By Lynn Passarella, Lake Stockwell Day Camp Director


As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s nice to reflect on what we are grateful for this year. After 10 summers here at camp, I am still thankful for Lake Stockwell Day Camp. Camp has brought me a variety of “things” that I will be forever grateful for – meeting my husband through friendships, watching my daughter grow up in the camp environment, seeing campers year after year, relationships with staff members, and everlasting summer memories.


This year I have asked Stockwell staff members, “Why are you grateful for being part of Lake Stockwell Day Camp?” Their responses were heart-warming and it is my hope that your camper feels the same way. From my family to yours, have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. Enjoy these reflections from our family of Stockwell staffers:



“When I felt it was time for me to leave Ockanickon (boys sleepaway camp), the only home-away-from-home I’d ever had, Stockwell graciously welcomed me into its family. I’ve made incredible friends and memories here and take comfort in knowing I can still make a difference in a kid’s life by giving them a great summer.” Dan G. – 12 summers


“I’m grateful to be a part of Lake Stockwell Day Camp, not only because I have a BLAST, ALL SUMMER, fishing with the kids. But, I get to go to camp with my one and only daughter. Having MY kid (who loves Stockwell more than life) at Stockwell every day with me makes Stockwell an even bigger joy! I know she’s having the time of her life with her most favorite friends! She’s also being cared for by some of the best people I’ve ever met! Lake Stockwell Day Camp is truly the best day camp EVER!” Steve S. AKA Sharkbait – 5 summers


“Camp, in its simplest form, is possibly the most fun place to spend your summer. What could be better than spending each day outside with more activities to partake in than you can count? But what truly makes it special are the people. Whether you see them weekly or seasonally, you form relationships with your fellow staff members that are unlike any other. For me personally, nothing is more amazing than the ability to be a positive influence in kids’ lives as they grow up. We have wonderful staff members integral to camp’s success that I first met when they were 8 as I checked them into my group at Stockwell field in the morning. What could be better than knowing you had a part in them growing into adults today with the same opportunity?” Matt H. – 7 summers


“One of the reason that camp is such an amazing place is that it brings out the best in you. I’ve been to camp for two summers and each time I’ve grown so much as a person. I love waking up each day to a different challenge -from finding shoes in the swamp to starting a box braid; it’s smiles and laughter throughout every second. It’s such a privilege to help support the kids that come to camp to grow and overcome challenges. Camp is a magical place where you can truly be yourself.” Emily G. – 2 summers


“Lake Stockwell Day Camp has been just like a dream for me. The experiences lived there have been the most important and inspiring ones in my life. It’s definitely a place to have the funniest days of the year. Here at Stockwell, I find amazing people that help me be a better version of myself and I really appreciate that. I’ve learned how to work as part of a team and I’ve learned how to work with passion. Being at camp helps me to value all the potential that people around us have. And, I think spending our summer at Lake Stockwell is one of the best decisions we can make. Kids deserve to be treated well. They deserve to find the right place to be themselves and I think Lake Stockwell is that place. We can be ourselves and support others to be comfortable with who they are. Everybody deserves that. I love Lake Stockwell.” Melissa M. – 1 summer


“Lake Stockwell Day Camp has a charm that no other place has. I’ve been with the camp for 4 summers now and each summer has brought me nothing but pure joy. It’s the fact that I could come in each day knowing that I have a family to welcome me. It’s a community that supports and motivates, consistently uplifting you even in your most difficult days. The relationships created through camp are everlasting. The bonds created from staff to staff, camper to staff, and camper to camper are extraordinary. Camp is a place that unifies and creates the greatest moments in anyone’s life. I know hearing any camper say “I will miss you.” or “I cannot wait to see you next summer” is what brings me back.” Jose C. – 4 summers


“Camp is where I’ve grown up. Being around such a loving and supportive environment every summer has shaped the way I view friendship and leadership as a whole. It’s great knowing that I get to help campers be the best version of themselves like my counselors helped me to do when I was younger! Camp is a place where anyone can be themselves without judgement and still find love and support!” Eileen C. – 13 summers


“Over the course of 4 years, I’ve learned that camp is more than a job. It’s a home. I love bonding with both the staff and the campers each summer, giving it my all to try to make the lives of everyone around me a little bit better through the magic of camp. It’s my favorite place to be in the world, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. The positive impact we have on the lives of the families who send their kids to camp is powerful and I’m so happy that I get to be a part of it.” Steve M. – 4 summers


“Camp is an escape from the mundane of everyday life; each day offers something new and exciting. Camp has the best and most supportive community I have ever been a part of.” Adam K. – 10 summers


“I love camp because it’s a place where you can be unabashedly yourself no matter what. It gives you a safe, fun place to become the best version of yourself and I credit Stockwell for a lot of my development growing up. One thing that has always struck me is that camp has this uncanny ability to attract the best people in the world every single summer. Kind, intelligent, fun, humorous, capable people – year after year. So much of why I love coming to camp every year is because it was such a life-changing experience for me that I want to ensure that as many people as possible get to have that same formative experience that I was lucky enough to get all those years ago. I can’t even begin to describe how many people, staff and campers alike, changed my life, and there’s no better feeling in the world than when someone tells you that YOU changed THEIRS as well. Sometimes I almost feel like I don’t deserve to have been in such great company for the last 16 summers (and I can’t believe it has been that long).” Logan K. – 16 summers


“Stockwell became a second home to me this past summer because of the wonderful people who took me under their wing. The staff was like one big family and I couldn’t have been more thrilled with my experience at camp. You make friendships with all ages from Preschool Camp to the CITs, no matter how big or small. Everyone, whether it’s camper or staff, welcomes you with open arms and is so supportive of one another. You’re given so many amazing opportunities to grow and thrive within yourself and with everyone around you! Stockwell is truly an amazing environment and I’m glad to have been a part of it and to continue to be a part of it.” Carlee B. – 1 summer


“I’m thankful for camp because it makes lasting memories that have shaped me as a person and helped me with life skills. Camp helped push a quiet, awkward child out of his shell and encouraged him to talk to people he never thought he would. That was 11 summers ago, when I was 7. Camp has built up my confidence and people skills and it is something that has helped me tremendously throughout life. I really do think that camp helps bring out the best in us and allows children to grow and develop life-long skills. I’m also thankful to all the wonderful staff that I had growing up because they were the people that I aspired to be like, and the kind of people that had me that much more excited to go back to camp. I think Stockwell does an amazing job in hiring staff that are going to change children’s lives and make their summer the best one yet!” Kevin N. – 11 summers


“Camp is a magical place. It is a place where you can learn to be the best version of yourself. It is a place where you will make friends who feel more like family. I’ve spent more than half my life at camp and have loved every minute of it. I’ve made friends who will be with me for the rest of my life. I learned to embrace who I am and be proud of it. As a camper I learned to be a good friend and how to be respectful and confident. As a staff member I learned how to be a great leader. I’ve loved being able to give kids the same confidence and feeling of belonging and love that I felt as a kid. Camp will always be special. It’s your home-away-from-home. It a place of support and strength. It is Stockwell; the only place I want to be.” Molly F. – 16 summers


“Personally, the reason why I love camp is because it changed me as a person in so many ways! Seeing the kids so happy was so rewarding, I’m thankful for camp for introducing me to life-long friends and memories that I will cherish for a lifetime!” Lauren S. – 2 summers


“I call camp my second home. I have spent the better part of the past 40 years as a member of the camp community: camper, counselor, leadership staff member, full-time staff member, volunteer, and board member. My children have attended camp from the time that they were able to go, and my son works here now with my daughter talking about the day when she works here. The best friends in my life are all from camp. How can a single place have such an effect on a person? Why is camp special? Really, the answer is very simple. It provides children an opportunity to get away from the usual activities that they experience all school year. It gives children a chance to spend time in nature, away from technology. Camp teaches children how to be good people by modeling and reinforcing the core values. It allows children to relax, be safe, and be themselves. It gives kids a positive sense of self and a degree of self-confidence that isn’t always present for the rest of the year. (We used to say that we wish that we could bottle that confidence that our kids had upon returning from camp to dose out throughout the year.) I received all of these things as a child at camp, and I want to give that to today’s children. I want to see that for every other child who comes through our gates, walks our trails, swims in our lakes, and sleeps in our cabins.” Rick W. – 20+ summers