The Gift of Calleva

I first came to Calleva in 2007 as a person who had never before experienced camp. An educator by profession, it was incredible to enter an organization where people with little or no formal (university) training in education could do such an incredible job connecting with kids and creating a dynamic learning environment. I couldn’t believe I’d found a place where everyone was invested in kids building confidence and skills in the outdoors. 

To me, Calleva was a kind of miraculous place. 

My first three weeks with Calleva gave me a glimpse of everything I would come to love:

Week 1 on Adventure Island was like going back to childhood. It re-ignited that sense of freedom in nature and fun with friends that generates a sense of wonder and possibility.

Week 2 was my first High Adventure, and I absolutely loved being in the wilderness for five days straight. The depth of connection, empowerment & friendship that comes from a shared experience in the outdoors is an incredible gift.

Week 3 was LIT (Leaders in Training), an experience that I never imagined that kids could have. We learned models for understanding our thinking processes and for exploring beyond fears to become the person you want to be. 

Now, after 11 years as Director of Calleva Camp (and as a facilitator in our other program areas), I have an even deeper understanding values foundational to the gift that is Calleva. 

While I’ve had the opportunity to compare notes with camp directors from all over the Mid-Atlantic U.S., I am confident that Calleva really does it best. Because of our commitment to continuously investing in our team as well as our campers and students. We are – truly – all aware of our need to be continuous learners, and we are helping one another pursue our next level of strength. 

I’m so proud to be a part of an organization that cares as much about its staff as it does its campers. We’re not only invested in helping our campers grow. We are committed to helping one another grow too, through self reflection and empowered challenge. From the point of a teenager’s first Calleva interview, we talk with our staff about how we want to invest in their growth as individuals, leaders, outdoor professionals, and teachers. We want to be sure from the outset that our staff are open to honest feedback and personal growth.

And now for the part that’s perhaps most dear to my heart: the gift of Calleva from the mom perspective. 

My husband and I are raising our daughters amidst this incredible team of Calleva role models. We’re 8 years into parenthood, and we’ve seen our toddlers benefit from being outdoors most of the time, and now see our girls experiencing activities that I never had access to when I was a child. From Farm & Forest Cubs to Horseback Riding lessons to Summer Camp, my girls are exposed to male & female role models who exemplify strength from the inside out. They’re surrounded by people who encourage them to try. People who are teaching them that what you do and say is the most important thing (not what you look like or what label is on your clothing), and who demonstrate that failure is a learning opportunity, not a dead end. 

I am learning that parents cannot do it all for their children. As my girls learn from other adult leaders, older Calleva kids, and our extended Calleva community, I see the endless gift of Calleva enriching my daughters’ sense of self and helping them to grow.

Calleva is the gift that keeps on giving!


~ Lucy Martin – Director of Calleva MD