This week, S&S Worldwide had the opportunity to be a part of Camp Courant’s opening day event, where campers arrived for their first day of summer camp! This year they are celebrating their 124th year in making a difference in the lives of Hartford’s children. Camp Courant is the nation’s longest running free summer camp.
During the opening speech, Fox 61’s Jimmy Altman spoke about the camp and how it can change the lives of those who attend. “At this time in the world, what we do here is we create unity. It’s not about devisiveness, it is about unity, and that is one of the things that is fostered here at Camp Courant.” Jimmy Altman introduced Chief Charles Teale of the Hartford Fire Department, who attended the camp 54 years ago. “Everytime I come into this place, a flood of memories just hits me, you can’t even imagine.” Chief Teale continuted to speak about key people from the past that have made a significant contribution to the town of Hartford, and each of them attended Camp Courant.
McKinley Albert, Executive Director and CEO of Camp Courant, spoke to the crowd just before the buses arrived, and how important that moment is. “There is nothing like seeing 650 happy kids. The ones who have been here for awhile go running to Foosball, to the basketball courts. You see those 5 and 6 year olds – some of them have never been out of the neighborhoods before – and their eyes are just so wide with delight.”
Activities for Opening Day
When the buses arrived, all of the sponsors and community members that attended the event were cheering and clapping. As we watched the campers exit the bus, you could feel the excitement. Staff members greeted and high fived campers.
Once all of buses unloaded, campers ran to the playground areas, basketball courts, swingests, and Foosball tables. Soon they were lining up with their counselors, and each group was assigned a certain activity, which they rotated throughout the day. It was beautiful weather, and it was great to see so many outdoor activities they could participate in. A favorite among young campers was the new pool!
S&S is proud to donate every year to the camp, and ensure they get the equipment needed to provide a fun and educational place for kids. Camp Courant has been a customer of ours for over 35 years. They use our supplies for physical education, recreation, for their arts and crafts program, and more. It was exciting to see the kids enjoying the Foosball table all day!
Staff at Camp Courant
I was so impressed with the staff members at Camp Courant. They were attentive to their groups and also took the time to help others. They dedicate their days to make sure these children experience the best summer ever!
Ice breakers are important for the first day of camp. I watched as staff had their groups participate in a few simple activities to get to know each other’s names, and a few fun things about one another. Some would get into a circle, say their name, and have to repeat the next persons after their own. Others would share their name and their favorite color as they passed around a ball. Staff would also play games with their groups in between activites. One group taught their camp counselor some new dance moves!
Programs at Camp Courant
The camp offers many opportunities that these children do not get to experience anywhere else, including several educational programs. These range from financial literacy, yoga, a mock trial program, nature, music and performance. This year they will also be introducing a STEM and manufacturing program, LEGO robotics, and The Hartford will be running a campus wide Field Day. The entire camp will also take a trip to the Hartford Yard Goats stadium. These programs are supported by the community and organizations that donate to the camp.
It was truly a great experience to be present for opening day and support our local community. It’s more than just a summer camp, it’s a place for kids to learn, play, and grow. As Jimmy Altman said, “You can see what this camp does – you can be anything, and this is a launch pad.”
To learn more about Hartford’s Camp Courant, visit their website at https://campcourant.org