*Listen to this song as you read this article. It was one of the (many) theme songs that played 923482934 times during camp.
It was the most epic year, and we're only in year two. Let's start with the basics: 115 campers, 71 staffers, 20 pirates, 10 Pokémon, 4 knights, and 1 horse. See for yourself.
It's always an impossible task to truly summarize the magic of a camp like this, but I'll try my best...
Community Created Here.
My biggest takeaway from camp this year was that the bond of community was stronger than ever. As we said goodbye to our program on the final evening, the feeling was akin to the final hugs you give after finishing high school grad night (which was only a few years ago for me, so I remember it vividly).
You express gratitude and appreciation for the laughs, the tears, and the growth that happened in what seems like a lifetime, even though it was only 8 days and 7 nights long. You express sadness for the 357 days that you might go without seeing this group of people. You immediately start thinking about how good it's going to feel to return to this family next year or perhaps some year in the future.
This is our definition of community, and while it was a good start last year, this was the year where it really started to feel like home. It was a home that was created by both our staffers and campers, and like they say, there's truly no place like home.
The Greatest People You Will Ever Meet
Our staff is wild in the best way possible.
They take a piece of their heart and soul and infuse it into every single thing they do at camp. It's about giving everything they have to ensure that every camper is part of the family and walks away feeling like they've made the best memories of the year—bonds and memories they'll remember for the rest of their lives.
They're experts in growth and development. They challenge our campers to step outside their comfort zones, make new friends, eat their vegetables, and find comfort and confidence in a community that accepts them for exactly who they are. Staffers bring out the best versions of themselves at camp, and campers thrive off of it.
And they do it in the most creative way possible. Who else can take a piece of concrete and turn it into a concert? Or a piece of cardboard and turn it into a ship? That's our staff, truly, the greatest people you'll ever meet.
And OMG, the Food!
I don't think we really covered this in last year's recap. It's so good, and it's something new every day. Mealtime itself was an adventure for the campers—trying to guess what they'd be eating next, running (when they should be walking) up to the counter for seconds and thirds, and eating at least some of their daily vegetables and fruits, usually more than they eat at home.
If You're a Parent, Here's What I Think You Should Ask Your Kids
Don't just ask what they did at camp—sure, we had a super impressive lineup of daily activities, workshops, and events, but that's not where the camp magic lies. Ask them what they loved about camp. Ask them how they feel when they're at camp. Ask them to share their funniest memory from camp.
As they answer, don't just listen to the content of the answer; listen to the way they say it and look at their facial expression as they say it. It's the emotion and their connection to the people, the energy, and the camp spirit that really make this program special.
If You're a Staffer, Here's What I Think You Should Ask Yourself
Ask yourself this: how can I be sure that my schedule allows me to be there all week? Let's change some lives.
See You Again Next Year
The magic show happens again next summer. If you're new to our program, welcome to the family. It'll be one of the best decisions you ever make—for both new campers and new staffers.
If you're coming back for another year, we can't wait; we're literally counting down the days until we can see you again... literally.
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