This year at Holt Adoptee Camp, I met a family — two young Adoptees and one parent — who have been coming to Holt day camp for the past few years. As they presented a skit during dinner, I sat there struck by the complete awareness of how Holt camp can positively impact families.
During the skit, the family highlighted the evolution of their three-year involvement with Holt Adoptee Camp — from the Adoptees’ initial reluctance to attending camp, to them eventually having fun, making connections and wanting to participate. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed and humbled by the noticeable growth within this family. It reminded me that this growth happens every year, with every family and Adoptee who attends camp — even if it does start out with some reluctance.
Holt Adoptee Camp leaves a felt impact on everyone — from camp staff and campers to parents and volunteers. For all of us, it’s an incredibly personal experience because we’re all impacted by adoption. We make camp fun and full of activities like any other summer camp. But when you have others around you who normalize your feelings, questions and perspectives, it also creates a freeing space where a simple skit can turn into a powerful memory.
This year, our 17 adult Adoptee staff members traveled to four different locations across the United States. We met hundreds of campers, adopted from dozens of countries, and made countless memories. We asked our camp staff to share some of their most memorable moments from Holt camp — moments that either caused them to pause or that most impacted them this season. Here are a few of their responses:
“Seeing all the families drive in on the first day and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that’s what my family looks like. They get it, we get it, this is Holt camp.’ That was a memorable moment for me.” ~ First-time camp staffer and participant in Holt Adoptee Camp
“Every year, I am always amazed at how close and comfortable campers get with each other in a week. This summer, I heard campers having conversations about adoption when walking to lunch and heading to evening entertainment. It’s awesome to know that camp provides a space where Adoptees can have these smaller discussions with peers outside of group adoption talks and their cabins.” ~ 5th-year camp staffer
“After growing up not knowing any other Adoptees, discovering Holt Camp was life-changing for me. This community has saved my life and I would not be here today without it.” ~ First-time camp staffer and previous Holt camper
Each Adoptee will experience Holt Adoptee Camp differently, whether it’s a place to have fun, a place to talk about adoption, or even a place that they’re reluctant to go in the first place. As Holt camp continues to grow and campers choose to attend year after year, or choose to only attend one year, we hope that each individual involved with Holt camp takes with them the memory and knowledge that they will always be part of the Adoptee community.
2019 Holt campers: Hope to see you next year, and thanks for the memories!