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The Woman Behind Our Summer Camp’s Beautiful Photos

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Who takes all of your camp’s beautiful photos? It’s a question I’m asked all of the time. Like Madonna, Prince or Cher, she’s known by one name (at least in our community): Sheila. She’s also Scott’s mom, and for the last 10 years she’s been the official photographer of Camps Kenwood and Evergreen. Each day of the summer she is out trying to capture every aspect of life at our overnight summer camp — the candid moments of friends being together, the fun and learning that takes place at activities, life in and out of the cabins, and the natural beauty of New Hampshire that surrounds us. And almost every day she posts her photos so that parents can see on their computers and tablets just how great a time our campers are having. Last summer Sheila posted over 12,000 photos in 49 days! 

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Sheila is also an award-winning artist who regularly exhibits her work at galleries. This past week I was fortunate to be at her latest opening, and thought I would share some of her beautiful work that wasn’t about smiling faces or Jell-O Wrestling. 

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At her exhibition I asked Sheila to tell us all a bit more about her love of photography, and her deep passion for the Kenwood and Evergreen community. Here’s what she said to say:
Have you always been a professional photographer?
No, but I have loved photography since I was a teenager. I spent 30 years in marketing/sales management positions in the telecommunications industry. The last job I had was with a start-up that introduced voice mail to the US. What was cutting edge then has been replaced by the new, exciting social media technology. (I feel a little like a dinosaur.) When I retired I had more time to pursue my love for photography. Now I am enrolled in a program at Rhode Island School of Design. It is challenging and so much fun!
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Your photos are beautiful, and seem to capture so much of what makes the K&E community special. How do you approach taking pictures during the summer? Is it different, say, with candid shots or at activities?
I try to capture the essence of camp: enduring friendships, campers supporting each other, enjoying each other, working together in teams and campers just being silly. Since my summer audience is our camp parents, I try to tell them the Kenwood-Evergreen story. Each day I try for a mix of portraits, group photographs, and activity shots. Most of our campers love to have their photographs taken; however, some rather not be photographed. I am very respectful of their feelings.

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You’ve been Camp’s photographer for many, many years. Has the position changed for you at all during that time?
It is over ten years now! And, yes, it has changed because the technology has changed. We now have a super fast reliable fiber connection. I have upgraded my camera equipment and use editing software I love. Our parents rely more and more on seeing camp in action every day. On visiting day they tell me how they start each day reviewing camp photographs. I am thrilled to be a part of their lives.

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What’s your favorite thing about being Kenwood and Evergreen’s official photographer? 
My favorite thing is being part of the K&E community. I have had the privilege to watch our youngest campers grow to be in Juniper and Hut 6 and then come back as counselors. It takes my breath away! I would be remiss if I did not mention that I am in “grandma heaven” every summer because I have the joy of spending my summers with my grandchildren and my son, Scott, who has created this amazing world. I am a very lucky woman.

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We’d like to give a major Acka-Lacka-Ching to Camp Photographer Sheila Pallay, and can’t wait to see how she captures our summer camp in New Hampshire this year! If you would like to see more of her work, including gorgeous photos she has taken on all 7 continents, please click here

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Camps Kenwood and Evergreen is a 7-week brother-sister summer camp in Wilmot, NH. Through our innovative program we teach young people 21st century skills including critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and resilience. Through intentionally run activities of sports, arts, and outdoor adventure our campers have tremendous fun and make friendships that last a lifetime.  

Learn more about this
incredible experience for children