There’s one scene here at Summer Fenn that always captures the essence of camp for me. Sometimes it pulls at my heart strings so intensely, and makes me well up with pride and satisfaction. It happens when we gather in the morning at the canopies in the meadow as campers arrive, and again at the end of the day as we await the arrival of parents at pickup. Children are playing, pairs and groups sprawled out across the middle of our green grass on this scenic campus. There’s always a Frisbee being tossed by the Codebreakers’ canopy, and casual soccer happening with a group behind the Owls’. The kids at the Video Production tent are riveted to one of their counselor’s epic stories, glued to the seats of their picnic table, while the 5 and 6 year olds create a bee hive of energetic activity and giggles as they sprint up and roll down the grassy hill near their spot. Children are playing. And because we come to this same spot every day, and they get a freezy-pop every day, and there’s always a Frisbee available, there’s a certain ease to this moment- so predictable and safe, so simple and… FREE.
I often grab a staff member and ask them to pause. To look. To notice. Look what you’re a part of, look around at these children playing in the grass, unplugged, active, outdoors, laughing, sharing and being together. This here is important. And for some kids, the moment of feeling easy and free is more of a victory than it is for others. Kids who struggle to belong, kids who struggle with transitions, or struggle to feel at ease… I stand in the middle of the field and I look for them. I see them succeeding, I see them belonging, I see their shoulders drop and their arms uncross, and the smile grow as they receive their numerous high fives on the way to check in at their canopy.
As we embark on our final week of the 2015 camp season at Summer Fenn, I’ll be savoring every one of these sun-filled mornings, which always serve to solidify our commitment to the campers climbing out of their cars, anticipating another amazing day. We’ll be tireless in our preparation, our training, our communication, our vigilance, in our expression of the The Summer Fenn Way, so that children can experience this simplicity and freedom. We hope that in doing so, children have space and time to learn more about themselves, try new things and make new friends- the skills that may help keep them feeling confident and at ease throughout the year.
In the depths of this past winter, it was so hard to imagine days filled with giant water slides, and carnival games, a zip line and tie-dye… now it’s hard to imagine a single day without them. My entire staff and I are so grateful for the opportunity to get to know your children. While we are often focused on what camp can do for them, I think it’s important that you know how much your children do for us- the many ways they enrich our lives and make us laugh, and how attached we become, and how fiercely we want to protect them and keep them safe and happy. I wish you all could hear the counselors on their 10 minute break in the Summer Fenn office. I overhear them talking about your kids- and they gush with pride when their camper makes it up the climbing wall, and they problem solve together about group dynamics, and share the hilarious and clever things your kids say, and belly laugh. This is what they do when no one is watching. It’s just who they are.
Thank you, to each and every family who have entrusted your child to us this summer. We’re looking forward to making this last week the best yet, and can’t wait for those mornings at the canopy to greet your child with a smile and high-five, and then gather again at the end of the day to send them safely back home. In between we’ll be sure to provide a whole lot of simple and free.
Posted by maggie on Sunday August, 16, 2015