In a recent Facebook post, former camper Rena S. (cottage ’01) wrote this heartfelt letter about her experience as both a recipient of a scholarship at Belvoir and a current member of the Belvoir scholarship board. This is her edited version.
Dear everyone who knows me,
I know I do a lot of talking, but what is the topic I talk about most?
Whether at a party, lunch, or meeting, the topic always comes up: summer camp. That’s right, my childhood summer camp, which isn’t really a summer camp at all. At Belvoir, you won’t find sailboats or canoes or bad processed food or uniforms (although you will find plenty of mosquitos).
Belvoir is a magical place in the Berkshires where girls come from all over the world to plant, nurture, and grow seeds of individual creativity through highly structured programs in the arts. (Mind you, we have an amazing swim and tennis team, too.)Some choose to go to Belvoir to study with a famous ballet teacher, others go to learn how to sing or act or make a cyanotypes or weave baskets. And then some girls just sort of want to see what it’s like to play tennis and tap dance all in the same afternoon.But, the reason these girls choose to stay at camp, and many of them for years, is because of the nurturing environment where they learn how to problem solve, take risks, give, receive, support, stand up, forgive, calm down, slow down, go forth, enjoy, work, cherish, care, and grow—both together and individually.
But, what happens when a girl who has been at Belvoir developing her community, suddenly cannot afford to continue the program? If her mother loses a job or her father leaves and all security goes down the drain? This was the case for many after the 2008 financial crisis. Many girls who were at the camp for years suddenly could no longer attend. Nancy Goldberg worked hard with the scholarship board in order to get them back into the camp despite financial changes in the family. Because, how can Belvoir turn its back on a camper after she has established her Belvoir family?
I was a scholarship student at Belvoir for 8 years.Belvoir is where I learned to calm my brain and focus on my art. It is also where I developed a huge family of 300 girls, women, and staff many of whom I remain in touch with today.
What would have happened to me had my tenure been cut off at the age of 11 or 12, just as I had established my art, passion, and family?
I personally need your support, to help another girl like me gain the opportunity to find her voice and land on her feet, and not only after doing a quadruple pirouette.
Some people say, there’s no place like home. For me, there’s no place like Belvoir. Please see the link below and contribute today. These girls are our future. And if you care about me, you care about them.