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!
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,
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!
At Camp Lochearn, girls have the chance to learn all kinds of skills from sailing to sewing and everything in between. But they’ll also learn skills that extend far past their summer activity schedules. Abilities and opportunities gained as a camper are those that weave through all facets of life, making girls well-rounded, confident individuals that shine in school and, later on, in the workforce.
It’s likely camp is the first experience a girl will have away from home for a few weeks at a time. This can be a little scary at first, but it really gives them the chance to grow into who they are without boundaries. As writer Michael Thompson wrote in his book Homesick and Happy, “The only way children can grow into independence is to have their parents open the door and let them walk out. That’s what makes camp such a life-changing experience for children.” At Lochearn, girls can be completely themselves, whoever they may be. They have the opportunity to challenge themselves in many ways — from striving to earn a purple in Archery to practicing good teamwork and sportsmanship. Being able to complete these challenges while away from home boosts self-esteem, builds a sense of empowerment and strengthens independence.
Girls who go to summer camp, especially an all-girls program, are often better prepared for the future than other girls their ages. Because camp is all about making lasting connections with peers as well as staff members — and maintaining those connections year-round — the girls learn how to network at a young age. This puts our girls at an advantage when it comes to making connections in school or later when applying for a job. In fact, one of the greatest advantages of joining us at Lochearn is that our girls develop communication skills they’ll use throughout their entire lives. Campers are put into a situation that’s not typical for people their ages. Each summer, whether first-time or returning campers, they have the opportunity to meet new people and make connections that extend across the globe. This also adds to girls’ knowledge, interest in and acceptance of other cultures.
Lochearn is not just an investment in a girl’s summer — it’s an investment in her future. The value of the camp experience truly goes beyond summers spent on the shores of beautiful Lake Fairlee.