• What We Do After Summer
    POSTED 10.2.19 Blog

    Fall has arrived at Fleur de Lis. The leaves are changing from their summer green to beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow. The nights are cooler but happily, the days are mostly warm and sunny with bright blue skies. The wildlife is more active with frequent sightings of deer, fox, and turkeys as they prepare for cold weather. The honking of Canada Geese is frequently heard overhead as they head south for the winter. We do miss summer but all in all, it is a special time at Fleur de Lis.

     

    AND camp is still a very busy place. Richard Whipple, our Property Manager, has been hard at work buttoning up camp for the winter – taking tents down, closing up cabins, pulling in docks, turning off the water, and the hundred and one tasks that need to happen before the snow flies. Lots of projects are happening that are best done in the offseason – painting of platforms and shutters, tree trimming, electrical and plumbing work, and even the installation of a new septic tank for the Health Center.

     

    We’re often asked what we do in the offseason or even if we work during the offseason – the answers to these questions are lots of things and YES! Right now, we’re busy wrapping up the summer of 2019 and planning for 2020. We’re enrolling returning and new campers, creating the FDL calendar, scheduling fun fall and winter events, registering for camp fairs, writing articles for our Laurel Leaves newsletters, planning for the Circle Week event in November, brainstorming activities and special events for camp, working on the Farmhouse project, revising forms and materials, fund-raising, creating social media posts, and we’ve even hired our first counselor for the 2020 season!

     

    Through everything we do, we have one overarching goal… making Fleur de Lis the best summer experience for girls. Whether it’s through improvements to our site, creating new programs, hiring excellent staff, or staying in touch with families, this goal guides our work. While obviously the summer is the most fun and exciting time of the year, this is a pretty great time of the year too, as we reflect on the past and dream about the future of Fleur de Lis.

    Here’s to the summer of 2020!

     

     

  • A letter about Circle Week
    POSTED 8.13.19 Blog

    Dear Fleur de Lis Community,

    Last summer I was able to attend the entirety of Circle Week. As anyone who has volunteered for Fleur de Lis’ Circle Week will tell you, it is a life-altering experience. As the week began, I found myself nervous about being a camp counselor again. It’s been a while, and I wasn’t sure I had what it takes anymore. That anxiety quickly faded as the week got rolling. The girls I worked with were inspiring; it was joyful just being with them for camp activities, singing in the dining hall, and walking the camp road.

    I witnessed these girls bonding through their common and traumatic experience of having lost a parent to death. As girls shared their stories and the ways that their loss and grief affected their lives, I was truly awestruck. I don’t have words to describe the impact on me of the feelings and emotions these girls shared. They were open about their sadness, their frustration and their anger. They were comforted by their memories but wistful for more. They were grateful for the support of family and friends but sometimes even that fell short. To me, the greatest gift Circle Week offers is the ability for these girls to come together with other girls with similar experience. Now they are not the only one living with the loss of a parent; all the Circle Week girls can relate to each other’s stories.

    Just a few weeks after Circle Week, I flew to see my parents. My mom had not been feeling well for about a week and hadn’t gone to the doctor. I expected to stay a few days after the doctor’s visit helping her get back on her feet. Instead, we ended up in the hospital and eventually with a diagnosis of terminal cancer. I was fortunate to be able to spend those final weeks of her life with her, something I will be forever grateful. The pain of that loss and the ways that grief has enveloped me is something I am not yet able to put into words. I am empty of emotion and full of emotion at the same time.

    I have found that I am often most comforted by being able to talk with others who have experienced the death of their mothers. Our stories and experiences of grief are varied, and yet there is respite in the familiarity we share. I have thought a lot about Circle Week campers as I navigate my own loss. I can’t imagine trying to do this as a child.

    I am grateful for Fleur de Lis Circle Week. I am grateful we make it free to all campers. Our donations, yours and mine, make this week possible. At a cost of $750 per camper, donations underwrite the entire program.

    Please join me in contributing what you can to keep this program going and serve as many girls as is possible who have suffered the death of a parent. I can tell you from personal experience that your donation will truly change the life of these campers.

    Thank you,

    Di Foster | Fleur de Lis Camp Board President

    Three Ways to Give

    1. Check – made to Fleur de Lis Camp and mailed to 120 Howeville Road Fitzwilliam, NH 03447
    2. Securely Online 
    3. Purchase something from your Amazon Wishlist and send it to camp for Circle Week 2019

  • The Password for Today is: Dear Lady Ellen…
    POSTED 7.14.19 Blog

    I am a huge fan of letters. Well actually to be quite honest I only like receiving letters. In all of my years at camp I can count all of the letters that I have written home on my left hand. Even though my mom would pre-stamp & address my letters, I can’t say that I ever used them. If my parents were lucky enough to get a letter from me it usually started with ‘Dear Mom & Dad, camp is fun. I went in the lake today…’ and then it would quickly end with ‘love, Ellen.’ But, even writing a letter like that felt like a book for me. It was far more likely that an old rifle target with no note attached was sent, or if they were extra lucky I wouldn’t put anything at all in the envelope. Regardless of my lack of letter writing skills, I still expected to receive tons of letters despite never initiating or responding.

    But this year I have decided to step up my game. No more checking the barn for mail before writing a single letter. From now on I am going to take matters into my own hands and start writing some letters. And for those of you like me I challenge you to do the same. They don’t have to be long or eloquent, just as long as you wrote them. Your letters don’t need to travel far either. Maybe you will send them home or maybe you will send them to yourself. That way when it’s winter and cold you can read your letters and remember the hot summer days on Laurel Lake with your best friends.

    The password for today is: Dear Lady Ellen.

  • A Coronation Password by Lady Clink
    POSTED 7.8.19 Blog

    2019 Coronation Password – Fearless

    Lady Susan “Clink” Clinkenbeard

    What does it mean to be fearless? How would you live your life if you could live it without fear?

    Maybe you have seen the statue of the little girl on Wall Street. She stands opposite the snorting bull, a statue that represents all the worldly powers of money and industry. She stands with her hands on her hips and her head held high, unfazed and unimpressed by the roar of the crowd, the speed of the traffic, the height of the buildings. She stands there with a defiant, sassy posture, feeling the full weight of her tiny self, turning the inhospitable conditions of concrete and asphalt into her own stage and playground. Could you be that kind of girl? Perhaps you already are. When I was a girl, there were parts of myself that were like that girl, and many that were not. My spirit was fearless and free, but sometimes life was intimidating and made me feel unsure of myself. Coming to camp helped me connect with my spirit and my imagination.

    We have superheroes that are fearless. They leap tall buildings in a single bound, or crawl down the sides of huge skyscrapers like spiders. They each have some superpower that they can rely on to give them an advantage, so that they can respond to danger. We love watching them because these shows are fun and adventurous, but also because we wish we could be like them – strong, capable, instantly responding to challenge without fear.

    One thing we don’t see on the surface is that fearlessness takes practice. We don’t get to see Baby Superman working on the short buildings, or Spiderboy getting tangled in the bushes in his backyard. Usually it takes practice to learn new skills and master them, and that’s one of the great things about camp. Look at how our activities at camp have levels and awards. That is so you can build up your skills, master them, gain in ability and responsibility, and move up to the next level. It takes practice and persistence to be fearless. But camp is a safe, fun place where you can try out new things, where it’s okay to be a beginner because everyone was a beginner once. You can move up as you gain in skill and confidence, until looking back at the first-day thing that was scary, that first jump in the lake for your swim test, doesn’t seem scary at all.

    Another way that superheroes are fearless is that they have friends. Sometimes we have this picture of the lone hero battling the forces of evil all on her own; but if you look again, you see that it isn’t true. Recently in the movies, superheroes have banded together to make invincible teams, but even back in the days before the Avengers, Batman had Robin, and Superman had friends who gave him the support he needed to get the job done. Nobody does this alone. At camp, when we work together on squads or in activities, or as teams putting on a play or putting up a tent, learning the parts to a song or folding a flag, we are getting to know each other. We build a bond of trust that strengthens as we learn how to live together. That sense of trust can be the help you need to be fearless when you come up against your own limitations. The support we get from each other is a kind of muscle we use and train that grows over the summer, and from year to year.

    When you need to call up your courage to take that jump in the lake, you can be fearless. When you find a tick or get hurt, you can be fearless. When you have the thought, “but I’ve never done that before,” or the thought, “the last time I tried this, I failed,” you can be fearless. When somebody tries to tell you that you can’t do it, you can be fearless.

    The most important way we can be fearless is to be fearless in love. That is our real superpower as humans. What does that look like? Loving what you love no matter what anyone else thinks. Maybe it means being loyal to that difficult or quirky person just because you like them. Maybe it’s when you love camp so much that when you get home, you try to explain it to outsiders and they don’t get it – it doesn’t matter.

    I like to think of Fleur de Lis as my superpower. The experiences I had here fire my memory and my imagination. At times in my life when things were difficult or I was unsure, I remembered how it felt to be at camp with friends who accepted me, and it made me feel strong. My hope for each of you is that you have a summer full of adventures and new experiences that allow you to find out how good you are, how brave you are, how kind you are, and how much you can love. I hope camp allows you to connect with your beautiful, passionate, fearless selves, together.

     

    The password for today is Fearless.

  • Swing into the Spring Appeal
    POSTED 6.11.19 Blog

    The Fleur de Lis Spring Appeal has launched and is well underway.  It’s possible that you’ve caught wind of a future fund-raising effort likely to begin in our next fiscal year relating to the Farmhouse, (to read more see: http://www.fleurdeliscamp.org/a-letter-about-the-farmhouse/).  You will be hearing more about that campaign soon, but before, and even during such a major campaign, our Spring and Winter Appeals, which contribute to the Annual Fund, will continue to play a vital role.  This funding supports the financial health of the camp and allows us to provide the excellent camp experience enjoyed by many for almost 100 years.  We are urging people to continue giving to the current appeal as generously as you can, both now and as the Farmhouse Project is announced.

    This Spring Appeal spotlights the quieter places in camp where gals gather and create some of their fondest memories with some of their favorite people (http://www.fleurdeliscamp.org/fleur-de-lis-gathering-places/).  We’ve created a new way for supporters to enhance these gathering spaces.  A local company is working with us to facilitate gifting of picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, swings and other items that match the iconic FDL aesthetic.

    Below is a list of items you can gift to Fleur de Lis (please note that shipping is included in these prices):

    Picnic Table – $ 795 [Goal: 5 new tables]

    *New to FDL* Green Adirondack Chair – $305 [Goal: 10 new chairs]

    Double A-Frame Swing – $474 [Goal: 1 replacement swing]

    Porch Swing  – $436 [Goal: 2 replacement porch swings]

    Some of these big ticket items can be shared between many friends or family members.

    Simply call Mark at Wilderness Creations (603-563-7010) to place your order over the phone. Our hope is to have all pieces at camp to be enjoyed at the 90th Anniversary!

    We still depend upon traditional donations that can be made either securely online or by mailing a check to 120 Howeville Road, Fitzwilliam, NH 03447.

    If you have any questions about the appeal, feel free to contact us at either 603-585-7751 or sarah@fleurdeliscamp.org.

     

  • Fleur de Lis’ Gathering Places
    POSTED 6.4.19 Blog

    Sometimes there are things you just don’t see or even realize until someone points them out to you.

    Our girls at Fleur de Lis have the freedom to walk hand in hand down the road from or to meals and activities without the obvious oversight of staff or counselors. Be sure, there is always someone close by if something should go amiss, but otherwise, they are left to themselves to walk, chat, sing, run. The person who pointed this out was a director from another camp. She was almost incredulous at the “freedom” our girls have. I was incredulous when she mentioned this. What? We’re different from other camps?

     

    I believe this freedom has been purposeful from the beginning of our existence. Perhaps Lady Frances and the other founders of Fleur de Lis didn’t write the script this way, but that is how this part of our story has turned out. It is how we see ourselves as a community and how we want our girls to grow. On our website we talk about Fleur de Lis as a Caring Community:

     

    Fleur de Lis Camp is an environment where each member demonstrates

    respect for others, the community and the world. As members of a community

    we work and play together in an atmosphere of encouragement, trust and

    friendship. Each of us looks out for the welfare of the individual and the group.

    How do girls grow and learn to care for each other unless they have time to talk, learn from one another, share their stories, and even share their worries? A few years ago, I walked around a camp in Maine where they had scattered about the property small venues where campers were obviously invited to sit down for a few moments and talk or just be together. They had multiple swings like we have now behind the dining hall. We think it’s time for us to be more intentional about giving our girls places to gather.

     

    Your donations to this Friends appeal will help create and improve our gathering places by purchasing items such as picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, and bench swings. All of whicwill be located at strategic points around camp. It will give us the opportunity to pay some more care to the quieter places in camp. Think of being able to sit down for a few minutes in the sunken garden, near the waterfall by the rifle range, in the clearing by the CT cottage, various spots in the fields. And we might even build a hammock village in the Senior Field. These gathering spots will not only nurture our girl’s friendships but also their love for the natural beauty that surrounds them at camp. These venues are not intended just for our girls. We hope you will take advantage of them when you come to camp for a visit. Sit and chat. Reflect. Watch our girls moving about camp. See their joy. Enjoy the person you are sitting with. Remember: You, too, are an important part of our community.

    Donate to FDL’s Gathering Places today >>> Click Here! <<<

    OR mail checks to
    Fleur de Lis Camp
    120 Howeville Road
    Fitzwilliam, NH 03447

    Sincerely,
    Jane Lawson

  • A Letter About the Farmhouse
    POSTED 5.16.19 Blog

    Dear Fleur de Lis Community Members,

    On behalf of the FDL Board, I wanted to share some information with you about upcoming renovation plans for the Farmhouse building at camp.

    The Farmhouse was built during the mid to late 1800s and has served as the centerpiece of Fleur de Lis Camp throughout its 90 year history. The building serves primarily as the living quarters and work center for the administrative staff during the summer months. The feelings this building generates have always been strong, both because of the beautiful craftsmanship and woodwork, and because of the exciting energy of the heart of camp.

    We know that the Farmhouse needs some major renovations. This fall that was compounded by a mold issue that developed and intensified after camp closed. Due to the excessively damp end of summer and fall, as well as a dormer leak, an extensive mold problem developed in part of the downstairs of the Farmhouse. Mold remediation teams have advised us on what needs to be done to eliminate the mold as well as to take preventative steps. Remediation work cannot be done until the spring at the earliest because the building is not heated.

    As we considered the scope and expense of this work, the board also took into account the other work that needs to happen in the near future to ensure that the building is functioning well, such as electrical and plumbing needs.

    A Major Renovation

    The board has decided that the best course of action is to do all of the renovation work at the same time. We looked at several scenarios and it doesn’t make financial or practical sense for us to do the renovations in chunks of projects over the near future. For example, we know we will need to do some work opening up and replacing a few walls and ceilings due to the mold issues. We would also have to open up walls to rewire the building for an electrical upgrade and will likely have to be back in the walls for plumbing updates. The cost of doing the work in chunks is also higher than doing it all at once.

    A Farmhouse Planning Committee has been working to determine the needs and potential uses of the Farmhouse. This group has made preliminary recommendations to the Board and will work with the contractors throughout the renovation process. Thank you to Planning Committee members Lexy Heatley, Jane Lawson, Steve White, Richard Whipple, MJ Parry, Christine Hassig Cressey, and Di Foster.

    Based on the committee’s recommendations, we are receiving bids for a major overhaul of the Farmhouse based on the work of the Planning Committee. We will explore plans that will include remediating the mold problem, updating and upgrading the electrical and plumbing systems, repairing and/or replacing some horsehair plaster wall and ceiling boards, adding simple ventilation upgrades to the upstairs rooms, adding at least one shower and possibly an additional bathroom upstairs, and possibly preparing the kitchen and coke shed areas for potential camper program use in the future. The scope of the work will depend on the estimates we get during the bidding process.

    Capital Campaign

    In order to complete this renovation, Fleur de Lis will engage in a Capital Campaign. This is our first capital campaign since the New Dining Hall campaign over 15 years ago. This campaign will require less money and less time than the Dining Hall Campaign, which was the first capital campaign in Fleur de Lis’ history.

    We had begun raising money for Farmhouse renovations and have raised $72,000 to date. Thank you so much to those donors. All of that money will be put towards the campaign. Once we know the projected cost of this work and have determined any parallel work that the campaign will cover, we will share more information, including the financial and timeline goals for the campaign.

    How Can I Help?

    We are currently looking for community members who are willing and able to be a part of the Capital Campaign Committee. For those of you, with or without development experience, who have an interest in helping us reach our goals, please reach out via the contact information below. You do not have to live in the New England area to be a part of this work and there are different levels of involvement based on your available time.

    We are in the process of receiving bids on this work. If you have ideas for contractors that we may not have considered or other professional connections, please reach out via the contact information below.

    Meanwhile…

    We are hoping that the renovation work will occur over this spring through fall so that the building will be ready for use for the summer of 2020. The Farmhouse will not be available for use at all this summer. MJ and her full-year team have been working on plans for the functions the Farmhouse space provides. They have strong plans in place and will help everyone ensure it works well.

    While we strive to keep camp expenditures to a minimum, the Board has determined that undertaking this as a big renovation that addresses multiple needs, is both financially and practically the best course of action. We are excited about the potential for great improvements to a building we hope will continue to serve as the heart of camp for decades to come.

    Contact Information

    To get involved with the Capital Campaign committee or share ideas about contractors or building design, please reach out to:

    Di Foster
    president@fleurdeliscamp.org

    and

    Christine Cressey
    board@fleurdeliscamp.org

    *Check back here for Farmhouse updates. 

  • 90th Registration Form
    POSTED 3.12.19 Blog

    All tickets should have been purchased on square prior to filling out this form.
    Street City, State Zip
    Name - Number - Relationship
    Example: 2000-2007 Camper 2007 Queen 2008-2009 CT 2010-2014 Field Staff 2015 Mid Unit Head
    90th Committee will do it's very best to get you back in a tent or cabin. Please know that we can not guarantee where or who you will be with for the overnight stay.
    The 90th committee will be working hard to make cabin/ tent lists for all in attendance. If there is someone that you would like to share a tent or cabin with for the 90th please leave their full name below and we will do our best to keep you together.
    Please mark all that apply
    Is there any other information regarding dietary restrictions, allergies, sleeping habits, etc. that you would like the committee to know prior to your arrival at camp?
    If availability is limited (I.e needing to arrive late, leave early, etc.) please let us know.
    By typing your name here you agree that the information you entered above is accurate.
    month/date/year
  • How Shopping on Amazon Can Help Camp
    POSTED 3.6.19 Blog

     

    Can shopping on Amazon really help camp!?

    How many times a month do you order something on Amazon? Did you know that every time you place an order for paper towels, buy yet another toy for your beloved pet, or purchase a last minute birthday gift for someone via Amazon that you can be donating to camp with each purchase? By using AmazonSmile a portion of your eligible purchases will be donated to Fleur de Lis Camp. Simply go to smile.amazon.com and click Fleur de Lis Camp Inc. as your charity of choice.

    To read more about AmazonSmile go to: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_se_rspo_laas_aas

    Another way that you can help camp using Amazon is by utilizing our wishlists. Each year we buy a lot of program supplies for camp. Offsetting the cost of those supplies, especially for Circle Week is a huge help to camp and benefits the campers. Each season we buy all sorts of random items, from alphabet beads for circle necklaces, to tie-dye materials, to floaties fro laurel Lake, to snacks for our volunteers, to materials for grief activities, and so much more. We have two wishlists here at Fleur de Lis Camp, one for general use and one specifically for Circle Week. We are asking you that if there is something on one of those lists that calls to you, to please send it along to camp for campers to enjoy and use this summer. Your donation will help us to provide an amazing summer for all Fleur de Lis Camp. Be sure to put your name in a note when you make the purchase so that we can thank you properly for your kind donation! Check back as we get closer to camp as there will be more items for sure.

     

    Circle Week Wish List

    FDL Wish List 

     

  • Spun into Gold
    POSTED 2.21.19 Blog

    Alumna Annie Lundsten shares her experience sending her daughter to camp:

    Fairy tales are rife with stories of people giving away their daughters in exchange for their heart’s desire. The miller’s daughter, desperate to escape a king’s wrath and become queen, promises Rumpelstiltskin her first born child in exchange for the ability to spin straw into gold. The baker and his pregnant wife, craving the taste of fresh vegetables, pledge their daughter—Rapunzel–to the witch next door for a taste of her beautiful greens. 

    I spent my first summer at Fleur de Lis the year I turned eight and stayed until the summer I turned sixteen. My time there was a gift that, even as child, I understood to be a gift. It was a present I looked forward to receiving all year long and it had many facets; freedom from the limitations of my everyday life at home, loving relationships with a powerful female community and a safe environment in which to build strength and independence in the person I was becoming.

    By the time my Fleur de Lis friends and I made our way to the senior field at fourteen, we were already talking about the future generation of girls we would give to camp in exchange for the heart’s desire FDL had fulfilled in each of us. As we grew up and began to have children, each daughter’s arrival caused a flurry of excitement for what would, of course, be a future Fleur de Lis camper.  We felt, instinctively, that the gift we had received could only be repaid by passing it on to someone else.

    This past summer, I got to do exactly that when my daughter, just shy of eight, became a Fleur de Lis camper. As I watched her set off on her own Fleur de Lis adventure which would, inevitably both resemble and diverge from mine, I felt the thrill of presenting her with this present. And upon her return, I knew the richly satisfying joy of knowing she had spun it to gold.