Another summer camp season is in the books and the transition back to school has begun. What a wonderful summer – being immersed in nature, exploring new places, making new friends and trying new things. We always end each camp season with an eye toward the future and the excitement that lies ahead, but I think it’s also important to take a moment to consider the specific joys and struggles of the past 10 weeks. As I pause to reflect on it all, my heart is full of gratitude for our staff, for our campers and particularly for you, our camp parents who have entrusted your children to us.
To our dynamic staff who worked tirelessly all summer long to provide your children with an incredible camp experience – thank you! These counselors gave their best to their jobs as each day brought new challenges and new successes – they were energized, they were exhausted, they were inspiring, they were inspired. They were interested in their campers, invested in them and committed to knowing what made each one tick and how to connect in meaningful ways. From making special friendship bracelets for each camper to singing – yet again – their favorite silly songs to crafting awards specifically for every child, our counselors gave it their all to make sure your kids had a summer to remember. They are a terrific group, and I am grateful for each one’s dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm.
To our campers who showed up every morning with a zest for life and who are the reason we do what we do – thank you! These kids were engaged and engaging, open to trying new things and ready to get down and dirty, appreciating the many gifts that nature has to offer. Because of their days spent at camp, they have acquired an increase in confidence, a deeper connection to nature, and a greater sense of their own independence.
The wonderful thing about camp is that it’s more than just a place to spend summer days. It’s an experience that becomes a part of who each child is – it’s learning and growing, having the strength and courage to stretch and be flexible and explore the world. When your son played field games at camp, he wasn’t only building his athletic prowess – he was learning to be a good sport and a team player. When your daughter tried brand new activities like archery and knife throwing, she not only learned to take a step out of her comfort zone but also built up her reserves of confidence and resolve, so that when she once again finds herself in a new and overwhelming situation, she’ll remember that she’s brave enough to take that first step. When your son spent an entire afternoon in the creek, looking for salamanders and noticing the different rocks and leaves and wildflowers all around, he strengthened a connection to nature that will stay with him all his life and, hopefully, inspire in him a love for the outdoors and a commitment to preserving and protecting the environment. Alongside their counselors and new friends, your children celebrated their successes and learned from their mistakes.
And to our camp parents who trusted, supported, and encouraged us along the way – thank you! We absolutely could not do this without you. We are grateful that you shared your greatest treasures with us this summer. We appreciate the ways that you supported your children’s growth by encouraging them, asking them meaningful questions, and allowing them to lean into their newfound sense of independence. We care about our camp families and we are so grateful to count each of you as a part of our larger Camp Family.
As the days ahead grow cooler and the leaves begin to change, my hope for each of our campers is that they will not only remember their camp experiences with fondness but that they’ll build upon them, continuing to take charge and go for it, learn from mistakes, set goals and pursue them and enjoy the company of new acquaintances who quickly become friends. And of course, I hope that all of our campers will nurture a love for the outdoors and an appreciation of our parks and of the natural world.
Yes, what a wonderful summer! Thank you for being an important part of it. We can’t wait to have you back again next year.
~ Laura Johnson, Found & Director of Leadership Academy