Throughout the 2012 summer, we have received hundreds of wonderful emails from parents, capturing the Camp Towanda experience through their eyes (and their children’s). We wanted to share a few of these letters with you:
LETTER # 1
Dear Mitch & Stephanie,
How do you do it? Are you sure there is nothing in the water or bug juice up there? As a first year parent at Towanda, we received a letter from our child today proclaiming, “Camp is now my 2nd home.” While I can’t wait to have my baby back on Friday, I am now certain that whatever has been going on at camp this summer has had a remarkable and lasting impact .
Letter # 2:
Hi Mitch and Stephanie,
I have wanted to write this since the first week of camp, but every time I went to start, something new happened at camp, or I got an even better letter from my daughter than the week before, so I thought, I should just wait to write this until she gets home, because every week seems to bring her camp experience, and ours as parents, to an even higher level. But now with only days left until when I planned to send this, I can’t hold it in anymore… THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE CAMP TOWANDA. OK, that said…
I will tell you that from the first day we signed her up for camp, you have made our family feel like family. She has always been very attached to us, doesn’t really love to have sleepovers out of our house, prefers playdates at our house, and in the past has had some transition issues with new things. You made the transition to camp absolutely seamless. Of course she was nervous when she got on the bus, but she was so prepared with all of the information and hand holding that you provided, she got on the bus with a big hug, wave and a smile.
Of course we were nervous those first few days. And then we got the first letter… “I am having SUCH a good time. My bed is so pretty! I’m friends with everyone in my bunk. ” Next (our favorite) was a fill in the blank… Biggest surprise so far – “I don’t miss anyone and I do not want to go home”. What I like most about camp – “Everything”. What I like least about camp – “Nothing”!!!
They only got better and better from there. And then we saw her on Visiting Day, and she exuded confidence and happiness that I had never seen in her before, as well as a new level of independence that she could not have achieved at home. Plus, the campers and counselors in her bunk were all AMAZING. What an incredible group of down-to-earth girls and counselors and CITs who were absolutely wonderful with them.
What is so amazing about Towanda, is that it truly balances it all. The need for kids to develop friendships on their own, develop independence, learn new skills in sports, arts, and more, to feel comfortable enough to just be kids and be themselves, and just have FUN – and that balance is SO hard to find. There is a depth and richness in your program that I don’t think exists anywhere else. Because it works for the athlete, the non-athlete, the outgoing child, the more reserved child, it is a remarkable formula.
When I look at her smile beaming in all the pictures, it’s more than just happiness, she looks so RELAXED. So comfortable, and with the pressures of school, and activities, and social things, and all the other “stuff” kids have to deal with throughout the year, I can see on her face that she truly got a needed break from it all. I can see on her face that Towanda will be for her what it was for me – a special home away from home that she will always treasure.
I spent 9 wonderful summers at Towanda and all I can say is that you have honored the traditions and history of Camp Towanda and then made it even better. I am so happy for my daughter (and soon my son in 2014) that they will have this experience.
And I am so happy for us, as parents, that we can give our children the gift of Camp Towanda. Twenty three years since my CIT summer, my favorite childhood memories are from Camp Towanda and my camp friends are still my closest of friends. We really do share something that no one else can understand. And nothing makes me happier than knowing that my children will have their friends and these amazing memories that will last a lifetime.
So this is as long of a “thank-you” as I’m sure you wanted, but to say that the summer exceeded our expectations would be an understatement. We are overwhelmed.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you,
LETTER # 3:
Dear Mitch & Stephanie,
Please share this with parents considering camp for next year.
If you have a parent who is questioning whether or not Camp Towanda is for their child, send them my way because I would NEVER have thought my daughters would be able to separate and love camp the way they do! I mean never! They are different here at Towanda! Confident, willing and happy to try new activities and new friends; separate from home!
Truly amazing….words cannot express our gratitude.
2 Very Happy Parents (write that instead of our names)!!