The world is full of experiences waiting to be had. Some are enjoyable (recall first wave surfed) and some are not (think first bee sting). One experience that stands out the most in my mind is summer camp. I spent my 6th grade summer in North Carolina on a compound practicing archery, ultimate-frisbee, basket-weaving and trying to woo girls far, far out of my league at the time… aka high schoolers. It was a formidable and challenging summer in many aspects.
Recently, I had the chance to catch up with London Rosiere, who heads Camp SoulGrow — a Montauk-based camp that offers an amazingly diverse curriculum that aims to expose kids to all sorts of new activities + build independent thinking and confidence in campers.
London and Camp SoulGrow have a lovely amount of activities planned for Gurney’s next week (Dec 28th – Jan 1st), and are also looking to match a 10k donation from an generous, anonymous donor before December 31st. If you’re in a position to help and would like to support Camp SoulGrow, you can find out more about the camp and donate (hint: tax-deductible), here.
Below is a conversation I had with London that offers a bit of background and insight into why Camp SoulGrow is gaining so much popularity so quickly. Enjoy.
Whalebone: Alright, first off — have you ever been to London?
London: Yes! I went to London with my mom when I graduated high school. No one believed it was my real name… I hope to go back and run the London Marathon one of these days.
Talk to us about the inspiration behind Camp SoulGrow. Were there specific events or moments that led you to organize this creative, kid-focused movement?
Since losing my home in Hurricane Katrina and living in NYC for the past 10 years, I realized I was stuck in a corporate box that I never fit into. I realized I was listening to society and not my heart. When I lost my mother I wanted to do something good with my inheritance so I put every dollar and all my heart into providing opportunities for children to find things they love and grow from, and keep dreaming and keep doing… and to follow their hearts. We are honored to be a 501(c)(3) public non-profit and look forward to continuing to bring the children and the community together in an organic and creative way for the growth of our future!
Can you tell us about the most magical moment you’ve witnessed/have been a part of at Camp SoulGrow?
Every moment is magical because I’m literally watching them grow. The children come to Camp SoulGrow with open minds and open hearts because they know they aren’t going to be pressured and judged. Each camp is inclusive and all kids are welcome… I’ve witnessed children trying things they never knew they were good at, conquer fears and gain confidence, form new friendships and bridging the gap between geography and lifestyles… and smiling and being themselves — which is most important. I encourage uniqueness and individuality, acceptance and compassion for others. I am teaching them to follow their hearts and not their ears!
You’ve got a remarkably diverse list of camp activities listed on your site. Is there one in particular that all of the youngins go nuts for?
I am working hard to show the kids possibility and opportunity everywhere, through all things, and through all people around them. Specifically, the kids love all things outdoors, especially at our home at Third House because they feel free to be themselves… they know this is theirs. They love getting to do real-life, hands-on projects and they also love all things on the beach!
What’s on the horizon for Camp SoulGrow, and how can our readers get involved?