I came to Calleva because of a friend I met during a service trip in Moshi, Tanzania. As we worked together for a few months in 2007, my friend told stories about a wonderful place in America called Calleva.
She was so passionate about Calleva & camp, I found it irresistible. My curiosity got the best of me, so instead of heading directly home to England, I went to the U.S. in search of new adventure in a new place.
My first day at Calleva was Day 2 of the annual INSTRUCTOR CHALLENGE ––– Before camp begins, we create a 3-day “adventure race” for our incoming team of instructors. There are a wide range of experiences & checkpoints designed to train and build skills as well as develop camaraderie as a team of leaders.
As the teams of Instructors came running in, I experienced an overwhelming feeling of certainty. Right then, I knew I wanted to be a part of the high-energy camaraderie, excitement, community, and general ridiculousness of this event. Immediately, I was swept up into this big Calleva Family. By default, I was in because of my new friendship with someone who was deep in it.
My first weeks as summer staff with Calleva were Surfing, Adventure Island, and Leaders in Training (LIT) camp weeks. When I reflect on that combination, I realize that these first experiences encompass the full range of what we do at camp.
I DID LOVE IT.
That first summer at Calleva changed the course of my life. I had taught in England for 10 years (on top of 4 years of training). Now, I adored being surrounded by a group of young adults who were better at it than me. They were so natural – so adept at teaching. I felt myself growing and thriving just by being part of the team.
AND I TRULY LOVED IT.
I loved Calleva so much that I decided not to return to England that fall. I remember calling home to say I wasn’t coming back because I’d realized that Calleva was everything I love about teaching, without all the barriers.
For me, teaching beyond the walls of a building, outside of the red tape, and away from rigid institutional structures renewed the joy of learning. I wanted to stay here and experience more alongside a fantastic group of educators who were truly great at inspiring, teaching, leading, empowering, and enjoying their own growth along the way.
At Calleva, I’ve experienced teaching at its core.
AND I LOVE IT STILL.
After over 16 years with Calleva, now serving as Camp Director, my role extends beyond my first simple camp experiences. But what I love about Calleva remains true. Camp is one of very few places where children can unplug, connect in new friendships, learn new skills, and experience success in ways that are not accessible at school.
Every summer, we get a fresh look at how the camp learning environment benefits campers. Now I have the benefit to see it with added dimension, since I’m now a camp parent too.
I love seeing what my own children have gained from their Calleva camp experiences:
- Confidence grows from taking risks in a safe environment.
- Resilience develops from trying new things and focused effort to develop skills.
- Optimism comes from celebrating and building upon milestones.
- Creativity is borne out of challenges.
- Maturity is developed best in the company of encouraging, reliable, empathetic leaders.
More Than a Camp, Calleva is Community
Also, I see how this community of leaders enriches each of us along the way. Some of my most wonderful friendships have happened here. I’ve experienced how the strength of the Calleva community shapes every aspect of our camp programs.
- Strong Calleva leaders nurture one another’s excellence, and that translates into a more transformational experience for everyone at camp.
- Capable outdoor adventurers are real-life examples of self-reliance, creativity, and teamwork.
- Shared experiences in the outdoors reveal the value of improvisation, compassion, gentleness, and shared responsibility.
I feel purposeful in the opportunities I have to help staff and campers grow into the most excellent versions of themselves. But also …lest I take myself too seriously … Writing this blog today, my middle school daughter reminded me how happy I am when I’m made to be silly sometimes.
When I put on my crab hat to lead Council, I’m carried away by the fun of creating some whimsy inside the wild energy of a summer camp day. The stresses I feel melt away when our team shares space for Council or a staff meeting. I feel so energized and on mission!
Camp reminds me that it’s good to let go. To be pulled in and embrace the silliness, the singing, the skits, and the games. The enthusiasm is everything in those moments!
I feel so privileged to be in a job that I love. Of course there are frustrations – during summer the days can be long, but I STILL LOVE IT. At the close of each week, I feel fulfilled and purposeful, and I know that we are making a positive difference for our community.
Also, I am having fun as I learn and lead at camp.
Lucy is our Program and Camp Director. She has been with the Calleva team since 2006, when she met Jen Rainey, a former Calleva HBR instructor.
Lucy has two equally favorite parts of being at Calleva. One is the joy she gets watching her children having fun making new friends, having adventures and growing in confidence through summer camp, HBR and kayaking programs all year round. The other, being part of an incredibly supportive family-like community.
Her favorite programs at Calleva are Farm and Forest Cubs and sailing. Lucy loves being a part of young staff growing and developing into amazing leaders, and kind, considerate humans.