I have three very different children who have attended Killooleet. Each one holds their summers there so close to their heart. It is their safe haven, a reprieve from a world that expects them to be wired to a machine at all times. There, they've learned more about who they are and what they truly enjoy than in any other place. Their friendships seem truer, their camp projects and activities have a depth and meaning, and when I go to visit I practically weep with gratitude for the experiences they've had there. Kate and Dean hire their staff very carefully, and instill values of respect and kindness that allow the children to really come into their own. The length of the camp is necessary for the intensity of the experience, and when I visited last summer, both my children attending asked me, kindly, if I could please plan to leave a little earlier to accomodate their busy schedules. Killooleet is one the best parts of their childhood.
Everybody's camp is the "best" camp but suffice it to say that this camp is more "best" than the rest (though hardly anyone would really ever say so as such a competitive/comparative ethos runs counter to much of what camp symbolizes.) That being said, the summer I left for Killooleet my younger brother similarly wanted to attend but was too young at the time. Now some 15 years later and having attended a camp which he did indeed love, he still pines for the missed experiences he could have had at Camp K. I myself attended for only four years as a camper and disturbingly never made it back on staff as intended. However, every year I attend the reunion, joining in on the same songs sung by Seeger campers since John started instilling them decades prior, and every year I am reminded of what those experiences, friendships and the even the memories themselves have come to reflect in my being today. The sense of community and camaraderie at Killooleet is truly unparalleled. In this way, Killooleet is the perfect place for those who want their child to feel safe to EXPLORE be it in the physical beauty of Vermont, musical, athletic, or artistic hobbies, or just in the manner in which being away from home for eight weeks can engender. There is truly some intangible that this camp has that no other one does. I and my fellow alumni (and the staff) are drastically improved people and citizens of the world for having experienced it.
How does a person distill twenty years of their life in to a paragraph? Not easily, that's for sure. I attended camp for four years as a child. That first summer was tough. I learned to share, to open up (i was an only child), to try new things (yikes!) to fail (double yikes) and to try again. Summers two through four, i learned all of those things all over again. I had expert educators as counselors - educators who have become my brothers and sisters over time, but at the time exhibited extreme patience and support with young people learning how to LIVE without their normal support system around them. As older campers, we were trusted to explore our skills in leadership, communication, risk-taking, and compassion. We were asked to care for others. It is not a surprise to anyone who spends more than a few hours at Killooleet that many staff members become educators, social workers, or people passionate about the greater good. I am honored to call my camp friends my family.
If you want a Summer Camp where people are going to judge your child solely on their athletic /artistic / musical prowess, and not for their attempt to grow as an athlete / musician / artist, then truly, Killooleet is not for you. But if you want a place where they can try, fail, try again, fail again, and be reminded of all they learned in the process, then Killooleet is for you.
Killooleet is the closest thing to a sacred place that my children will ever experience. The air is different. The light is finer, more distilled, softer. Time moves so slowly at Killooleet that mid- summer seems to hang in the balance for months. Friends made at Killooleet are friends for life. The adults are benign, inspiring, and sort of old-fashioned in their mildness, their utter innocence. No jaded meanies walking around. No attitude. New York city sophisticates at Killooleet lose the cool and become children again. The truth that stuff doesn't matter is the coin of the realm there. People actually are unplugged. And there are no videos being made for the helicopter parents back home. Ah summer! Ah childhood Arcady, in which boredom and magic walk hand in hand. Slow food, slow everything is in fashion now, but it's always been the way at Camp K. Children and grownups make lots of live music, also pottery, and jewelry, and drawings, and they invent absurd skits and learn archery and swimming and how to get along. My children spent 9 years at Killooleet as campers and then another 6 (?) working there. When they were campers the day they got home in August they started counting how many days till camp started again. Truly. And the brief homesickness they experienced during some summers was pretty mild compared to the camp-sickness they experienced during the year, when camp was still months in the future. Best place I know.
We sent our three sons to Killooleet and it was one of the best parenting decisions we ever made. They started as young boys and five video-free summers later emerged as young men with strength of character, life-long friends, wonderful memories, and a new appreciation for the simple pleasures of sing alongs, camp fires, banjos, and commando raids.
Lori and Gary Becker
Attending as a camper, working in the kitchen, and working as a counselor were both the best and most formative summers of my life. I'd recommend Killooleet to anyone.
I spent many special summers at Killooleet. It's not your run-of-the-mill camp. It's run by wonderful people and the relationships I made there were some of the most important in my life.
Killooleet is a great camp where kids have the freedom to explore as many interests as they choose. I spent many wonderful summers there both as a camper and a counselor and I had the ability to excel in sports but also work on art and music projects. But Killooleet isnít only about the activities Ė itís about learning to live in a community and about learning long-term values that you keep with you for life. It sounds trite, but itís true that Killooleet made me who I am today. Iíd recommend Killooleet highly to any parent who is looking for a truly unique and well-rounded experience for their child.
I was a camper for 3 years, kitchen staff for 2, and a counselor for 3 -- and I hold Camp Killooleet to be the single most important educational and social experience of my life.
Whether it is enduring friendships (rapidly approaching decade number two), the skills I developed, the life-long hobbies I picked up, or just the amazing 8-weeks enjoying beautiful Vermont, every Summer was unique, memorable, and life-changing.
Wherever your passions lie, be it in music, sports, and/or performing arts, Killooleet is a supportive community that pushes everyone to explore what it is that THEY want to accomplish over the summer. This allows for everyone, both staff and camper, to really experience personal and social growth and be able to be fully self-expressed without feeling unwelcome or out of place.
Without question, I would not be the person I am today without Camp Killooleet and the Seeger family. I simply cannot recommend Camp Killooleet enough.
Camp Killooleet is truly a place like no other. As a camper for four summers and a staff member for four additional summers, it has been one of the most supportive, longstanding communities in my life. As a child, I learned the importance of community, of work ethic, of decision making and learning how to live with others. It provided an oasis for me and so many of my fellow campers from the harsh social pressures of elementary and middle school and allowed for us to be who we truly were, in a beautiful Vermont valley, free from badges or marks or competition. Killooleet provides a place for your child to grow into and discover their best selves in a safe and welcoming community filled with music and play and arts and sports. We can't wait to send our own children to this special place.