We know that entering a new community can be hard for even the most extroverted person. Campfires are one of our favorite ways to help welcome new campers and counselors join our extended camp family, and help make sure they know our community's norms, values and traditions. This short video is a look into what takes place at our brother-sister summer camps' campfires, and why they have such meaning for our campers and staff.
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.
When you feel connected to the people around you life somehow feels easier. When you feel attached and supported by the institutions in your life, adapting to changes somehow becomes easier, more manageable. It’s even been reported in the Journal of Science that feeling disconnected from peers and social groups can be as detrimental to your health as smoking, high blood pressure or obesity. During 7 weeks of overnight camp, feeling a bond with your fellow campers and counselors can be the difference between occasional bouts of homesickness (something that even happens to the most seasoned camper…or director) and separation anxiety that lasts throughout the summer.
There are some characteristics that are ubiquitous to all quality summer camps. Every summer camp should help its campers make new friends. Any good overnight camp should give its children the chance to gain independence and improve at the activities that they are passionate about. That these qualities are considered crucial outcomes at our brother-sister summer camp in NH does not exactly make us different. And yet we hear time and time again from our campers, parents, staff, alumni, and even referral agents that there is something very different about the Kenwood and Evergreen experience. So what exactly does make our overnight camp so different? Not surprisingly, as one of the directors, I spend a lot of time thinking about this.
There are so many reasons why we are a 7 week summer camp, and so many reasons why our campers love the final 3 weeks of each season. Here are our top 12 reasons why staying for 7 weeks at our summer camp in NH is the best thing ever!
12. Do you know what's most fun than 4 weeks of summer camp? SEVEN weeks of summer camp!
It's day two of the summer of 2014, and already we have some very happy campers
It's hard to not be a happy camper on a day like today. The weather was perfect -- warm and sunny with beautiful blue skies all day long. Today was our second full day of the summer, and with it came a number of important summer camp rituals. Just after breakfast both camps lined up to take some photos. We took group portraits of both Kenwood and Evergreen, each unit and bunk, and then every individual camper. It was fun to bring everyone together to take some photos that will hang in the dining hall for decades to come.
After picture taking we rolled out to activities. Evergreen campers of all ages took tennis lessons, and for the first time this summer kids were behind the water ski boat. We also had boys and girls slipping down our 27-ft inflatable water slide, and others testing out our other new inflatable called the Rocket.