Recent Saint Mary’s Hall (SMH) graduate Isabela “Izzy” Castillo ’21 is well versed in the Summer at Saint Mary’s Hall experience. She is a camper turned counselor. Attending the summer program for nearly a decade, Castillo decided to try her hand at counseling for the first time in 2019 and enjoyed the experience so much she chose to return this summer.
“Before working for Summer at SMH, I had been a camper since first grade, but you don’t have to be a camper to work for Summer at Saint Mary’s Hall, because it is such a welcoming community,” she said.
Castillo, who has been a student at SMH since Montessori, has fond memories as a camper at Summer at Saint Mary’s Hall, and reminisced about her favorite camp, Fit for First.
“I enjoyed this camp because we were able to meet all three of the Form 1 teachers and do activities involving math, English language arts, and arts & crafts,” she shared.
Castillo said she particularly values the professional experience she receives serving as a counselor for the program due to her interaction with parents, campers, administrators, and fellow counselors/volunteers. With approximately 800 to 1,000 campers, more than 60% of whom are non-SMH students this summer, volunteers and counselors are a crucial part of the program’s success and play a significant role in the guidance of campers.
“We typically have around 16-20 counselors and 20-25 volunteers each year,” said Enrichment Program Coordinator Lisa Westergard. “More than 50% of our counselors and volunteers return to serve again the following summer.”
Experiencing the program as both a camper and counselor, Castillo believes Summer at Saint Mary’s Hall is the ideal place to be during the summer break.
“It is such fun and gives you great job experience,” said Castillo. “I also love that it isn’t just Saint Mary’s Hall people, but rather there are students from many schools that come to work, so it gives you the opportunity to meet many new people.”
When asked what inspired her to return for another year as a counselor, Castillo said, “I continually return because I love what I do, who I work with, and who I work for. I also think it is so fun that I used to be a camper, because now, as a counselor, I can look at the kiddos and think, ‘Wow! That used to be me!’”
Summer at Saint Mary’s Hall offers half-day and full-day camps for ages 3-18, with academics, arts, athletics, and enrichment camp opportunities. In fact, some of the newest camps include Drone You, Outdoor Education and Skill Building, DJ Fundamentals and Training, and College Application Crash Course. Visit www.smhall.org/summer to learn more.