Lessons Learned At Summer CampPosted by on September 08, 2021

Each summer provides opportunities for growth for campers, CITs, and staff alike.  It’s part of the magic of attending or working at camp- you’re guaranteed to learn and grow!  Summer 2021 was no different.  However, this summer the lessons learned at summer camp came from new and different challenges.

These differences allowed us to learn and grow in new and different ways.  And that’s what summer camp is all about.  Whether it’s reconnecting with community or gaining independence.  Learning new skills or building new friendships.  Or navigating struggles or the feelings of success.  Each of our lessons came together to create a truly extraordinary summer that we are forever grateful to have experienced.

Lessons Learned Through New Adventures

After a summer away from camp in 2020 camp almost felt new for everyone.  Whether this year was our first or the fifth (or tenth) summer of camp it provided new adventures for everyone.  Being away from home, working a first job, teaching an activity…these were just some of the new things experienced this summer.  The lessons learned through new adventures will last well beyond the summer.

The focus is typically on campers and CITs- as it should be.  However, this summer much of the learning experienced at camp occurred within our staff.  A unique summer provided unique challenges as the Fernwood Cove staff worked to create an extraordinary summer.  For many staff this was their first job, their first time teaching or coaching, or their first time in a leadership role.  Whether they were alumni or new to the Fernwood Cove community they learned what they are truly capable of.  Fernwood Cove staff returned home or to school having gained true hands-on experience that is truly resume’ worthy.

Lessons Learned At Summer Camp In Maine

This summer marked the first time many of us had been away from home since early 2020.  For Fernwood Cove campers coming to camp had incredible new meanings this summer.  While there are always lessons learned at summer camp in Maine.  This summer was full of many “firsts” for many campers, including returning Fernwood Cove girls.  The lessons learned from these firsts helped campers gain important life skills like resilience, independence, and sense of self.

Watching campers and CITs gain (or regain) independence as they navigated life at summer camp was truly amazing.  Watching the uncertainty they entered camp with melt away as they learned they could take care of themselves, make friends, and learn new skills with the care and support of their counselors was tremendous.  Seeing girls gain confidence in themselves as they tried new activities and reached outside of their comfort zones always happens at Fernwood Cove.  Seeing this happen after a year of seclusion, disconnect, and uncertainty made the work of camp so much more worthwhile.  And the lessons learned so much more valuable.

Our Greatest Lessons Learned

Going into the summer we, the directors, weren’t sure what to expect.  We worked for months to prepare for the summer, but we knew it wasn’t going to be the same as a typical summer in Maine.  However, we agreed that if we could possibly create camp, even if slightly different, all the long hours, extra meetings, and COVID protocols would be worth it.  Our greatest lessons learned this summer camp with the recreation of our summer camp community.  Returning to camp brought us connection.  Connection with ourselves.  A natural connection with the outdoors.  A reconnection with each other.  Connection through community.

The Fernwood Cove community is unique in so many ways.  Each person brings their own qualities and strengths.  And this summer our greatest lessons learned came in seeing the impact our community can have when we come together.  Through our ability to reconnect we supported each other.  We overcame challenges.  We provided new opportunities.  And we returned to the extraordinary that we all needed in so many ways.  This summer our greatest lessons learned came through returning home to camp.  Returning to where we flourish and become our best selves.  And recreating the extraordinary community where we are all valued and supported.  We truly can’t wait until we are all back together for summer 2022!