From counselor to camp director!


Katie Toole, Director of The Fresh Air Fund's Camp Hayden-Marks and Year-Round Program Coordinator, started working as a counselor in 2009. Over the past seven years, she's seen firsthand how our campers benefit from the Fresh Air experience. Katie shared with us how The Fresh Air Fund impacts kids all year long, through enriching summer and school-year programs.

Q. Tell us about your experience as a camp counselor and now a camp director.
A. Seven years ago, I became a general counselor at Camp Hayden-Marks. The camp directors told me that The Fresh Air Fund changed their lives, and they were right! After my first summer, I knew The Fresh Air Fund was a very special place. I have had the opportunity to watch both the kids and staff grow. My first campers are graduating high school this year!

Q. What is a typical school year weekend like?
A. Campers arrive on Friday night and they are excited to be reunited with their counselors from the summer. It's like a big slumber party. The kids share stories of their summer experiences, enjoy exploring the camp grounds, and there are a lot of opportunities for campers to connect with the counselors. For example, we teach them how to prepare breakfast. It is really cute seeing campers try to make eggs for 45 people for the first time!

Q. How do you see children benefit from their camp experiences?
A. Before attending Fresh Air camp or our year round programs, many children haven't spent time in the outdoors. We teach them life skills. It has been incredible to watch the campers grow into confident, responsible and independent young adults. I truly believe that the activities at camp such as hiking, the ropes course, swimming and other team building activities help shape who they are. Kids often arrive at camp nervous and shy, but once they step out of their comfort zone – they flourish!

Make this a summer to remember and work at one of our five sleepaway camps! Apply now

Your support has a tremendous impact! Read more stories like Katie's and check out our Annual Report to see the difference you make.