Since 1955, the Squam Lakes Association's (SLA) summer youth programs have introduced young people to the unique resources in the Squam Lakes region and beyond. Through paddling, hiking, swimming, sailing and environmental education campers develop a strong sense of self, community and place. Our Junior Squam Lakes Association (JSLA) and Community Youth Sailing Program (CYSP) provide healthy outdoor recreational activities designed to stimulate inquisitive minds, develop life-long friendships, and create lasting memories. Learn more about the SLA Summer Youth Programs here.
August 3, 2018
This summer I have had the unique opportunity to be a leader for both SLA summer camps, CYSP and JSLA. At first, I was a little nervous to be switching between the two separate worlds at camp. With the comradery that quickly formed among all of the leaders and having an overlap of kids from one camp to the other, the transition was easy. It was so much fun to get to know a wide array of campers this summer. In the CYSP camp it has been so rewarding to see campers that have never sailed before grow their technical skills throughout the week, and therefore their confidence in the boat. Frequently, by the end of the session the kids are whizzing around having impromptu races and begging us to let them intentionally capsize their boats. The JSLA camp is a clear change in pace. Much of the day is loosely scheduled and the fine details of the itinerary are left for the group to decide. While I was with JSLA, I was especially excited for the overnight campout. It is so valuable to unplug from the everyday buzz and spend a night out in the woods. One week we had a camper that was prone to homesickness. By the time it got dark their feelings of missing home started to creep up. I tried to support the camper and reminded them that they are just becoming more independent and grown up. That camper was able to sleep through the entire night. On the last day when we went around and shared our highlights of the week, the camper proudly told the group about making it through the night feeling a bit less homesick. It has been a wonderful summer full of new experiences and friends for both the campers and the leaders. Unfortunately, the last week of camp is upon us already and we must leave the summer camp bubble until next year!
Autumn grew up in the Lakes Region and attended an SLA camp as a kid. She will be a sophomore at Boston College majoring in Biology and minoring in Environmental Science. Click here to read Autumn's bio.