Today was one of those days where I kept saying to myself "our kids and staff really seem to love this place". No matter where I went -- activities, in the bunks, the kitchen, a soccer tournament -- I saw the people in our community cheering, supporting one another, and simply having the best time together.
As a community our mission is to enrich our campers’ summers with experiences that go beyond just having fun. We try to help them learn to be more creative, more effective leaders, better problem solvers and better at working through adversity. Tonight, during our evening activities, this was on full display.
I recently saw a documentary that had some pretty profound thoughts about how people form and maintain deep friendships. In it, country singer Trey Hirsch was interviewed, and he bemoaned how much harder it is to make new and close friendships later in life. His analysis was that this was due to two important factors: how little quality time most adults get to spend with new people, and how few opportunities there are to truly let yourself be vulnerable with one another once you reach a certain age.
It was the first day of Camp and we had a LOT going on. In fact, before dinner we had offered more than 30 different fun and exciting activities at our brother sister summer camp. Sports, Arts, Water Fun, Outdoor Adventure -- this day had it all! Here's what we had going on during this first full camp day of the summer:
I remember being a new camper. More than three decades later I can still recall the butterflies in my stomach. Would I make any friends? How would I know where my bunk was and what I was supposed to do? What if I got lonely or homesick? Would my counselors really be there to support me? These were all questions on my mind on my first day of overnight camp, and here at Kenwood and Evergreen we know they are the same fears that all of our new campers had this morning as they stepped onto our camp buses.
Topics: opening day
I was up at sunrise this morning, waiting for the truck to deliver food to our kitchen. Because it was so early I had the gift of having Camp all to myself. It was a gorgeous summer morning, and even after 30 years here I am still amazed at how beautiful our campus looks...and how different light can bring out different characteristics that you might miss during the rest of the day.
The start of camp is just days away, and we know that both our new camp parents and new campers are getting really excited. We also know that many of our new camp families have important questions about what the bus ride to camp, and the first day of camp, are going to be like.
The start of camp is just about 2 weeks away, and I know that both parents and campers are getting really excited. SO IS THE ENTIRE CAMP LEADERSHIP TEAM! In recent days we've had a number of new families reach out with 2 important questions: 1) "what do kids like to do during their free time" and 2) "is there anything not included on the packing list that my new camper might want to bring this summer?" I thought I'd address them both here.
Our amazing Boston Area New Camper Party was two weeks ago, and now we are thrilled to host another at the House of Sports in Ardsley, NY this coming Sunday. New Camper Parties go a long way towards helping our newest campers and camp parents feel great about joining our brother-sister summer camp community, and give families an opportunity to meet some of our year-round team and counselors. Our camp experience is all about making new friendships, and we want that to start before the summer even begins!
There are times when I'm talking about our summer camp community that people give me a look that says "but realistically, could your campers really that nice to each other?" Sometimes they even come out and say "just because you tell them to care about the other members of the community doesn't mean they actually do it". During these conversations I wish I could show them moments like I saw yesterday at our New Camper Party in the Boston area. In such a short time we were already seeing how effectively our staff can teach a group of kids be more empathetic.