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March 23, 2011

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March 23, 2011

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.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I think it's a good sign of a successful place when the employees' friends have to tell them to stop talking about it. My experiences at camp have been more formative than I could imagine. After my summer there, I moved to California to do Americorps and work with ESL/ at-risk kids in an elementary school. My training as a counselor and my experiences with those girls gave me invaluable skills for this job and the ability to look beyond the less than desirable behaviors that manifest themselves.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would make some sort of safe house with some sort of working therapist for the girls to go to when they have breakdowns that adversely affect their behavior. Though the counselors act as this, I think it would be constructive for the girls to have someone to talk to and know they're not necessarily getting in trouble.

March 23, 2011

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March 23, 2011

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.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

many ways

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

endow the camp

March 22, 2011

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March 22, 2011

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.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As a Camp DIrector and a Board member

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Encourage more young women to become involved in helping The Summer Camp provide more camperships

June 1, 2010

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June 1, 2010

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

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Summer sessions as a counselor, and lifetime sports coordinator

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

June 1, 2010

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June 1, 2010

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.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

meeting the people at this camp has given me a different understands of the obstacles we face everyday

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would extend the 10 days because i see what a difference it makes in these kids life

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting the people and making a difference in the kids life

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

great and helpful

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help more kids

Ways to make it better...

I was able to see the kids spend more than 10 days

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Seeing the kids leave

One thing I'd also say is that...

they are doing a good job

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

May 31, 2010

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May 31, 2010

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.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

This organization has helped me realize that no matter how rough life may seem, there is always something positive as well. I've watched as young girls come to camp with literally the clothes on their back, yet they smile, express happiness and gratitude.

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

May 30, 2010

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May 30, 2010

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.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the local community. One of the great things about TSC is the diverse array of girls and women it brings together from all over the Northeast - girls from rural New Hampshire and center city Providence live, eat, and play together.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find a way to spread the word to more people!

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the flexibility and responsiveness of a small nonprofit. You really get the feeling that one great idea can make a big difference - and the management are universally encouraging of innovation.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

incredibly diverse - and not just in the obvious race/religion/class sense, although there is a astonishing amount of that too. The people who work at TSC do it for so many different reasons, and they all have their own style in which they mentor campers.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Change the fate of countless girls and their families and last another 25 years.

Ways to make it better...

summer lasted all year long :)

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding matters, in a word. Volunteer hours are invaluable - but any organization needs a financial basis to run.

One thing I'd also say is that...

There is a real gift in being in a female-only environment for these girls. They connect with incredibly strong role models that are college graduates, activists, and athletes - many of whom rose from circumstances much like their own.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

May 30, 2010

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May 30, 2010

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

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I"ve personally experienced the results of this program for 10 years. The first few years I was charge of sports and then as Asisstant director.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The many many many hearts you touch and teach

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

caring wanting to be there for the girls

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2001

May 29, 2010

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May 29, 2010

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.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the way that it has changed my life and the way that I look at the world, as well as the way that it has positively effected the girls who go there as campers.

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

May 29, 2010

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May 29, 2010

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.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my continued desire to work with children and adolescents to advance their opportunity for success.

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2005

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