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Camp is imminent and just what we need right now. We all need a refresh, a release, and a place of comfort and joy. Camp is a place for exploration and pushing ourselves to try new things and make strong bonds. Camp is magic, and as parents or caregivers, we all want a glimpse of that magic.

Today, many camps, Somerset included, provide parents with several sources of information. We send emails about what is going on at camp. We share our daily paper with meals, activities, tidbits and insights.And we share photos taken throughout the day, capturing special events, moments of elation, and sometimes defeat. Our photographers will often ask the girls to pose for a picture, in addition to capturing candid moments.

We ALL love the group shots of smiling faces, hugs and laughs - me especially. Even though I am actually at camp, living the moments with the campers, I take time every evening to look at pictures on the app, just like you do at home.

In the past few summers, we have heard, noticed and seen campers jockeying for space in pictures, doing special posses and making gestures or facial expressions… and then learned that this was meant to be a signal to their parents. Whether asked to do so by parents or initiated by the campers, this can be harmful to camp and our ability to live in our unique space.

A picture can show what one wants to share, and may not capture all that is ongoing. A picture can often be a reflection of that immediate moment in time, good or bad, honest or contrived, and really may not tell the whole story. More, we desperately want our campers to remove themselves from their care and dependance on an image or photo. It has been our policy to not allow the campers to review the pictures on the back of the camera, as we do not need anyone concerned about how they look.

If this conversation has already come up in your house, please change the narrative. If you are concerned about your camper or something you see in a photo, just reach out. But relying on a thumbs up in a picture or worrying that because she is on the end of a group shot she is not ok, is not helpful for any one.

We believe that there is a value in sharing photographs from camp, both for the parents at home and for our campers when the summer is over and they want to relieve it all themselves. Let our photographers capture the moments, the connections, the smiles and the fun, and leave it at that.