S’more Than Just Memories

  • Or How Valuable The Camp Experience Is For Your Child!

    Written by Ellen Felcher, Director of Camp Pembroke. Check out her bio to learn more about her!

    I have been at Camp Pembroke for 17 years now – 5 as Program Director, and I am now entering my 12th season as Director.  In that time, I have had many conversations with our camp parents and received numerous emails and notes about the positive impact that camp has had on their daughters.  To tell the truth, those letters, emails, and phone calls are a big part of the reason why I love my job.  I always bring up those real references when meeting prospective campers, especially in the off-season when it is not possible to physically see and hear our happy campers, who always tell their story best!

    Overnight camp is a place where the campers learn how to be independent; to make their own decisions about what to wear, what to eat, who to befriend, and how to solve conflicts.  It is where they first learn to take care of their own belongings and to advocate for themselves, in an environment where they feel completely at ease trying a new activity without the fear of being judged by anyone else… and that includes learning how to wash the bathroom floor for possibly the first time in their lives!  It is a place where they feel free to reinvent themselves, and to really explore their Judaism in a way in which they have never done before.

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    Ellen with daughter Gail, Pembroke Alumni

    My own children, who spent 14 years each at overnight camp, constantly remind me that they became the people who they are today because of their experiences at overnight camp.  Camp is where they first really learned to listen to other people, to be empathetic, and to be a friend.  There is no question that camp is where they made their best friends for life – and these are friends who, even if they are separated by time and distance, are able to pick up just where they left off the next time they get together.

    Children learn who they really are at camp.  They learn what is important to them, and what is not.  They experience many different activities that help them determine what they like and dislike, and what their priorities are.  Many of them begin thinking about what direction they are hoping their lives will take, and what steps they may need to take to reach their goals.  At camp, children learn from their counselors and other role models.  They see, first-hand, what it means to “give back” to a place that has been so important to their growth and development. Campers learn about others who may be different from themselves, and they happily celebrate those differences.

    I am firmly convinced that what campers “take away” from camp is both tangible and intangible, completely valuable and priceless at the same time – and I know that none of this can be learned in the same way anywhere else on earth.

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