“To ALL of the Camp America Counselors and Staff – Here we are at the end of week 8. How does the summer always fly by so quickly? It is that time for us to express our extreme gratitude to everyone involved in making camp a success this summer. We truly appreciate everyone and all you have done, including the risks you have taken to support camp this year!
There has been so much talk lately about strengthening our own resilience, as well as building resilience in our children and teens. Clearly, one of the best ways to teach resilience is to model it by example. Once again, the Camp America leadership and staff have helped our children to learn these essential skills by modeling great resilience. Things were looking bleak for this summer, and there were some sad moments this spring, but we are so thankful that Camp didn’t just throw in the towel. Instead, you held out as long as possible, crafted an unbelievable 12 page safety plan, and brought our kids back to camp. We taught our children that, when times get tough and changes must occur, we can be sad for the loss, but we can accept the need to adjust and move forward to enjoy the days.
As always, there are a few special shout-outs, and there so many others who will go unnamed but are no less appreciated. You could never pick two better people than Alexa and Bilker to be your welcoming crew to greet families and campers at morning drop-off – these ladies are absolutely fabulous and make us all feel like part of the camp family. They can tell with a quick glance if the kids are having a rough morning and need some extra TLC. The CIT counselors always help guide these teens through the fun days and comfort them through the tough ones. Bilker and Cookie were fabulous with those tweens, letting them grow and become more independent, while keeping a close eye if needed. Jeff Gold was, once again, great with Charlie* and the boys, letting them play hard and have fun, calling them out in iffy behavior moments, but catching them being good with “Camper of the Day” certificates when earned. Some activities that stood out this year were, as always, the impressive woodshop projects, the ceramics soap dishes, animals, and bells, and those cute arts and crafts “Feed Me” containers! The kids are always so excited about cooking – camp cooking class is perfect, interesting and yummy delights. There were lots of fun stories being told at the Sherman* dinner table about Athletics, good competition and hilarious mishaps. Gymnastics! – Whoever it was who helped Charlie* all summer to work on that front flip – we appreciate you! That was certainly a highlight! Boating, fishing, and adventures on the lake bring lots of smiles. Thank you to everyone involved in camp lunches and snacks; the salads and dressing choices seemed to be a huge hit this year. Even though some of the weekly camp-wide activities needed some changes, it was great for them to still experience water carnival, regular carnival, color wars, and all of the weekly challenges. I almost forgot about nature – I’d say the D2 boys were probably more excited about some of the experiences than the girls, but he loved it – the insects, the scorpions, the dissected shark, the snakes! Better him than me. 😉 Of course, we were so happy the pools could be opened and enjoyed! I’m sure there are a million other memories about which they’ll reminisce and cherish, many of which I’ll never know.
“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” Witcraft – Thank you for being important in the lives of our children!”
“June & Steve, Thank you for another great summer at Camp America! Last summer changed so much for us as a family. Camp has become our ‘Happy Place’. It has given *Matt confidence in himself like he has never had before, and the courage to try new things. *Laura has a deeper love and appreciation for sports, and she made meaningful friendships that I hope continue through the years. You have surrounded my kids with a village that I never imagined for any camp! The people at Camp America are special. The two of you, the office, the red shirts, blue shirts, pool staff, kitchen staff, everyone who plays a part in this amazing place, have touched our hearts and our lives forever. I can’t thank you both enough for your love, support, encouragement and trust in me, especially this summer. Thank you for giving me and my kids the opportunity to have this Camp America family. There is truly nothing else like it. I love and appreciate you both!”
“There is no way I could wait until the end of summer to send a message of gratitude this year. There has been an unbelievable change in our children this week after only a few days of camp. Their little lights are shining so brightly, and sadly, I hadn’t even realized how much they had dimmed. They are bubbling with excitement and energy, albeit completely physically exhausted. There is something undeniably special about Camp America, and it is clear that it is not the land or the buildings, but it is absolutely the people. All of you somehow make our children feel so special and happy. We cannot thank you enough for making the changes that needed to be made for safety, wearing masks, sanitizing constantly, etc, etc, to allow camp to happen this year.”
“I can’t put into words how I really feel about your Camp. It is so incredibly special, and we feel so lucky that our son has this opportunity! Everyday this summer was better than the day before! Dropping him off and picking him up brought me so much joy knowing how much fun he is having and all the new things he was trying. It was so kind of the counselors and directors and office staff to take the time out of their day to say such wonderful things about Shane*. Every comment made my and means so much to us. I feel so blessed that he is spending the day with so much encouragement, appreciation and love with you all. Thank you for making me cry every week with the videos and photos, and for allowing us to be there for a day of visiting, and the invitation to come play next week. My heart is bursting. You have given him a magical summer that we do not take for granted. You think of everything! We will be counting down the days to next summer.”
“Thank you very much for a wonderful summer! Aidan* came home to us every day tired, dirty and happy (which is EXACTLY what we wanted). We’ve seen so much growth in him; his newfound confidence in the pool is a pleasure to observe. Please hold a spot for him in 2020!”
“I just took Melanie* swimming and I CAN NOT BELIEVE HOW MUCH SHE IMPROVED THIS SUMMER. My jaw dropped…I may have also uttered a profane word or two, good thing Melanie* was too busy swimming to hear me. Thank you so much. We love you!!”
“After dropping the kids today for camp, I wanted to just write a quick note of thanks for how wonderful their experience is at camp. In almost 12 years of being a parent, almost always, I’m a little bummed when I have to drop them off places likes daycare, school, before-care, etc. Camp America is so different. I literally love bringing them to camp, likely because they love it so much, and also because of how welcoming the staff is to everyone. Drop off each morning is so smooth. I don’t know everyone’s name, but a few exceptional are Alexa, Bilker, Stuart (Jonny* absolutely loves this guy)! All the staff always welcomes everyone by name, know all the kids and parents, and always have a smile to share, and seem like awesome people. The counselors are so mature with me which makes me feel great having them care for my kids. This morning I got a “Hi, Mrs. Heffler*. Have a great day!” from Alexa. This makes me so happy as a parent. At the end of the day, Meredith and Ollie are fabulous at pick up. Many staff stop to tell me specific kind things about my kids (and I don’t even know these people).”
“I just wanted to let you all know how happy we are with Jacob’s* camp experience! He is BEYOND excited to return this year in the MIdgie program. I am extremely impressed with every aspect of this camp, and just wanted to send a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for everything you ALL continue to do for our sweet boy. It’s going to be an incredible summer! You have brought something so special to Jacob’s* childhood and I am forever grateful!”
“Tomorrow is the last day of camp for my son Caden* (1st year CIT), as he’s signed up for 6 weeks. I wanted to just thank you so much for a wonderful experience! This has been our first year with Camp America and I can’t begin to tell you how happy we both have been. I wish I’d known of it sooner – seeing how relationship are forged amongst the kids over the years is truly impressive and it seems like they build life-long friendships. We’ll be back next year! Thanks for all your hard work. I know there is A LOT of hard work that goes into making this so successful!”
“I have heard Steve, Lara and Randi reminisce about Camp America for years, but it wasn’t until this summer when I was able to see it in action that I understand their adoration. I have seen such unbelievable changes and growth in my children. Of course, they are naturally maturing, but I honestly do credit Camp America with some of the milestones I’ve witnessed this summer. Here’s a few: 1. Joe* who week 1 would not step on the pool step with 3 lifeguards; ended the summer swimming across the pool with only a noodle. 2. Family friends cannot believe Johnny* is the same kid. My once shy Johnny Bear they referred to as “outgoing.” 3. Both boys swam in 4 foot pools on vacation with only floaties – no adults near them. 4. Even on the playground – the climbing and heights they once feared they do with ease. I am so proud! Thank you!”
“Our children could not have dreamt of a better summer. There are no words to fully express the gratitude we feel for our children to be able to attend Camp America. Their experiences are beyond memorable – they are life-changing. Our children have developed and grown all summer long. We more than appreciate everything you have done to help foster their development. Everyone is unbelievable – from the comforting counselors, to the sweet young men and woman climbing into our cramped minivans to help with drop-off and pick up, to the patient pool staff with tight gripped little fearful hands squeezing their necks, to the welcoming office personnel. Everyone could not have been more warm or loving. We’re not sure how they did it, but there was always a smile on everyone’s face. Truly our children could not have been more entertained, loved or given more personal attention. Again we could not be more thankful that our children are so fortunate to share in such amazing experiences at Camp America. They will never forget their time at Camp America. This place and people helps share who they are and will become. Thank you for providing our children with this unbelievable opportunity. WOW!”
“I wanted to thank you for a wonderful camp experience for Brody*. He really has grown socially this year and has an increased desire to attend activities. I also wanted to thank you for all your helpfulness accommodating Brody’s* schedule. I greatly appreciate your flexibility regarding his arrival times and days of attendance. It has meant a lot to me that you would be so amiable. It is very kind of you to work with me. Camp America certainly puts the camper first. You can tell this camp really loves children and wants them to have the best experience they can have.”
“I felt the need to send you a thank you note to let you know how thankful I am to you. As you know, I did not take the decision lightly to send Ben* to camp or not. Thankfully, we did send Ben* and what an AMAZING summer it was!!! Camp America went above and beyond to make Ben’s* summer a successful one. Everything you did “special” for us did not go un-noticed. Ben* loved camp and he really matured this summer! Having Richard as both his driver and counselor lowered Ben’s* anxiety considerably. That was a fabulous idea June! Having a certain lunch for him was also so kind of you. And, I am happy to say that after YEARS of stomach aches we figured out the medical cause! I toured many camps before choosing Camp America and chose you due to your open-mindedness, acceptance and concern for your campers. And, Andi was a huge help to us as well in the beginning…. a real asset.”
*Camper & Parents names have been changed for privacy