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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camps, Children & Youth, Sports, Youth Development Programs

Mission: To provide low-income and foster girls, ages 6-16, from urban and rural areas of New York and New England with a unique sleep away camping experience. Our campers are encouraged to explore new and challenging activities, allowing them to develop a strong sense of self and trust in others.

Results: During the past twenty four years, more than 6,150 girls have benefitted from The Summer Camp’s activities and camaraderie. In 1986, The Summer Camp operated its first camp session for 35 girls from New York City and Western Massachusetts. The next year, The Summer Camp expanded to 120 campers at two donated sites. In 1988, we added a Hiking and Canoeing program for returning campers, ages 12 and 13. By 1989, The Summer Camp operated four sessions at three camps for 180 girls. That year we introduced a Literacy program to help enhance the reading, writing and computer skills of each of our Summer Campers. The following year, we expanded The Summer Camp’s programs to include a two-week Leadership Training program and a Winter Camp for returning campers. In 2002, we added our Counselor -in- Training program. Each year, our summer program includes nearly 350 girls, of which more than 50% are returning campers.

Target demographics: Low-income and foster girls, ages 6-16, from urban and rural areas of New York and New England

Direct beneficiaries per year: 350

Geographic areas served: Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island

Programs: The summer camp operates an overnight camp program designed to provide innercity and rural girls from low income and foster families with a residential camping experience. Many campers attend the program.

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Summer Camp exceeds any expectations its generic name may suggest. It's more than any camp I ever attended or worked at in my 22 years before I joined the staff there last summer. The Summer Camp brings girls from cities and rural areas around New England. It's fun, it's free, it's a sanctuary for these girls, many whom have had to face more adversity in their childhoods than many will for their entire lives. For 10 days each year, girls aged as young as 5 and as old as 18 come to the little camp in Bridgton, Maine for one of 5 sessions. They come on scholarships and many have never left the cities from which they arrive. They come from poverty, they come from group homes, they come from foster homes, they come from abuse, disorders, and though they might not be totally aware of it at such a young age, they come to The Summer Camp to overcome all of this.

The Summer Camp is small, only 8 cabins, but while the girls are there, camp becomes an extended family, and certainly one more stable and loving than the homes situations many are used to. It gives these girls a breath of fresh air, a chance to explore not only the outdoors, but to explore themselves and build their own community. It's an amazing place that allows these girls to realize there is more around them than the circumstances they were born into and it gives them a chance to build something that is truly their own.

We play games, we swim, dance...we go on camp out, we sing, make s'mores... Last summer I worked in the library and began maybe a career in literacy building and youth empowerment through creative writing. When they arrived at the library, many were less than thrilled to be in such an academic setting at camp, but I tried my hardest to help them see that writing can set them free. We made journals and did creative fiction and nonfiction prompts. They all took books back to their cabin and it was fun for me to help them select titles that I had had at my disposal but they had never heard of. It was eyeopening for me to hear what they wrote, to see how sharing helped them feel good about themselves and the trusting relationships I was able to form with them in the matter of a few days. I have never worked in such a rewarding environment, and I've been working with kids since I was still one myself (age 13).

The Summer Camp is magical for many reasons. But I think what sets this place apart from any other camp I have encountered is that it isn't just a camp. It's a home. No matter who jumps off that bus, no matter where they've been, what baggage they bring with them, there is something for them to discover, to work on, to take home with them. As a counselor, I think I learned and loved camp just as much as the campers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Summer Camp provides girls from very poor and foster families with an opportunity to attend a sleep away camp in Maine. For 10 days our campers are swimming in lakes, hiking, laughing and being told that they can succeed. Many of our campers return summer after summer and will attest that their lives have been changed by the summer camp.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Summer Camp staff continues to impress me with their dedication to creating a community where campers can grow and learn while feeling safe and challenged. Many girls arrive at The Summer Camp with lots of anxiety and anger. Slowly they learn to trust the staff and then they start to have fun. Each year they arrive back at camp with more excitement and less fear. And then we hear that they have decided to go to college and want to return to The Summer Camp as a counselor so they can give back a little bit of what they were given at The Summer Camp.

11

Former staff

Rating: 4

Tell your story here and help others understand this charity Good Ol, TSC. This camp is like no other. I truly enjoy it because it targets youth in low income and troubled areas. Everyday youth such as ours are always bagged down with issues and not just the teenagers, the younger ones too. TSC gives these girls an oppertunity just be themselves; to actually kick back and enjoy being a child. Most girls come to TSC not even having set at a table for meals and discussed how they day were, or some celebrate a birthday. It's little things like that that make me continue to travel ALLLLL The back to "The Great State of Maine" :) to enjoy these special moments. Yours Truly, JB

10

Former staff

Rating: 5

I enjoyed my experience at The Summer Camp because it made me feel like i was making a difference. I met people that i will forever call my friends.

9 jessy1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Summer Camp is truly AMAZING!! I began working for TSC while attending college. It was simply a job to help pay the bills until I could get a 'real' job after graduating. Well, eight years later, I have graduated college with a degree in business, yet remain at TSC!! The Summer Camp is more than just a paycheck for me. It is a place where lives are transformed, campers and staff alike. As a child, I grew up in an unstable environment. Like many others, my parents divorced after years of arguing. I was tormented by the memories of my father physically and emotionally abusing my mother. Moving from place to place and never seeing my father, my self-esteem plummeted and wasn't on the mend until my early twenties. My childhood is much like the childhood of The Summer Campers. The Summer Camp is a place that I wish I had found as a young girl. A place to belong, a place to feel loved and accepted regardless of what life back home was like.

10

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

There really is nothing like The Summer Camp - you almost have to see it for yourself to fully appreciate the impact it has on campers; it's even harder to believe the impact that it has on its staff. Despite the sometimes serious nature of their circumstances, the women and girls of The Summer Camp are full of joy. The real essence of TSC is a place of summertime fun - late afternoon splashing in the lake, a 4th of July barbecue, the thunk of tennis balls across the court. Of equal importance is that The Summer Camp has really established a tradition of long-term support for its staff and campers. Previous reviews have mentioned relationships with the camps that span years and years - an impressive feat for an organization just coming on its 25th anniversary. For these reasons and more, The Summer Camp will always have a place in my heart.

9

Former staff

Rating: 5

I feel that The Summer Camp has empowered alot of the girls that use their services. I worked at the Summer Camp for 10 years. I have seen many of these young ladies go off to college and excel in life, If it wasn"t for them going to The Summer Camp some of them would have not dreammed they would go to college or anything else. The summer camp has help me as well as the girls learn many things that we can use in out day to day living. This camp is different than all the rest. I just want them to keep up the good job and conitue to touch these girls lives as they have done in the past

7

Former staff

Rating: 5

I was 18 when I spent my first summer at The Summer Camp, Inc. as a life guard and camp counselor, and 7 years later I can say with absolute certainty that working there was the singular most formative experience of my late teens and early twenties. Having worked with other camps as well as other social service organizations I can now understand the unique and transformative nature of a place like this which changes the lives of its staff as well as the girls that it serves. TSC gives girls coming from what are often difficult home situations the opportunity to just be kids surrounded by positive young women who genuinely enjoy their jobs and want to see them succeed. Tracy and Dawn are the greatest supervisors that I have ever worked for and their leadership really gives the camp an encouraging home-like environment.

8

Former staff

Rating: 5

I worked for this organization for two years and found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences to date. I met so many wonderful people inspired to make the lives of so many beautiful, talented, and loving girls a better one. The Summer Camp provides a safe and structured environment, affording many girls with an opportunity they otherwise would likely not have received. I've also had the opportunity to keep in touch with a few of my former campers and have seen them grow into amazing young women.