June Camp rocks on campus


Yesh Nikam, Staff Writer

Even during the beginning of June, when most of the school’s students are away enjoying the start of their summer, the Lower Division June Program keeps the school busy and vibrant.

“The Lower Division June Program is a two-week program for HM students entering Kindergarten through fifth grade,” Program Coordinator Robert Harmon said. This year, the camp started on Tuesday, June 11 and ended on Friday, June 21.

The camp is for “students seeking to make the transition from the academic year to summer recess,” according to the program’s page on the school’s website.

“There are two camps that run during this time: Traditional camp and Studio Arts,” Harmon said. The studio arts camp is a program designed for students from third through fifth grade with an interest in arts and is taught by Lower Division Visual Arts teacher Linda Ferri, whereas the traditional camp runs like a regular day camp, he said.

The traditional day camp is split up into groups depending on grade, each of which travels to different activities for 40 minutes, and the whole camp reconvenes for lunch and at the end of the day for dismissal, Harmon said. However, the studio art camp spends most of the time in the art room, and it is designed for students that have an interest in creating different art projects, he said.

The activities in the traditional day camp include playing sports, swimming, and enjoying ice cream sundae Fridays, counselor Bennett Lax (10) said. The camp also runs a field trip each week. “This year, the camp attended the Maritime aquarium and Playland park,” Harmon said.

“There were really cool jellyfish and stingrays,” camper Kiera Mojica (2) said.

The campers are accompanied by counselors who are mainly students from the school. Diya Mookim (12) got her start as a counselor last year when Harmon reached out to her, as they needed counselors for the camp, she said. Mookim enjoyed the experience so much that she decided to do it again this year, she said.

Sarah Acocelli (12) decided to become a counselor because she loves working with kids, and when one of her friends told her about the June camp, she felt that it would be a perfect way to start her summer, she said.

Kelly Troop (11), joined the program as a counselor because her father, Rawlins Troop, helps run the camp and she felt that it would be a convenient beginning to her summer, she said.

Overall, Acocelli had a great time as a counselor: “Although at times it was super hectic trying to control 20 first graders, I got to know a lot of them, which is pretty awesome,” she said.

Mojica said she had good relationships with the counselors, especially Acocelli, she said. “Sarah was really fun and taught all of us hand [clap] games.”

Mookim, as a second-year counselor, got to see a lot of the campers for a second time and noticed their growth and maturation, she said. “At such a young and developing age, these changes are noticeable.”

Counselors are responsible for a variety of tasks, from setting up art projects to looking out for the campers’ well-being, Mookim said. “Being responsible for a child’s safety is gratifying when you see them happy.”

Troop felt that ensuring the campers’ safety required a lot of discipline, as she constantly needed to engage with the kids and stay focused, she said.

At the end of the two weeks, the counselors are paid for their help with the camp.

Troop felt that getting paid for her efforts made for a rewarding experience, she said. “It was great being able to do a job and getting paid for your hard work. It was definitely very rewarding.”

The paycheck was not the sole motivator in Mookim’s decision to join the camp. By the end of the two weeks, she completely forgot she was getting paid, she said. “I think [forgetting about the money] was a clear indication to me that it was more than just a paycheck to me, she said. “Rather, it was a chance to bond with the youngest members of our community.”