Year (and Century!) In Review

(Originally published in Skyland’s Fall 2017 Mail Call as “Director’s Corner”)

For years leading up to 2017, we looked forward to Skyland’s Centennial Celebration: a time when we could celebrate the rich history of our beloved camp and reconnect with old friends. That weekend celebration (August, 2017) was simply glorious and was filled with stories, pictures, laughter, singing and beautiful reconnection. Granny Harris created a very special place in 1917…a place which has lived in our hearts ever since.

It would be easy to sit back and take a “breather” at this point in Skyland’s history, marveling at our collective success. But to do that would be to ignore the great opportunity we all have to use Skyland to make an even greater difference in the lives of girls and women.

I believe we are sitting atop a springboard from which we can do so much more. How can we continue to support and grow Skyland to ensure it is as important to the girls of 2050 as it has been for us? Can the nurturing and mentoring we have always done at Skyland be even more intentional to help girls stride confidently and authentically into the “real world?” And how can we offer more Skyland experiences to more girls? And to more women?

Skyland has always been a place where girls can fully disconnect from the “outside world” and be themselves, while forming life-long friendships in the process. It is what makes Skyland feel like “home” to so many of us, and what keeps us coming back.

Knowing this, we have created Mother/Daughter weekends, Women’s Retreats, Equine Facilitated Leadership seminars, and Alumnae Work Weekends. We plan to roll out more of these get-back-toSkyland opportunities so you all CAN come “home” to Skyland.

We have expanded our staff training to ensure that all staff members are able to perform at a very high level and expand their own leadership abilities for life outside of camp. Increasingly we look for college-aged women who are seeking a career in youth development, education, the service industry, or in leadership development. That mindset and education, combined with a passion for supporting others, helps our staff be wildly successful at Skyland. Our staff not only encourages girls to become the best versions of themselves, but also ARE the best versions of themselves at Skyland…every moment of every day.

Finally, we formed a tax-exempt Scholarship Fund through the American Camp Association, which many of you have generously funded to help more girls experience the gift of camp. During our Centennial Celebration weekend, we raised more than $75,000! That’s UNBELIEVABLE! We are hoping to increase that to $100,000 by year-end: a thousand dollars for each year Skyland has been in operation. With just a few more donations, we will exceed our Centennial Season goal!

At Skyland, we believe we owe it to ourselves, our future, and to the world to continue to support girls and young women in achieving their highest potential. Thank you for all that you have done to support this vision and the Skyland legacy. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you!

With love and much gratitude,

Sherry Brown, Executive Director