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As a child, neither of us attended summer camp. Rob’s mother worked the day shift while his father worked the night shift so someone was always home. He spent summers playing outside, swimming in the pool, building with Legos, riding his bike in the neighborhood and playing video games. Melissa’s mother was a teacher, so she spent summer at what she refers to as “Camp Mom: Where Every Day Was an Adventure”. Some adventures were day trips to places like Storybook Land, Turtleback Zoo, Sesame Place, and museums in Manhattan; some days were spent playing outside in the pool and sandbox, visits to the library, learning to cook and bake, reading long chapter books together, or making crafts. We both took road-trip family vacations to places like Williamsburg, Disney World, Allentown, Washington D.C., Nashville, and Vermont. We learned well into our relationship that we visited Cooperstown during the same long weekend. We can’t help but wonder if we bumped into each other and didn’t realize it.
As adults, we both work at a summer program together. It’s an amazing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) program at the school where Melissa works. She started as a teacher in the program. Rob joined later when another teacher moved away. Melissa moved up to the position of program director when the former director had an amazing opportunity to become chief of staff for a local philanthropic organization. The program is unique and really fosters a love of learning through hands-on activities that have real world applications. It’s amazing to watch the students, who range in age from 3 to 14, light up and engage in learning (even if they claim they only had fun). It’s a wonderful summer family! The program staff have been to each other’s weddings, had each other’s children “hang out” in our classes, and look forward to being able to have our child hang out in their class. We were both really sad that the current COVID-19 pandemic posed too many obstacles for the program to safely open this summer. We commemorated what would have been the first night of camp with a virtual get together and we all look forward to making learning fun again next summer.
Here’s Melissa with a group of students who were very excited to say good morning and Rob working with his class last summer: