Take Eight with Lizz Gordon

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine
As director of the Girl Scouts’ 52-acre Camp Green Eyrie in Harvard, Lizz Gordon knows a thing or two about summer camp. It will be a while before the tents go up, but Gordon took some time to talk summer camp with us, envisioning warm summer days and cool camping nights.

1. How do you see camp change a child?

One of the biggest changes I see in children is how they express themselves throughout their time at camp. They are given the opportunity to have a “clean slate,” allowing different sides of their personality to shine through and be comfortable amongst new friends. I see shy kids become extroverts, and natural leaders take the chance to step back and allow themselves to relax. I see children at camp gain independence, confidence, and self-appreciation as they express themselves in a way that only camp allows.

2. What are the 5 essentials every camper must pack?

1. Double the amount of socks and underwear they planned to bring.

2. Layers, as the temperature can be quite varied from day to night.

3. Pre-addressed stamps and envelopes.

4. Flashlight (and don’t forget those spare batteries!).

5. Sturdy shoes may sound simple, but the children will be more than appreciative they have them after a week of running, playing, hiking, and exploring.

3.How have you seen the camp experience change over the years?

I have definitely seen the importance of the camp experience change for children, as it draws them away from technology, social media, and the pressure of staying connected. Screen time has become more integrated in children’s lives, and the chance to become “unplugged” at camp allows them to connect with nature, peers, and themselves on a deeper level.

4. What’s your favorite camp song?

That is a tough question for any camp staff person! I honestly have several, but to name one of these, it would be “Boom Chika Boom.” It’s a repeat-after-me song that energizes and excites both campers and counselors. It gives them the chance to be silly and creative in the verses, and when we sing it at our Opening campfire, it definitely represents what the upcoming week will be like!

5. What’s the No. 1 thing everyone forgets to bring to camp?

It’s not always on a summer camp’s packing list, but an often-forgotten-about item is a fitted sheet. A fitted sheet not only provides a little comfort of home (especially for those kids who are unfamiliar with sleeping in a camp setting), but also offers more comfort during those nights when the sleeping bags slips a little and you wind up laying against the mattress.

6. What is your favorite camp activity?

This is another hard question, but I would have to say boating. I love being out on the water, and before I was the Camp Director, I worked on the waterfront for several years. There’s nothing better than taking a group of girls out to explore the pond, whether it is kayaks, canoes, sail boats or row boats – I love them all!

7. What would parents be surprised to learn about camp?

I would have to say how much their child can grow and become independent in one week. Camp teaches children so many different lessons and life experiences, such as working together with people they’ve just met, keeping track of their own belongings, and taking control of how they choose to experience camp.

8. If you could camp anywhere in the U.S., where would you go?

I would love to go to some of the National Parks out west, such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. I have yet to travel out West, and I would love to experience these beautiful places first hand.