When I remember my childhood, I always think of my carefree summers. At the lake I would come alive in the glistening water and muddy banks. We were campers. My summers were sensational and very different from my 10-month school year.
My friends and I were free to leave our trailers in the morning, grab lunch together at one of our sites and only needed to check in with our parents by dinnertime. While we were away, we would climb to the peak of this one cliff and swing off a big rope into a freezing cold river. I would catch frogs and painter turtles and I was never seen with shoes on…ever. At the lake, I would catch sunfish with my Ronco Pocket Fisherman and learn how to do back dives off the platform. My friends and I would spend the rest of the day in that spot, taking out our canoes, kayaks, and Sailfishes all by ourselves. We always searched for George in the water, a huge sea turtle who would occasionally come up to say hello. We would paddle through thick patches of lily pads with enormous, pearly white flowers. We walked up and down dirt paths into the vast woods where Native Americans made stone walls that extended for miles. This very intimate connection with nature and with myself grew in me each summer. Ultimately, the environmental exposure, trust, freedom and risk coupled with responsibility and lots and lots of down time truly influenced my personality and made me who I am today.
The summer experience at Alphabet Academy is inspired by these precious childhood memories. My goal is that through these hot and humid months, the children can connect with nature and experience a taste of that feeling of freedom that I was fortunate to experience and never forget.