Laurel Leaves: Letter from the President
Dear Fleur de Lis Community,
As I think back over the past year and a half of coping with Covid19, there are so many difficult aspects of that reflection. Coping with the death or illness of loved ones and the loved ones of my friends; dealing with the isolation; watching my daughters try to stay socially and emotionally healthy through major milestones of their lives reached during times of unprecedented fear and restrictions; and grappling with the seesaw of loosening restrictions coupled with increased unknowns- all of this has made this time so challenging. Like you, I was so relieved and happy that campers, CTs, and staff could return to Fleur de Lis this past summer. Camp provides so much of what was missing from our lives- particularly connecting with others. When I think about how I feel about Fleur de Lis as we have come through all of this, one word keeps rising to the surface, and that is Gratitude.
I’m grateful for the beautiful setting of Fleur de Lis.
I frequently visit camp, both during the summer and the off-season. Whenever I walk the property, I get a sense of peace and gratitude. These feelings wash over me and ease my soul. There’s a reason so many of us return to camp when big events impact our lives. We know we are grounded there and can use the visit to regroup. The smells, the sounds, the way the ground feels under our feet, the familiar sights, all these trigger memories of funny stories and close friendships. I always breathe deeper and always find reasons to smile when I’m at camp.
I’m grateful that our campers, CTs, and staff were able to spend this summer at Fleur de Lis.
This past summer, campers and staff were able to Come Home to Fleur de Lis, whether returning for a next summer or for the first time. There were many restrictions and protocols in place, in order to help that happen, but they were still able to experience the joys and sense of belonging that is most essential to a Fleur de Lis summer experience. After living through so much over the past year and a half, it was obvious how much this was needed.
I am grateful for the staff that gave our campers a joyful summer.
In so many ways, this summer was a success because of the staff who made our girls’ experiences their first priority. Though short-handed and relatively new to the role of counselors, our field staff were true role models for our campers. They kept everyone safe, and most importantly helped campers build friendships, laugh often, and develop confidence. Our administrative staff truly worked together to ensure that everyone was supported and empowered to learn, play, and live together.
I am grateful for the volunteers that keep Fleur de Lis thriving.
There are so many people involved in keeping camp running smoothly. Many of those people volunteer their time and skills. From those who take the time to teach campers and staff new skills to others who roll up their sleeves and assist in the manual labor required to get camp set up for the season; from the corporation who are the strongest ambassadors of FdL to the board who work tirelessly to secure its current and future success; from those who step up to raise money for camp to those who ensure that money is responsibly managed; from those who take time off work to show up and help out to those who champion camp in their own communities, it is our volunteers who make us strong.
I am grateful for Fleur de Lis’s donors.
One thing we have learned, during this time of Covid, is that we cannot take anything for granted. This includes our physical health and safety, and it also includes our financial health. We have needed our community during these uncertain times and your response was tremendous. Because of our donors, Fleur de Lis was able to stay strong even after needing to close our doors during the summer of 2020. Even during uncertain personal financial times, our community came together to support camp! We continue to need that financial support as we advance our diversity, equity, and inclusion work and strengthen our programming and facilities.
I am grateful for the parents of Fleur de Lis campers.
During these Covid times, we all hold our children a bit closer. Sometimes it’s because we have no choice- they haven’t been able to get out from under our feet. Sometimes it’s because they have grown more reliant upon us as they navigate uncertain times. And sometimes it’s because our children have more fears, worries, anxieties, and insecurities because of the circumstances they’ve lived through. Some of our children have had serious challenges and some more minor ones, but all of them have had to cope in ways unimaginable two years ago. It’s difficult to let others step in for us and guide our children for a while. Thank you to all the parents who entrusted their children to the care of camp this summer. This is something that’s not taken for granted.
I am grateful for camp friends.
Throughout the pandemic, it is my camp friends who have kept me going. Whether texting together, talking on the phone, or getting together over zoom, it was with camp friends that I could be truly honest about my own struggles and I could be there to support them. And, of course, camp friends helped me laugh and remember all the great times we shared. Camp friends gave me hope, lifted me up, and kept me entertained. I could always tell when my daughters were on zooms with their camp friends because they were the only times when they laughed wholeheartedly and sounded like their true selves. Camp friends make everything better! Now that we are more able to travel and gather, it is get togethers with camp friends that make me the happiest.
What are you grateful for?
Drop me an email at President@fleurdelis.org and let me know.
And thank you for all that you contribute to Fleur de Lis.
-Diane (Di) Foster