Category Archives: Camp News

Campfire Hill: A 100 Year Walk in History

Camp Lochearn Campfire HillWhen we think of Campfire Hill at Lochearn, we think of the serene, reflective space that allows us to look back on our experiences at camp and treasure the memories we make every day. Surrounded by hemlocks and white pines swaying in the wind amongst the breathtaking Vermont scenery, Campfire Hill is often referred to as a “natural wonder.” Past and present campers and staff are connected by the thousands of footsteps that have traveled the path to Campfire Hill, making it one of the most special places at camp.

The evening tradition of S-Day Campfires on Campfire Hill is made up of so many smaller customs unique to Lochearn. On S-Days, we put on our white Lochearn polo, our navy blue shorts and our sash bearing the Royal Stewart Tartan to get ready for dinner. Each of these pieces make up our Blues and Whites, another signifying connection between campers past and present. It is a beautiful sound to hear Robert Burns’ Selkirk Grace sung before dinner on S-Day nights, a sound that Lake Fairlee has heard from Highland Hall each summer for over one hundred years.

After dinner, we all gather on the Point at the bottom of Campfire Hill, patiently waiting to walk alongside our friends and cabinmates up to encircle the stone firepit etched with the Lochearn Thistle. There is a sense of anticipation in the air as we wonder what we will learn about ourselves or about our peers as we gather on top of Campfire Hill this time. As we quietly walk up to Campfire Hill, the mood sets in and we get ready to hear that evening’s S-Day Campfire theme.

Each S-Day Campfire has a different theme. Sometimes it is a line from the Lochearn motto. The theme can also be a philosophy taken from life at camp or at home, such as kindness, empowerment or self-confidence. Each theme is meant to ground us as we express our feelings or tell a story. Campers and staff members sing songs, share poetry or tell personal stories to relate to their peers. While sitting around the campfire, girls can have a moment of self-reflection and peace. Campfire Hill can evoke many different emotions, from joy and love to contemplation and gratitude. The time spent together and the conversations that happen on Campfire Hill inspire growth individually and as a community. Lochearn is a place where girls blossom into strong young women, and Campfire Hill is where this transition is often made.

For many campers, coming to Lochearn is their first time away from home. Camp life moves fast, and girls spend their time at Lochearn trying new things, meeting new people and learning new things about themselves. The energy of camp slows down on S-Day nights. Although Campfire Hill offers a more reflective side of camp, it is a part of the experience that makes the summer even more special. Campers can have a quiet moment to be thankful for the opportunity to be at camp and to soak in all of the positivity around them. We love experiencing some of the most beautiful sunsets as we look out over Lake Fairlee, and the rare moment of a hot air balloon flying overhead as we sing “Magic” together always gives us goosebumps. Nothing is more special than spending time with friends, new and old, in the light of the campfire’s glow. Many campers and staff leave Campfire Hill feeling refreshed and inspired for the next week of camp.

Young women at Lochearn have been making the journey up Campfire Hill, portraying respect for the sacred space by walking around and not over the hill. Campers have walked over the same roots and sat on the same benches, unifying Lochearn Lassies for many years. If the trees of Campfire Hill could tell a story, it would be the story of how the Lochearn motto comes to life each summer in the words and songs of Lochearn Lassies since 1916.

What’s New This Summer + Musical Theater Production

What’s New This Summer?!

You heard it here first! If you love the slide, you will love another exciting new part of the Lochearn waterfront this summer! Said to be the hottest new camp craze, campers will have the pleasure of enjoying our new Water Trampoline!

Musical Theater Production

Last summer’s production of The Lion King had everyone on the edge of their seats with anticipation. We laughed with Timon and Pumbaa, sang along with Nala and Mufasa, and (spoiler alert!) cheered as Simba reigned over the Pridelands at the end!

This summer, we are excited for our campers to bring the story of Beauty and the Beast to life! Campers in Session 1 and Session 2 will have the opportunity to join the four-week Theater II performance class.

If theater performance isn’t your forte but you love the art of drama, our Theater I class is the perfect way to learn the techniques of improvisation and acting. Sign up for Theater I and Theater II class this summer for an exhilarating experience!

Special Trips and Programs

We can’t wait for these Special Trips and Programs!

At Lochearn, we eagerly embrace new opportunities and strive to provide exciting adventures and special programs that will benefit our campers. We are so excited for everything we have in store for our campers this summer!

1st–4th grades
It’s FIELD TRIP time and an exciting summer to be a Junior at Lochearn. Our 1st-4th graders will be going to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) for a super fun field trip including a Raptor Exhibit!

5th grade
Our 5th graders will have the opportunity to camp out with Girls in the Woods this summer, a true tent campout with a campfire story, roasting s’mores, gazing at the fireflies, enjoying the Vermont night sky and sleeping under the stars. Stacie can’t wait to go berry picking with you!

6th grade
Lochearn is our name and Adventure is our game! Our 6th graders will be the first group to have their own challenging but incredible fun day hike! The special bonds that come with hiking to the summit of a mountain together are the best part of our Outdoor Adventure Program.

7th grade
It is so much fun to celebrate Vermont and the special parts of why people travel to New England. 7th graders, get ready for a unique experience exploring the craft of glassblowing at Simon Pearce in Quechee, VT!

8th grade
Our 8th graders will get to go White Water Rafting on the Androscoggin River this summer! This day trip is packed with two White Water Rafting runs and a gourmet lunch enjoyed together by the river.

CT’s
We can’t wait for this year’s CT Bucket List, trip to North Conway and Mount Washington, Blue and Green events, Big Sisters and Little Sisters, and the CT’s night out in Hanover!

CIT’s
CITs will take an overnight trip to Burlington and have their own CIT Service Project!

Directors’ Message

Dear Camp Families,

Each summer brings a new opportunity to make the most out of the time we have together in Vermont. There are many ways to do this, but how can we recircuit our mindset to bring in even more inclusiveness and kindness into our community?

Think about this: At some point, we were all new at camp. Maybe we were a new camper when we were in 2nd grade, or maybe our first experience at camp started when we were 14. You may be a staff member that has spent many years at camp as a camper, but you are new to Lochearn.

No matter where you are in your camp journey, we each have an opportunity to create an environment where every one feels confident, valued and enriched by the sleepaway camp experience.

At Lochearn, we have the Courage to be Kind in everything we do: Kindness toward each camper and staff member, kindness toward the natural environment around us, kindness to ourselves, and committing to bringing kindness back into our hometown communities throughout the year.

It is not easy to be 100% kind all the time, but if you keep the Lochearn Motto in your mind throughout your daily life, the task does not seem so far out of reach. Have the courage to be kind no matter what.

We can’t wait to be back on Lake Fairlee with you!

Happy Camping!
Tony & Stacie

The Four-Week Overnight Lochearn Experience

Of all the questions we receive at Lochearn throughout the year leading up to the summer, the most frequent from parents and prospective campers alike is one we love answering: Why the four-week experience?

It’s simple, really. We want to build real relationships, incite genuine growth, build confidence, and, rather than force someone to find their passions, give everyone the time to fall in love with the camp experience in her own way. We at Camp Lochearn believe it’s much tougher to develop these connections – both with others and within yourself – in just two weeks, where the outside world continues to call you back, as do family and friends from home. For everyone on the shores of Lake Fairlee, it’s just you and camp, which is built around our core values: Leadership, Mentoring, Initiative and Passion.

A two-week experience gives girls an opportunity – an excuse, even – to stay in the background and be a seer rather than a doer. We often say “We don’t have invisible campers,” because it’s true. We know it’s tough to open yourself up to others. We’ve been there. It takes confidence, strength and time. We don’t want to rush that growth or inhibit it in any way. Some arrive at the gates ready to conquer those 27 days, and that’s wonderful. But others can’t. It’s not that they’re incapable – we’ve yet to meet anyone who arrives at Lochearn and is – but they often need someone to lead them there. That’s why the relationships built in the cabins on Lake Fairlee are key, and we often see campers emerge with life-long relationships. Realizing you have more in common with others – things you often can’t see in the first few days of meeting someone – is an invaluable experience, and it’s one that can only develop naturally. There’s no time limit on it.

And it can take time to find out what makes you love camp. It’s not your fault – it happens to most. You may not know how much you enjoy horseback riding, skiing, gymnastics or fine arts. Many don’t discover what they love until they’re old and grown, or before it’s too late. We strive to give you 27 days of discovery when it comes to finding your passion, and we hope our campers and staff alike bring a kind and caring heart to give every girl the opportunity to grow together.

From all over the world, our staff is carefully chosen to not just bring a guiding eye, but often they’re brought to Lochearn because they’re relatable. The camper-counselor relationship is built on guidance and respect for everyone rather than authority. Whether it’s because they’ve been to camp before, or they’ve taken an atypical path in life, our counselors are leaders we hope our girls aspire to be, because they’ve found confidence in embracing what they love.

We don’t want to rush what makes you YOU, and the four-week experience makes it possible. Let’s passionately grow together!

Camp Lochearn Journal

Dear Journal,

It’s me again, probably for the last time before I head home. We just took our curtains down, and I’m not the only one who can’t believe how different our cabin looks without our bits and pieces of home everywhere. And I know I told myself I wouldn’t get like this…but last night as I looked out over the point, towards that beautiful sunset over Lake Fairlee, I couldn’t help but think of the last 5 years at Lochearn. I mean, there’s still so much ahead of me, but I can’t help but think of how much I’ve grown. At first I was nervous about a month away from home, but now it feels like I can’t imagine leaving Cabin 13…

This year, the month seemed to go by faster than most — I feel like for nearly all of Session 2 I’ve heard the sound of footsteps stepping over the roots up and down the line every morning and every night. But now it’s strange, it feels like time has almost come to a complete stop. And not to get off topic, but I can’t believe I hadn’t tried to water ski before this year. It felt so good to try something new, and it’s another thing to take home with me.

Of course, what will never leave are the memories, right? From cantering on Montana, and learning to sew my first T-shirt quilt… And forgetting whether it’s A-Day or B-Day, then wondering how you could ever forget… what I thought and felt, those memories will last a lifetime.

Even writing this made me realize something: I still have two more months in my future at Lochearn to make a million more memories, and I wouldn’t give them up for anything.


Until next time,
Rachel

Campitis

As the end of summer arrives, you start to feel it. We call it Campitis.

After a month at Lochearn, it’s the feeling you get when you long for everything that made camp special. You miss the lifelong friendships you made, your inside jokes and the camp songs. These are the things that stay with you, but you miss the little things, too. Like the unforgettable smell coming from Highland Hall when there’s warm tacos for lunch, or the screams of excitement that come with the reveal of camp’s evening program. And you just long for the daily routine, from waking up to the bugle and catching the sunrise over Lake Fairlee, to the harmonious calls of the loons that seem to echo across the water. But most of all you miss who you could be at Lochearn – yourself.

You explored new passions, from beads and bracelets to archery and water sports. You miss how you felt when you won your first blue award in an activity you’d never tried before. You miss the sound of the wind filling your sailboat as you take a deep breath of the cool Vermont air. You miss your new best friends, who in just a month have become as close as sisters. Campitis is when you find yourself missing camp and everything that came with it, and you might find yourself feeling it when you least expect it.

Is there a simple fix for Campitis? We wish it were easy, but the only cure we’ve found is to get back to camp and leave your worries at the gate! The school year may seem like an eternity, but we suggest glancing back at all of your camp photos, wearing your Lochearn gear to school and keeping in touch with your cabin mates from the summer. They could be experiencing some Campitis of their own and are hoping you’ll reach out!

If these don’t help cure your Campitis, just know sometimes there’s nothing better than counting down the days until you’re back on the banks of Lake Fairlee!