We thank Katie Ballard and the folks at Spookyville for inviting CAMP! to participate in their annual family Halloween event for the second year in a row. CAMP! staffed the ticket tent and helped with a variety of other tasks, and will therefore benefit from the proceeds. Despite some cold and soggy weather, it was a fun event for all. We thank all the CAMP! volunteers who came out to help, and in particular we are in debt to Robyn Myers Moore for organizing all our efforts as well as going above and beyond in numerous ways. Bravo!
During the month of December, CAMP! was the designated nonprofit for the Movies at Main Street Landing in Burlington. Thanks to Mariah Riggs at Main Street Landing for inviting us to participate and to Mason Rachampbell for coordinating our efforts.
Another Amazing Week!
While CAMP! 2016 came and went in a flash, we will hold on to our memories for months to come. A huge thank you to our volunteers, partners, and donors who made our 26th week of camp possible. Check out our 2016 CAMP! slideshow, and visit our Facebook page for more remembrances and to share your thoughts.
We chuckled at the “Evil Dr. No Fun” tooling around in his golf cart. And we loved how the heroes hugged him with kindness. We launched water balloons to an impressive distance and we scrunched our faces at the taste of “interesting” jelly beans. We marveled at the fabulous CAMP! News and all its special effects. We cheered for the dancers and the thespians, and we sang song after song, from morning to night.
Big thanks to Alaina Pinto from Local 22 and Local 44 for visiting us on Wednesday morning, and to the talented storytellers Simon Brooks, Odds Bodkin, and Angela Klinger for captivating us with your wondrous tales on Wednesday night. We were fortunate to receive two books for each camper from the Children’s Literacy Foundation once again, and we thank author Marv Klassen-Landis for helping with the CLiF program.
We’ll remember lots of fun in the Gagaball court, watching a floating camp fire, and setting rockets off into the sky. Teenagers tackled the climbing wall and just about everyone made it to the brand new pool. There were dance parties, drama games, and sports galore. The art room was abuzz with activity, with projects like stuffed animal making, tie-dying T-shirts, the ever-popular flubber, and a myriad of others. Plus, who can forget seeing the hand prints of all the campers come together in the dining hall.
It was a magical week, once again, and we’ll think of it often while leaves change color, snow flakes fall, and sap boils, until summer brings CAMP! back to us in 2017.
How Do I Love Thee: Let Me Count The Ways
(or 7 Things CAMP!ers Love About CAMP!)
by several dozen campers as told to Scott Moore, Managing Director
CAMP! is not just a summer camp. I say this to people all the time: there is a sense of wonder and magic about the place that is hard to capture in words. This year will mark my fifteenth year as a counselor at Camp Exclamation Point (CAMP!). Anyone who has known me for more than five minutes will know of my love and passion for the work and fun we create at CAMP! And yet sometimes I find it difficult to describe.To help me out, I asked current and past campers and counselors (including counselors who had been campers in their day). Here is some of what they had to say, in no particular order.
1. CAMP!ers love CAMP! energy from the very first day:
My favorite memory would be the first time that I stepped off the bus back in Pod 2 [my first year at CAMP!] and how the energy that hit me felt really good.
As a camper walking off the bus I remember being afraid of being different, of not knowing anybody, and of being unsure what to do. [And] then walking off into the crowd of smiles and happy faces as a camper, or [later] being a part of that crowd as a counselor and inviting new children into the family, showing them what camp is about, and helping them find the activities that call to them the most.
Seeing all of those kids come off the bus each year, or being a part of that group of children, each has its own sense of wonder, of family, of excitement and good times to come.
[The best thing is s]eeing everyone getting off the bus at the beginning of the week.
2. CAMP!ers love activity choices:
[I loved best] being a Dolphin [most advanced swim class] with Alexis my first year. I thought it was great because it was just me and my cousin in our own little group.
Running around playing kickball and other games outside.
3. CAMP!ers love being silly (we can’t lie: even very silly):
4. CAMP!ers love doing all those quintessential camp things:
When I was in the Teen Leadership Program, [I loved the] tree house, s’mores, and night swimming.
When I was a Counselor, [I loved] having the girls all want to sit with me and get piggy packs and look up to me. Great feeling I’ll never forget.
Last summer for [group] night, the Teen Leadership Program went night swimming. That was so fun!
5. CAMP!ers love music:
[I remember m]y counselor singing us to sleep with her guitar.
[I remember t]he first time I saw all the campers and counselors sing Country Life together.
Singing the songs is the best thing.
6. CAMP!ers love joy:
I loved seeing joy on kid’s faces as they experienced things they never had [experienced] before.
7. But more than anything, CAMP!ers love the community we all are part of:
Alright, where to start: with the freshest first. My favorite part of CAMP! is the loving sense of community and the bonds you build over just one short week. After years of being away from CAMP!, I was offered a position to come back as a staff member. Kids I’d gone to camp with, as well as counselors that had been there when I was attending myself, all remembered who I was and welcomed me back like I hadn’t missed a beat.
[I love best] hanging out with the friends I met there and to meet new CAMP!ers every year!
I think my most favorite memory of CAMP! was going home after my first week and crying. I know it seems strange, but it’s my favorite memory because I’ve never had such a strong emotional attachment to any place. Before that week at CAMP! it was hard for me to express myself and to accept love from others. It was that week that helped me come out of my shell.
There you have it. And this is just some of the memories of the hundreds of people whose lives have changed for the better because of CAMP! Stay tuned for our next installment of memories at CAMP! when we post again.
What I Learned From A Bunch of Kids and the Random Spider
by Scott Moore, Managing Director
When I was in third grade I misunderstood an assignment. The class was learning how to write in cursive. This was only the second time we were expected to use cursive and this new and different writing style was not yet second nature to me. Instead of using the looping, gliding, connective grace that bonded letter to letter in a synergy of literary accomplishment, I — gasp — printed.
The rest of the class had to walk past me to turn in their finished work. In my memory, as they filed by and saw me reworking my sheet, each of them uttered their own version of, “Shame!” Looking back now, I wish I could have handled their looks and snickers with a calm, level-headed, mature-for-my-seven-years-of-age flair.
Instead I gripped the sides of my desk with white-knuckled fury and flipped it with a howl of anguished outrage.
Not surprisingly, my teacher noticed my discontent and came to my side to see what had transpired. Through my tears and sob-wrenched speech she was able to make out that I was upset. She asked what had upset me. Them, I said: the other kids. They did it. With their shaming and their pointing. They made me sad, mad, and made me flip my desk, they did!
I wish my seven-year-old self had known what I have learned since becoming involved with Camp Exclamation Point.
CAMP! is a week-long residential summer camp in Vermont, where 100+ amazing kids and quite a lot of wonderful adults come together every year. At CAMP!, we operate through Choice Theory Psychology, an explanation of human behavior developed by Dr. William Glasser, M.D.:
“A central aspect of Choice Theory is the belief that we are internally, not externally motivated. While other theories suggest that outside events “cause” us to behave in certain predictable ways, Choice Theory teaches that outside events never “make” us to do anything.”
To put it another way, life gives us information. What we do with that information is up to us.
That simple insight is something I now use every day. For example, when I am on the phone with a client, and they don’t love my work, I have choices. I can fly off the handle and lose a client, or I can choose to look for the reason we don’t see eye-to-eye: miscommunication, shortcuts, different assumptions about the work. I now understand I don’t have to choose to have my emotional strings pulled and shaped by others. I now know that I can choose how I react to any information presented to me.
Yes, CAMP! is an overnight summer camp with swimming, canoeing, friendship bracelets, campfires, arts and crafts too. But it is so much more than that. That regular summer camp stuff is like the block printing I mastered by third grade. CAMP! is the cursive I had yet to learn. It is a magical blending of a volunteer staff guiding and shaping and growing the leaders of tomorrow and the wide-eyed hope of eager young minds. The cohesiveness of cursive holding letters together in the same way that campers learn to support each other. We teach the campers to have a self-confidence and grace in the same way that the elegance of cursive letters hearkens back to a more sophisticated time. And as we brace ourselves for spiders and all the other good stuff that comes with camp, we, the adults, learn with them.
CAMP! is more than just a summer camp. Stay tuned and we will tell you all about it.
In October, members of the CAMP! community staffed the ticket tent at a new Halloween event called Spookyville, in conjunction with South Burlington Rotary. A portion of the proceeds from Spookyville were earmarked for CAMP!, and in January learned that over $2000 was generated for our organization. We send out a big thanks to the South Burlington Rotary for offering us this opportunity, and for recently inviting members of CAMP! to a check presentation ceremony. We also thank those who attended Spookyville; tell your friends to come next year for another fun evening in support of Camp Exclamation Point.
What a week!
Memories of our spectacular 25th summer keep us smiling all winter long! A hot air balloon glowing at night. Three captivating storytellers. 25 years of T-shirts hanging in the dining hall. Finding the Knights of the Round Table. Hot summer afternoons spent on the waterfront. Singing “Mango, Mango, Mango” and “Country Life.” All of camp decked out in tie-dye. A fabulous hand-made medieval carnival, with a visit by the dragon. And no better way to remember it all than by watching the CAMP! Movie (hooray, Tony Bacon!) and the 2015 CAMP! slide show (way to go, Scott Moore!). Check out our facebook page for pictures and more.
Camp was made possible by over 80 talented volunteer staff members who created magic for our almost 100 campers. We were thankful for the participation of CLiF, donating books to all our campers, as they have for over a decade. We were also honored again by the presence of three wonderful storytellers for our campfire story night – Simon Brooks, Odds Bodkin, and Papa Joe (who filled in for Angela Klinger). A big thanks to Camp Farnsworth in Thetford, VT, operated by the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, for their hospitality.