We are just past the 100 day countdown until we get to be at camp with all of you! Planning has been nonstop as our excitement rises for the summer. With the first-year camper get together under two months away, we are so excited to welcome these campers into Vega’s community. Embarking upon a sleepover summer camp journey is a big step, and we know the most important thing is for everyone to feel nurtured and welcome.
One of the best traditions Vega has is the Big/Little Camp Sister program. In April, first year campers are paired with an older girl at camp to create a connection and bond before the season starts. The Camp Big Sisters are equally as excited to get to know their Camp Little Sisters. They have been waiting for the opportunity to help acclimate and develop a love for Vega since they were new, and often young, campers. This enables the first year campers to feel comfortable upon arrival. The older camp sisters visit regularly to check-in and hang out. At the beginning of the summer, we dedicate a lawn lunch as a Camp Sister Lawn Lunch (lawn lunch is when everyone eats outside on the Dining Hall Deck and lawn, and most lunches during the summer are lawn lunches). Camp sisters can be seen enjoying their lunches together and dancing on the deck. This unique support system can be a huge help, especially at the most sensitive times such as the beginning of camp and Visiting Day.
For our new campers who are a bit older (finishing 5th grade and above), rather than assigning a Camp Big Sister, we pair them with a Tamary Mentor (Tamary being the oldest age group). This provides a similar support system and familiarity upon arrival as the Camp Sister program, and allows new campers to get to know more about their new summer home from those who know it best.
Another tradition that makes Vega a warm and loving environment for both campers and staff is the Golden Loon Award. Introduced in 2015, Golden Loon Awards (or “GLAs”) recognize campers and staff for actions which help others – random acts of kindness if you will. Here’s how it works: if you see someone doing something nice for someone else, or if someone does something nice or helpful for you, you can fill out a GLA Nomination Slip outside the Dining Hall. When campers or staff members gets three nominations, they are recognized and awarded a GLA bracelet at Sunset Circle, our all-camp community camp fire.
Recognizing those who go out of their way to help others reinforces the values of kindness and gratitude, which are the bedrock of what makes Vega a nurturing summer home. GLAs also empowers campers and staff to not only find ways to help others, but also to always be on the lookout to “catch someone doing good.” We can’t wait to give out even more GLA bracelets in 2017!
Thank you to this blog’s contributor, Vega camper and staff Alumna, Jackie Rothberg!