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.
August 10, 2018
This year, on the double overnight at Mead Base camp, I had only four boys in the group. They were all very excited about the double overnight and ready to spend the day swimming in Bede Falls and hiking Mt. Israel. The first night it poured for about five hours. So all four campers and two leaders squeezed under a tarp and played games from dinner until it was time to go to bed. The enthusiasm that the campers had the entire first night of the campout kept the night from turning into a dreary, rainy Wednesday night. The great attitude carried over into the next day when we hiked Mt. Israel, and had a roaring fire with s’mores and banana boats for desert. It’s campouts like these that makes being a camp counselor the best way to spend a summer.
Sawyer is from Plymouth, NH and will be a freshmen, studying civil engineering, at Montana State University. Click here to read Sawyer's bio.
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.
July 30, 2018
So this has been my first year as a counselor at JSLA and honestly it has been the most incredible summer! I've loved getting to know all of the campers and I am loving the lake even more every day-something I didn’t think possible! I went backpacking with a group of girls up to black mountain pond and I was so proud of them. They all did such an incredible job hiking with all their gear and food in extremely heavy backpacks, and once we got to the pond we spent hours chatting and making friendship bracelets, making it an incredible trip! Last week it was supposed to be terrible weather but ended up being an absolutely beautiful week. The explorer group camped out at Chamberlain Reynolds and we spent hours playing in the water games such as ultimate frisbee, ninja, and categories. Every day has been an amazing adventure and the fact that it’s already August is unbelievable-this summer has flown by! I’ve made so many new friends and memories at the most wonderful place in the world- a truly perfect summer.
Sophie is from Middleburg, VA. She will be a freshman at Davidson College in NC and hopefully majoring in Environmental Science. Click here to read Sophie's bio.
July 25, 2018
One week this year, we were paddling with a camper who just didn't want to paddle in the canoe. It wasn't an uncommon problem but with a small group of campers, it was really frustrating when he wouldn't help his boat. The camper and I wound up in the same canoe on the way back from the camp out and talked a bit about paddling. He admitted he was bored just paddling a canoe and wanted to take a turn steering it. In the middle of the lake, he and I switched places. Not only did he paddle the entire time, I haven't had that much fun in a canoe in awhile. Both of us ended the week thrilled with the final canoe trip.
Mike is from Gilford, NH and graduated from Bowdoin College with a major in History and minor in English. Click here to read Mike's bio.
July 20, 2018
As we have officially passed the halfway point of CYSP (Community Youth Sailing Program) summer camp, operations both on and off of the water are running smoothly to accommodate each sailors want for fun and learning. Through hard work, cooperation, and efficiency, the sailing instructors have managed and excelled in leading weeks of full day, mixed boats (Optimist and CJ) courses and more compact half-days consisting of Optimists zipping around Pipers Cove in the mornings and CJs extending around Sunset Point along Perch Island in the afternoons. The joy it brings me each day to provide knowledge and experience to campers and put a smile on their faces cannot be matched and is the reason why I return to Squam Lakes Association each week to teach sailing. While I am extremely grateful to be able to facilitate the growth of campers’ characters and talents, moments like this past Monday, when a camper struggled with the capsize test, overcame their fear, and succeeded, are ones that allow me to see the real results of personal development. With future aspirations to consistently grow CYSP, I hope to be able to expand this plethora of fun and learning to dozens more children in the Squam Lakes Region for summers to come. I look forward to three more weeks of beautiful days on Squam Lake while simultaneously sharing my passion for sailing and maintaining my high expectations of safety and fun!
Morgan currently lives in Gilford, New Hampshire and is studying study business, finance, and entrepreneurship at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Click here to read Morgan's bio.
July 13, 2018
This week in the group Explorer we had some great moments full of laughter, riddles stories and excitement. A moment that stands out the most for me is when we went on our hike to Goodrich rock in Waterville valley, the kids had such a fun time and when we got to our spot there was a ladder we needed to climb to get on top of the rock to see the amazing view. One of our campers was afraid of heights and was very hesitant to go up and come back down but with encouragement he was able to conquer his fear of heights and climb the ladder to reach the top with the rest of the group. He was so happy and proud of himself and it made my day to see his accomplishment.
Nadia is from Michigan. She will be pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood at Plymouth State University this fall. Click here to read Nadia's bio.
July 6, 2018
Hey! I am psyched to be back for another summer of fun. We are two weeks into the summer and it is off to a great start! Each week at JSLA there are three camper groups divided by age. Discovery the youngest, Explorer the second youngest, and Expedition the oldest. Every week each group has two of the six JSLA counselors. This week my co-counselor and I were with Explorer. We had a group of ten campers and one leader in training and to beat the heat, we spent a lot of time on the lake. On Monday we canoed to Bowman Island and spent the day playing games, swimming, and identifying plants. On Tuesday we started the day at Chamberlain Reynolds Memorial Forest and spent the day swimming and exploring the forest. Wednesday was the fourth of July and there was no camp, and Friday was Squam Olympics. Squam Olympics is a camp wide day full of contests and events that happens once or twice a year. This year we competed in a wide range of signature JSLA events such as raccoon races, gladiator, the frozen T-shirt contest, a finger jousting tournament, portrait drawing, plant identification, musical chairs, and canoe races, just to name a few. The day was a huge success, everyone was engaged and invested in the activities and even though everyone did not go home with gold everyone had a blast. We rapped up the day with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and ice cream sundaes. This week was fantastic and I am pumped for Hiking Welsh and Dicky Mountain and spending an overnight on Hoag Island next week. Happy Summer!!
Maggie Grant is from Natick, Massachusetts (near Boston). She is currently a freshman at Colby-Sawyer College in New London New Hampshire. Click here to read Maggie's bio.
June 29, 2018
When I looked at the training week schedule I was surprised to see that we would be having a day of training with Camp Hale, another summer camp sharing our beautiful lake. Despite living in the region for the better part of my adult life, I had never heard of it, which is not all too surprising considering the concentration of summer camps in the lakes region of New Hampshire. Rolling up that Thursday morning, I didn't’t know what to expect. What I got, however, was fantastic. I was impressed by Camp Hale's commitment to creating community with an emphasis on inclusiveness. At the start of the day, I knew none of their counselors, but by the end we were chatting and having fun like we had been friends for years. While there we ran through likely scenarios to prepare us for the camp sessions ahead, as well as having an intense game of freeze tag. Following a family style lunch, the JSLA staff shared environmental knowledge with the Camp Hale staff, passing on to them some fun ecological games/activities that they could use to educate their campers. At the close of the day we gathered around their campfire and sang songs together. It was a fantastic close to the training week, and a great start to my summer.
Eric is from from Meredith, NH. He is currently enrolled in the Bates class of 2020, studying Economics and History. Click here to read Eric's bio.
June 22, 2018
The past two weeks have marked the beginning of another great summer at the JSLA and CYSP day camps! All nine of our counselors have spent the past two weeks training and preparing for campers to arrive on June 25th. This is my third summer working with the JSLA program, and it began like the other two: new counselors and old ones meeting up to prepare for the great summer ahead. In those first days of training, we reminisced about memorable camp days from past summers and played classic camp games as well as introducing some new ones bound to become popular this year. We explored Squam by canoe, prepared our equipment for the summer, and planned fun environmental education activities to do with our campers! One of the moments that really sticks out to me as I reflect on our two weeks of training is when the counselors went out on the lake to practice our t-rescues. For those of you who don't know, t-rescuing is the technique used to right a canoe or kayak that has flipped over. Though we try to avoid it, every summer we have at least a few campers who turn too quickly or are hit by a gust of wind and their kayak flips over! So in order to be prepared for this situation, we took out two canoes and three kayaks and capsized them on purpose to get practice flipping them back over. The practice turned out to be really fun as everyone took a turn pretending to be a camper that had capsized and the other counselors talked them through the process of flipping the boat back over. Everyone was working together and having fun! We even t-rescued a flipped canoe using just one kayak, which everyone agrees is the hardest t-rescue to complete. All of our practice t-rescues were completed in record time and everyone became confident with their skills. It was also a great team-building exercise and helped all the counselors, both returning and first-timers, to create this feeling of a team prepared for the adventures of the summer! We can't wait until Monday, when camp starts for real!
Savannah is from Plymouth, NH. She is a rising senior at the College of William and Mary, where she is double majoring in Geology and Environmental Science.. Click here to read Savannah's bio.
2018 Summer Youth Program Staff Bios
Hi, I’m Autumn! I grew up in the Lakes Region and attended an SLA camp as a kid, making me eager to become a counselor this summer. I will be a sophomore at Boston College majoring in Biology and minoring in Environmental Science. Living at the base of the beautiful White Mountains I have spent most of my youth taking full advantage of the many outdoor activities available, including snowboarding, sailing, and hiking. I love being active and playing sports. I have participated in everything from competitive gymnastics to ice hockey. This past year I was also on my university sailing team. I look forward to sharing my knowledge of the biological sciences and love for the outdoors with the campers as we explore nature and sail!
Hi, I'm Eric Glover. I am from Meredith, NH, and am currently enrolled in the Bates class of 2020. I am an Economics major and History minor. I like to spend my free time reading, hiking and biking, but never all three at once! As much as I love the summer, my favorite time of year is the winter, when I play hockey for my college team and can go skiing in the free time. This will be my second summer working with the Squam Lakes Association, as I was a conservation intern last year.
Hello, my name is Maggie Grant, and I’m from Natick, Massachusetts (near Boston). I spend my summers at my grandfather’s house in New Hampshire. I'm currently a freshman at Colby-Sawyer College in New London New Hampshire; this will be my third summer working as an Environmental Leader at JSLA, and I am pumped for it! I'm psyched to spend another great summer going on hikes, going swimming, playing games, and going on overnights on the islands! Some of my favorite things to do are swimming, skiing, reading, going for walks, and just spending time outside. I also love pizza, lemonade, making chocolate mousse, watching movies, frying eggs, and hanging out with animals. Nothing compares to spending a summer adventuring and learning on Squam Lake!
Hi! My name is Michael Czerwinski. I'm a Bowdoin College graduate with a major in history and minor in english. I was a camper here with the SLA for several years and have been a returning leader here for several years. My many years of experience here have only expanded my love of Squam and I'm excited to continue working with the JSLA to spread an appreciation and love of the outdoors. In my free time I enjoy writing, reading, hiking and just generally engaging with the outdoors.
Hi, I'm Morgan! I grew up in Poland, Switzerland, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, Finland, and the United States. I currently reside in Gilford, New Hampshire, but I attend Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts where I study business, finance, and entrepreneurship with the intention of entering the banking world post-graduation. In 2017, I graduated from high school at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. I have been sailing for my entire life, but in the past 13 years I have had the opportunity to enjoy sailing on Lake Winnipesaukee and for the past three years I have instructed at the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association. This upcoming season will be my first as Lead Instructor at the Squam Lakes Association. Aside from sailing and other outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and boating, I play hockey, baseball, and lacrosse.
Hello! My name is Nadia Minart, I was born and raised in Michigan. My family is originally from France, and I am bilingual in both French and English. I have an associates degree in Early childhood Education, and I will be pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood at Plymouth State University for the Fall of 2018. I am an avid tennis player and love being outside whether it is hiking, swimming, or canoeing. This is my second year at Squam lakes camps and I am extremely excited to be back!
Hello! I'm Savannah, and I am a rising senior at the College of William and Mary, where I'm double majoring in Geology and Environmental Science. This is my third year as a counselor for JSLA, and I am delighted to be back for another summer of fun adventures! I grew up one town over in Plymouth, NH and was a camper at JSLA for five years. In my free time, I love to go hiking and cross-country skiing, and I love finding good live music. This spring, I spent a semester studying sustainability in Australia, and feel free to ask me all about it!
Hi, my name is Sawyer. I grew up in Plymouth, NH and just graduated from Plymouth Regional High School. In high school I played soccer, lacrosse, and was the captain of the nordic ski team. I am now a freshmen at Montana State University and am studying civil engineering. Last year I worked in the kitchen at the Squam Lakes Inn. I have been at JSLA and CYSP each year since third grade. I spend a lot of my spare time outside doing things such as skiing, hiking, biking, camping and kayaking.
Hi! My name is Sophie Coolidge. While from Middleburg, VA, I just graduated from boarding school in Newport, RI and have been going to Squam in the summers since I was a baby. Squam has been an extremely influential part of my identity: basically everything I love is linked with the lake. This fall, I'll be starting college at Davidson College in NC as a freshman and hopefully majoring in Environmental Science. I've been babysitting kids for
years now and know the lake really well, so I thought that this job would be perfect for me! I love baking, reading, traveling, doing crosswords, playing tennis, and being outdoors. My favorite book is Lab Girl, and my spirit animal is a sea star.