Here at Summer Fenn, we belong to each other. Belonging means that someone sees you, knows you, and makes the effort to figure out what makes you tick. It also means that you have a responsibility to others, that your words and actions matter, that we hold each other accountable in a gentle and supportive way.
More and more we are coming to understand the potent buffer that belonging provides. It’s the connective tissue that keeps us tethered, keeps us grounded- that allows us to meet challenges and take supported risks that are essential for growth. Camp is a place where this belonging is built and nurtured year after year.
It’s not just the physical proximity of a group that travels together from activity to activity, but the intentional way our counselors begin to know your child before they even arrive. The Thursday before each new week of camp, our counselors and coordinators review the camper questionnaires for their group and begin to learn about their hopes for camp, their questions for their counselors and what’s happening in the rest of their lives at home and at school.
Throughout the arc of a day and a week, there’s a plan in place for name games, for team building, for buddy systems, for collaborative projects- each that honors the different kinds of kids in each group. Our motto is “every kid gets a high five”, although sometimes the high five includes a jump in the air for our super-enthusiastic kids, or a complicated individual handshake for our outside the box thinkers, or an on-the-sly-no-big-deal mini high five for kids who don’t like to make a big deal of anything. We see you, and it’s all good.
Belonging to each other means we bring each other along with our shared values. Take care of yourself, take care of each other, and take care of our campus. We say this out loud; we have tangible practices like drinking plenty of water, showing a new camper how lunch works, and picking up litter when we find it. We model kindness, we use affirmative language, we solve problems and build skills instead of doling out punitive measures and praise for only a few. Belonging means you are valued even if transitions are hard, even if you don’t love the climbing wall, even if belonging hasn’t always come easy.
The fun part of belonging to Summer Fenn is all about the trading cards, Friday cookouts, the Space Race, singing the jig-o-lo song and yelling “HUMBA HUMBA” or having your own group call at attendance in Ward Hall. It’s about the feeling that we built something unique, something shared, something so special that it exists only because your child was part of it.
The more meaningful piece of being part of Summer Fenn is that kids can arrive as they are, define who they are, and become the next best version of themselves right here. Right here where we’ll be waiting with a freeze pop and a high five to remind them that we belong to each other.