Posts Tagged ‘Aloha Foundation’

The Significance of Letter-Writing and Summer Camp


Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

letterA few days before my daughter leaves for her third summer at Aloha Hive, I tell her she does not need to write to me.  I understand that writing letters home from camp is kind of a chore, and I want her to enjoy her time and not be burdened.

Two minutes later, her father takes her aside and tells her that she has to write to me twice a week or else for every time I wonder aloud whether she is okay, she’ll babysit her little sister one hour.

“The letters don’t have to be long,” he tells her.  “Just tell her you are alive and fine.”

The first night she is gone, I set down to write to her. (more…)

Can Summer Camp Provide a College Advantage For Some Children?


Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Aloha Camper Winships“I bet your daughter went to overnight summer camp.”

This comment was directed to the mother of a thriving college freshman.  The speaker went on to say, ” I have noticed that my daughter’s friends who had strong freshman years all went to overnight camp at some point. The ones that really struggled did not.”

How does a summer as a child spent at a residential summer camp prepare the college freshman to be resilient and happy?



How Do The Staff of the Aloha Camps Ensure Campers’ Success?


Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Aloha Camp Vermont Success CounselingTwo weeks from today, on June 27th, hundreds of excited children will arrive at Aloha, Hive and Lanakila on Opening Day, ready for weeks of fun away from home.  A week or so later, Horizons Day Camp will welcome its first session of campers. As far as all these children know, the counselors and staff turned up just the day before, perhaps setting up tents, dusting off songbooks, unpacking some art supplies and waiting for campers to arrive. Little do campers, or even parents know, the amount of preparation that will have occurred to make our Fairlee, Vermont campuses ready for a “best summer ever.”  The magic of a summer at one of the Aloha Camps is not only about the fun of each camp day, but also about the many ways that counselors work to emotionally support and nurture campers. (more…)

Spring Vacation Camp Returns to Hulbert!


Friday, April 6th, 2012

Hulbert Outdoor Center Ropes CourseThe first time Jason Knowles took a job at Aloha Camp, in 1997, he was single and had no children of his own. The next summer, he returned to Aloha and met a fellow counselor, Katie Pilcher, daughter of former Lanakila director Paul Pilcher. A few years later, Jason and Katie held their wedding reception at Hulbert Outdoor Center. So when Jason returned to The Aloha Foundation full-time in January 2012 as Director of Hulbert Outdoor Center, he brought a sense of the center’s long history with him. The family also brought two young children and a deepening sense of the rhythms and openings in the school year.

“We looked at our programs with regard to the needs of parents,” he said, as well as in the context of a broader goal of tying Aloha more closely to Upper Valley communities. “One of the questions that comes up for parents is what to do for school vacations.” It didn’t take long to decide to hold a spring vacation day camp at Hulbert for the first time in more than a decade. (more…)

Sound of Silence


Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Vermont's Aloha Camps Even in March, there is plenty of activity in Fairlee, Vermont. Although the population around Lakes Morey and Fairlee is certainly less than it will be in July and August, late winter brings School Program and weekend groups to Hulbert,and plenty of skaters and fishermen to the frozen lake surfaces.  In spite of the presence of schoolchildren, skaters and winter enthusiasts, there is always a sense of quiet around our campuses, even in the height of summer when our hillsides and waterfronts are busiest.  Those of us who spend all year in Fairlee sometimes take the quiet for granted, and relish returning to it after a trip “away.” (more…)

Ohana Camp, Hulbert, and all of Aloha bids farewell to Deb & Andy Williams


Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Deb & Andy WilliamsAs we ring in 2012, Aloha bids farewell to two people who, as much as anyone over the past quarter-century, have embodied The Aloha Foundation’s spirit and traditions. Deb and Andy Williams, who ran Hulbert Outdoor Center for two decades and Ohana Family Camp for the past six years — are retiring. They’ve introduced hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people to the Aloha experience during their time here, and broadened that experience to include people of all ages.

On a still-warm day in December, they sat in the sunroom of their Norwich, Vermont home and reflected on their own Aloha experience. Not surprisingly, they talked a lot about their work at Ohana, the family camp they helped build over the past decade.

“One has very few opportunities in a career to start something from scratch,” said Andy. (more…)

How wizards spend a hot summer’s day at Horizons Day Camp


Monday, December 12th, 2011

Vermont's Horizons Day Camp plays QuidditchImagine if Hogwarts had a day camp for aspiring young wizards. That thought wasn’t too far a stretch one afternoon this past summer at Horizons. It was “choice” period at Horizons, the only non-residential camp of The Aloha Foundation. On a broad grassy playing field, Chipmunks to Falcons — campers ranging in age from kindergarten graduates to nearly-out-of-middle-schoolers — were preparing for an important match. They wriggled into green or yellow pinneys and chose carefully among a pile of brightly colored swim noodles. Some of the children taped big letters — B, C, K — to their pinneys. At the ends of the playing field, three tall wooden stakes held hula hoops aloft — yellow, pale green, and, higher than the other two, pink. Together, the stakes and the upended hoops looked like enormous bubble wands — but were actually goals for the quaffle. The lettered pinneys stood for Bludgers, Chasers and Keepers. And the field was set for an all-out, campers against counselors, game of Quidditch. (more…)

A Hive Mother Answers Frequently-Asked Questions


Monday, September 5th, 2011

Vermont's Aloha Hive allows young girls a safe environment in which to test their wings

Each day at Hive is filled with adventures AND hugs

“Who sends a seven year-old to camp?”

I start with this question because I got it a lot when I made the decision to send my daughter for her Elfin summer — and I repeatedly asked it of myself when I was packing her trunk.  “Who sends a seven year-old off to camp?”

But the decision to do it was actually very easy: my daughter has always had a daring spirit and when she heard that there were places for kids to go adventuring by themselves away from their families, she was thrilled.  My husband and I could have said, “No, wait until you are older,” but we wanted to encourage her.  We were frank with her about the challenges — yes, she would probably have moments of wanting to go home.  That was normal. How was she going to handle it? we asked.  She would talk to her counselor, she said, and find something to keep her busy.  Good plan, we said.  At worst, we told her, you’ll have ten days that were harder than you expected but you will come home proud that you tried something new.


Behind the Scenes of an Aloha Tradition


Friday, July 22nd, 2011
Director Downey watches the performance

Director Downey watches Friday night's performance.

Anne Downey, Department Head of Aloha’s Performing Arts Department, had just called a short break from rehearsals for this year’s show, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and the Hale, Aloha’s music building was quiet and almost empty. In two days, families and friends would arrive for Show Weekend and the back-to-back musical performances that have become a much anticipated and grand Aloha tradition. Downey gave the confident, matter-of-fact sense that she’d been through this nervous period before and that this year’s cast would be just fine. Still, she was now counting the remaining preparation in hours.

Some girls shuffled off to the main building to refill water bottles. Others retreated to shade under trees or on the porch. A heat wave was cresting over New England, spreading even as far north as Fairlee. Every door in the building stood wide open to welcome small gusts coming off Lake Morey or slight forest breezes. Downey waved her copy of the script like a thick fan and explained that after the break, the cast would do a complete run-through of the show. “We want them to see what they can do,” Downey said. “We have girls on lights, backstage, on stage. This is big-girl camp. Every girl plays an important role.” (more…)

Pulling as One


Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
Beginner rowing at Aloha Camp for girls

Beginners get one-on-one coaching on the Aloha crew dock

Aloha Camp was in full summer swing last week, one perfect day following another. On Tuesday afternoon, the sun beamed down full, adding sparkle to Lake Morey’s brilliant blue. Four campers walked down to the lake past the ARC (Aloha Rowing Club), where Aloha Crew counselors Emma and Arielle waited for them on a short dock.

Among the colorful beach towels draped over dock posts and the boisterous splashing of swimmers, the girls gathered around a sleek, gray, metal rowing machine. Harper settled into its sliding seat. The rowing machine, a Concept 2 ergometer, mimics the action of rowing. Olympic and collegiate crews train on Concept 2 ergometers year-round. While other campers watched, Arielle talked Harper through the sequence. Harper grasped a handle connected to a coiled chain inside the flywheel of the “erg” and pushed her hands away from her body — “as if they’re going across a little tabletop and then coming back underneath it,” said Arielle, impressing upon Harper the importance of keeping her hands level. “We don’t want any divots in the table.” Next Harper leaned her upper body forward, maintaining the extension of her arms. Finally, Arielle asked Harper to add legs to the sequence. The camper slid all the way to the front of her slide until her body was tightly compressed at what rowers call “the catch.” On Arielle’s command, Harper uncoiled in the reverse sequence, pushing down her legs, unfolding her back, and pulling her arms and the handle in above her waist. The flywheel whirred. (more…)