A Note from a Long Time Willowbrookian

Dear Willowbrook friends and families,

It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to our new website! We've worked very hard to build a comprehensive and visually pleasing site, and urge all of you to take a look around at your leisure (and of course, register for camp!). Please let us know if you have questions.

I'd like to take the opportunity to share my own background with Willowbrook and the positive influence it has had on my life, and I encourage you and your family to think deeply about how Willowbrook has enriched your own lives, too!

My family’s relationship with Willowbrook began in the summer of 1987, when my older sister was a tiny little Squirrel – and I not even born yet. In the summer of 1990, at the age of two and a half, I began my own tenure at Willowbrook. Although I was not technically old enough for the Squirrel’s Nest yet, there were no strict age rules then, and I followed in the footsteps of my sister. I tagged along to plays and shows, eager for the days when I myself could be granted a speaking part. Eventually, I became a Villager, then an Artisan … then an Apprentice Assistant, College Assistant, and now, I am going into my third year as the Artisan Weaving Specialist and off-season Administrative Support. I can truthfully say there is no staff “rank” at Willowbrook of which I have not been a part!

Willowbrook itself is a unique environment. I am sure that if you, or your child, have attended (or even worked at camp), you are aware of the “Willowbrook Magic.” The freedom Willowbrook gives to its campers to explore, create and discover their talents and desires is unparalleled. After years of research within the Willowbrook community, we have come up empty handed to find a camp that is comparable to all Willowbrook has to offer – nationwide. The creative spirit of the human mind, not just of childhood, lives within these chain link fences.

There is no aspect of my life that Willowbrook has not touched. It is a place for growing up safely with the love, care and knowledge of creative adults, but also other creatively minded children. My family, friends, likes, dislikes and happiness very much depended on my six-week love affair with camp every year. Ask me some day; I’ll explain to you how I ended up picking where I went to college because of a connection from Willowbrook!

Like some other campers in my generation (and I’m sure the current generation, too) the entire week before camp started, I’d go around singing all the camp songs I could think of at top volume (to my parents’ dismay). By the night before camp started, I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep. Sometimes this still happens to me! I know that I’m going to get up and create, and the very thought of the projects and people I’ll encounter during the day keeps me coming back year after year.

Willowbrook has molded me into a widely accepting, widely understanding and highly creative individual who tackles problems with a positive “can do” attitude and patience for working with other people. It is these aspects of development that are so crucial to the human mind, and it is why Willowbrook is not just your average summer camp. In an age where arts and creativity are being slashed from our schools because of budget problems, it is more essential than ever that we provide an environment for our children to unleash their innovation and learn to develop their interests inside the arts. Once children harness their artistic abilities, they are more apt to take on the world’s challenges with open hands and lead us further into the 21st century.

I very much look forward to seeing and speaking with you at camp this year!

Sincerely,

Meredith Peters, 16-year camper and alumna, 11-year Staff Member