A letter from Scott after a great first day of camp

Dear Parents,

a great first day of campIt is nearly an hour since the soulful notes of Taps drifted across our campus, and most of your children are cozy in their beds, settled in for the night.  I could still hear peels of laughter flutter through the windows of an occasional junior camp bunk, or the hum of the intense conversations that happen when teens reconnect and debrief the school year, with new friends and old.  It was a wonderful first day, and across our campus, your children have begun to weave these threads of connection into the fabric of friendship, with both their bunkmates and their counselors.

Once our buses arrived, your children met their counselors and bunkmates, and toured our campus, learning the lay of the land, and discovering what has changed since last summer. After a joyous assembly and a wonderful dinner, our counselors entertained your children with our annual “Counselor Show”, composed of a series of silly skits and songs, designed to entertain the campers and show them that this is a place where we can take safe risks and be silly in the spirit of fun.

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We ended the show by singing the Phillip Phillips song “Home” together, which almost brought the house down. Everyone sang, even those new to the song, and the words were both welcoming and aspirational….”We’re gonna make this place your home”. Hearing all of their counselors singing this, and joining them in song, made it clear what we try to do every summer…to create a summer home for your children where they will feel safe and loved, and supported to reach out and try new things, to learn and grow.

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We have waited for this moment for the last ten months. We spend the school year relentlessly planning, thinking of new ways to engage your kids in fun activities that will help them grow as athletes, artists and adventurers. We question our time-tested practices even as we cherish them, and always examine them for relevancy, keeping those that still resonate and revising what no longer rings true.

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Many of the skills that we teach at Camp through our diverse program are timeless. I believe that since our founding in 1930, we’ve been helping our campers problem-solve, especially in social and emotional contexts, explore their creativity, communicate effectively, and learn what it means to be a good teammate and caring leader. But in a world that is rapidly changing, where content knowledge is becoming a commodity and the currency of the future seems to lie with skills that will allow your kids to thrive in a volatile, dynamic world, we are adding to that toolbox. 

We are focused on helping your kids be more adaptable, self-directed, and flexible, and to reflect on how they think about problems and test their approaches. We are helping them to maintain a growth mindset, so that they understand that with practice, perseverance, and reflection, they can keep adding to their abilities for the rest of their lives. These skills, dispositions and mindsets can’t easily be taught in a classroom, and have to be practiced in order to be mastered. These are skills that can’t be easily disrupted or replaced by computer or machine, and will help your in careers that likely haven’t been invented yet. From your children’s perspective, they are playing sports, exploring the world around them, and living in community together. But we know that these activities and even bunk life are powerful opportunities to practice these skills, even if this kind of learning just feels like “fun” to your child most of the time.

We’ve been working with our counselors these last two weeks to help them use as many of the million moments that we will have with your children this summer to help them learn and grow, and to do it in a way that doesn’t feel like classroom learning…it just feels like fun and challenge and camp spirit and joyfulness. 

a great first day of campOur counselors greeted your children today with open hearts and open arms, ready to help them have an amazing summer full of growth, learning, and fun. We’ve been waiting ten months for this day, and from the smiles and laughter and joy that we witnessed, I am confident that your children already have a sense of how amazing this summer may be for them. We will work hard every day to make this their best summer ever; one that will leave them with memories of caring counselors, loving friends, and new skills that will help them navigate this changing world.

For now, please sleep well knowing that your children are safe and sound, dreaming dreams of the summer to come. 

With love from Eagle Pond,
a great first day of camp
Scott

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