Camp’s impact goes beyond the camper experience, it also is a powerful force for a staff member, including a staff member who was introduced to camp too late to experience the magic of Clearwater through the eyes of a child.
The summer of 1989 I will forever remember as a milestone moment in my life. I vividly remember my walk with Sunny across the bridge and through the trees as we approached the cabin of Midship. She pointed out the “friendship trees” growing together side by side and shared stories of camp traditions. During our conversation Sunny broke out into song foreshadowing that “once you’ve slept on an island…”. And yes, this was in fact true. I was never quite the same.
That was the first of many summers sleeping on the island at camp as a staff member in various roles; cabin counselor, unit head, and activity head during my college years (1989 – 1992). In 1998 I returned to camp to live on that island one more summer. I then married the love of my life, my best friend and adventure partner, Perry Smith at Sunday Service on a beautiful August Diamond Day.
Perry became an honorary “Clearwater daughter” the following summer, working with the sailing and tripping staff while I continued to work with activities and help out with trips and in cabins. Perry and I spent the next thirteen years at Clearwater known as “L&P,” working closely with Sunny, ultimately as co-directors. I continued to work as camp director in 2013 as well as work with the transition to new leadership.
It has been remarkable to connect to the camp experience from all of those perspectives and experiences, helping to provide opportunities for girls to live in this unique space, growing in confidence, courage, compassion, and community. It has been equally rewarding to see so many of the girls we served grow, paddle, portage, and travel on to become incredible women, mothers, and leaders in their communities as well as our camp community serving in important leadership roles.
In addition to my camp experiences, I bring my 29 years of experience working in schools as a speech-language pathologist and most recently as a director of special education. I look forward to continuing my connection to camp in this new supportive role as a board member.