We are kicking off “Refer a Camper” Month strong!
Starting with an interview with Annie Brandt, a longtime alumni and current camper parent. Annie was a camper for 6 years and has been on staff in some capacity for 9 years now. She is the mother of current camper, 9 year old Betts, and a future camper 6 year old Eloise. She also helped Betts join Club Paradise last summer by referring a new family to camp! She helped camper Harry Hubbell come to camp for the first time last summer. I hopped on the phone with Annie to talk to her about what referring camp to someone feels like, tips and tricks on how to best convince nervous parents, and why camp still holds such special place in her heart.
Read what Annie had to say below…
Why do you send your own child to camp?
I always knew my kids were going to come to camp, and I knew it would be Foley. I feel it is so important for kids and especially someone like my daughter Betts, who has a hard time with new experiences. Foley creates an environment that allows them to take risks and try new things while feeling safe and comfortable. It helps kids develop too many skills to list!
How did you refer camp to the Harry’s Parents?
It’s funny because ALL my friends know about Foley, and know about my mission to become a lifelong camp counselor, if only it could be! I have known Harrys parents Alexandra and Cooper since Harry was born, and have been talking about him going to Camp Foley since he was born too! He is the same age of my oldest daughter, so when it was time to send her, it was natural that Harry would go to, as we had been discussing it for almost 9 years! That is the situation with many friends, a lot of them didn’t go to camp, they don’t get it, not like I do. Harry’s parents were not camp kids, but what I think convinced them and what they liked knowing was that we had a strong relationship with Foley. I think they felt much more comfortable knowing I had gone as a kid myself and worked there as a counselor. I actually had kind of the opposite situation happen this summer, another of my friends Chelsea and Chase are sending their son Henry for the first time this summer, and again they have heard me talk about Foley for years and years. But Henry’s mom Chelsea was a camp kid, but just not at Foley. and when I talked about Foley with her, she immediately understood things my other parents friends don’t.
What tips would you give another alumni parent trying to refer someone?
The thing I talk the most about with Camp Foley is how I feel like Foley is different because of the emphasize on helping kids grow independence and confidence. If we can help give our kids these skills, they can use them to overcome tons of obstacles and life variables. I always talk about the schedule and how good the routine is, and really emphasize the camper coordinator role. A lot parents are worried about things like, “How will they be taken care of” or “Will they remember to brush their teeth?”, “Will they eat enough?”. And I think that is major thing that sets Camp Foley apart, that they have a specific person who’s role in camp is to make sure these needs are being met. My sister and I are both past campers, and we talk about Camp Foley like it is Disney world. There’s lots going on behind the scenes, and that is what makes the experiences for the campers so magical.
For parents who say “2 or 3 weeks is way too long to be away from my kids!” I always go back to the technology stuff. It is around us all the time now, screen time and social media, we can’t seem to escape it. So I ask my friends, when is the next time your child will detox from tech in nature for 3 full weeks, maybe never!
Have you heard from your referred family? How did they feel about Harry’s experience?
Harry’s parents loved it! They could not say enough good things about Harry’s experience. I thought this was so funny, they were one of the first families to re-register for camp! Harry’s mom called me back in October telling me they had registered Harry, and I didn’t get my own camper registered until last month! But that’s who I am, I work better with a hard deadline. Harry cant wait to come back up to camp, and now his younger brother Max is asking when he gets to come to camp too!
Thank you Annie for helping us grow our Foley Family! ON top of all these amazing things Annie touched upon, she also got camp credit for referring Harry to camp. During the summer, Annie’s daughter Betts and Harry both got to attend the Club Paradise Root Beer Float Party. AND Harry’s parents also got 10% of his tuition as camp credit to use for this summer! To learn more and join Club Paradise yourself, head to our website! If you’re not registered for camp, what are you waiting for!!