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GirlSummer: Be, Make, Move

Kaitlin Resler
GirlSummer, Emma’s signature summer program, offers girls ages 7-14 enriching, personalized, and fun summer experiences. Summer 2021 saw the return of our in-person GirlSummer day program, with the final day of summer camp last Friday. 

After a year unlike any other, the return of an on-campus summer program was a welcome sight on Mount Ida. Extra measures remained in place to keep our community safe. The number of campers and staff per session was smaller than in previous years, and ‘pods’ (groups of 10-12 campers who spent the week together) were introduced. Normally, campers aren’t assigned to pods and they move throughout electives all week, mingling with different campers as they go. However, GirlSummer Program Manager Morgan Del Brocco notes that this year’s structure had some benefits:

“We got a lot of questions from parents, especially from new parents. ‘Will my camper make friends?’ There really was a guarantee this year that they would, because they were with the same group all week!”

The focus on building friendships was a core part of GirlSummer this year. “We really encourage girls at camp to challenge themselves, to try something new, and to create a sense of camaraderie,” she adds, highlighting the importance bonds of community have served throughout the pandemic, alongside the mission at Emma Willard School to forge meaningful relationships.

Campers moved through chosen electives from the categories Be, Make, and Move. Activities like Challenge Island fit into the ‘Move’ category, and are made up of adventure-type games, soccer, sports conditioning, and more. ‘Make’ sees campers exploring the arts through mixed media, drawing and painting, and bead shop, while ‘Be’ activities encompass exploration in the sciences, performing on the stage, or creating a podcast or newspaper. 

Besides electives, campers had other chances to create and have fun. Theme days such as favorite color, mismatch day, crazy sock day, and the surprise hit: decade day. This year campers really committed to the theme, looking to the 1990s and (in one case) the 2090s! Playlist themes of the day made Morning Meeting time especially enjoyable (check out some of the playlists like, Movie Themes, TikTok, and Weather).

One of the most popular theme days is also an elective. Sheroes highlights important women who serve as role models, or she-roes. On the theme day, campers come to campus dressed as their personal sheroes such as Hermione Granger, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and several this year came as their own moms!

This year, campers had 12 varied electives to choose from to make sure they are trying new things and being challenged. 

“The electives look super different. Some are more typical camp electives and other ones, like physics and Sheroes, are a little more interactive and higher level but still speak to the young explorer demographic.”

What about rain? This July has been on the soggy side, and though it complicated the pick-up process at the end of the day, most campers don't seem to mind. “They’re out in the rain dancing and having fun!”

Emma Willard School’s founder and namesake knew that empowering young women helps shape the world. GirlSummer keeps this tradition and vision active in the summer weeks, forging friendships and helping girls challenge themselves in new and exciting ways!
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    • GirlSummer campers at picking out beads.

    • A Sheroes presentation.

    • Writer's Retreat at GirlSummer.

    • On stage at GirlSummer

    • Bead shop in-progress.

    • Making kinetic sand.

    • Campers launching foam rockets.

    • Challenge Island on the playing fields.

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Welcome to Emma Willard School, a private day and boarding high school for girls in Troy, NY, and a leader in girls' education for over 200 years.