Since 2018, Coniston has developed a fellowship program during the summer for staff members to engage their academic knowledge and leadership ability for the betterment of the Camp Community. The George Dorr, Jr. Leadership and Ernest Baynes Academic Fellowship programs allow us to give undergraduates internships recognized by their colleges. After the completion of their fellowship they are also awarded a small college scholarship.
Last summer, Ava Berger and Libby Foley were the recipients of our most recent Coniston Fellowships. Ava’s fellowship was based upon her journalism and communications studies at Boston University. By watching Camp from the inside as a cabin counselor, Ava was able to write the untold stories of Camp. She wrote blog posts, attended alumni events, and even created an “Ava edition” of the Coniston Ambassador Newsletter. Libby, a psychology major at Kenyon College, worked closely with Coniston mentor, Caroline Beale, a professional market researcher. Libby used her coursework in research and child development to create a study to quantify the impact of relationships at Camp.
I wanted to see how the special relationships and programming at Coniston have impacted staff members and campers.
– Libby Foley, 2023 Fellow
Our first Coniston fellowships were rewarded to Emily Howard and Emma Schambers in the summer of 2018. Emily’s fellowship stemmed from her history studies at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. She saw a need to improve the Camp Community by developing ways to be more inclusive. She connected with many camps and organizations around the country to learn what they were doing around inclusivity. She then took the research and developed inclusivity workshops for staff to help broaden their knowledge and how to best support campers. Emma’s fellowship was based on her sports management and communications studies at Syracuse University, where she saw the need to get campers more involved in physical activity while at Camp. She helped manage staff members in facilitating sports tournaments at Camp and other camps across New Hampshire, diving competitions, and many other fun activities for campers during free time.
It was an invaluable experience in project management, event planning, and leadership. I am truly thankful that I was able to return to Camp and work with campers while simultaneously furthering my professional skills.
– Emma Schambers, 2018 Fellow
Hamilton College graduate Will Budington also worked on a sports-based fellowship in 2019. He focused his summer on athletics at Camp, with the vision of “promoting growth and bonding through athletics.”
Inclusion has been a central theme in a few of our fellowships over the years. In 2019, Francesca focused her summer on gender studies at Camp. Her projects included a pronoun workshop during staff training, organizing co-ed vespers on Sundays, and analyzing the strengths of both Girls and Boys Camp. Our 2022 fellow, Annika Randall, created a fellowship with the goal that Coniston is a place where every single person, no matter where they come from or who they are, would feel safe, comfortable, and accepted without having to change any part of their identity for the time they are here. One of her many roles during the summer was to ensure all campership recipients felt welcome and supported—be that an open ear to listen or by discretely providing supplies that may have been needed.
“I aimed to create a more diverse and inclusive environment at Camp for both campers and staff. I feel beyond lucky to have worked in this role and I really look forward to how Coniston continues to move forward in future summers as a magical place for any and every one. ”
– Annika Randall, 2022 Fellow
Following the Covid pandemic, the work of our 2021 fellows’ was extremely important. Megan Davis and Katie Bosco both focused their fellowships on the mental, emotional and social health of our campers and staff with a mission to promote healthy habits, education, and to provide support. In addition to supporting individuals, Megan and Katie also shared mental health tips during Vespers, provided campers with activity booklets as a calming exercise to deal with stress and created handouts for counselors to educate them on how to mentor a struggling camper better.
Over five summers, our fellows have assisted in developing the Camp’s culture, improved programming, and led the staff. Our fellows have had an incredible impact on The Coniston Community, and we hope their experience has provided them with numerous transferable skills for their future careers.