16 Feb Perspectives from a Grandparent on ‘Campin’ Cousins’
I am so excited to share a wonderful perspective on Susquehannock from a grandparent of current campers. We have countless siblings and cousins who attend camp and develop incredible bonds. The following message provides an entirely different look at the experience and what it means for a grandmother to have her grandchildren attend Susquehannock together. I hope you enjoy this reflection as much as I do!
Perspectives from a Grandparent on ‘Campin’ Cousins’
By Dona Pearcy
Grandmother of Kaitlyn, Elizabeth + Ryan Pearcy
Ford + Georgia Cash
Going away to a traditional overnight camp was a rite of passage in my family, and it was a given that I would want my own son and daughter to have the same experience. With many friends in Philadelphia who were already part of the Camp Susquehannock family, our camp choice was an easy one. The bonus was that our children would be on the same camp calendar and one easy drive to the Endless Mountains for their respective single gender camps. Our daughter Page attended Susquehannock for Girls for five great summers. Our son Jay is still at Susquehannock after many years as a camper, counselor, and now as Head of the Girls Camp.
We appreciate all that is taught and learned at Susquehannock: sportsmanship, leadership, independence, athletic skill development, self-confidence and cabin life, to just mention a few camp “takeaways.” We love the fact that at Susquehannock, children learn to take risks and make decisions without input from their parents. It was a great joy to watch our own children grow and develop positively at camp in the 1980s.
Fast-forward 25 years and suddenly our 5 grandchildren (3 girls and 2 boys) were old enough to go to camp. I never gave a thought to the possibility of my grandchildren ending up at Susquehannock together …but that’s what happened and it has been such fun to watch! The kids are close in age and always enjoyed family holiday events but they live at opposite ends of the country meaning time together was infrequent. Something magical happened once they began spending summers together at Susquehannock. I noticed the change in their relationships immediately after their first summer together, and it was a wonderful observation for this grandmother. The five kids bonded over their shared experience and I know that Susquehannock has made them closer than they would ever be otherwise. I think this bond will last forever. When we are together at holidays, they break into “camp talk” immediately. It’s as if they have a language of their own – Chicken Feed, Loyal Guard, Golden Broom, Candle Float, Serengeti Plains, TO/The Club, Angleball, Villa, Super Mongo Goofy Monster Relays, the list goes on and on.
Of course, the children would love Susquehannock even if they did not have their cousins there, but they seem to feel that it has enhanced their experience to be at camp together. And that, in turn, has drawn our family closer. One grandchild told me that “camp would not be the same without his cousins.” He said it was so easy for him to adjust that first year, knowing that he had his “go-to” cousins there, adding that he knows all of the campers – both girls and boys – who are older and younger than he is through his cousins. My grandchildren have had the opportunity to bond at camp in a way they would not if their time together was always with parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. This unique experience at Susquehannock has enriched the relationships between the children and has cemented them forever. Camp Susquehannock has now been a significant part of our family’s life into the third generation and we could not be more appreciative.
The fact that we have so many multi-generational campers every summer is a testament to the longevity of Susquehannock. This continuity of community is the foundation that allows so many campers to feel comfortable arriving on campus. We hope to have even more sets of siblings and cousins at Susquehannock for #Summer115!