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Summer camp has many milestones, and at Keystone, we look forward to celebrating each of them. Some are related to age, some to specific achievements and some for returning to camp for multiple years. The ones that immediately come to mind are growing from elf to pixie to dryad to leadership, achieving a ‘K’, a ‘KC’ or a Silver KC, receiving a 5 year blanket or a 10 year pendant.

We recognize our 5 year blanket recipients at the first full campfire of each session. This past Sunday we awarded 34 blankets, a stunning number in a single session. This also put us over the 500 mark of 5 year blanket recipients since beginning the tradition in 2007. It was truly a pleasure to see such a large crowd of our 3 weekers recognized. Perhaps the most fun acknowledgement was a counselor who had formerly been a camper. She did not realize this was her 5th summer, and having her name called took her completely by surprise. If you saw the picture of me laughing while holding a blanket, I was waiting for the counselor to make her way down to the podium. We all enjoyed being a part of her surprise.

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Being a Keystone camper is impactful. Like all camps, Keystone provides a lot of fun activities, but it is so much more. Our 5 year blanket recipients represented 170 summers at Keystone Camp. I cannot imagine what the number might be if I summed up the rest of the campers and our counselors!

We take such pride in our number of returning campers each summer. Our girls leave camp at the end of their session setting goals for themselves for the next summer. They grow both physically and emotionally while here. The sessions are long enough that our campers find their own voices; they make their own choices; they are challenged, and they learn to push through the challenges to achieve their goals. Multiple weeks at camp allow them to build on their previous experiences. They share their experiences with the entire Keystone community. Their friendships last from summer to summer. Keystone Camp becomes an integral part of who they are, their constant, and they want to return to their friends and their shared experiences. Our girls become stronger and more resilient, and it is our hope to see them be successful leaders who then return as counselors to give the next group of campers the same opportunities they had.

Ten year pendants await…