Directors and Staff
The Best Camp Staff in New England
When you drop off your child at Songadeewin, you’re leaving them in capable hands. Each of our staff members has been carefully selected for both their skill set and their ability to serve as a wonderful role model who will inspire self-reliance, personal initiative, and fairness in every camper.
Lauren McDowell, Director of Songadeewin, joins Songa and the Keewaydin community after twenty years in southern Vermont and a career dedicated to experiential education across cultures for middle and high schoolers. During this time, she led and directed summer programs for young people focusing on community engagement, outdoor education, service, language, and culture in the Spanish-speaking world. First as a trip leader and later as a programmer and director, Lauren designed and ran educational programs with the potential to impact the personal growth and perspectives of young people. Lauren joined the Keewaydin Foundation in the spring of 2022 to begin working alongside Songadeewin’s longtime Director, Ellen Flight. In June, Lauren attended Songa’ wilderness trip school and staff training before spending the summer season immersed in the life, rhythms, and songs of camp, alongside Ellen and the entire Songa staff. Lauren is thrilled to be leading Songadeewin into a new chapter and is inspired daily as she continues the important work of cultivating a space where girls learn to be independent, build essential skills in teamwork and interdependence, challenge their bodies, live simply in nature, and speak their authentic voices.
With a staff-to-camper ratio of 1:3, your child will be surrounded by trained adults whose role is to ensure they have a happy, well-rounded summer. This preparation starts well before the opening day with a week-long orientation focused on the needs of our upcoming class of campers. During this time, outside experts in the fields of psychology, education work alongside our expert Leadership Team and experienced staff to ensure that every counselor starts every season with the highest possible level of expertise.
In addition, all new staff attend Trip School, a weeklong training in the art of Keewaydin and Songadeewin-style wilderness “tripping” that covers all the safety bases. Songadeewin staff also hold certifications in Wilderness First Aid, CPR and Small Craft Safety. Many staff are also certified lifeguards.
Health & Safety
Keeping Our Campers Safe
Safety is the number one concern of every Songadeewin staff member, and almost a century of camping experience has taught us the risks to watch out for.
While we pride ourselves on gently pushing each camper outside her own individual comfort zone, this is always a thoughtful process in which possible risks are carefully controlled and managed by staff members who have been thoroughly trained to understand them. We are especially vigilant on wilderness trips and on the waterfront. Each camper must pass safety tests in swimming and canoeing before participating in these activities.
In addition to systematic staff safety and first-aid training, Songadeewin maintains a consulting physician, resident nurses, and a fully-equipped health center. A hospital and emergency room are located just 15 minutes away in Middlebury. Parents will also be glad to know we have hot showers, modern plumbing, and state-tested water from our private well!