I’m pretty sure we can all say that summer 2020 did not go as planned. Everyone was scrambling to shift gears and make alternate plans. I know that we felt a huge loss when we made the decision to cancel our planned camp sessions. Because we were so busy planning for our alternate summer, we did not have time to process those sad feelings. We have heard from many campers who told us that, at different times during the summer, they realized how much they missed their friends, counselors and the sense of community they feel at Akeela. While we feel terribly that we played a part in the sadness of our campers and their families, it does remind us how lucky we are to be a part of such a special place. Perhaps 2020 will be the year that helps us appreciate everything we have.
We certainly felt lucky that we got to spend our summer up at camp with the staff members and families who joined us for Family Camp. Being on Miller Pond gave us a small sense of normalcy and enabled us to reconnect with that special place. Our staff arrived more than two weeks before our first set of campers and we spent that time getting the site ready. We worked hard preparing the tennis courts, pool, lake and art studio! The archery and golf nets had to get put up and all of our sports equipment had to be prepared. There was a lot of hard work accomplished by our team! Most importantly, our dedicated staff got a chance to take off their masks (after 2 negative COVID tests) and enjoy being a “pod” with their friends. We all appreciated the time we had together after feeling so isolated last spring.
Finally, our first autism/asperger’s family campers arrived and brought with them lots of energy and laughter. Our team was able to do what they love most – play and learn with kids and parents. For us, seeing camp inhabited with enthusiasm brought us so much joy and also some sadness; We really missed having our entire community together. While Chefs Trina and Angie made us some of our favorite camp food, the dining hall felt empty and too quiet. The lake was cool and, as always, was the center of lots of excitement and yet not having the slide out (because of COVID) was a constant reminder that this summer was different.
Still, those of us who were lucky enough to be together this summer relished our time at camp. Being with like-minded people is always restorative and this summer, that was even more true. Parents, campers and our staff formed lasting friendships and a true connection with our Akeela community. We truly missed all of our friends who couldn’t come up to Vermont this summer and we are so excited to be together in person on Miller Pond in 2021!
In case you didn’t see them, our dates for summer 2021:
- 1st Session: Saturday June 26th – Monday, July 19th
- 2nd Session: Thursday, July 22nd – Saturday, August 14th
If you’re the parent of a child with autism, asperger’s, another nvld or who is otherwise quirky, find out how to apply for camp next year or reach out to our staff today!