The Summer Camp Legacy
It is common for our summer campers to eventually become students at Saint Mary’s College. Some, however, do not stop there. A number of our former campers have continued on to become counselors, night time supervisors, instructors, assistant directors, and directors of Fine Arts Camp. The legacies between the campers and camp staff is powerful just like Saint Mary’s “sisterhood.”
Fine Arts Camp is one of Saint Mary’s longest-running overnight summer camp programs. It gives girls the opportunity to explore the visual and performing arts on campus, in a formal setting, which may be the first time they do so. Many Saint Mary's alumnae send their daughters to camp and cherish the opportunity to move their daughter into Holy Cross Hall for a week and reminisce about their own college experience. The loyalty and love expressed toward Fine Arts Camp each summer is impressive. Many campers return each year until they age out in ninth grade.
Meghan Barnauskas ’14 has spent 10 summers at Fine Arts Camp. For the past several years she has served as director of the Fine Arts Camp and Forensic Science Camp. Over the years, she has worked as a counselor, an instructor, the night supervisor, and the director. Energized by the vibrancy of the friendships, creativity, and camaraderie of camp, every summer Barnauskas is thrilled to come back to camp. And it gives her a chance to reconnect with everyone on campus who helped shape who she is today.
Art instructor Caitlin Riley was a camper and counselor before she became one of the art instructors at Fine Arts Camp. “Fine Arts Camp is such a magical place for me. I found some of my best friends who grew into my creative adult community. Saint Mary’s helped cultivate an artist village for me that grew and expanded as I did,” Riley said.
The Saint Mary’s sisterhood is a unique part of the summer camp experience. Riley recalled her time as a summer camper herself, “I met another girl who I immediately connected with; we grew up and both returned to be counselors which strengthened our bond. When we graduated college we lived together in a tiny New York City apartment where we both pursued our art adventures.” Fine Arts Camp helped Riley discover and explore her passion for art. Riley later received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography with a minor in sculpture. She continues to explore new art mediums while helping campers discover their talents.
Riley says that returning to summer camp each year allows her to stay connected to the College in a way that helps her in her artistic and personal endeavors. “I value the confidence camp gives me as a teacher, artist, and friend,” she said. “It is strengthened every year and I love sharing that energy with the campers!” As artists, the staff find inspiration working with young women each summer and see it as a way to give back to the College and to the next generation of rising stars.