Like teachers, camp counselors, can have a measurable impact on the camp kids. We spent some time at Camp Spaulding interviewing a few of our camp counselors to hear how their experiences at camp have shaped them and made lasting impressions on their lives.
Ebony Soto-Perez grew up at Camp Spaulding. She’s been coming here since age 7. This year marks the year she has eagerly awaited: she is on the camp staff, making memories for kids like staff have done for her for over a decade. “Camp is a place that you learn so much. I learned how to make friends. I love helping kids to reach beyond what they think are their limits and get out of their comfort zone,” she said. “The minute the snow melts, I know camp is getting ready for us. I love camp because I can be myself. I don’t have to worry about what other people think.” When asked why she recommends camp for all children, she says “Kids can be on their own in a safe environment. They can be free and be themselves, enjoying all camp has to offer: canoeing, ropes courses, horseback riding and more!”
Ebony, heading into her Junior year at Laconia High School, hopes to be a professional photographer, a job she says will allow her to continue to work at camp.
Laura Guihen, a third year staff person, hails from Ireland. Laura joined the team in 2015 as the Nature Director. She’s majoring in Environmental Biology at University College Dublin. Laura loves returning to camp and connecting with her friends year-after-year. “Twenty-two staff out of 27 returned this year. It’s like we never left.” This year, Laura is a counselor. “Camping is a very good experience for kids. They try new things and find their niche. We encourage everyone’s interests. I think being at camp allows us all to break out of our shells.” Laura did not attend camp as a child. “I would have benefitted immensely from camp. There aren’t really resident camps in Ireland. We get excited about everything at camp. You can do what you like without judgement. One of our campers writes her own lyrics and we get up and sing along. We cheer and encourage everyone.” Laura says that Camp Spaulding makes her want to be better and gives her the tools with which to accomplish that. “Like getting up and speaking in front of a group – I just do it! We’re not aiming for miracles at camp. We are aiming for progress. We are all making strides,” she said.
Camp Spaulding staffer Teddy Lewis loves the Candlelight Service at camp when campers and staff sit in benches around the “Ring of Fire”. It’s a time when capers reflect on the core values of Camp Spaulding: Caring, Respect, Honesty, Responsibility, Purpose and Spirit. Teddy’s been going to overnight camp since age 9 and he says, “Camp has affected me and made me the person I am today. It’s just the biggest and best part of my year.” During free time he likes to take quiet walks on the paths around camp and keeps a journal that he refers to in off-season. Another camp highlight for Teddy is the Spaulding Showcase, where the entire camp comes together an original production of a one-act play. They write the script, design the set and plan for a great evening of fun, following the final banquet each camp session. In addition to being a counselor, Teddy teaches Ultimate Frisbee, disc golf, and loves capture the Flag and Improv classes. Ted will be attending the University of Vermont in the fall (majoring in Biology) and is an alumnus of Newton North High School in Massachusetts.
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