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Summer Camp Inc

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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.

10

Former staff

Rating: 5

Working at TSC last summer was the most fun I have ever had. This is a place where children are given a safe space to explore and enjoy themselves. The staff is extremely dedicated and amazing at what they do. The campers loved being at TSC, and they were some of the most fun kids I have ever spent time with.

6

Former staff

Rating: 5

I've been associated with The Summer Camp for over 10 years now and I can say honestly that the profound effect that the great people at this camp have on the girls who attend is nothing short of extraordinary. I need only to point to the high retention rate of campers and counselors alike to show you that the directors and staff all provide a nurturing and fun environment for all of the girls who attend.

7

Former staff

Rating: 5

The Summer Camp is an organization that truly puts the people they serve first, namely the campers ages 6-16 that come for 10 days each summer. The camp allows these girls to have a good time, be kids, participate in a variety of different activities, make friends, and grow as people socially and emotionally. Also, I have never worked with such a caring group of counselors and directors.

8

Former staff

Rating: 5

My mother's social work company, CASA, got me started when I was 12yo. It was one of the best experiences of my life! I got to do things that I never would have done as a young new yorker. Hiking, Canoe, and Archery were and still are my favorite things to do. This camp introduced me to my love of photography. I am the type of person that falls in love with many things, and this camp has made this all the more possible. I love kids. This camp gave me the leadership skills I needed to positively influence other girls. I can still remember some of the girls by name that have personally influenced me as a person. I wish I could go every year. Since I have started going to TSC in 1999, my mother has brought over 20 girls to this camp, including my younger sister. When I get older I want to send my kids there. My favorite place is sitting on the dock watching the sunset over Washington Pond.

8

Former staff

Rating: 5

The Summer Camp is by far the most rewarding job I have ever had the pleasure of working and a place I hold very dear to my heart. It is a place I speak often about and very highly of because I have met some of the most incredible woman and children during the three years I have worked there. When I first arrived at TSC I was completely unsure of what to expect, but after leaving there my first summer I knew it was another place I could call home. I have made life-long friends there and had the privilege of watching my campers grow a little more with each year I came back. It is evident that you have made an impact on a child's life when they are running off the bus, screaming your name, and eager to greet you with a hug. I find this remarkable due to the fact that the girls are only at camp for 10 days at a time - it truly is a rewarding feeling to know how they remembered you and couldn't wait to see you. The Summer Camp really is a place for girls and women alike to break out of their shells, try new things, and experience different ways of life. It's a place to feel safe and supported and allows each girl there to feel like they can do anything. The Summer Camp truly is my home away from home and I know the children who return each year feel the same way.

8

Former staff

Rating: 5

I started going to this camp when I was 9 and continued til I was 17. I highly enjoyed the time I was a camper. Everyone was so great and deeply cared about the campers. I then was a Staff member for 1 year. I loved being a counselor. The counselors are so much fun, so friendly, and easy to work with. There are so many good things to say about the camp that I can't express it in words. I love the camp with all of my heart.

8

Former staff

Rating: 5

I worked for The Summer Camp for three summers, and I have to say that I have never found a "work" environment where I felt more at home. This camp helped to reinforce the reasons I want to be a teacher, why I want to work with children. I loved my time at camp, and look forward to being able to come back to visit and maybe to work again.

8

Former staff

Rating: 5

The Summer Camp is am extraordinary place, where for ten days the girls that come to the camp get to just be little girls. Many of the young girls that attend the Summer Camp have experienced traumatizing events that many of us couldn't even imagine. For the ten days they get to spend in the woods, on the pond, and exploring Maine on day trips, they get to forget about their daily realities. At the Summer Camp, the girls get to meet other young campers who many have experienced the same traumas, and they also get to interact with older counselors who in many ways can act as mentors. This camp is an amazing experience, not just for the campers, but also for everyone involved. I personally, was inspired by the strength and courage of these young girls who have been through so much. At camp they get to enjoy activities and environments their familial and economic situations don't allow for them. The Summer Camp is a wonderful place where young girls get to express themselves and experience things they don't normally get the chance to. I would definitely recommend the Summer Camp not just as an amazing place to work for the summer, but also for any young girls.

8

Former staff

Rating: 5

The Summer Camp is one of the most amazing places in the world. I have had the honor of working at the camp for two summers and I plan to make it three. I truely enjoy the work that I do there because I really feel like I am making a difference in the lives of the young ladies that I have had the oppurtunity to meet and be-friend.I believe that Summer Camps are a source of invaluable education. There are things children just simply don't/can't learn in school. There are also things you simply dont learn in under your parents supervision. Summer Camps are a place for children to have adventures while still under the supervision of trained adults. So I feel like The Summer Camp provides those valuable learning experiences to girls who would otherwize not have the oppurtunity to grow through that adventure. These girls especially need that. I dont believe that only privledged children should have the oppurtunities provided by attending camp (which are typically pretty expensive). That said,The Summer Camp provides a comprehensive camp experience to girls who deserve and need time to have adventures, meet strong female rolemodels, have three square meals, meet other children, and HAVE FUN! I really feel that this camp experience can have a powerful effect on a child's school and home life. For example, because I worked with the older campers in the "leadership program" This program involves community service on camp and off. I really have seen the girls take so much pride in what they are doing, especially since all are returning campers and have a really special connection to the camp. I will never forget seeing one camper who I had worked with the previous summer (before she was a "leadership girl") and was a real.... dramatic indivdual. She often misbehaved and caused some trouble in the group. This one day in particular, towards the end of the leadership's session, two younger girls were bickering really badly. I watched (carefully) as the older camper approached them, thinking she was in to cause more trouble. She was so calm and level headed. She completely surpised me. She let both of them speak, and they had a lot of respect for her and they listened to what she had to say about the situation. Eventually she worked with them to give each other a hug. It was so amazing. It reminded me that I was really doing the right thing by working at the camp. That these girls are the future leaders of the world.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked one Summer in the kitchen at The Summer Camp I was amazed to learn some of the inner city kids had never been swimming at the ocean or a Lake Just hearing the kids scream with excitement and Joy was priceless Kids having the Chance to " Be Kids " in a safe place and learn some thing says it all