Ohio's Best Overnight Camp: Roosevelt Firebird - Cleveland East Side Moms

Ohio’s Best Overnight Camp: Roosevelt Firebird

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Mar 5, 2019 | Around Town

When it comes to choosing what your child will experience in life there’s a lot to think about. So many options to weigh, outcomes to consider. I’m here to scratch one thing off your list of to-think-about and one thing that should definitely be on their list of experiences before they leave home: spending their summers at Camp Roosevelt Firebird.


The overarching theme of summer camp is that it’s fun.  And that’s true and that’s a huge part of the appeal – the friends, the activities, the memories.  But I think there’s another, deeper reason for sending your kid off on their own overnight camp adventure.  One that Camp Roosevelt Firebird does really well.  That’s the fact that summer camp allows your kids the opportunity to explore becoming their future selves.


In school and at home, unintentionally, every kid takes on some kind of primary identity – the quiet one, the loud one, class clown, wild child.  And the relationships that exist in those places usually mostly re-enforce that one big identity.  Camp provides a clean slate and a certain kind of freedom from the person you’ve been pegged as in school or in the family and allows for explorations of other identifies and other voices.


There is power in knowing you can be more than one thing.  But in order for your child to really experience this kind of personal growth they need to be in a setting that allows them to do so.  The summer experience at Camp Roosevelt Firebird is the perfect place for this because of four reasons which I’ve fleshed out below.



They say that it matters who you surround yourself with.  And usually we say this in reference to adults but I feel that this idea can only be true or truer for our kids as well.  Moreover, I think the more our kids build relationships with adult superstars, the wider their futures will be.  Joe Mendes, the camp director of Roosevelt Firebird, is one such superstar.  In my experience, when you’re a part of or involved in an organization with a leader who has as much passion as Joe, you’re bound to go places outside the limits of what you once knew.  His backstory is crammed with rich teaching experience that has led him to this space to be a force of knowledge and fun for all the kids in attendance. He is adamant about providing these kinds of horizon opening experiences for your child and has carefully employed a ridiculously talented and experienced staff to do so.  On top of that, the camp counselors are trained to be engaged with campers at all times which means they are getting a carefully curated experience based on who they are, what they’re interested in, and where they’re at developmentally.





A huge part of exploring your future is just knowing what’s out there, what the possibilities are.  When you’re young, I think the paths that you are aware of are the big ones- doctor, lawyer, teacher- but obviously there is so much more than that.  The question is, how do you expose your kids to all of the other options out there?  Summer camp is a great place to start. Roosevelt Firebird has so many options for whatever burgeoning interests your little one may have.  From canoeing to ultimate frisbee, cooking to farming, yoga, kayaking, animal care and community service, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  There are tons of activities to keep your kids engaged and exploring every day!




The Power of Someone Else’s Story:

Where I grew up there was a lot of sameness which left me with a pretty narrow view of the world, one that I’m still working to expand.  It wasn’t until I moved myself to a large city and also traipsed around the world for a few months that I really started to push outward.  Camp Roosevelt Firebird hosts kids from our own backyard, across the world, and across the socioeconomic spectrum.  Seeing, hearing, and experiencing someone else’s story that is totally different from yours, especially when you’re still so young, plays a huge part in crafting a widened world view that will only continue to be of service to your child as they grow up.  It fosters understanding, empathy and finding similarities among differences.


Teaching Stewardship:

Camp Roosevelt Firebird prides itself on being socially and environmentally conscious.  They have put many green practices into place including organic farming, recycling, composting, reducing energy consumption and involving campers in natural building projects like the cob pizza oven the campers and staff built a couple years ago.  These practices have become woven into the camp experience and as such, campers can learn the importance of becoming stewards of the earth and how individuals making small changes in how they live daily can make a big impact when they come together with others doing the same.  Being exposed to these values early can have such a significant impact on habits and practices stretching far into adulthood and on to future generations.  The importance of the work Camp Roosevelt Firebird is doing here just can’t be overstated.


All of these things taken together provide a foundational summer experience that is nothing short of epic and I can imagine will easily become not just a summer experience but a summer tradition – one that your child will look forward too and learn from for years to come. As I think about my little guy growing up and all that I hope for him, I really don’t think there’s a greater gift than allowing him the opportunity to explore the world and who he is from a young age. Cheers to new adventures!

This post is sponsored by Camp Roosevelt Firebird.

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