Nick Culhane is currently attending college in Denver. We will miss seeing him this year after spending 14 summers with us – but we are excited for his next adventures and the role we played in his life; he will always be a part of our Moose Hill family!
Moose Hill Camp has been a major part of my childhood and young adult life. I remember my first day of camp when I was dropped off at the young age of seven. Just like every child when coming to a new place for the first time, I was both nervous and excited.
My nerves quickly went away during that first week when I meet my awesome camp counselor (Matt!) and the other campers in my group. Because group sizes are smaller, campers really get a chance to bond and make friends – it’s just one great aspect of Moose Hill Camp. To this day, I still talk often with a friend I met while at camp, and we reflect on our summers at Moose Hill.
This truly is an outdoor experience, just another characteristic that makes this camp great. Unless there is an absolute down pour happening, one can expect to spend their day outside, exploring through the forests. As a young child I was unsure how I felt about the outdoors, and I had a massive fear of bees (I still do today), but after the first Monday morning nature walk, I was hooked on being outside!
Moose Hill has a bit of everything when it comes to nature. There are fields to play games in, swamps and ponds to search for frogs and a variety of unique insects, pine forests to build small forts in, and, of course, the infamous Bluff hike with a great view of the surrounding towns and Gillette Stadium.
The number one lesson I learned as a camper – nature is awesome and needs to be explored! To this day I consistently go hiking and camping, and I thank Moose Hill Camp for teaching me that nature is wonderful.
My great experience as a camper convinced me that I had to become a Leader-in-Training (LIT). This is a very unique and awesome position. Even though you are still a kid (ages between 14-15), you are responsible for setting a good example to all the younger campers. You lead free time events, as well as option time on Thursday afternoons, a much sought after camper activity.
As a 14 year old kid, all I wanted to do was lead the active games and go for hikes. Yet this program challenged me to expand my horizons into the scary world of arts and crafts (for me anyhow). I remember when the leaders for the LIT program, Patti and Matt, asked me to do an arts and craft option and I reluctantly agreed. However, this experience challenged my creativity and ultimately gave me the opportunity to meet new campers. It gave me an appreciation for how Moose Hill includes all types of children at their camp. They have activities for everyone from an energetic young child who loves to run (me!) to a creative child who loves to draw, and read books and magazines. As an LIT, I gained an appreciation for how every child is their own person and has different skills and hobbies.
After a few years as an LIT, I took the next step and applied to become a camp counselor where I learned about camp from a whole new perspective. The counselors meet at the end of the day, allowing us to see just how much Moose Hill cares about their campers. We talked about any difficulties, and shared a variety of ideas with each other to help campers have the best experiences possible. I wasn’t even aware how much the camp director and the counselors truly cared about the campers; it is what makes this camp stand out among so many others.
But, by far, the most important thing that I learned was the emphasis this camp places on education for the children. As a camper, I remembered how everyday we learned about a different animal or plant. But, as a counselor, I learned just how difficult it can be to plan a lesson. After my first day on the job, it became clear that I needed to start planning my lessons both the weekend before, and the night before, camp started.
While it can sometimes be hard to get a bunch of young children to learn about anything during the summer, over the two years I worked at camp, I learned how to use the awesome nature at Moose Hill in my lesson plans. I remember searching in fields for specific insects, doing experiments to see which foods ants like the best (answer: food with the highest amount of sugar!), and using the awesome teaching bins and folders Moose Hill has available in their staff rooms. This experience gave me a great understanding of how hard a teacher’s job can be, but at the same time it is also so rewarding.
I remember when a camper ran to their parent at pickup time because they wanted to tell them everything that they had learned about a specific animal or plant I had talked about that day. It was the greatest joy I had while I was part of the staff at Moose Hill. Because of my experiences as a camp counselor, I decided to pursue a future in education when I entered college. This was a change from my original goal to become a research pharmacist.
Education is so important for every child in the world, and thanks to my time at Moose Hill, I now understand how important a great teacher can be in the life of a child. Moose Hill Camp is a great place for any child to spend their summer because of the awesome adventures through the forests, the activities for all types of children, the staff that care about each camper on an individual level, AND because the campers leave with a better understanding of the importance of nature and why it needs to be protected.
If you would like to learn more about Moose Hill Camp, meet some of the current counselors and a few other families, join us for a meet and greet Open House on June 21 at 6 pm. We look forward to sharing our summer with you!