June 15th, 2014
On My Mind

Set Up Camp

© Aloha Hive

Today, I am taking my older daughter to Vermont for her summer job as a camp counselor. The very same camp my mother went to; she may even be in the photo above. My daughter graduated last Sunday, came home from senior parties for her sister’s graduation on Wednesday, found her deb dress at Vera Wang yesterday, went to the Goo Goo Dolls with us last night, and now she is leaving again for her fourth summer of doing what she loves most.

My younger daughter refuses to go to camp. And, as much as I didn’t love my summers at sleep-away camp, I still really want her to go. In an article in the NYTs last week, Pamela Paul talks about this very same conflict. She too disliked camp, but likes “camp” people– those enviably outgoing and outdoorsy folks. For a brief moment, I thought about taking my younger daughter (and husband who also did not enjoy summer camp) to a week of family camp.  Note “brief moment”– memories of bug juice, bug bites, gimp key chains, and Kumbaya, coupled with no cell service, came flooding back. I may need to be convinced.



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  • I was never a camp girl either. Too shy, too afraid of getting lost in the boisterous camaraderie. So I never went. But now I truly love to go camping with my husband… in a tent with our canoe. Campfires, lazy days, food cooked outdoors. Mind you we do NOT do the endurance type canoe camping where you move camp every day, portage many kilometers, and subsist on dried food. We do the “luxury” trip, as my husband calls it…. because I’m not doing all that paddling if I can’t have my steak and red wine at the end of the day!

    Sue B @highheelsinthewilderness.blogspot.caJune 15th, 2014  9:41 AM

  • My kids do not want to go to sleep away camp. My husband and I both attended sleep away camp as kids and loved it! I think a family camp would be the perfect solution. We ‘kinda’ do that in Maine but we have cell service and a dishwasher. The lake activities and campfires are our favorite times as a family. Any family camp recommendations?

    CarrieJune 15th, 2014  11:06 AM

  • We’ve done family camp with my sisters and mom (avec spouses and kids) in Maine, Montana and Hawaii. It was better than renting a big house on the Cape because nobody had to do dishes or share bathrooms ;-). Family camps can be pretty luxurious, you should check some out!

    joannawmycJune 15th, 2014  12:32 PM

  • Camping has never been my thing (no matter how luxe), but as a NYC girl now living in the camping capital of the country (Maine) I find it harder to resist as the years go by and my boys get older. I hear great things about Migas Lodge (http://www.migis.com) for the classic lakefront cottage experience. The cabins look more my speed (and I’m guessing, yours). Another place that gets a lot of buzz is Hidden Pond in Kennebunk, a hotel with a camp kind of feel. Their restaurant, Earth, is phenomenal. No reason to rough it with beans from a can. Cheers & happy “camping”

    Laura (@cocktailsandgelato.com)June 15th, 2014  8:43 PM

  • I have read your blog for some time, love your edited style. Was happy at your mention of Aloha Hive. I love the camp’s sense of nature and old fashioned values. My daughter attended and is now flourishing at Auburn University in Alabama and majoring in fashion merchandising. When it was time to send her and I asked if she was going to be o.k., her reply was,”you were the one who sent me to camp for ages in Vermont”.aka the “wild” when I was little, I think I have this!!!!! Her first letter home was about being eaten alive, please send DEET. Thank you for reminding me how important that camp and the staff really are for years to come.

    Barbara KochJune 15th, 2014  8:55 PM

  • Never went to camp, but I absolutely love the picture. So nostalgic.

    margoJune 15th, 2014  10:46 PM

  • Although a swell facility, Migis is not remotely close to camping. It is a luxury lodge/cabin facility with four-star dining and a full time sommelier. It is the one percenter’s idea of camping–stay on a lake in Maine for over $500 a night and tell your friends you are camping . . . : )
    America’s National Parks are premier camping experiences and cost next to nothing. If you have never experienced Yellowstone, Tetons, Jenny Lake, Acadia, Grand Canyon, California, etc., they are not to be missed. First Lady Laura Bush spent every presidential summer at a different National Park–so refreshing and much more chic than sponging off other people’s luxurious homes on the Vineyard, Hamptons, or Hawaii . . .

    PaulaJune 16th, 2014  12:23 AM

  • I love your blog, but have never commented. Until today, when I realized that the camp picture if of Aloha Hive. Wow, what wonderful memories I have of the years my daughter spent there. Next week I head up to Lanakila with my boys. Thanks for letting me begin my Monday with a smile!

    JuliJune 16th, 2014  8:06 AM

  • I never camped in my life until my daughters were in Girl Scouts. There I got my feet wet and started to see the positives. After that, we tent camped as a family several times, primarily at Hermit Island in Maine. Camping on or near the beach is truly unique. Takes a little practice to let go and find your comfort zone in it, but a truly freeing experience.

    AprilJune 16th, 2014  9:27 AM

  • I have been camping, in tents, since I was a child. It’s summer sleep-away camp that I didn’t love; perhaps it was all the organized fun…

    PrestonJune 16th, 2014  5:31 PM

  • The key to summer camp is finding one that is non-competitive, not rigidly organized, and mostly unstructured yet offers campers the opportunity to explore and learn new skills in depth. I wanted my children to have something in common with my upbringing in the south, so I sent them to the same ‘sleep away’ camp that I attended for 8 years in North Carolina (Green Cove/Mondamin). My sons attended the boys’ camp for three or four years each and both went on to become Eagle Scouts out here in Seattle, inspired by all of the outdoor adventures they had in the Smokey Mtns. Now, they surf the Pacific in January and ski the backcountry all winter and I don’t worry since I know that they have the common sense and experience to be able to take care of themselves. My daughter attended the girls’ camp for eight summers. Because it is a non-competitive camp that gives campers the freedom to choose what activities they want to do each day, she spent every single morning at the barn riding and the afternoons at the dock learning how to paddle white water. This fall, she will be heading off to ride for a college in Upstate NY (after spending her first semester in London). Camp was the best…in so many ways…and it didn’t hurt that the food was fantastic…

    JulietJune 16th, 2014  8:08 PM

  • If you want to try a real camping experience without having to worry about the camp chores Backroads does family trips that are a great experience and a ton of fun! You can do as much or as little as you want. I did one years ago and they took us biking, hiking and sea kayaking. We slept in tents but the food and service was first class.

    JenniferJune 16th, 2014  9:13 PM

  • I saw the picture in my blog feed this morning and knew immediately without reading the caption it was the same camp I had attended as a camper and counselor in the late ’90s. Aloha and Hive are wonderful places. Your daughter is lucky to spend her summer there. This year my niece will have her first summer at camp and couldn’t be more excited.

    AliJune 18th, 2014  11:04 AM

  • Recommendation for a fabulous family camp? How about a sibling of Vermont’s Aloha Hive: Ohana Camp on Lake Fairlee — www.ohanacamp.org ?

    Jim Zien
    Executive Director
    The Aloha Foundation

    Jim ZienJune 18th, 2014  2:12 PM

  • I too am a Hive alumna and have been an Aloha Foundation camper, counselor, camp parent and now Director of Communications for The Aloha Foundation. I wrote last week about Pamela Paul’s piece in the New York Times – you can read it here: http://blog.alohafoundation.org/success-counseling/aloha-camps-strive-make-camper-happy/

    I’d love to connect with you Preston!

    Best from Fairlee,

    Laura Gillespie
    Director of Communications
    H73-76, A77-79, A*2011, DP00-03, LP04-09, F06-14
    The Aloha Foundation
    2968 Lake Morey Road
    Fairlee, VT 05045

    LauraJune 18th, 2014  2:41 PM

  • Of course your daughter chose Vera Wang for debutante dress, her nephew went to Hive’s brother camp, Lanakila. Funny small world…

    Tom Miller
    Director of Alumni Relations
    The Aloha Foundation

    Tom MillerJune 18th, 2014  4:01 PM

  • Just across the lake, on a hill, is Ohana – family camp. You will never know if you don’t go and dip your collective toes in the cool Vermont water and listen to the wind whispering in the night.

    KathrynJune 18th, 2014  4:16 PM


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