A Parent's Perspective

Many of you know from speaking with me on the phone that not only am I the Administrative Director at Keystone Camp, I am also in your shoes each summer as a camp parent. My daughter, Averie, just turned 9 years old and is almost finished with her third grade year. This will be her third summer at Keystone and her second summer to stay for two weeks during the August session.

Her first summer at Keystone as a 7 year old was not without some bumps. Opening day found her totally overwhelmed and unsure of this new situation, and there were tears as she navigated this new world. She had been so excited about the start of camp, but the responsibility of making choices for herself and going places on her own unnerved her usually easy going self.

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As a parent, I faced a dilemma that all of us face on a seemingly regular basis. Do I swoop in, remove her from camp, and make her world feel nice and safe again? Or do I give her the opportunity to work through the hard times, feel a little bit of growing pains, and encourage her to push on knowing that she is fully capable of mastering these new skills? As we begin the start of her third summer here at Keystone Camp, I am thrilled that I chose the latter. Had I swooped into the rescue, making things easy for her, I would have robbed her of what it feels like to accomplish something she once felt was unreachable. The excitement on her face as we talk almost daily about her camp friends and the activities she can’t wait to work on this summer is something I would have deeply regretted letting her miss out on.

Experiencing camp as both a parent and a staff member gives me a unique view of both sides of camp life. What I can tell you is there is no other place I would want my daughter spending her summer. In the early days when she was so overwhelmed, the amount of kindness from both counselors and campers alike was astonishing. As a newbie, she came to camp with no friends from last year to look forward to seeing. By the end of the first day she had already been given a piggy back ride to one activity and had her hair braided by a new friend. Because of Keystone’s small size, she was able to make fast friends with girls from all over camp. The atmosphere at Keystone is one that lives and breathes the Keystone motto of “other girl first”.

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After her second summer I can see the change and growth that camp is developing in her in ways that will benefit her throughout her life. As a child, I was never able to go to summer camp, so seeing the skills my daughter is developing at Keystone makes me excited for both her present and her future. She has grown leaps and bounds in her confidence, which has helped her in everything from making new friends at school to wanting to try new sports . At home with her little brother, she says things like, “It’s just a problem. We can solve it!”. She is mastering life skills that will continue to grow with her as she starts each new phase of her journey, from going off to college to starting her career. The value of a summer camp experience is simply immeasurable. It is shaping these girls into thoughtful, determined, confident women in the safest, most positive environment imaginable during some of their most impressionable years. I could not feel more lucky to work at a place where not only do I believe in what we do, but I get to see proof of it in my own child.

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