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The Days are Just Packed: GirlSummer!

Kaitlin Resler
When the academic year closes at Emma Willard School, campus gets quiet–but only temporarily. GirlSummer is upon us, and once again our campus is full of campers enjoying the day program for some exploring, playing, and learning.
Upper, Middle, and Lower Explorers and Writers Retreat are available for girls from 2nd through 9th grades. Each day, campers enjoy a personalized schedule of electives (including some deeper dives with elevated electives) exploring athletics, visual arts, language and writing, STEM, crafts, performing arts, and more!

The Writer’s Retreat program is the place for the young writer eager to work on an existing project, or to generate new ideas. From free-writing, workshops, editing, redrafting, and presenting, the retreat welcomes aspiring poets, essayists, novelists, short story writers, bloggers, journalists, and fan-fiction writers to hone their craft alongside their peers. 

Besides the campers, GirlSummer brings students and recent alumnae back to campus: this time, as counselors. 

“I really enjoy science and want to help kids become excited about science,” says counselor and recent graduate Karina Li ’22, explaining why she’s back to lead the physics and chemistry electives this year.

The myriad of activities takes place all across campus, from zoology classes in Slocum, dance and improv in the Strong Dance Studio and Kiggins Auditorium, and elaborate games of tag in Lyon-Remington. In the Hunter science building laboratories students are experimenting, writing is happening in Weaver, and in the Dietel Library the newspaper and journalism electives are prepping for what locations they’ll be covering for The GirlSummer Gazette. “Our job is to report on life at GirlSummer,” a counselor told the group as they all handed out notebooks for campers to decorate and fill throughout the week. On the playing fields, games abound, and of course, the Mott Gymnasium is hosting campers for volleyball and other activities.

While last summer saw the return of in-person summer programming (summer 2020 featured a virtual edition of Emma’s signature summer program due to COVID-19), this June we’ve welcomed more campers to campus for numbers much closer to those seen pre-pandemic. 

“It’s gone back to the way it felt pre-pandemic, we’ve been able to increase capacity,” says GirlSummer Program Manager Morgan Del Brocco. “It’s been so freeing and lovely for both counselors and campers, it feels fuller and brighter!”

Other new facets of the programming this year include a new marine biology course, and upcycling activities including collaging and reworking clothing. Tennis also returned this year after a well-received run during summer 2021. 

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!
    • Campers head towards inner campus on their way to their next activity!


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Honoring its founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.
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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. 

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