A Typical Day at Camp To Belong MA
People often ask what a typical day at Camp To Belong MA looks like.
Every day is different. Each one has it’s own unique schedule so that campers
can move through the day sampling the wide array of of activities: swimming, boating, horse back riding, trying out the circus trapeze, scaling the rock climbing wall, making sibling pillows, scrap booking, creating pottery and other fun day time offerings.
I love to wake up early, get dressed and head over to the Storage Cabin while folks are still sleeping. My job is to set up activities. The Storage Cabin is full of camp supplies and the wonderful donations that Beaver Summer Programs has collected for us. The sun looks so beautiful coming up over the lake. Sisters sleep on one side of camp, brothers on another. I make my way across camp as campers are waking up. I can hear them whispering, “Good Morning!”, getting dressed for the day, heading to the bathroom, toothbrush in hand.
When everyone is dressed, counselors walk with their kids over to the Meeting Area where our youth leader is waiting to help us all embrace the day. My favorite morning tradition involves music. The sounds of Cupid Shuffle float through the air. People of all ages begin to shuffle their way toward the Dining Hall. By the time I arrive everyone is dancing with big smiles on their faces.
Sisters and brothers come together in Family Groups at breakfast. They join up with their Family Group counselors and move through the day as a small group, giving siblings who live in separate homes the opportunity to spend the entire day together creating joyous shared memories.
After breakfast, Family Groups head out to go horseback riding, swim in the lake, check out the water trampoline, test the banana boats, climb the 40 foot climbing wall and play games. We all gather again for lunch in the Dining Hall before launching into afternoon activities. Every day kids tell me how much it means to them to sit at a table and share meals with their sisters and brothers. They say they feel just like their peers who have not been removed from their homes and placed in foster care.
Each night after dinner we put on a different event. Over the years we’ve hosted camp fires, carnivals, camp-wide birthday parties, talent shows, trips to the local ice cream stand, basketball games, comedy shows, waterskiing demonstrations and more. One year the rapper DMC came and sang for us. He spoke to the campers about his life and what it was like for him to learn he had been adopted from foster care.
Some nights we watch our version of home movies – my husband, Arthur Pollock, takes beautiful photos of siblings, counselors and camp activities. He spends time at night putting together a collage of the day, adds some fun music and shares his creations with us. That is another one of my favorite CTB MA traditions. Everyone gathered together, feeling connected, honoring one another in the best possible ways. I stand at the back of the room and drink in the goodness that surrounds us. It is a moment we all savor and delight in.
Closing Camp Fire takes place on our last night of Camp To Belong MA. It is a time when campers, counselors and support staff express appreciation for the time we have spent together. It is a very moving experience to sit around a camp fire honoring the lives of children who have been removed from their families and placed in the public foster care system. Every heart is touched. Every soul awakened. Our lives are changed for the better!