March 2, 2023

A Letter from Ashley Howard, Summer Camp Director

Dear Harbor Families, 

As you walk down the hallway at The Harbor School, it is clear that our students are creative. The works of art from our students tell a story. It informs anyone who walks into the Harbor School of our core values and mission. It is evident, by simply looking at the walls, that students are routinely given the opportunity to be creative.

For example, if you walk out of the main office and look to your immediate left, you will notice  beautiful pictures of cardinals. You can see how each bird was first drawn. Look closer, and you will notice the colors that were incorporated into each unique picture. No two cardinals look the same. When I first saw these pictures, I was fascinated. I looked at each picture and thought about how each student created a unique and detailed cardinal. For a moment in time, each student became an artist. The cardinals on the wall along with the myriad of other student works that adorn the colorful halls at Harbor reflect creative expression. 

As I started to plan for the themes of camp, I knew that I wanted to give students the opportunity to foster their creative expression. I was inspired by the hallway displays, but to be honest, I was a little “stumped” on how to get started. I had a little writer’s block during my initial planning days in January. I knew that I wanted each week to give a new opportunity for creative expression but wasn’t quite sure how to execute my plan - just yet. The halls had inspired me and sparked my own creative process but I had to do some more pondering. And believe me, there was a lot of pondering. 

I pondered how I would design a summer experience that incorporates creativity for all seven weeks constantly. As I sat in traffic during my commute home, I thought about the themes for camp. As I walked around in the neighborhood, pushing my toddler on her tricycle, I thought about themes. As I prepped my lunch for the next school day, I thought about the themes again. I even thought about the themes for camp each morning, while I waited on my grande brown sugar espresso at Starbucks!

Then, it finally happened. My big “ah ha moment”, as Oprah would say back in the early 2000s. It was a Thursday - library day.  On library day students drop off books for return before selecting new books for the week.  After the first class left, I checked books back into the system and took notice of the titles. In this particular moment, once again, I found myself fascinated by the details. Some books on space. Some books on animals. Some books on the middle ages. Our students all have a wide array of unique interests. I knew then that what I needed to do was, simply, to ask the kids.

In the coming days, I held a focus group in the library with each class. I showed students a slideshow of topics and gave each class the opportunity to vote and share their own ideas. Following this, I met with faculty to talk about their ideas. I needed to hear from everyone. 

Then it all came together, the themes for CAMP HARBOR 2023! It was a collaborative effort  from all of  us - students and faculty alike. We collaborated and used our creativity to create something new, just like our campers will get to do this summer! 

I would be thrilled for your child to come along and Imagine Our Adventure. Each week this summer, we will take on a new and exciting adventure. We will become scientists and designers during STEAM week, and explore Southern Africa during Safari week. There will be a wide range of learning and fun through interactive experiences, arts and crafts, and projects, as well as weekly special camp activities like water play, talent shows, and all camp meetings. If you haven’t already, please take some time to explore the themes of camp and sign up before the March 10th early bird deadline, which is just next week. 

I hope that you and your child will join us at Camp Harbor for a summer experience filled with creativity!


Ashley Howard
Summer Camp Director, and Learning and Literacy Specialist

Harbor School