Over the years we have had hundreds of families say kind words about SNC. As Camp Directors often we get a written note with a positive word, or some kind thoughts on the phone how we have made a positive impact on a child's life. Here we have 3 families who tell their story how SNC has become a tradition and something they value in their child's personal growth and development. To us, these testimonials validate what we are doing at SNC and bring a tear to our eyes.
Jeff & Lonnie Lorenz
A Mom's Thoughts About SNC
My first batch of kids (28 and 24 now) attended Swift Nature Camp directed by Lonnie and Jeff Lorenz who live in Oak Brook. Many summers of a natural 'kid med' are some of their fondest memories. Their faces still light up when we talk about it and revisit the 'camp movies'. My eldest went on to be a counselor and loved it. Campers and counselors come from all over the world which adds depths of understanding for everyone.
Mom Puts Trust In SNC
Swift Nature Camp has been a favorite childhood experience for my boys each summer since 2003. I trust the directors, I adore the counselors, I appreciate the outside active fun, and I love the gorgeous setting. And, I love that it's cheaper than my daughter's camp! Swimming, canoeing, fishing, tubing, riflery, archery, crafts, camp fires, camping trips, clowning, & good ol' capture the flag in the woods are some of what my kids love about Swift.
The break from school kids, family life, and electronics gives them the awesome experience of pursuing new and different activities with fresh, friendly kids that just want to have fun without the drama. Not once in our 12 sessions did I receive a letter from the boys feeling down at camp. In fact, when they came home, they always said they wanted to stay longer next time. I'd love for you to learn more about this camp in Minong, Wisconsin. It has been a key factor in shaping my kids into the people I love today. Check it out.
Molly Martin Stewart
Why the World Needs Summer Camp: An Essay to ParentsIt is not easy for parents to make the decision to send their child away into the waiting arms of strangers who promise to take care of them — people who promise to show them the wonders of nature, fun, new skills, and friendships. As a parent of two children, even I struggle with the idea, and I have been around summer camps my entire life.
The world needs the next generation to be more tolerant of each other’s views, ideology, and beliefs. Summer camp is an opportunity for children to be exposed to the best of human character. Carefully selected role models are dedicated to showing your child how to have fun, learn from others, and make friends in person rather than online. Camp allows kids to meet people from all over the world, every race, culture, and socioeconomic level. I still remember one of my counselors, Danny, from England, explaining to me, “The world is full of excuses. It doesn’t matter where you came from or what has happened to you. At the end of the day you choose how you treat others.”
There is something magical about a summer camp experience. Each and every camp in the world is different. Not merely because of geography or location, but because of the traditions and people who have touched the camp. Every camp has hidden treasures of history and traditions that give it character and identity.
Every staff member, alumni camper, and volunteer has memories associated with their time at their camp — memories that stay with them for their lifetime. Most people remember with fondness the coun¬selors, cabins, camp food, camp outs, and special happenings of their time.
Camp is an independent experience that shapes one’s character and life — a controlled, safe environment where children and youth are able to make their own decisions about simple things (what activity they want to do, how many s’mores they want to make, or what clothes they are going to wear) and about important things (who they will hang out with . . . who will be their friends).
Camp is a place where kids interact with people face-to-face and, at the same time, learn about themselves and others around a camp fire, under the stars, or sitting around a dining hall table. Camp allows the idea of boarding the train to Hogwarts to go from fantasy to reality — children find a world filled with possibilities unavailable to them in everyday life.
Camps give kids a chance to practice being the best they can be. They experience a place designed to create happy memories and encourage self-expression. They have the opportunity to climb towers, ride horses, shoot an arrow, and even experience the success of winning the big game! It stays with them forever. Kids will learn from a full range of emotions and human experi¬ences including homesickness, friendship, disagreements, team work, frustrations, jubilant success, and more.
As parents, our hopes and jobs are to ready our kids to be productive, independent, and capable people — to prepare them to thrive without us. Camp offers a way for kids to start developing those skills in the best possible environment. It makes me a bit sad every time my son runs off to join his cabin group without even a look back . . . and at the same time, I burst with pride watching him growing into a happy, independent, tolerant, open, confident, and capable person. I know that we will have plenty to talk about when he gets home from camp. I also know he will remember the trust and gift of his time at camp, and it will add to him for the rest of his life.
There is so much competition for our children’s time in the summer — sports practices, summer school, well-deserved vacations. But let’s not forget the value of a camp experience — camp is a gift we can give our children that they will benefit from and remember forever. If ever there was a time when the world needed a generation of future leaders who understood the intrica¬cies of living in a community, having toler¬ance, and being open — that time is now.
Jeff Merhige- Originally published in the Camping Magazine.