Every Summer Has a Story: A Place for Teens to Thrive


Whether your camper has discovered a new interest, met a new friend, bonded with a counselor or considered ESF a home away from home, we know that every summer has a story. 

Sophia: 13 years old

My daughter grew up with ESF Summer Camps. Sophia started as a Day Camper, and seven years later she is a creative, outgoing, fun-loving Senior Camper who continues to take advantage of every opportunity that ESF has to offer.

Sophia has loved ESF since the very first day she came to camp. As an artistic and adventurous kid, she was excited to have the chance to try something new every day. What’s been really exciting for me is the way I’ve seen her grow as a person every summer, learning a variety of skills, making new friends, and getting to explore new interests.

Because of the Day Camp shows, she performed in throughout the years, she found a love of theatre. Now, she spends a few weeks in the theatre Major Camp every summer. As a mom, I obviously focused on my own child during the performances, but it was also great to see the way she was able to work with a group of campers to create something special together. I love that she steps up to the challenge to learn her lines or try a new song. For me, it’s such a magical moment to see how much fun and enjoyment she has on stage.

On the same note, she has developed her leadership skills through various traditions and opportunities that camp has provided. She has always been someone who loves to give back, and she has really thrived being able to participate in the Apprentice Program where she mentors Day Campers and participates in community service projects. This summer, the campers collected supplies for a local animal shelter, and it was such a meaningful way for her to showcase her values and show leadership skills while having a positive impact on the community. Between these activities and serving in the role of Day Camp Scout and Senior Camp Ambassador over the years, the programs at ESF have provided my child with unique opportunities to grow and develop valuable life skills.

We started coming to ESF because of parent recommendations, and more importantly because the program times worked well with my work schedule. But we come back year after year because it is a wonderful, safe environment where Sophia has thrived.

-Kelly, ESF Gilman Parent

This summer, let us be a part of your story.