Meg (Bradbury) Stowe

Tell us how your adventure with Camp Lake Hubert began. I began my camp experience at CLH in 1985 at the age of nine and was in Robins cabin.  I stayed four weeks (four or eight week sessions were the only options in those days), and I loved every minute of it – even more as the years went on. The cabins in which I spent my summers were: Robins (1985), Chipmunks (1986), Windy Lodge (1987), Nutcracker (1988), Clubhouse (1989), two years of LT (1990 and 1991), followed by a skip year, then was staff the following year in 1993.  As an LT and staff member, I specialized in riding and sailing, so taught those activities almost exclusively.  However, I remember working a bit in the craft activities and ropes courses.

How were you first introduced to Camp Lake Hubert? We grew up in Arizona and met a family though (I believe) our church who had sent several of their children to Camp Lake Hubert and Camp Lincoln.  It was through this family that our parents learned of this wonderful summer opportunity for four kids to be active and outdoors- away from the intense heat of the Phoenix area.  Minnesota was an entirely different place from the desert and a welcomed experience.

Your siblings also had the opportunity to attend CL and CLH.  When were they at camp? My twin brothers, Slade Bradbury (1985-1990, S1999-2001, 2003) and Trask Bradbury (1985-1990), as well as my sister Beth Bradbury (1985-1987), attended camp with me, however, I continued with my years at CLH longer.  After I was on staff, Slade returned to Camp Lincoln as a staff member for a number of years, working in several divisions.

What are a few of your favorite memories from Camp Lake Hubert? There is not enough time to capture the many memories I have from my time at Camp Lake Hubert.  I am also wondering from which category I might draw my most valuable and precious ones! Personal growth, learning new skills, fun times with the many friends I made over the years, being part of a community, the list goes on.  Sailing every afternoon with my very best friends, early morning saddling crew, trail rides, halyards clanging in the early morning, making candles, spending rest hour with my horse lackjack, the smell of warm, moist pine needles in the morning as we walked to flag, and how it would change ever so slightly as the day wore on.  Smell is very powerful, and whenever I experience that smell, I am right back at camp.  I also loved vespers, camp food, singing on the paths, the vomit comet, being chosen for flag, and the canoe trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.  This provided endless hours of laughter for so many reasons that I shall not delve into.  To each, her own memories!  Most of all, I remember my culminating years as an LT, achieving my LT Phases, and having the opportunity to apply the skills I had spent so many years developing to the campers (and students) I would someday have.

What is your favorite camp quote and when did it come about? I live by Bill Jones’ “glass is half full” mantra, so that might be most applicable here.  However, most of my favorite camp quotes come from fun times in the cabin, at activities, and in the dining room, coined by friends and cabin-mates.  We did not seem to have as many camp “quotes” or phrases and acronyms (CFAB etc.) as there are now.  I love a good acronym.  Camp friends really are best- because you have the opportunity to be exactly who you are, and you are valued for exactly that by others.  It is the safest community of young people I have ever experienced.  (And I later went on to work primarily with adolescents!)  It really is indescribable and unparalleled.  I truly wish all young people had the opportunity to have a summer camp experience.

Do you have any interesting travel stories about getting to camp, camp canoe trips, or traveling with camp friends? I was thinking about the differences between my experience getting to camp and that of my two daughters, Sophie age 11 camper (2011-2012) and Hannah age nine (camper 2012).  I remember walking onto the plane with my siblings at the Phoenix airport, followed by my mom and dad!  We all walked up the outdoor staircase onto the plane.  Mom buckled our seat belts, gave us our little travel backpacks (probably filled with nothing more than pens, paper and a rubix cube) and kissed us goodbye!  While at camp for four weeks, we took part in annual excursions as a cabin to the Boundary Waters. These trips were certain to provide us with humor, challenge our stamina as we paddled against the wind and waves to our perfect little island camp spot, and an overdose of summer sausage, cheese and bug juice. Specific examples of bellyaching laughter would be too incriminating for this interview!  (Bridget, Bradley, Marlys, Kerry, Jenny, Anne-Laure,…)  I had the opportunity to visit my oldest camp friend, Bridget (Bangert) Lackie(camper 1986-1991, staff 1993-1995) at her home in Minnesota once, as well as a friend from France, Anne-Laure Vincent (camper 1988-1990), who became a life-long friend to our entire family.

What are some of the things you learned at camp? The skills I acquired at Camp Lake Hubert are still utilized today!  Sailing has remained a big part of my life, as both of our daughters sail here in Rhode Island and in Connecticut.  My husband, Jeremy, has sailed and boated all of his life and it is how our family spends a great deal of our time.  The girls ride horses, and Sophie’s last birthday party was spent at an indoor archery range- inspired by her experiences these last two summers at CLH.  I also learned many practical skills we use while camping and hiking such as building various types of fires, canoeing, pitching tents in the pouring rain, etc.  Another skill fostered at camp is the sense of community and one’s’ responsibility to group goals and objectives.  This is seen when cabin mates offer to help you complete your hopper duties so that the entire cabin can eat breakfast, or in a diligent sweep of the cabin floors during caper time so that sand does not wind up in beds because someone did not work as a team to do their job for the benefit of others.  There is an abundance of opportunities to learn new things in all areas of life-applicable to life at camp, and beyond.

What was your favorite camp meal and dining tradition? My favorite camp meal was definitely breakfast and BLT day.  I loved singing at each meal- especially when it involved swaying from side to side, or better yet, straddling the benches and relentlessly repeating a chorus about billows.  I was also reminded by our daughters about something we did everyday at meals- which the girls have continued at home: The “napkin under your plate” which starts the “nose game” indicating scraper duty!  Love it.

You mentioned life-long camp friends earlier.  Can you elaborate on any these lasting camp friendships? I wish more than anything that we had e-communication capabilities (email, Facebook, etc.) back when I was a young camper.  I have boxes and boxes of letters to and from lifelong camp friends that still bring tears to my eyes.  I saved all of the letters from these special people, as well as the letters I received from hometown friends while I was at camp.  I actually I have my mother to thank for this.  She somehow knew I would want to reflect upon and share some of them with my kids someday.  Unfortunately, as the years went by, people moved, addresses changed, and life got busy.  Fortunately, I have reconnected with many Camp Lake Hubert girlfriends via Facebook and camp connections.  I think the shared experience of Camp Lake Hubert and Camp Lincoln will always connect us despite the miles and years.

What did you love most about Camp Lake Hubert?  What is the biggest take-away you have from camp? Camp provides an active and supportive space to develop passions, fosters healthy friendships, and emphasizes the importance of character.  I love that I grew in so many areas at once during my summers at camp.  Camp Lake Hubert and Camp Lincoln truly educates the whole child.  My experience at camp has provided me with confidence, intrinsic motivation to explore my passions, a desire to contribute to my communities, and skills I can share with others.  More than any other community or experience, Camp Lake Hubert has impacted my life most significantly, and I will forever be grateful.  This is what I hope for our children.

Where did life take you after your camping years on the shores of Lake Hubert? I graduated from Denison University in Ohio with a degree in Biology and Art.  During that time I studied in Australia, where I traveled extensively and took coursework in marine biology and marine ecology.  I met my husband, Jeremy Stowe, sophomore year of college and married in 1998 in St. Louis.  We moved east after graduation, where I taught upper school science in Massachusetts at a boarding school, then middle school science and math at a charter school.  At that point, I took a break from teaching and had Sophie in 2001 and Hannah in 2003.  I then began substitute teaching and pursued a masters at Lesley University in Boston in adolescent education for the past two years.  I graduated from that program this past May and am now evaluating how I want to proceed with the next chapter in my life in education.

You have now settled on the east coast after growing up in Phoenix and St. Louis. What is life like for you now? After living in Arizona, I moved and attended camp from St. Louis, then after completing college, moved to the east coast, where I lived in Boston then Providence.  We built our home in North Kingstown, R.I.  I love to sail, play tennis, work with young people, read, snowboard, travel, camp, garden, cook, and paint/draw, and be with my family.

What are you up to now? I am currently substitute teaching, coaching field hockey, and settling the girls into their new school in Providence.  The year is off to a fantastic start and I can’t wait to watch them grow this year and experience new things.  We are very blessed.

Both of your daughters have now spent at least one summer at Camp Lake Hubert.  Why did you decide to send your girls to CLH? We (actually I should say “I”) decided to send our girls to camp this summer so that they could experience all that I “got” from camp, but also to “get” their own stuff from the experience.  It was also important for us as a family, living in New England where there are a lot of camps, to expose them to another part of the country, and to many campers from across the globe.  I did not grow up in New England, so I guess it was important for them to get this through an extended experience, such as camp and not a vacation to these areas- although I highly recommend Grand View Lodge as a vacation!!!  Jeremy grew up spending summertime at the Connecticut shore doing what essentially was a month long day camp experience.  Our girls are now following in those footsteps again and love spending time there with extended family. However, Jeremy will be the first to echo the growth and development that our girls have demonstrated as a result from their travels to the great northwoods of Minnesota.  Not at all reluctant to send our girls to CLH, Jeremy jumped in feet first and shared in my enthusiasm ever more after his visit to the camp to pick them up.  Sitting back (as best I could) and letting the girls tour him was an unbelievable experience.  It is clearly now “their” camp, with which I share similar inside jokes, songs (which years ago were lullabies to them), campfires, and sailboat preferences.

Tell us about picking up the girls and Jeremy’s first visit to CLH this summer?  Was it what you thought it would be like? Jeremy and I took a couple of days off and flew up to show Jeremy the place that had the greatest impact on my life, and where he had sent our oldest last summer, and both girls this summer.  We flew to Minneapolis, grabbed a rental car and drove up to CLH.  After my initial shock of just how much the drive had changed over the years (rural farmland and wooded areas transformed into bustling shops and restaurants), we settled into a quick three-hour drive.  When we arrived at CLH, our girls were safely in the company of a camp director and several staff members with the remaining campers awaiting pick-up.  We reunited with our very happy girls and got a tour of camp, took pictures by the waterfront, and got to see where each girl had slept for the past two weeks.  Both of the girls have already said that they want to go longer next year!   After a joyful visit to my most beloved place, we checked into Grand View Lodge for two days of fun.  We ate fantastic meals, spent hours in the lake, on the beach, in the waterslide, and playing shuffleboard and horseshoes.  We are already looking forward to our next visit and counting down the days until camp next summer.

Do you have a mentor you look up to or a creed that you live by? I live by the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and my creeds: Everyone has a gift.  Share it with others.  Have more wishes for others than yourself. Have a “Gratitude Attitude”.  And, “All people are valuable and significant- strive to help them to believe this.”