I often solicit feedback from current campers and alumnae on how they feel about Camp Arcadia, and how it impacts the rest of their lives. Sometimes I receive responses that are particularly compelling, that make me think and want to share.
This note I received from a member of the Point 2017 is one example of that. (It has been gently edited for style.):
“In the age of women empowerment, CA has a been a guide to me finding my personal strengths and the teamwork of sisterhood, which is so important in this day in time. It has shaped and formed me into being a powerful woman with confidence to change the world with my Arcadian spirit, that I plan to share with the rest of the world.
“Young girls’ confidence is crucial to the Women’s Rights movement, which Arcadia has gifted to me.
“I have found that camp is MOST important as a teenager. When you’re a teenager, you are faced with the harsh reality between school, sports, jobs and planning your future. Camp is a break from the outside world. It has given me something to look forward to each winter, and honestly it gets me through the school year. I wish every girl could have the experience of spending a summer at Arcadia as it truly is heaven on earth.
“It’s important, even as teenagers, that we get just seven weeks each summer to take a break from the school work, forget about college, be free from judgement and all of the other harsh realities we face. That is just one of the many reasons I come back each year.
“Arcadia is really like an experience like no other. It has given me a chance to be part of a community where I can be free to be myself and be free of judgement. From the moment my parents dropped me off as a junior till this day I have been in love with the family that I’ve made. One thing that I love about Arcadia is your friends from home will come and go but the sisters you have made there will always remain.
“Most of the girls that come to Camp Arcadia have had a family member who has spent at least one summer at Arcadia or another camp. I am the youngest in my family and the first one to say, ‘I want to go to sleep away camp.’
“My parents really didn’t know what to think of this they had never sent a child to camp and neither of them had spent a summer at a camp. But they sent me off to camp with a blue plastic trunk. It really was stupid luck, because I instantly fell in love with the community, the environment and the spiritedness.
“Over the years my trunk became cracked and dented. My parents never expected me to want to return year after year. But my family finally purchased a real trunk. I think this is when my parents realized I had found my happy place and the people who I belong with.
“Like I always say, ‘June 21st I come home and on August 10th I leave home. This is my family. It is where I belong.’”
The idea that Camp Arcadia builds a confidence that you can not develop any other way is a truism for those who have attended or sent the young women in their lives to Camp Arcadia. It is wonderful to hear about it from a current camper and in the context of a new Women’s Movement that is upon us.
Louise Fritts Johnson