My Y Story: Lynne Boyer

Lynne BoyerLifelong Career through the Impact of Camp

In 1998 I had just graduated college in Vermont and was spending the summer home back in New Hampshire trying to figure out my next steps in the real world.  I knew I had to get a job and was really hoping for something that aligned with my degree which was in Theatre Arts.  I came across a listing in the newspaper (that’s how we searched for jobs in the old days) which was for a Drama Counselor at Camp Sargent in Merrimack.  I applied and soon met with Spencer Whiting, who was supervising camp at the time, among other departments.  Having spent many of my childhood summers at camp I was excited about the opportunity to work at the camp and with kids.  Summer camp had a huge impact on me growing up, from Girl Scout camps, to horse-riding adventure camps, to one disastrous biking camp, and more, I learned so much and gained skills from each one.  Most of the camps I attended were residential so I learned quickly how to be independent, away from my family, and how to manage day to day.  Remember this was way before the internet, we didn’t have a way to get in contact with our parents unless it was an emergency.  I would write a letter or two but usually I made it home before the letter did.  I attended some day camps as well and hold fond memories of those days, including the one week I spent at Camp Sargent.  I remember canoeing and making gimp, learning how to swim and all the fun camp songs.  My favorite memories are the friends I made, no matter which camp I attended the first day was always the hardest, not knowing anyone and being shy, missing my family already.  But I quickly made close friends with those in my group, bunk mates and so on.  By the end of our session together we were all crying knowing how much we were going to miss each other.

Because camp made such an impact on me as a child, I was thrilled when I was offered the job as Drama Counselor at Camp Sargent, what I didn’t know was how that position was going to impact the rest of my life.

On my first day of training I was excited to be outside, looking forward to a summer doing something I liked and making some money without working nights and weekends.  There was a large group of us, mostly 18-24 year olds, and Trevor the director spoke to us about the impact of camp on the kids and families but also ourselves, especially the lifelong bonds that are created.  “Look around” he said, “you never know you just may marry someone in this room.”  I chuckled to myself, my plans were to make money and move to a city by the end of the summer, no way was I marrying anyone!Lynne Boyer

About a week later it was the first day of camp, I was excited and nervous!  I hadn’t worked with children before but was looking forward to sharing my love of theatre with them.  I drove to camp in my bright yellow 1977 Super Beetle, something that would gain me the nickname Superbug later on, and got out wandering around.  Because I was a specialty leader I didn’t have my own group so I was walking around saying hello to kids and staff when suddenly a handsome blue eyed guy on the basketball court introduced himself, “Hi, I’m Brian Boyer.”  Brian was a youth counselor from Community Council that worked with children who attended the camp.

That first summer at Sargent was one of the best of my life, after a few learning bumps I found my footing working with kids, researching different ways to engage the campers in drama activities and skits.  I learned so much about how to work with children and a lot about myself as well.  But when the summer came to a close I still had no idea what my next steps were.  I had really fallen in love with working with children and sharing my skills with them.  I had also started dating Brian and that too was going well, so I decided to extend my employment with the Y and took on a role with the after school program in the fall.

Fast forward a few years, 26 actually, and I’ve made a lifelong career of the Y, married someone I met there and created a family.  I have had many roles with the YMCA of Greater Nashua including positions in Preschool, Arts and Humanities, School Age and more, but it all started with camp.  What drew me to the Y in the first place was my own fond memories of camp and what has driven me every day is to make sure that every child in our community has that same opportunity.  It takes one caring adult to impact a child’s life, I am so proud of the work I’ve done to be that caring adult and the coaching I have done for others to do so.

Brian and I have three boys, all three are teens and are now too old for camp, but they essentially grew up at the Y, in the preschool and spending their summers in our camps.  They still talk about the impact that camp has had on them, especially Teen Adventure for my older boys and Camp Create for my youngest.  Every time I drive out to camp and pull into the driveway it’s like I’m 22 again, in my yellow Super Beetle, heading in for another great day of work…it’s like not a single day has gone by.  The memories come flooding back and I smile because I know that we make a positive impact on so many lives, in so many ways.  I didn’t set out to become a Y lifer back in 1998, but I’m so glad that I found the Y and have the privilege to do this work.

If you are interested in providing a child in our community an opportunity to experience the transformative powers of camp, we invite you to contribute to our 2024 Annual Campaign to Send a Kid To Camp. Your support can make a difference!

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