Creating Community At Summer CampPosted by Alicia DeHart on February 16, 2022
Recently we invited our incoming Senior Campers (Flamingos) back for their Senior Ski Weekend. This whirlwind of a weekend is a mini version of camp within the beauty of the Maine winter. Senior Ski Weekend is a time for these girls to reconnect with each other. It is also a time for us to discuss what it means to be a Senior at Fernwood Cove. This includes their role as leaders at Fernwood Cove. And the part they play in creating community at summer camp.
Imagine campers gathered around a cracking fire in a stone fireplace. Surrounded by some of their closest friends, envisioning the coming summer. Their best summer at Fernwood Cove. They are discussing the impact their past summers have had on them. And how they hope to impact Fernwood Cove and the camp community this summer. They quickly begin to realize that all aspects of Fernwood Cove are done with intentionality. These girls started to recognize the purpose in camp as something greater than themselves and their days in the extraordinary world. They suddenly realized Fernwood Cove is so much more than songs and activities, and trip days. They recognized the importance of the support and empowerment and impact that comes with creating community each summer.
Community Is Needed
As we close in on the two year anniversary of when the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact life in the United States we realize the impact it has had on our connections with others. Often when we think about the past two years the words “shutdown”, “isolation”, and “distancing” come to mind. These are continuing themes as we attempt to establish normalcy in a world that has been forever changed. Humans thrive on social interaction and engagement. It’s apparent now more than ever that community is needed.
But not just any community is needed. Today’s children, teens, and adults need true connections. We all need face-to-face connections and interactions that support our growth and development. In some ways the greatest impact of the pandemic has been on the social and emotional wellbeing of today’s children and teens. A multitude of reports have shown how the disconnect from school, sports, and family have negatively impacted society’s mental health. Developing healthy relationships and creating community is one of the first steps to help rectify these issues. Intentionally creating community at summer camp provides both of these for all of our campers, CITs, and staff.
Intentionally Creating Community At Summer Camp
Last summer presented a lot of unknowns for the Fernwood Cove administration and the Fernwood Cove community as a whole. As we entered the summer we were still unsure how campers would react to being back at camp. It was very apparent from the get-go that everyone just wanted to be back together. Everyone just wanted to be at camp. Intentionally creating community at summer camp is and will forever be important. Seeing campers reconnect, share experiences, and simply relish in the joy of life reinforced the importance of creating community at camp right now.
Our campers, CITs, and staff need community. And they need their community to be safe, supportive and inclusive. This is exactly what the community of Fernwood Cove is. Girls come from across the country and around the world to experience overnight summer camp. Fernwood Cove counselors and staff journey from around the world to work at camp and create the magic that we live and breathe each day. As directors, we work and refocus our efforts to ensure all aspects of Fernwood Cove support the creation of community to best support the personal growth of each person at camp.
The Value of Community
Without the community, Fernwood Cove would simply be a place where people gather and do fun things. It would be like a vacation or simply another job. But Fernwood Cove is so much more. It’s more than an experience. It’s magical and impactful. And through our intentional work it’s life-changing. The value of community at Fernwood Cove is immeasurable. Community is the glue that holds it all together. Community deepens our connections with each other. And through these deepened connections the Fernwood Cove community exists far outside 350 Island Pond Road.
The importance of Community at Fernwood Cove is why we have chosen it as the 2022 Fernwood Cove Value. Creating community at summer camp doesn’t just happen. It is the result of intentional work and dedication to creating something better. It is creating something extraordinary and magical. And through this we experience growth, connection, empowerment, and success in ways unknown outside of Fernwood Cove. We are so very excited for the coming summer and continuing the work of creating community at Fernwood Cove. We know it will be extraordinary!