At the end of each session, we celebrate our time together with a banquet. Our Aide leadership group writes toasts to different groups to recognize the effort they put forth in providing the camp experience. Our counselors always receive an enthusiastic toast. Instead of waiting until the end of the summer, I want to offer a shout-out now for these terrific young women. I am so very proud to be working with them.
We knew this summer would be very different, particularly for our staff. We were asking them to shelter at home for two weeks before coming to camp. Then we had them arrive at camp two weeks ahead of opening day in order to be tested for COVID and to have the appropriate quarantine time before the campers arrived. A month of their summer gone before camp even started!
Once camp got underway, they were being asked to do more than ever. In addition to their usual responsibilities, we now added cabin cleaning and sanitizing. Additionally, cabin time was non-stop with the groups traveling together all day, every day. We were asking the counselors to always be “on,” and they have been. This group of counselors has been extraordinary!
It was touch and go once we realized we were going to be able to open camp. Due to travel restrictions, we lost most of our international staff. Concerns over the virus and compromised family members meant others were not able to be with us. Since the virus had such a profound impact on businesses and travel, many of our long time counselors who had been planning on summer internships and study abroad programs found themselves suddenly free for the summer. We were so fortunate to pull together an AMAZING group of young women to provide the necessary resources for us to operate camp while managing the challenges of COVID.
Our staff have been with us 100%. They have trusted us as much as we have trusted them as we figure this new world out together. They have been conscientious, responsible, patient, understanding, enthusiastic and flat out incredible. They are mindful of wearing masks, washing hands and waiting the appropriate distances. They are constantly on guard making sure their campers follow the protocols. They have sacrificed visits from their families, meals out, time off with friends, personal time and personal space for the sake of Keystone and its campers. We cannot be more grateful for their willingness to walk this path with us.
The strength and fortitude of our counselors will continue to be on display as many of them will end up going straight from camp to college on August 8th. Many universities have altered their fall semester schedules while the girls have been here working. COVID has challenged all of us, and the challenge will continue. Our staff have shown their determination and their resilience this summer. They will continue to succeed, no matter where life takes them.
What a privilege to work with such a great group of young women, and what great role models they are for our campers! We are all proud of what we have accomplished this summer, and we are all very proud to be Keystone Girls!