I wish every kid could have such an opportunity

Holiday Greetings from Cragged Mountain Farm!

I am overjoyed at how many campers are signed up for Summer 2018 considering we have not even entered the new year yet. That being said, please keep telling your friends and family about us. We want Summer 2018 to be the best yet and that is made possible with all your help and support in the far reaching branches of the Cragged Community. There are a lot of amazing things planned for the summer, so get excited!
Today I wanted to focus on 3 benefits of sleepaway summer camp and, more specifically of course, why CMF fits the bill!
  • First and foremost, the friendships you make can last a lifetime. That is not an overstatement. What you experience at camp is so different from your day-to-day life and so adventure driven that it cannot be compared to what kids do during the academic year. You are tested as a member of a community, a teammate, and as a friend on the side of a mountain telling your cabin-mate that they can make it to the top. The bonding that can only occur through shared experience is unmatched; at CMF we send kids out on backpacking, canoeing, and rock climbing trips where they have the opportunity to be their true selves, which often means creating stronger friendships. Camp friendships stand the test of time. If anything I’m writing on this post is true, then this is.
  • The skills acquired by living away from home are crucial. Independence and self-reliance with respect to navigating day-to-day camp life are huge assets. Counselors are there to care for the campers, but they are not parents and camp does not have the same rules as at home. Campers have to adapt and reason their way through their new environment. The parallel to draw here is moving away to college. Kids who went to sleepaway camp have the upper hand in adjusting to living in a new place and with roommates. Our counselors at CMF are all trained in behavior management during their pre-camp instruction so as to be best equipped to guide their campers through a fulfilling summer. Giving kids room to grow, however, is one of our most practiced values, which is achieved through camp life and our wilderness trips.
  • No phones, no computers, and no TV! The world we live in is filled with technology that is readily accessible to kids. Stagnant lives, especially during the summer, are not the way to go. Physiologically, our bodies our made to move, to exercise, which is why life at CMF and our wilderness trips are so important. There are 3 meals and a 2 hour rest period every day, but otherwise campers are running around playing, hiking, canoeing, climbing, etc. A break from technology does a world of good. At CMF campers live in rustic cabins without electricity or access to phones, computers, or television; their only means of communication with the outside world is through hand written letters. Not only is it a good cleanse, but it is also important to address the fact that you do not have to be fully reliant on your devices to navigate your day-to-day life at home.
Let’s face it. Camp is good for kids! As biased as we all are, Cragged does offer a very unique experience. We have a versatile wilderness program that focuses on backpacking, canoeing, and rock climbing in the New England wildernesses, a top notch wilderness staff, an on-site farm, basic living with respect to sleeping in screened-in cabins without electricity or access to technology, and the space for kids to grow as individuals.
The passage below is from a past camper and staff member, Luke, who articulated what Cragged Mountain Farm meant to him growing up and what it still means to him today.
CMF may literally be my favorite place on the planet. What was so magical about CMF when I was a child was how readily I was accepted into this quirky, active, creative and fun community. I had mixed feelings about school.  I was a shy kid who was mostly ignored and sometimes picked on. I had my friends, but I didn’t enjoy school, and had learned to be wary of meeting new kids. Until I came to Cragged I didn’t know it was possible to fit in, to be wholly accepted, and to just be able to be myself without fear or embarrassment.  It sounds trite, but it really felt like home.
I could (and do, often) regale anyone who’ll listen about all the wild adventures I had on hiking and canoeing trips at Cragged. Beautiful ridgeline hikes, breathtaking views, jumping in ice cold water on a hot day after hours schlepping a heavy framepack up a steep mountain, slogging through mud and rain so miserable you can only laugh, and that amazing feeling of arriving back at camp having spent three or four glorious days in the wilderness, together and alive.  
But really the best of all were those quiet times at camp. Sitting around Counselor’s Circle talking to a camper or a counselor I’d never talked to before, about something new and interesting I never knew about. Sitting on the Playhouse porch listening to the crickets, with quiet guitars strumming in the background, an impromptu game of hula hoops, tetherball, or frisbee. The joy of unstructured time – not so much you didn’t know what to do with yourself – but just enough that you had the chance to daydream, to be creative, to just…be. It was glorious. I wish every kid could have such an opportunity.
Luke’s sentiments toward what Cragged did for him as a kid really struck me. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a lot of what Luke felt when I was a camper myself. There’s something really special about CMF and the people you have the pleasure of experiencing it with. What do you think? Send your stories along. Tell everyone you know about Cragged like Luke and many of us do!
A very Happy New Year to you all! The first day of camp is 6 months from today.
Max

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