In 1990, Lake Stockwell Day Camp opened for the first time ever and now in 2015, it celebrates its 25th anniversary! Since its opening, the camp has continued to grow and over the past few summers, camper and counselor numbers have skyrocketed. Back in 2011, MaryAnn Birchler and Lynn Passarella joined as camp director and assistant camp director and over the years, Stockwell’s size has nearly doubled! In 2011, there were only about 60 staff members and 250 campers. In 2014, Melissa DiMona joined as assistant camp director and we had about 110 staff members and nearly 500 campers! Since then we have grown even more!
(Our staff back in 2003)
(Only about half of our staff in 2015)
I went around and interviewed a few of Stockwell’s staff members, both new and old, and here is what they said:
Q. Why did you come/return to Stockwell this summer?
A. Every summer at camp is so great that it just makes me want to return each summer. Each summer I also grow closer with the rest of the staff to the point where they are like family. It is my home away from home. On top of all that, I love making a difference in children’s lives!
Q. What is your favorite camp memory?
A. One of my favorite memories as a counselor is actually getting my staff name tag. It creates the realization that now you’re working as a counselor at camp. All those years of being a camper and watching your counselors do such a great job, now you finally get to give something back. Now campers will look up to you and you have a chance to make an impact. Really there are just too many great memories to pick a favorite.
Q. What are some of the lessons you have learned at camp?
A. Not everything goes as planned, but sometimes you have to improvise. Enthusiasm and good attitude will get you very far and sometimes just asking, “how are you?” can go a long way.
Q. Would you recommend this place to others?
A. Yes! I would and I have! If a camper recognizes me outside of camp, I always ask them if they are coming back the next summer.
Q. How has camp changed since you joined?
A. There are many more campers and counselors, but with more people, more bonds can be formed and greater summers can be created!
I also went around and interviewed some alumni from Stockwell who had worked as counselors for many years:
Q. What lessons did you learn at camp that still apply to you years later?
A. I’m a teacher so the most important lesson I learned was how to work with kids. You learn that each child comes from a different background and has their own baggage that they carry. From there, you have to listen more than you talk.
Q. Would you say the friends and memories you made at camp are still with you today?
A. Definitely! When I was married, five of the guys that were in my bridal party worked with me at Stockwell.
Q. What was your favorite memory from camp?
A. Seeing my first group of campers/CITs come in and become the next generation of counselors at camp.
Q. Is there anything you would change about your time at camp?
A. If I could have stayed longer, then I would have. They were the best summers of my life!
A lot of things have changed at Lake Stockwell over the years, but some traditions remain the same. Every Friday we still have our Red Feather Ceremonies and each summer they grow larger! Over the past few years we have gone from nine tribes to sixteen. Thank you to all that have been with us over the years and we hope to keep seeing you in the future!
(Red Feather Ceremonies in 2006)
(Red Feather Ceremonies in 2015)