A kayak trip is part of the training for CITs

Vershire Summer Camp Is Coming!

Submitted 2 years ago
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It's Time for Campers, CITs and Counselors to Register

From Chipmunks to Bobcats and Otters, kids five and older can find a place at the week-long Vershire Summer Camp. The ages are divided into groups represented by animals, and offered age-appropriate activities, one in the mornings and another in the afternoons.

Activities for Chipmunks, aged 5-7, include Ponds & Streams, Native American Studies, Amazing Arts, and Afternoons at Backyard Camp.  Bobcats, ages 8-12, select from Horse Sense, Ninja Adventure, Outdoor Skills, Gaming Unplugged, Herbal Fun, and Native American Studies.

One thing Camp Director Andrea Harrington is really excited about is “bringing back Otter Adventure Camp. We’re really excited to have the off-site piece the week before camp, combining with CIT training.” The Otters are a group of eight 11 and 12-year-old campers who will join the eight Counselors-in-Training for their OLW, along with several Counselors, and trip leaders Bonna Wieler, Andrea Harrington and Aaron Hoopes.

Kids from 13-15 can become Counselors-In-Training before going on to be full-fledged Counselors at age 16. The CIT training begins with an Outdoor Leadership Week or OLW, which includes a 3-day camping trip with kayaking and hiking as well as team-building and leadership activities. This takes place prior to the start of camp and helps build skills, confidence and momentum toward supervising the actual campers.

“We’re really lucky to have a lot of kids who return year after year,” Andrea relates. Many returning staff also provide workshops for the kids each year. Aurora Berger will once again support the camp as Assistant Director.

This year there is a new addition with Suzanne “Zanni” Lacey bringing her knowledge of herbal skills to the Herbal Fun group with nature hikes and opportunities for the kids to make products like salves and lip balm. This supports the camp’s mission to provide environmental education as well as entertainment to the campers.

As an adult volunteer activity leader, I have found the Counselors and CITs to be invaluable assistants in supporting the campers and each other, helping campers to engage with the activities, which generally center around horses in my group, and learning something themselves. The older kids are clearly well-trained and also individually motivated and personable, making sure important peripheral aspects like first-aid kits and snacks are routinely covered so I can focus on the workshop. I have also enjoyed the camper-to-counselor transition in my group.

On another personal note, I am deeply grateful for the opportunities Vershire Summer Camp offered my son, Mojo. He was a camper, then a Counselor, both of which provided great growing experiences for him.
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Mojo now reflects, “It’s a great way for young people to practice wearing a different kind of hat as a teenager, being a CIT and Counselor. It’s a great way to practice that next role as a leader within a supporting community.  I remember being a Counselor and working with Pat Barnes, and how the respect I was shown was also really encouraging. It’s definitely a place for younger people to find that leadership empowerment, and as a camper it offers a really diverse range of things to do.”

Many of the Counselors and CITs are former campers who continue to advance through the ranks, so there really is opportunity for kids of all ages to participate, culminating in the paid position of Counselor, which makes VerShare the largest employer of teens in the town.

Due to the limited size of the staff and facilities, and VerShare’s mission to support the Vershire community, students who are residents of Vershire and West Fairlee will be accepted first, followed by campers from other towns.

While the camp is free to all participants, donations are gratefully accepted, and are tax deductible. Funding for the camp relies primarily on grants, fundraising activities such as the Snowshoe-a-thon and private donations to the VerShare Children’s Activity Fund.  Donations of fresh, healthy food for the salad bar are also appreciated as is volunteer time. This year there will be an online option to sign up for volunteer projects like setting up before camp and cleaning up after, so watch the Vershire list serv and dailyUV.com for this opportunity.

The camp will be held 8:30-3:30 Monday, July 10 through Friday, July 14. Friday afternoon there will be an all-camp family celebration from 4:00 to 6:00 during which campers will share what they've learned. Andrea explains that “it’s hard to not overlap with something, there are so many things happening in our area,” from other camps to Westshire’s Summer Scapes.

Registration is now open for Vershire Summer Camp with forms available on the new VerShare website. Please note the different deadlines for different applications. CIT or counselor applications are due May 20, which is coming up fast. The camper deadline for registration is May 31.

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