Category: Campers

First Day of Camp

June 27, 2015 is the day that many Robindel campers have been counting down to since August 16th of last summer. We see countdowns from the campers on Facebook and Instagram throughout the year and it makes us excited to plan for the summer as we visit with families, hire staff and plan the camp program. We are all filled with excitement for tomorrow’s opening day. We know that there are many emotions swirling around the households of our camp families today. We wish you all a wonderful night and we look forward to welcoming the campers to Robindel tomorrow.

Throughout the year we receive many wonderful letters from our campers and staff and we want to share some of them below. They embody the reasons why we are involved in camping. We love our campers and staff and we can’t wait to begin the 2015 summer!


As I sit here packing my carry on in preparation for this summer, I started to realize how much camp has impacted my life. Though this is my last summer as a camper, Robindel’s life lessons will stay with me forever. Exactly eight years ago from tomorrow, I walked onto a bus going to an unfamiliar place. I cried a lot on the bus and was frightened to be away from my parents for 7 weeks. But immediately as I stepped off the bus, I felt right at home. Robindel was the first place that fully accepted me for who I was. After I came home from my first summer, my parents noticed a change in me. They saw that I became more open minded, confident and felt comfortable in my own skin. Every summer after I came home from camp, I felt better about myself. My dad often says that when he sees me on Visiting Day, I’m my happiest self. At camp, I am my happiest self. I’m surrounded by my best friends in a beautiful place doing the things I love. How could I not be happy? Camp has giving me valuable life lessons, such as acceptance, respect, friendship, honesty, and trust and teamwork and for that I am eternally grateful. Robindel is a truly indescribable place. Though this is my last summer, Robindel will always be in my heart. I can’t imagine whom I would be without it. The most important lesson Robindel has taught me was to be myself. Ann and Nat, I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me. You have given me the greatest gift, confidence. I can’t wait for this summer- it’s going to be the best one yet!


Thank you both so much for being a reference for me regarding a position at (Day Camp). I am happy to say that I got the job and will be a camp counselor for the upcoming summer! I am very excited to use the skills I’ve learned at Robindel to help make a positive impact on young campers. I can say from the bottom of my heart that camp has shaped me into the person I am today. It’s not the beautiful campus, or the range of activities, or the amazing food, the reason that I love camp is because of all the wonderful people who I had the privilege of meeting through my six years at Robindel. It is through these people that I have learned many skills. Some of those include: teamwork, problem solving, organization, determination, and probably the most important, little time it takes to love a group of people. I am sure that any current, or ex-camper can all tell you that. The crazy part of all of this, is that you only get to see them (for the most part) for seven weeks out of the entire 52. The bonds that you form with the girls into your bunk become sisterly bonds. You genuinely love them. They are probably some of the greatest people I will have the chance to meet. You also meet incredible mentors who do so much to shape you into a caring, compassionate, and all around good person. The campers, counselors, administrators, and everyone who is involved with camp in any way, has no doubt changed my life. I am a completely different person than I was when I stepped off the bus in 2009. I grew more confident, mature, and more comfortable being who I am thanks to camp.


First off, I just wanted to wish you all an amazing summer.  Today is the 10 year anniversary from the time I stepped on the bus my Hemlock summer.  When I arrived at the bus stop I was excited and eager to attend Robindel, but I had no idea that camp would play such an important role in my life.  When I think of camp I immediately think of the sunsets, the main field, the lake, the infirmary, the dining hall, and Ann & Nat’s office.  Robindel, however, means so much more to me than these physical structures.

Robindel has provided me with best friends that I have been able to count on for ten years, and I I know I will have for the rest of my life.  I would not have been able to get through high school, let alone each day, without them.  Blue and White competition allowed me to grow, mature, and learn about the responsibilities of being in a position of power.  Robindel campers and staff taught me how to be a better friend, daughter, little sister, big sister, student, and ultimately a better person.  I owe so much of who I am today to Robindel.  Camp Robindel will always be my second home and a place where I learned the importance of standing up for myself and those around me.  Camp taught me to always “look on the bright side” and that life can be better with a positive attitude and a wide smile.

Although I say that I am “thanking Robindel” for allowing me to grow, I am really thanking all of you.  Thank you for providing me with a support group and place I can be my best self.

I admire all of you for continuing to influence and empower young girl’s lives the way you have impacted mine. I hope every Robindel camper is able to appreciate the experience and cherish each memory the way I have.


Happy almost camp! I’m not sure exactly what day the campers arrive but I know it is coming up so, yay! I bet you are very busy and I don’t want to take a lot of time out of your day but I wanted to say thank you. I have been meaning to send you a thank for a long time but couldn’t decide exactly what I wanted to say, with that here is it;

Thank you for everything you did for me while I was a counselor at CR. I have to admit when I first got to camp I didn’t understand what people meant when they said it was “home”, but today I do.  Not only around this time every year, but almost weekly I think about camp and the girls and I am reminded that there is always somewhere I can go ( if not physically then mentally) where I will feel “home”.  I love seeing all of the updates on social media and keeping up with all of the activities! I know for a few summers I thought I would be coming back and never made it work, and for that thank you for understanding and working with me.

I read a letter this week written by Hunter S. Thompson to a friend when he was younger that read “no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to for the rest of his life, but then again if that’s what you wind up doing by all means convince yourself you HAD to do it. You’ll have lots of company.” I’ve always told myself I HAVE to do this or I HAVE to do that for my career, and camp was never on that list. I realize that camp has been one of the most important changes in my life so far. It really helped me to open my mind on what is the “norm” for success and what success will mean to me. It definitely helped me to get where I am today and will continue to guide my decisions throughout life.

After not going to camp last season, I took an internship with (a bureau of land management). I really hated it there and struggled with my decision all summer. In the end, it opened up a huge opportunity for me as and Outdoor Recreation Planner with (another bureau), which is where I am now. I have made great friends in a very short amount of time and I am really loving it here. I know I will make many more career moves in the future and I believe that camp will always be a huge part of it even after just one year. Like I said before I cannot thank you and everyone at camp enough for everything that CR has given to me.

Amazing Summer Camp

Camp Robindel is honored to be featured in DuJour’s lifestyle article: “6 Amazing Summer Camps.” Of course we think that we are pretty amazing but it is always nice when other people think so too!

Click here to see the full feature.



March Madness is Here

During the 2014 summer we asked our Spruce campers to dress up for a photo that reminded them of “March.” They chose the March Madness theme, pictured below.

SpruceWe agree with our campers that March Madness is a fun time of year. We get to cheer for our favorite college teams, enter brackets that always seem to be won by the people who know the least about basketball, and watch college students from all over the country go “mad” cheering for their team. In many ways it is just like a Sunday at Camp Robindel! Blue and White days provide a chance for everybody to cheer for their team, participate in athletic events and sometimes in silly events like the Counselor Apache, Dread the Red or spontaneous Cheer-Offs.

Most of all, March is a great time of year because the 100-days-til-camp countdown always begins at this time of year. March 18th marked 100 days until the 2015 Robindel summer begins! 

We can’t wait to welcome our campers to Robindel…in less than 100 days!


October – Play Time

Play, by Jolly Corley


Pigtails, fairy wings, tutus and face-paint. Sounds like a 5-year-old little girl’s daily wardrobe, right? At Robindel that is what our 15-year old campers don without embarrassment or a second thought. CR teenage girls also play jacks with their little camp sister or swing while chatting with a friend. The Gaga Pit has as many senior campers playing as it does junior campers.

I often marvel at the irony of our junior campers who love the idea of painting their nails and being a grown up while in the next instance they are covered with towels and being the silly “towel monster” with their bunk uncle.  But that is just it: childhood is full of play to try on all the aspects of growing up – moments of creativity, problem solving and self-discovery.

I realized as I listen to my daughter plan for this year’s Halloween costume that one of the wonderful aspects of so-called holiday is the free license to play; To dress up without being made fun of – it is Halloween after all.

To find time dedicated just to play is difficult during the school year while there are music lessons, sports practices and of course school to worry about.  To have free play and totally creative license over one’s own time is tough to come by…but that is why the countdown to summer is not just for campers. It is also for parents like you and me who know how important it is for not only our 8 year olds to play but also our 14 and 15 year olds. The camp countdown is for us parents who can’t figure out how to stop the craziness that our society has decided it requires of its young people in preparation for adulthood. Camp is that slice of childhood that has remained relatively untouched by the demands of the modern world. Albert Einstein said, “Play is the highest form of research.”

One aspect of my work I love most is that the parents who send their children to summer camp instinctually understand the importance of play in the development of their child. A parent’s decision to register their daughter for camp is a decision as loving and dedicated to their future as driving them to all of the extracurricular activities. Our job as parents is to help prepare our children for the world of adulthood.

 Let the research continue – only eight months and counting down for the play to continue on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee this summer!

September – Camp Stories

Camp Stories, by Jolly Corley

September - Back to School Month

My children are now starting to get into their school groove. The transition from camp mode to home always takes a little time. For my eight-year-old daughter it is always the nighttime that is tough. Having had 12 bunkmates each night to whisper to and giggle with is wonderful compared to the quiet loneliness of her bedroom.   For my eleven-year-old son it is the camaraderie of his buddies being constantly available to play a crazy fun made up Frisbee game on senior row or the competition of Lake’s Region tournaments. Being home necessitates making arrangements to hang out with friends, waiting for mom to sign him up for tournaments and extra-curricular activities that less than a month ago were at his doorstep and completely accessible to him without having to wait around for a ride or arranging of parental schedules.

We are getting there and feeling back in the groove of living together. We are now past the first 48 hours where all conversation revolved around what happened at camp. The sad mopey behavior of my son, due to desperately missing Bunk 19, has faded. My daughter, on most nights, can fall asleep without multiple trips to see us because it’s too quiet and scary in her room by herself.  What we have now is family time squeezed into the moments between lacrosse workshops, piano lessons, school, swim lessons and weekend plans with school friends. The incredible thing is that in those family moments the stories are very often camp related.

Sometimes they share wonderful heartwarming stories about their team winning or being asked by a friend to be their partner for a special event. Other times they are more heartbreaking and troubling. I have the advantage of being an educator and parent. I will say though that in those moments of the more difficult stories I have to dig deep to find the balance of educator and parent – The stories where one or the other of my children was not included, was laughed at or felt they had made a mistake of grand proportion in front of their peers. Those moments are part of life and I believe camp helps my children learn to cope with those social failures in a way that they will be stronger and more socially competent at school. They are teachable moments. Many of those moments were handled at camp and when I ask what happened next my children will tell me about another friend who stuck up for them, or a counselor they spoke to or that they just shook it off “because most of the time when someone acts like that they are probably just having a bad day.”  Those are responses are when I glow with the wonderful benefits of camp and how my children are growing. These stories were generally annoying at the time but my children have managed and moved on.

However, there are other stories that come up multiple times. These are the moments that I realize have not been resolved. As much as camp tries to be aware and handle every challenging moment, I realize that this is not always possible. It is essential that we as parents work in partnership with our camp, school or other organizations that our children are a part of. As a director I feel it is essential to cultivate a partnership with parents so that that we may provide the best opportunity for growth and development for Robindel Campers. As a parent I have to remain calm and engage my children in a conversation about the unpleasant parts of life. It is crucial that I control my emotions (remember the momma bear I wrote about in my July post?). It has been shown that children will stop sharing information if they think it upsets their parents (Roberts, 2008). That is alarming to me and I wanted to share how I handle those stories about camp that I am uncertain about, especially if they seem to bother my children.

When I hear a concerning story a second time I generally ask my children some of the following questions:

  • What did you do when this happened?
  • Why do you think the camper/friend did that?
  • Did this camper do this only to you or did they treat others like this?
  • Did anyone help?  Did you tell anyone?
  • If you did not ask for help why didn’t you?
  • What do you think you could have done differently?
  • What would you have like to have happened?
  • What do you think would have happened if what you wanted happened?

It is wonderful to be an active part of their social development and use these camp stories as teachable moments in coping with a variety of social situations. Most of the time the act debriefing the incident with my children is all they need to let go of the unpleasant memory. My simply listening, asking questions (without commentary) and then having a discussion with my children is the resolution they need.

It is encouraging to remember that even though sometimes the stories can be concerning, when children share both the good and unpleasant stories from camp:

1) You are someone they trust
2) They want to share
3) This connects you to their experience at camp, and
4) You can be part of their ongoing social development.

Enjoy family time this fall and listening to all those camp stories. I now completely understand the famous movie quote “This one time at band camp…” My husband and I are constantly entertained at the dinner table with all sorts of funny stories about camp. Just don’t forget to also appreciate the not so funny stories.