Embracing Adventure: Discover Camp Netop's Unique Philosophy for Summer 2024 and beyond
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Embracing Adventure: Discover Camp Netop's Unique Philosophy for Summer 2024 and beyond


Hello everyone, I'm Jason from Camps with Friends, an online platform dedicated to helping parents discover the perfect summer camps and after-school activities for their children across the United States. Today, I'm thrilled to chat with Lisa from Netop Summer Camp. Lisa, could you please give us a brief 30-second overview of who you are and what Netop has to offer?



Here is the transcript of the video turned into a blog post:

Hello, I'm Lisa, and along with my husband, Tom, we are the proud owners and directors of Netop Summer Camp. With a combined experience of over 30 years in the camp industry, we took the reins at Netop in April 2020. Our camp caters to boys and individuals who identify as male, providing a rustic and back-to-basics experience that sets us apart. We pride ourselves on being intentionally small, allowing for personalized attention and meaningful connections.

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The history of Netop dates back to the late 1950s when two college friends, hailing from Philadelphia and the suburbs of Boston, came together to establish a summer camp. Rooted in the four spokes philosophy, Netop has always been a haven for boys, initially emphasizing Christian values before transitioning to a non-denominational approach. After a brief hiatus in 1987, the camp was rejuvenated by the Alumni in 2008, paving the way for us to continue the legacy in 2020.

Our commitment to the four spokes philosophy shapes every aspect of Netop, focusing on mental, social, spiritual, and physical development. This holistic approach empowers campers to embrace their true selves, set meaningful goals, and foster well-rounded growth. From introspection and leadership to social interactions, physical activities, and spiritual connections, we prioritize nurturing the whole individual.

View the Netop Profile Page here.

In the spirit of our rustic setting, Netop offers a unique camping experience with platform tents that accommodate campers comfortably. Embracing the great outdoors, we provide a range of activities that cater to diverse interests, from sports to creative outlets. Through mentorship and goal-setting, we ensure that campers not only thrive during their time at Netop but carry the values and lessons learned with them beyond the campfire.

As we embark on our journey as the third-generation owners of Netop, we remain dedicated to upholding the camp's rich traditions and values, fostering a supportive environment where boys can flourish and grow into confident, well-rounded individuals.

That's fantastic! Let's delve into the concept of the four spokes, especially for parents who are contemplating sending their children to Netop.

Can you elaborate on the four spokes philosophy and how it impacts the camp experience?

Lisa explained the concept of the four spokes philosophy, likening it to a wagon wheel. Just as a wagon wheel needs all its spokes to turn smoothly, our focus on mental, social, spiritual, and physical aspects ensures a well-rounded development for our campers. We encourage them to embrace their true selves, avoid societal pressures, and set smart goals in each spoke area.

In the mental realm, we emphasize introspection and leadership skills. Socially, we foster strong connections and role model interactions. Our physical activities range from sports to creative outlets, promoting sportsmanship and leadership. The spiritual spoke delves into inner spirits, camp spirit, and nature connections.

Our counselors mentor campers, discussing the four spokes philosophy, setting goals, and maintaining year-round connections. This approach helps campers stay grounded, connected, and well-rounded, combating toxic masculinity and fostering emotional awareness. The philosophy resonates with campers long after they leave, guiding them through their personal growth journey.

What exciting activities can children engage in?

Our camp prides itself on its Purposefully Rustic charm, setting us apart as a platform tent camp.

Before the trend of Glamping took off, we were already providing a comfortable experience for campers. Rest assured, there are no floor summers here - every camper has their own bed in our spacious tents, accommodating up to eight people. We purposely keep our groups small to foster strong connections and avoid overcrowding. Each tent houses four to five campers, along with one or two staff members, tailored to the age group and number of kids.

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Photos on our website showcase the authentic canvas tents perched on platforms, enhancing the sense of community. Unlike traditional cabin camps with wooden walls, our canvas walls can be rolled up to create an open, inclusive environment where campers can easily interact with their neighbors.

Situated by a picturesque waterfront (or pond, officially), we offer a range of classic activities like swimming, fishing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. In addition to these, our focus extends to outdoor pursuits such as archery and a woodsman class emphasizing survival skills and nature-based learning.

Within the creative arts realm, campers can enjoy woodworking, wood burning, leather crafting, arts and crafts, rock band sessions, acoustic guitar classes, and engaging drama and improv activities. A standout favorite among campers is our Dungeons and Dragons sessions.

For physical activities, we offer tennis, badminton, soccer, basketball, and volleyball, catering to various interests and skill levels. Additionally, we host fun competitions and events that embody the essence of summer camp.

It sounds like a blast up there! How long are your programs usually? Are they short-term or month-long adventures?

From 10 days to six weeks, our camp offers a wide range of session lengths, providing families with the flexibility to fit camp into their schedules seamlessly. Starting with mini-sessions like our 10-day mini-B session, designed especially for younger campers in grades three through six, campers can ease into the camp experience before deciding to extend their stay. If they find themselves having a blast and wanting to stay longer, they can seamlessly transition to longer sessions like session one or session two, ranging from three and a half weeks to two and a half weeks respectively. For those looking for the full summer camp experience, the six-week session is also available.

Additionally, our camp offers 24-hour training camp days, offering a taste of the full camp experience for younger kids considering camp for the following year. They get to stay overnight, participate in all activities, and even have the option to extend their stay if they're having too much fun to leave. With a focus on flexibility and catering to busy summer schedules, our camp ensures that campers can choose the session length that best suits their needs, whether it's a one-time experience or a summer tradition.

Jason mentioned that they are currently in the process of developing a staffing section on their website to assist summer camps and programs on Camps With Friends.

He discussed the challenges associated with finding staff and expressed interest in providing details to college students or individuals seeking employment at the camp.

Our staff composition at camp is a dynamic blend of 50% American staff and 50% international staff. The majority of our American team members have grown through the camp program, showcasing their dedication and passion for the experience.

For our international staff, many of whom are first-year participants on the J1 counselor visa, the camp provides a transformative and enriching opportunity. We are thrilled when they return for multiple summers, as there are no restrictions on the J1 visa for consecutive summers, allowing for continuity and growth.

One of the advantages of having international staff is the ease with which we can find and match their skills to our needs at camp. This ensures that every camper is in the capable hands of a well-trained and safety-conscious staff.

We prioritize staff training, including certification courses in lifeguarding and archery, offering valuable skills that extend beyond the camp environment. While we excel in recruiting and nurturing international staff, we do encounter challenges in attracting new American team members, particularly those without prior camp experience.

Being a camp counselor is not just a job; it is a transformative experience that equips individuals with essential life skills. From time management to conflict resolution, counselors learn invaluable lessons that are applicable in various aspects of their lives and future careers.

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Initiative, leadership, and effective communication are key attributes that counselors develop, standing out as confident and capable individuals. We encourage prospective camp counselors to view this opportunity as a journey of personal growth and skill development, rather than just a seasonal job.

The American Camp Association (ACA) and camps across the country are actively promoting counselor positions as valuable internships, aligning with college requirements and offering a dual benefit of paid work experience and unforgettable memories. This approach aims to attract a diverse and skilled pool of counselors, enriching the camp experience for campers and staff alike.

Indeed, the significance of summer camps in American culture is undeniable, and our mission is to connect parents with exceptional businesses like yours that offer outstanding camp experiences.

Now, let's delve into Maine for a moment. Imagine a parent residing outside of Maine eager to send their child to a camp in this picturesque state. What does that journey entail?

Our camp is located about 40-45 minutes northwest of Portland in the picturesque Lake's Region of southern Maine. This area is a popular vacation spot, attracting visitors from Southern New England who come to enjoy the abundance of lakes, second homes, and camping opportunities.

We always encourage families to make the most of their visit by staying overnight in the area, perhaps finding a cozy hotel, or arriving early to explore the surroundings. When it comes to transportation, the majority of our camp families drive to drop off their campers, allowing parents and family members to be present for the check-in process.

For families coming from New England or the Tri-State area, the camp is easily accessible via highways, making it a convenient journey. We also provide transportation options for campers flying in from locations such as Portland and Boston, ensuring a seamless and stress-free arrival.

Whether parents are considering sending their children to camp for a few weeks or a longer stay, we understand the concerns about safety and well-being. As a parent myself, I am sending my own child to camp this year, experiencing the same emotions and questions.

While modern-day parenting may involve more cautious decision-making, we strive to create a safe and nurturing environment at camp. Our small camp size allows for personalized attention, with low camper-to-staff ratios and a focus on getting to know each child individually.

meet the team camp Netop-1

Parents can rest assured that their children will be in good hands, with a director who is actively involved and available for communication. We prioritize face-to-face interactions and present moments at camp, fostering a tech-free environment that encourages genuine connections and unforgettable experiences for all campers.

As we reflect on the evolution of social interactions, it's apparent that the days of simply knocking on a friend's door to play are a thing of the past. In today's world, where trust and familiarity are paramount, we pride ourselves on maintaining a small camp size by design, with a maximum capacity of 90 kids per week. This intentional approach allows every child to feel valued and significant in our nurturing environment.

Our focus on personalized attention extends to our small tent groups and activity ratios, ensuring that each child receives the individualized care and support they need. Our staff members are dedicated to getting to know every camper on a personal level, from their first and last names to their interests and backgrounds. This commitment to building genuine connections sets the foundation for a memorable camp experience for both campers and parents alike.

In an age where technology often distracts from authentic interactions, we prioritize creating a tech-free environment that encourages campers to live in the present moment and foster meaningful face-to-face connections. As a parent myself, I understand the importance of feeling connected and informed, which is why I make myself readily available for communication throughout the entire camp experience.

By instilling a sense of responsibility and independence in our campers, we aim to provide a transformative experience that goes beyond just having fun. It's heartwarming to hear stories from parents about how their children have grown more confident, independent, and responsible during their time at camp, showcasing the lasting impact of the camp experience.

It's amazing how camp experiences like these shape individuals?

During meal times, we have a dedicated waiter who ensures that tables are promptly cleared, wiped down, and set for the next group of campers.

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You'll often hear stories like Johnny diligently making his bed every morning. It's these small but significant habits that camp instills in our campers. It's truly rewarding to witness their growth and development during their time at camp.

One touching testimonial that stands out is about a camper who had faced a challenging school year both emotionally and mentally. His social well-being was a concern, making his first camp experience a bit nerve-wracking for his family.

However, by the end of the summer, his mother shared a heartfelt letter expressing how much of a respite camp had been for him. It was a moment of relaxation and rejuvenation that allowed him to breathe and shed the weight off his shoulders after just two and a half weeks at camp.

His fresh outlook and newfound hobbies, like wood burning and drawing, were a testament to the positive impact of the camp experience. It's heartwarming to see how these moments at camp translate into a more successful and fulfilling school year for him.

This transformation is not unique to him; we often witness teenagers rediscovering the joys of childhood at camp. At camp, we believe in providing a space where teenagers can still be kids, embracing their youth without rushing them through this precious stage of life.

We understand the importance of allowing children to simply be themselves, and that's the essence of what makes sending your kids to camp truly invaluable.

It sounds like an incredible opportunity to send your kids to camp, doesn't it? Thank you, Lisa, for sharing so much valuable information about Netop. It's been a great conversation, and I've learned a lot about the camp, including the correct pronunciation - Netop.

I'm excited to share a fun fact with you - Netop originates from the Narragansett word for friendship. It was the closest pronunciation the white settlers could achieve, emphasizing the essence of camaraderie at camp.

I truly appreciate the significance of our name symbolizing friendship, as it aligns with our mission to instill strong bonds among our campers.

it's rewarding to pass on the heritage behind our camp's name, fostering a sense of tradition and community. It's truly remarkable to see how history and meaning intertwine at Netop.

For parents interested in learning more, you can visit our website at www.netopsummercamp.com. It's simple and easy to remember - Netop. Thank you all for joining us, and we look forward to connecting with you again soon."

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