It’s amazing how much a life can change in the course of a summer.
For generations, young people have spent their summers at camps. They’ve had fun, tried some different things and made some friends. Some of those friendships last a lifetime.
“It gives kids a chance to grow,” said Sean Effel, the co-director of the Cambridge Camping Association. “The kids who meet at summer camp often go to college together and help each other get jobs later in life.”
For more than a century, the mission of Cambridge Camping Association has been to help children from Cambridge and Somerville who may not have otherwise had that opportunity to enjoy a summer camp experience and all the benefits that go with it.
This summer, the day camps will be in Concord for the first time, with Nashoba Brooks School hosting 128 children in grades K-8 from July 10 to Aug. 11 and an additional 30 campers with special needs will stay for another week.
“There are a lot of speciality camps out there,” Effel said. “There’s sports camps and technical camps and arts camps. We’re a traditional day camp, with arts, performing arts, sports and daily activities.”
What’s different with this camp is that the campers would not be able to attend a summer camp if not for this program.
“Just about all of the campers qualify for free lunches at school,” said Sean Ring, a Concord resident and the vice president of Commercial Strategy and Planning for Xiliotx Therapeutics, Inc, a company that has provided assistance for Cambridge Camping. “It gives them a chance to be close to nature.”
And that is for many of these campers a new experience.
“The kids who have grown up in Cambridge and Somerville sometimes have an anxiety about being in the woods,” Effel said.
Some of the other programs that get the children to experience nature are a presentation from Curious Creatures, and Parkour and orienteering sessions.
A tennis coach is also going to be available to introduce the youths to that sport.
Cambridge Camping was founded in 1893, when children from those towns made the trip to farmlands in Belmont.
With less farmland available in Belmont these days, the program moved into some buildings in Cambridge and Somerville before landing at Nashoba Brooks this year.
The day-to-day operations of the camp are run by Katiana Nicolas, who is the Adventure Program Director who grew up in Cambridge, and Shilpa Kulkarni, who has worked at the Acton Discovery Museum.
This summer, Cambridge Camping is looking for counselors. Typically, they must be at least 18, though a limited number may be as young as 16. The counselors will go through training in safety and behavioral issues from July 3-7.
“Hiring seasonal staff is always a challenge,” Effel said.
For more information on working as a counselor for Cambridge Camping Association, please visit CambridgeCamping.org.