home.  On the plane, I decided to look through pictures from the summer.  Although the pictures were taken over the span of eight weeks, they seemed so recent.  There was not a day that went by that I did not think about camp, my campers or my friends that I made throughout the summer.  
I have now been on staff for 3 summers and am highly anticipating my return for my fourth.  I am just as excited to return as I was after my first summer.  My experiences from camp are some of the best experiences of my life.  Each summer, campers and parents have left notes saying how much they appreciate everything that I did for them throughout the summer.  However, they have impacted me in the same ways.  Each day of camp, I wake up with the goal of making a difference in a child’s life because, although they aren’t aware, they have all made a difference in mine.