Vega is my summer home

Written by Michelle Tolson (2nd from left), longtime Vega Dance Director, and more recently Social Media and Marketing Director. Before her years at Vega, Michelle was a Radio City Rockette and also Miss New Hampshire. Michelle continues to teach dance in the NYC area. Seen here in 2018 with Vega Activity Directors, Scott Hall – Land Sports, Christine Barnard – Gymnastics, Quito Freitas – Tennis, and Anthony Adams – Water Ski

People often ask me why I spend my summers at Vega.  The answer is simple.  Vega is my summer home.

I started working at Vega in the summer of 2003 after answering an ad in a NY newspaper looking for a director of dance.  I had never been to camp and was excited about an opportunity to get out of the heat of NYC for a summer.  Little did I know I would spend 16 summers there.

One of my favorite things about Vega is its inclusivity. My first summer at camp, I was one of a handful of people of color.  This didn’t bother me as I am originally from NH, so that was the norm for me.  As the years have passed, I have noticed the change in the climate at camp.  Every year there are more campers and staff of color attending, applying and working at camp. We have international staff and international campers, and we are doing everything we can to help them return safely to Vega this summer.  Multiple languages can be heard around camp at any given time.  I learn something new every summer from the campers and staff about countries and places in the US I have yet to visit.

Vega has also made me a better teacher.  I have learned how to handle any situation, including first aid, if need be.  I teach campers from ages 7-15 of all levels during the summer, hold auditions for my two dance companies, as well as direct and produce our end of summer show.  I love the relationships I am able to establish with my dancers and their parents year after year.  I love watching my dancers push themselves to places they didn’t know they could go.  I am a proud peacock watching my dancers on show night!

Vega has also added friendships to my life that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.  I look forward to my summers as much as the campers.  I have friends around the world now that I only get to see at Vega.  I know the campers get excited as they pass through the gates on Echo Lake Road, but I get the exact same feeling when I arrive at camp.  I am so excited to see the people that I work with closely all summer and catch up.  Don’t be fooled, leadership staff is just as giddy as the campers during pre-camp on arrival day!

I think the biggest reason I come back though, is because Vega is my second family.  I am surrounded by people that believe in me, in what I do and who I am.  What other job can you say that about?

This summer will mark my 16th and I am proud to say the Vega is my summer home. And we are counting the days to when we can finally welcome the 2021 Vega campers and staff to their summer home very soon!

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