Sitting By the Lake at Stomping Ground
Our teens like to hangout on this little bench that over looks the lake. It isn’t fancy, but it has become their thing. I like to sit with them, when I can, and just talk about stuff.
One day last summer I was sitting with maybe 6 teens and they started talking about school: going to high school, unschooling, going to the Philly Free School, travel schooling, homework, Montessori, Waldorf, you name it. It was fascinating to hear them share what they loved and hated about their education. One of the kids in the group came from a family with more money than I could dream of, another camper struggled to afford school supplies, others were middle class. But in that moment they were just young adults discussing the merits of our education system, sharing their experience and recognizing their differences. They showed so much empathy and believed in so much possibility.
It was amazing. I just sat and listened.
Those teens didn’t solve our national education problem, but they had a chance to connect and talk about big ideas. These are the moments I live for at camp. These the moments that almost never happen anywhere else.
Making These Moments Possible
There were a lot of moving pieces that went into making that moment possible, but one of the biggest came from people like you. People that gave us the chance to say yes to scholarships for half the teens in that conversation.
To be honest, I don’t know much about fundraising, donor acquisition, or endowments. I don’t know much about managing a board or developing a giving strategy. I just like hanging out with teens by the lake.
Ten summers ago I was hanging out with some different teens by a different lake. I was the CIT (counselor-in-training) director at Camp Stella Maris when I met this fiery, self-conscious, scared, excited, passionate, brilliant, 16-year-old. She had no idea how cool she was. She was nervous, laughed uncontrollably at my bad jokes so she wouldn’t have to be the center of attention, and was one of the most compassionate teenagers I have ever met. She was amazing. Her campers couldn’t have loved her more. The other CITs couldn’t have said nicer things about her.
She had no idea how special she was.
Liz Huberlie Blaszkiewicz
Liz Huberlie Blaszkiewicz, the nervous teen, is now the head of digital fundraising strategy at the University of Rochester, recently married, a badass gymnast, and a super powerful woman. Last year she pushed us to run our first Day of Giving and helped us raise over $26,000 to bring kids to camp. Liz is also the newest board member for Stomping Ground Camp Inc. Liz has become the our driver for making conversations like the one I described above possible. She helps us bring hundreds of kids to camp that could never afford it.
Liz, thank you for coming on this journey with us, for trusting your weird old CIT director, and for all your love and guidance. We love you!