Every Summer has a Story: Learning, Growing, and Becoming a Better Person


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

Gracyn, Age 6

“When I sent Gracyn to summer camp for the first time, I thought I understood the ESF experience already. (After all, I had been a Recruiting Director for ESF for several years.) But when she came home from her first day at ESF Mini Camp at age 3, I realized there is something so much more powerful and special about being a camper than I could have ever imagined. As a Mini Camper her first summer, I immediately saw how happy and energized she was. As she got older and moved into Day Camp, she talked about camp from the moment I picked her up— about her counselors and her friends and the amazing things she did.

Now after watching her go through the past few summers at camp, I’ve seen such a profound change in her. She was a Day Camp Scout one week, so she had an opportunity to be a leader. She swam every day. By the end of the summer she was swimming from one end of the pool to the other. But more than that, ESF has helped her develop personally in ways that absolutely amazed me.

I had always thought of her as shy, but when the Day Camp Shows came around, I saw how much she came out of her shell. She’d come home to rehearse her songs and practice her dances, and when I went to the show I saw her on stage with this sense of confidence I had never seen before. She has this love for theater that I didn’t realize existed (or at least to that extent), and ESF helped her tap into that.

I knew that ESF has eight core virtues, and they don’t just talk about these virtues; they live them. I see it in the way my daughter interacts with us and with her friends, and it’s something she brings with her to our house and into her school year. Last year she won the Certificate of Excellence Award for being Respectful, Responsible, Safe and Caring in her Kindergarten class. As a parent, it was one of my proudest moments. Everyone wants their child to be a good person. I knew that so many of those characteristics came in part from her time at camp because that’s so much of what ESF stands for.

All I want is for my daughter to be healthy and happy. And as a working mom, it’s great being able to drop her off in a safe environment and know that she’ll become a stronger swimmer, create something in arts in crafts, run around and play sports and do science experiments all in the same day. The way I see it, she’s spending her summer learning, growing, and becoming a better person. The way she sees it, she’s making friends and having a lot of fun. Everyone is happy, and I love that.”

-Mary, ESF Episcopal Parent

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