We hear it all the time:

“Saltash Mountain Camp changed my life”
“It’s unexplainable how much my kids love this place”
“What’s your secret?”

Our secret sauce is not a secret (nor a sauce) and it’s not just great times playing games, skill-building, or even an awesome sunrise from a New England peak. The greatest impact camp has is woven through all that campers do and experience.

If you asked a camper, “what do you do at camp” they’ll likely tell you it’s skits, music, chores, nature connection, and trips. Though they’d be correct in their answer, they likely would feel like this was not a complete description of what REALLY happens. So, what really happens?

From the time each camper arrives, we work to genuinely encourage them to be themselves. Campers are quickly swept up in playful energy that says, “who you are is great with us.” This truly safe space encourages camper to be their best selves.

In the cabin and on the trail, campers find that what they say and do is valued and appreciated. Early on in the session, the campers are given the opportunity to own their struggles and imperfections. I hear again and again that letting peers know their fears, faults, self-judgments and having them accepted is the single most meaningful experience of trust-building throughout the summer. After this level of openness campers may feel unsure if peers are going to use what they shared against them or talk behind their back, and instead find hugs, love, and acceptance because the community knows more about who they really are. This provides a great first step or simply a solid reinforcement toward campers feeling like they deserve to be loved. Campers make this clear as they encourage each other to be ‘unapologetically themselves.’

‘Life of the Spirit’ at Saltash Mountain Camp is about campers feeling safe enough to love and feel loved. Vulnerability and fearlessly loving ourselves and those around us is not easy to practice. Those capable of love and feeling loved must first feel they deserve it. This need to hide and unwillingness to be vulnerable is even developmentally stronger in teens, leaving too many of us feeling unconnected during a time when we need it most. As a result, some teens don’t openly ask for help or willingly try new things in which they may fail.

Personally, at 12-years-old, more things about me felt wrong than right, so it is wonderful to be a part of a place that works so hard to embolden self-esteem within our campers and staff.

A recent camper shared,

“Throughout my first year at camp, I started being more comfortable with being more social with people. Before that I was always scared of how people would see me and judge me and that’s why I never talked with people. My first year was an introduction to it, then my second year at Saltash Mountain I was friends with everyone at camp. It really taught me that I can just talk with anyone and no one will judge me as long as I am nice to them. That is one of the most important things that camp taught me. Camp helped me open up about myself.”

Life of the Spirit is strong at Saltash Mountain Camp and incredible to be a part of.

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