• Sister
    POSTED 3.27.20 Blog

    I don’t have a sister. I have dozens. My mom, dad, and brother would probably be shocked to find this out and would wonder why they hadn’t been informed of the numerous additions to our family tree. I would kindly explain to them that they needn’t worry about funding skyrocketing grocery bills or hunting for a bigger home, because I only see my sisters for two months each year – and we’ve got other sources of shelter and supervision. My sisters aren’t exactly Webster’s idea of siblings. My sisters are camp sisters.

    A camp sister is the most generous kind of sister. See, between camp sisters, stealing clothes is not frowned upon…it is expected. I’ve got toppling piles of proof in my closet; worn t-shirts advertising Hoosick Fall Youth Soccer, Medfield Community Teens, Wellesley Student Council, and the Burlington Tennis Club form an overwhelming majority over my measly supply of Madison, Connecticut garb. Not to mention the navy shorts with a fading “Cushman” handwritten across the elastic waistband, or the Notre Dame Soccer sweatshirt with the name “Risko” penned on the tag. My sisters pawn their hometown clothing in exchange for anything from someone else’s worn apparel to (in desperate times) a stick of gum or a hair-tie. Not your average example of generosity, but at camp, the little things are a big deal.

    A camp sister is the most understanding kind of sister. Her support reaches far beyond your odd television preferences and over-the-top hygiene routines. She is a sanctuary of comfort and encouragement through divorces, college rejections, and deaths. When the world seems to be caving in around you, a camp sister extends her hand and pulls you out, whether she is by your side or a phone call away. She does not ask questions or offers opinions, unless of course, you request them, in which case her questions clear your head and hr opinions steer you straight. She holds your hands, wipes your tears, and lifts your spirits.

    A camp sister is the most special kind of sister.  If you want to tell her how she has changed your life, you’d better speak quickly because your list will grow faster than your mouth can move. When you hug her goodbye at the end of the summer, she will remind you though heaving sobs that you are her best friends in the world, that she will miss you more than you can imagine. And when you are struggling through your Calculus homeworld at 11 pm on a cold December night, she will call for no other reason than to tell you that she loves you. And suddenly, Calculus won’t seem to matter.

    My sisters and I don’t share the blood ties of real siblings – we share something better. Sisterhood is not forced upon us. We choose kinship, and our family tree grows taller and stronger each day.

    A camp sister is the best kind of sister.

    Blog written by: Kate Gladstone

  • Friends, Friends, We Will Always Be
    POSTED 3.20.20 Blog

    Alison White.

    Her winter address was 53 W 94th St NY, NY.  I haven’t seen or talked to her in nearly 50 years but I have never forgotten her.  We met in Cabin A.

    At the 90th Fleur de Lis Camp reunion in 2019, I was intrigued as I watched women of many decades share identical appetites for tradition. Could our Fleur de Lis Camp traditions forge that inexplicable bond, that beckons us back to each other summer after summer?

    I started camp as a very young 8 year old.  Early on I had a limited concept of seeing my camp friends during the winter.  It seemed to me they lived SO far away.   But, to my delight, in my teens, I discovered, Lady Chip and Lady Chinky were within driving distance.  When one of us got “the car” we’d often head up to Fitzwilliam. A 2+ hour drive each way.  We were carefree, happy summer camp friends out loose in the winter. How rare.

    Maybe it was the traditional camp song lyrics like “Friends Friends Friends…we will always be” that hard-wired us all for enduring friendships.

    June came. School was out.  Time for tradition. Dust off my trunk; gather my towel, my bather, my guitar, my riding boots and reunite with my FDL friends. Though we’d not been together for nine months, we never missed a beat. Yes, tradition must be the foundation that camp friendships are built on.

    I reflect on the most meaningful milestones in my life and usually, they’ve included my camp friends.

    18 years ago my husband Terry and I were married by long time camp friend Reverend Lady Mary Conant in a heart of shells, in front of our home.   Three years ago I flew to CA to sing at Conants’ beautiful wedding to Robin.  Guest Lady Wendy Keiver and I reconnected during that weekend and sparked a dormant camp friendship into one that has become extremely meaningful to me.  Suzanne MacPhail, my adorable little camp sister that I taught horseback riding to, insisted on getting me back in the saddle after my body was weakened by chemotherapy treatments.  I’ll be forever grateful for that.  I had the honor of singing camp songs at the bedside of FDL friend Martha Stacio Mafeo as she took her last breath. We gathered hand to hand and heart to heart as we paid tribute to Lady Nurse & Lady Sue Curry.  We now keep in the know with each other through the Camp Facebook page.  And that is how I discovered Lady Soupy had turned her buddy tag one last time.  But our FB page has also become a vehicle for arranging those fun offseason reunions.

    Do you have winter traditions with your camp besties?  I know there’s a group of my peers that take faraway adventures together.  Make this the year to reach out. Find that friend you’ve been thinking about.

    Alison White from Cabin A. I know you’re out there somewhere!

    October 10 2003 – Terry & I were married by Rev Lady Mary Conant in a heart of shells in front of our home on Coffin Beach, Gloucester MA RL Mary had just said, “now you may kiss your bride”. Terry hesitated, then reached into his suit coat pocket and pulled out a tin of bone-shaped breath mints. This was in honor of Sailor, my brother’s dog, who was not well and couldn’t participate. Conant saw the tin, threw back her head and busted out laughing. The surrounding party broke into laughter. Camp friends are truly the best!

    Blog Written By Lady Gwen Mahan Ryan | FDL Alumna 1960’s & 70’s

  • Living with Camp Friends
    POSTED 3.13.20 Blog

    Based off of our first few summers at camp, I don’t think anyone could have called us “close”. Katie and I were locked in a heated tetherball rivalry, Cori was ratting out Claire for hiding peanut butter sandwiches in her trunk, and Morgan was chasing Cori around the midfield. Aside from Cori and Katie, who are cousins, the rest of us would have been relatively indifferent about being on the same squad as one another.

    Several plays and a few canoe trips later, we were CTs and it was a different story. We had talked about everything we were going to do and be in college and beyond, bonding in a way that only the cottage can enable. Each of these girls had gone from someone-in-my-crafts-class or a friend-of-a-friend to someone who knew me better than most people in my life.

    2015 was the last summer any of us spent on Laurel Lake, but by the summer of 2019, we were all permanent residents of the same city.

    While a variety of jobs and life changes brought us to DC, the idea of surrounding ourselves again with the people who knew us at our best and loved us at our worst was as alluring as any of the more practical factors. Picking up and moving to a new city sounds like a huge change- and realistically, it is- but at the same time, it felt as familiar to me as moving back into the Shang. Now, Claire and I live a short metro ride from Morgan and a quarter-mile up New Hampshire Ave from Cori and Katie- coincidentally the same distance from the dining hall to the fields. Even our giddy 16-year old selves couldn’t have made that up. 

    As many of you can guess, and some of you are lucky enough to know, there are a lot of obvious perks involved in living with camp friends. Last week, Cori served dinner with nut cups. During a commercial break on The Bachelor, Claire showed us her latest airbands dance to a Carly Rae Jepson song. Visiting Morgan’s part of the city has been called “going on trip.” Katie once led us all in evening circle on the sidewalk after a particularly long night. But there are also several unexpected reasons why living with camp friends is better than being the first to burp at the end of the Apache relay, so here are some of our favorites so far:

    1. Watching your other friends get confused when you say Lady
    2. Officially ruling out the others as the mastermind behind FDL memes, the shockingly relatable instagram account that perfectly captures camp life
    3. Feeling at home when there are pictures of your 10 year old self on the fridge of someone else’s apartment
    4. Celebrating actual birthdays rather than just mid birthday
    5. Making candy store any day your friends really need candy store/ ice cream store/ our personal favorite: bagel store

    Support systems come in all forms, but one of mine out here in DC includes the four lovely Ladies that held my hands while I got my ears pierced in Cabin W. Thanks to them, I get to experience something my 10-year old self dreamed about: 365 days of camp.

  • Have You Heard of Fleur de Lis Camp?
    POSTED 3.9.20 Blog

    Fleur de Lis Camp is a sleepaway camp for girls ages 8 to 15, located on the shores of Laurel Lake in Fitzwilliam, NH. For over 90 years, girls have known FDL as their second home – the magical place where they have so many opportunities to learn new skills, take on challenges, discover their passions, develop independence, step out of their comfort zone, revel in deep friendships, discover their best selves, and make life-long memories.

    How does this magic happen? Is it intentional? Yes. One pathway is through the many “activities” that are a major element of each week at camp – swimming in the lake, throwing a pot on the wheel, starring in a play, shooting for the bullseye, building a fire, paddling a kayak, and so many more. Of course, these activities are fun, exciting and celebrated – but they are also something more! FDL’s camp activities are designed to provide a safe platform for real growth. Each activity presents opportunities to take a risk or try something new and that fosters self-confidence and courage. Activities also involve setting goals and figuring out the steps to achieve those goals; by doing this, girls develop or strengthen life skills in planning, organization and time management. Perhaps one of the most valuable experiences for many arises in instances when a girl doesn’t succeed the first or second time; these are the moments when perseverance is developed to deal with disappointment, to learn from mistakes and try again. By experiencing such moments in this safe environment guided by caring, supportive counselors, they quickly become the kind of girls that can proudly say, “Yes, I can – I can do hard things.”

    Camp is full of structured activities, but it also has plenty of time for girls to play, reflect, and just be. In our busy, highly scheduled world, this is a real gift. Seeing girls sitting under a shady tree reading a book, writing in a journal, or just enjoying the feel of the cool grass is as common a sight as girls hanging out making up silly games or chatting and laughing with friends. The power of being unplugged is clear as girls talk face to face without screens and discover that writing and receiving old fashioned letters is so much fun.

    While some camps are set in urban or indoor settings, the Fleur de Lis site is one rich with forests, fields, streams and beautiful mountain views. Being surrounded by nature every moment of the day provides girls with an opportunity to grow in their appreciation of sunny days and star-filled nights, cool breezes and bird songs, glimpses of wildlife, and those incredible moments of seeing something in her natural world that is “just so cool!”

    Girls will often say, “My best friends are my camp friends”. This may seem hard to believe, particularly if they may have only known each other for one summer, but it truly is what happens at camp. A lot of how girls get to know each other in such deep ways is simply by living and playing together 24 hours a day. They find common ground and learn about their differences. Camp friends learn to accept each other as they are and share the journey of self-discovery. They quickly learn to see and celebrate the best in each other. Sure, sometimes they see the “not best” in each other, so when that happens, they get real-life practice in problem-solving, negotiation, and developing empathy for others different from themselves. Camp friends share deep history and have moments together that live in their hearts forever – just ask any camp alum!

    In today’s world, it is sometimes hard to feel like you are a part of something good that is bigger than yourself. The experience of Fleur de Lis Camp is like a beautiful, richly colored tapestry. When a girl comes here for a summer, she becomes part of that tapestry forever. She knows that she shares in magical experiences that thousands of girls before her have and thousands more will experience in the future.

    It is no wonder that Fleur de Lis has won top awards from groups like Boston Parents Paper Best of the Best and Manchester Union Readers’ Choice, and is a place many girls come back to year after year.

    We hope you’ll join us this summer at camp!

    MJ Parry, Executive Director

    Fleur de Lis Camp
    120 Howeville Rd
    Fitzwilliam NH 03447

    603-585-7751

    Website: www.fleurdeliscamp.org

    Email: information@fleurdeliscamp.org

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FleurdeLisNHCamp/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/fleurdeliscamp

    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/fleurdeliscamp/

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fleurdeliscamp/

     

     

     

     

  • Camp Friends, Camp Friends, La La La
    POSTED 3.6.20 Blog

    Everyone always says how hard it is to describe camp to someone who hasn’t been there because pictures and stories hardly do it justice. While this is absolutely true, I sometimes think it’s harder to describe your camp friends to people who don’t know them. How do you explain that you’ve become best friends with someone you see for only a few weeks a year because she is incredible at eating chicken nuggets and loves to make up songs about communicable diseases and who you once beat in a contest to see who could go the longest without showering? It’s not an easy task.

    My home friends always slightly resented my camp friends – this group of girls, whom they had never met, that stole me away each summer. Camp friends were the protagonists of my exciting summer tales, the characters in a play whose plot I could never truly explain to someone who hadn’t seen it.

    The resentment bubbled to the surface when one of my home friends visited me during my freshman year in college. Looking at the printed photos that adorned my dorm room walls, she mimicked in a sing-song voice “I’m Bridget. Camp friends, camp friends, la la la – I love my camp friends the most.” I did a quick scan of my walls and realized – well, she wasn’t exactly wrong.

    There’s a good reason there were so many FDL photos. My camp friends, with those bonds created over camp meals and silly made-up songs, blossomed from the cast of a summer show into leading ladies in my everyday life. They have seen me through events big and small, and #campfriendscampfriendslalala is evidence of that. If you head to Instagram and type in that hashtag, you’ll find dozens of photos tagged to it.  These pictures document the whole camp friend spectrum – weddings and weekend trips, birthdays and brunches, post-chemo celebrations and road race cheerleaders, bridal showers and FDL Month getaways. They represent the rich tapestry of ways in which camp friends have become an integral part of my life, away from the shores of Laurel Lake.

    My friend couldn’t have known that her moment of resentment would turn into a rallying cry of sorts, but that’s what “camp friends, camp friends, la la la” has become. It’s a simple, silly way to share how much we mean to one another. It bonds us together (and places our Instagram photos in a central location).  It’s just another way to try to explain something in my life that really has no sufficient explanation at all.

    Blog Written by Lady Bridget Scollan  | FDL Alumna 1997-2003, 2005, 2006-2008, 2013-2014

  • #FDLmonth – From a Virtual Event to IRL Meetups
    POSTED 2.24.20 Blog

    Since 2016 Fleur de Lis Camp has taken the month of March to celebrate our incredible caring community with #FDLmonth. Originally started as an online event to virtually highlight our camp friendships, #FDLmonth has grown to be the time of year folks look forward to getting together with their camp friends. FDL alumnae spread the fun by posting to social media about their gatherings and inspiring others to meet up with their camp besties throughout the month of March. 

    Over the years we have added a little bit of friendly competition, given out prizes, and shown the spotlight on camp friends getting together. We look for which meetups have the most people, the most number of camp years represented, the furthest distance traveled and so much more. 

    This year we are kicking off #FDLmonth with an IRL (in real life) Alumni Gathering in the Boston area (we hope to expand to more areas in the future). Join us Sunday, March 1st at Bantam Cider in Somerville, MA from 1-4 pm. Light refreshments will be available for you to munch on as you catch up with Fleur de Lis Friends.  Let us know you’ll be there – RSVP here.

    Don’t let that be your only #FDLmonth meet up though, start reaching out to those camp friends of yours and schedule get-togethers. Grab coffee with one of your cabin/tent counselors or campers from years back, have dinner with your CT group, spend a weekend somewhere with friends you were on staff with – the meetup possibilities are endless.

    In addition to all of the typical #FDLmonth goings-on, we are also beginning #FDLgoesglobal! We want to know where all of our FDL friends have settled since their time in the Fields. Join us in seeing where we all are in the world with FDL Goes Global. All you have to do to participate is follow these three easy steps: 

    1. Fill out the FDL Goes Global google form
    2. Share with your friends that you’re participating in #FDLmonth and #FDLgoesglobal 
    3. Check out the FDL Goes Global Map* and see where all of your camp friends are today. Maybe there’s someone in your town you’ve been meaning to connect with! Who knows!?!

    Be sure to follow along on social media throughout the month to see what everyone is up to! 

    <<<Facebook

    <<<Instagram

    <<<Twitter

    <<<Youtube

     

    Not a social media user? Sign up for our Alumni E-Newsletter. Update your contact information: here

     

    *FDL Goes Global Map will be updated weekly. If you don’t see your name there right away, check back in a couple of days and it will be there. 

     

  • 5 Reasons Camp is Better with a Friend
    POSTED 2.7.20 Blog

     

    We oftentimes hear people saying that camp is their special place and that they don’t want to share it with someone from home. We can understand that sentiment and want to share with you some advantages to inviting a friend from home with you to camp. There are many reasons why bringing someone with you to camp is important, here are five that we think stand out.

    First Summer Jitters – Going to camp for the first time can be scary, being able to have a friend or familiar face from home can be comforting in these situations. Knowing that there is someone you know that is going to be at camp with you can boost your confidence. Whether you are the first-time camper, bringing someone to camp with you to experience the newness together OR you are a returning camper, introducing a friend from home to a place you love so much and making it easier for them, these bonds can be really beneficial for the first time camper.

    Camp Countdown Anticipation – Each spring we see countless campers starting their countdowns to camp with great excitement (ours is always going – 141 days left). We love seeing friends from home share the excitement and preparations for camp. This shared experience is the jumping-off point to the deepening of friendship once at camp.

    Sharing Stories – Each year amazing things happen on the shores of Laurel Lake. Campers get home and want to share all of the new and exciting things they did. This big task can be made so much more fun when there’s a friend nearby to recount the memories together. Going back and forth with stories that remind you of more fun times had together over the summer. “Remember the time we jump into the lake and it was so cold!?” We had so much fun running up and down the camp road during Gold Rush!” The stories go on and on.

    Treating “Camp-Sickness” – The term camp sick refers to the intense longing to be back at summer camp. Having camp friends at home can help when you are missing camp. Being able to see them in the halls at school, or easily hang out with them after school or on the weekends can provide comfort for you while not at camp.  You can remember the things you did over the summer, sing silly camp songs as you did in the dining hall, call up other camp friends, carpool to camp meetups, and get ready for the next summer together!

    $500 Referral Discount – A lesser-known reason to invite friends to camp for the first time is our referral program. For each new camper that you refer to and attends Fleur de Lis Camp, you receive a $500 discount on your tuition. So not only does your camper get to experience camp with more friends (who doesn’t need more friends!?), you also save on sending them to camp.

    Needless to say, camp is all about the lifelong friendships that we make and strengthen over the summer. With all of the fun and enriching activities that we offer (which we offer a lot), what we hear more than anything else from our families, campers, alumni, and staff is that it is the friendships that make them come back year after year. We cannot wait to see you and your friends back at camp this summer, swimming, laughing, singing, and just being friends!