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Thanks For Writing

By: Lee Trepeck

At camp, as professional staff, the letters we receive represent some of the best words in the world.

Recently, I received an email from a camper parent, which followed first session at Camp Kennedy:

“After being cooped up for a year and a half, camp provided that first opportunity of normalcy. There is certainly special magic in the Outpost experience…” 

“We have already heard fantastic stories about stars, Lake Superior, swimming, KP group meals, the trips, the friends…”

“I want to thank your entire staff for not just making sure the kids had a good time at camp, but for keeping them safe.”

And, last weekend, letters like the above came to life: I had the pleasure of sitting around benches and a firepit, meeting and de-briefing with the entire staff from Camp Kennedy. Beyond the written words above, I heard the first-hand stories about their first session campers – every child was known, every camper was discussed. So many sweet details. And, of course, like the reflection of life, they also shared the challenges – which, ultimately, became conversations of resilience, growth, and success.  And each staff member expressed a unique understanding of a common theme:  communal living is a process – and the journey is rewarding, fulfilling, and emotionally satisfying.

The above letter ended with this: “Thank you for keeping safety your priority and for making this a summer to remember.” And, listening to the staff, they remember, too – with recognition that they helped create links to a very special circle, which rolls on and on… way into adult years, long after the sun sets on our youth.

And there’s more: through the Camp Maas experience, the below are excerpts of a recently received text:

“We needed this year to be a good year at camp and you guys came through soaring.”

“I don’t even know how to thank you but I’m sending a note that our son’s counselors gave him. Words can be so impactful.”

This is a brief snippet of what the counselors wrote: “You understand social situations very well and are able to match the mood appropriately. Your sensitivity and care for fairness means that everyone around you knows that they will be cared for and loved.” And the parent’s conclusion: “I don’t even know if the counselors know what they did for his confidence, but this letter is sitting on his bookshelf – almost like a reminder to himself.”

Now, as the session is underway at a new outpost experience (Camp Olmsted), we are already hearing promising details from their early days together; one camper just wrote: “this is exactly what we were waiting for!”

Clearly, camp’s magic can create the reality of a more harmonious world. At Tamarack Camps, across all our programs, we take our responsibilities seriously – and these are merely some excerpts from many stories that move us to higher ground. Thanks for writing, thanks for giving us the pleasure of working with your family, and thanks for the honor of sharing ground at “The Greatest Place On Earth.”

And thanks for helping us frame these letters – in our hearts, minds, and souls.