The sun has set on the first half of summer and we have two complete sessions behind us, Mini Camp and our session for female campers. As I look back on the past two months, I think about how much we’ve learned to compromise with one another, all of the belly laughs we’ve shared, the tears from happiness shed, the inevitable homesickness, but proud and tender moments. The smiles of our campers and staff truly do light up our space – it is contagious and uplifting. The illuminating campfires that warm our souls will keep our summer memories simmering in our minds for years to come.

Outside of camp, all of our campers are submerged in a pressure-oriented society. I believe our summer camp program provides a non-threatening environment for many of our campers to be active. It’s here that campers are unplugged, trying new things like hiking 27 miles on the Ozark Trail, conducting experiments such as extracting DNA from fruits, canoeing on the beautiful Current River, learning to cook over an open fire, training to become a Junior Lifeguard, climbing the Tango Tower, and going on overnight excursions. We have seen many campers learn about and heighten their own skills, which bolsters their meaningful involvement in this camp community designed around them. As a shared community space, there are daily moments where campers must step aside to let others shine and get comfortable stepping into leadership roles for themselves where they then shine on their own.

Important to note: Sherwood Forest is where I discovered my love for s’mores over an open fire. It is a serious must-have each summer, a special type of love. Have no worries, plenty of s’mores have been had and thoroughly enjoyed by campers and staff.

This summer has brought back theme days, from Twin Day, Tie-Dye Day, to Neon Day, Tutu Tuesday, Marvel and Disney Day! It was so fun to see campers and staff get involved and dress up. Camp is fun and having fun is contagious at camp – almost impossible not to catch! We’ve also had wonderful Juneteenth and PRIDE celebrations here at camp this summer.

While I am always proud of our campers, I am immensely proud of our staff. We have staff members joining us from over seven different countries this summer, sharing their culture, language and occasional food and dance moves with us. All of our staff members are creative and caring. Every staff member’s hard work has and will provide all of our campers with memories to last a lifetime. As a parent myself, the best part about our awesome staff is that they all understand the importance of this job through fun times, caring for someone’s child, and making sure they are not just physically safe, but mentally, emotionally, and nutritionally safe.

As we turn the corner and head down the home stretch, I must give a shout out to Chef Darryl and our kitchen staff for their tireless dedication to feeding us all at camp. They have a very hard job and they make it look easy. We feel spoiled that our food is so delicious and we are always full.

Next up is our session for male campers. We are excited for another round of overnights, hikes, Book Club, theme days, pool games, tie-dye and another wonderful play! Please send Sherwood Forest all of the good vibes and warm campfire thoughts as we head down the home stretch of summer.

Alexis Newsome, MA Pronouns: she/her/hers