Scott Brody, Owner and Director of our brother-sister camp in NH, penned these words to our Camp families last week:
More than a month has passed since Valentine’s Day, when 17 students lost their lives in yet another school shooting. It is a day that none of us can forget, not just for the day’s tragic events, but for the voices of the Parkland students that cried out in sadness and outrage that another school shooting had predictably happened. They acknowledged the thoughts and prayers so many sent their way, but demanded more of us, and especially, of our elected representatives.
They found their voices and demanded that our politician’s show a scintilla of the bravery that their friends and teachers had shown, not by sacrificing their lives, but by demonstrating real leadership and passing changes to our gun purchase and background check laws that are widely popular, yet seemingly impossible to implement. Small steps have been taken since that day, but as usual, few of our leaders have found the courage to implement the collective will of the vast majority of citizens.
What has stayed with us more than anything is the strength of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and parents, and their unwavering will to demand that change MUST happen this time.Their cries quickly turned to pleas and even demands. They inspired so many of us to demand more, and have sparked a spirit of activism among high school and even middle and elementary students across the country.
At Kenwood & Evergreen and Everwood, our mission is to help our children to build their communication and collaborations skills, solve problems, explore their interests, find their passions, and discover the leader that lives inside them. We are inspired, as so many of you are, by this student-led movement, and want to do all that we can to support them and to usher in a time in which all children can go to school without worrying if today will be the day that their school will become a headline.
On March 24th, in over 500 cities across the United States and around the world, children and families will join together to demand that the lives and safety of all students must become a priority and that we end this epidemic of mass school shootings. The collective voices of the March For Our Lives
Powerful words that seek to sum up what so many of us have been feeling. After so many stories about the sanctity of our schools being violated by violence, it felt good to know that there was a positive outlet on the horizon, and that it was led by a group of young people interested in creating real and meaningful social change.
Knowing that so many of our camp families planned to participate in a local march, or even to travel to Washington DC to join the Parkland students and their families, the Kenwood and Evergreen Leadership Team looked for ways to support our families. As part of our support we provided round trip bus transportation to the Boston March to and from our sister organization Everwood Day Camp in Sharon, MA. We did this so that our Boston area families could avoid the struggle to find parking, but also because we thought it would feel good to come together as a community as we join countless others to advocate for the safety of our kids and schools.
And like so many of our Camp families, Scott, Jason, Deena and their children decided to join the largest event that day, the million-strong march in Washington. Along the way from MA we were joined by one of our former campers, a politically active young woman from Pleasantville, NY who is excited for her first summer as an Evergreen Counselor. And we are thrilled to say that at the march were Kenwood and Evergreen members of the K&E community, including campers, counselors, camp parents, and alumni!
Throughout the day we were thrilled to see photos popping up on social media of so many of our campers and their parents standing up for the physical and emotional safety of our children and our schools, a cause so very near to our hearts. We saw families and Camp friends proudly marching together, making their voices heard. Certainly, one of our favorite moments was seeing former Kenwood camper Logan live on MSNBC (look for the guy in the image below in the sunglasses)! Also, congratulations to Toby on his pre-March meeting with Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen! It's so great seeing our young people taking an active role in this issue.
The closing words from Scott's letter to our parents really sums up our sentiments about Saturday's march, and about how events like this remind our entire Leadership Team of just how fortunate we are to be a part of such a caring, nurturing summer camp community.
We know that not every family will choose to participate in the March, and this is not meant to make anyone feel pressured into a choice that isn’t right for your family. But as leaders of our Camp community, we feel compelled to share what is in our hearts, so that those who feel similarly can choose to join together.
Each of your children are precious to us, as they are to you, and we feel blessed each and every day that we have the privilege of doing all that we can to lead this remarkable community of campers, counselors and parents, summer after summer.