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A wonderful first day

A Letter From Scott to Our Camp Families

It is quiet across our campus now, with your children safely in their beds. A few are still awake, chatting with new and old friends, getting to know their counselors, and coming down from the excitement of the day. Our senior boys are sitting around the campfire, trading stories of their school year days, and our oldest girls are excitedly catching up, picking up where they last left off in friendships that will likely span decades into the future.

These are the sounds of camp…the sounds of summer. It is always a joy to see your children immersing themselves in this loving community of counselors, who have been anticipating this day as much as your children have. It is an honor to bear witness to this special day, and even though I have seen many Opening Days in my 42 years at Kenwood & Evergreen, I am still humbled by the love and belonging that I see emerging even in these early hours of our summer together.

Our staff have spent these last two weeks preparing for this moment…getting to know your children through the information that you shared, hearing from experts about the best ways to mentor and care for your children during their time here at camp. They are energetic and eager, and have formed a close knit and loving community, all so that when your children finally arrived, they couldn’t help but be enveloped by the love and support around them.

This is a place of belonging, and I can already see even our newest campers reaching out to others in this caring community. From these connections, friendships will form and deepen, and your children will discover, as so many have every summer, that this is truly a place where they are known and loved. We plan and pace this day very carefully, from the bus rides to camp, where friendships have their start and old friends reconnect as if they had never been interrupted, to the tours around camp so that everyone can feel comfortable in their surroundings, to our all-camp assembly, and then on to our annual first-night activity–our “Counselor Show”.

As always, our counselors use this variety show to entertain your kids, but also to show them that this is a place where you can take safe risks, like looking silly in front of your friends and your campers. They sing, they dance, they perform silly skits, and by doing this they set the tone for the summer…that this is a fun, supportive and accepting place. The kids devour it of course…and cheer their counselors on. This year’s audience of children were incredibly enthusiastic, applauding and beaming as their counselors truly put on a show for them.

We end the show with two songs. The first is a version of “Home”, written by Phillip Phillips, which Jason and I perform together every year. We practiced for the first time this year just before the show and felt like we were ready to go. But when we actually performed tonight, the audience of campers and counselors rose up in a single voice that was so sweet and beautiful that we were carried away with them. It is their song, not ours, but we feel privileged to be a part of it every year. We want your children to feel that this is their summer home, and from the sound of their voices tonight, soaring in unison, we are well on our way.

The last song is our adaptation of “Happiness” from “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown”. Years ago, Jason’s father and Phyllis Dank, our retired and beloved former Evergreen Director, rewrote that song as an ode to the happiness that our counselors experience making the summer special for each and every child. It is a Kenwood & Evergreen classic, and generations of counselors have sung it word for word, ending with the line “Happiness is anyone and anything at all…that’s loved by YOU”. Truer words have never been spoken. Today was a truly happy day, and the very best part is it was only our FIRST day, with so many more to come.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful children with us this summer, and for trusting us to create a happy summer home for them, filled with love, learning and friendship. We will do all that we can to make this our best summer ever, and theirs too.

With love from Eagle Pond,