"So many things had changed this summer, but the spirit and love of Elmwood that remained kept the staff and campers happier than ever! "
In our last blog post, we shared with some thoughts from Elmwood parents about the power of the Elmwood experience. This week, we are thrilled to share a few words from Elmwood staff members. We are lucky and proud to have a group of selfless, motivated, kind, and extraordinary people who make up the Elmwood staff. The sacrifices they made in 2020 to create the best possible summer for our campers will never be forgotten. We are and will always be very thankful for each one of them!
In a sea of bad news that was flooding our TVs and social media, hearing Elmwood would be opening its doors in 2020 was the best news I could ask for. Even with the necessary small adaptations, and wearing a mask in the heat, it couldn’t take away the fact that we got to be at camp, laugh with campers, play Gaga, dance at pool dancing and sing during village meetings in my favorite summer spot. Getting the opportunity to connect with new campers and fellow staff members, which is always my favorite part of the summer, was so special and provided a sense of normalcy. I can’t wait to see what summer 2021 has to offer!
This summer at Elmwood Outdoors truly impacted me. It was a bright light in the middle of an otherwise dark time and truly gave me something to look forward to everyday. Getting to be a part of this unique summer experience is something I will always remember. Elmwood somehow found a way to take what could’ve been a summer with no camp and turn it into the best summer I’ve had there yet!
The summer was like getting a much needed burst of oxygen! We were able to reconnect with campers, parents and staff in a way that we had been missing for too long. My memories include all the groups from 4 year olds to Specialties who all experienced the intrigue of science in their own special ways. Looking forward to 2021!
I can always count on an EWD summer to being me joy, excitement, and fulfillment. There was just something extraordinary about this summer. It was a huge leap of faith for everyone involved. The evolving safety protocols were lengthy and overwhelming, and there were so many outside forces that were beyond our control. Yet, somehow, we created a beautiful partnership between staff and families. We all took a collective breath (behind masks) and moved forward with hope and happiness. Having been isolated for so many months, it was invigorating to be engaged in the world, sharing experiences with people I care deeply about. EWD has always been a home away from home, however, the Summer of 2020 will hold a special place in my heart.
This summer reaffirmed for me what I already know and believe. We are social creatures who need to have the space to play, connect, struggle, conquer, love, and laugh TOGETHER.
The safety restrictions forced us to simplify our programming. We weren’t sure how this would manifest. Turns out, what is at the root of all activities/programs is all that is truly needed - thoughtfulness, space to grow, carefree play, and each other.
The sound of children laughing this summer was simply the best thing ever. It replenished my soul and then some!
Although we had a shorter summer, working at Elmwood last summer provided such consistency for those five amazing weeks that I didn’t even know I needed. It was something to look forward to everyday and it brought light into such an unprecedented time.
If Elmwood outdoors taught me anything it was that having a flexible mindset will get you through anything. Although most days were carefully “scheduled” there were often times of uncertainty, and learning to roll with the punches at camp was a valuable experience.
A positive memory I have from Elmwood outdoors was during dismissal. A camper loved to sing the song “the middle” and we had just been told it would also be his last day at camp, so to send him off on his impromptu last day, I along with his counselors all walked him to his car and sang that song with him. This led to other staff members and campers who were also at dismissal to join in and sing along too!
I can honestly say working at Elmwood has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. While I have been working at summer camps for many years, I was still nervous coming into a new environment. But I was welcomed into this incredible family with open arms. Every staff member I had the pleasure of working with helped me to grow and become a better specialist. Each camper taught me so much, and made me feel lucky to work with them. I learned how resilient our campers are. Even in the face of a pandemic, our campers were always joyful, excited, and ready to jump into new experiences.
I knew that camp needed a music specialist, but it turned out I needed Elmwood in my life just as much. I am so grateful to have worked there last summer, and cannot wait to see what the summer of 2021 has in store!
Being at Elmwood this summer reminded me that there are always silver linings. Even in the worst of times, when the world was being turned upside down, every day I returned to the Elmwood bubble of happiness, laughter, and smiles (even beneath the masks). So many things had changed this summer, but the spirit and love of Elmwood that remained kept the staff and campers happier than ever!