Dear Andy and Vickie,
Words are insufficient to describe how absolutely charmed and pleased we are by Jack’s North Star experience. When you came to Phoenix to meet with us last Winter, I was very concerned about letting my eight year old go to camp for four weeks. While you were terrific in answering all of Jack’s questions as well as ours, I was still apprehensive about the concept. After researching North Star I had no complaints, just a mother’s concern about letting go.
We picked Jack up from camp over a week ago. Everything about the North Star experience was above and beyond all expectations. Jack’s letters home, though brief, were filled with enthusiasm about his cabin mates, counselors and activities. The letter from his counselor Matty was so touching and so detailed that it was hard to believed that they had been together only three weeks at the time the letter was written. The nearly daily postings on the website of photos and updates allowed us to be a “fly on the wall” and experience camp from afar.
You and Dan do amazing work in recruiting the very best for your team. The counselors have a keen sense for the needs of young campers and have amazing skills to help them overcome any barrier. They are masterful at teaching responsibility while creating an accepting and loving environment. They are terrifically well equipped to teach responsibility and care for others with great humor. And they are simply fun! The young men who guide the campers are truly men for others, and are to be commended on their technical skills as well as their ability to mentor the campers to becoming leaders among their peers.
Without parent involvement the boys came together as a community learning that they can make their way in a new environment, among new people, mastering challenging skills and doing so independent of their parents. While as parents we understand our job to create self-sufficient adults who are good citizens, it is difficult to let go enough to create the space for our boys to do that. North Star provides that and so much more.
As we begin to face the ins and outs of daily life and get ready for a new school year I see how much Jack has grown and benefited from his time at North Star. He is able to reason through the need to do what is right and necessary in a very adult way. He is better equipped to handle disappointment. He is more careful about the feelings of others and he is better able to express his opinions and feelings. As we prepare for school to begin, I sense that North Star provided Jack an expanded repertoire of skills with which to respond to the behaviors attendant to third graders on the playground and thus he will have a more satisfying school experience.
I congratulate you and the entire North Star team. Thank you for a truly unique and wonderful experience for our son and our family.
-Carla and Derek S.