Years ago I heard famed child psychologist Michael Thompson give a speech to an audience of parents considering sending their children to summer camp. That night he said something that has stuck with me for years. Camp, he said, is an incredibly powerful social experience for children for many reasons, and one of the best parts of it is that it brings children of different ages together and gives them the opportunity to form meaningful friendships. I distinctly remember him asking the crowd "in what other aspect of America life do 8, 12 and 15 year olds get to hang out with one another...and have it be so positive? There certainly aren't many, and few impactful as the relationships that develop between our Camps Kenwood and Evergreen Big and Little Siblings.
In the last few days I've seen so many different -- and unique -- examples of how we help our campers learn important life skills, and feel deeply connected to our community. One example came during our daily morning assembly. While the whole camp was gathered I reminded everyone of our annual "Where Your Camp Shirt" contest. We love it when our campers wear their camp apparel in the off seasons, and we also love encouraging them to explore the world around them. Going to a 7-week overnight camp shows a real independent and resilient character, and we want to foster that year-round. So each year we have a contest to see who can travel the farthest from our campus in Wilmot, NH and have their picture taken with a camp t-shirt or sweatshirt on. Over the last twelve months we've had about 50 submissions, and this year's prize went to Oliver, who traveled all the way to Tanzania. He won a party for his bunk, and the admiration of every boy, girl and counselor in Camp. Bravo to you, sir!