2021 Postcards from camp

Since 1955, the Squam Lakes Association's (SLA) summer youth programs have introduced young people to the unique resources in the Squam Lakes region and beyond. Through paddling, hiking, swimming, sailing and environmental education campers develop a strong sense of self, community and place. Our Junior Squam Lakes Association (JSLA) and Community Youth Sailing Program (CYSP) provide healthy outdoor recreational activities designed to stimulate inquisitive minds, develop life-long friendships, and create lasting memories. 

Learn more about the SLA Summer Youth Programs here. 


July 27, 2021- Sawyer, Environmental Camp Leader

Last week we paddled from the Metcalf Road put-in to the SLA. We paddled from the put-in to Jumping Rock on Five Finger Point and jumped off the rock before paddling out around Loon Island. We were lucky enough to have the Director of the SLA, EB, with us on the paddle and it was his first time jumping off Jumping Rock. We the paddled out from around Loon Island past Long Island, through Utopia and then to Moon. We hung out at Moon Island did the nature walk and had lunch. We were then able to paddled back the last couple miles to the SLA with ease for an overall amazing day of paddling.

This is Sawyer's third year as an Environmental Leader at JSLA and he grew up in Plymouth, NH, where I spent many summers on Squam Lake and in the White Mountains...Click here to read Sawyer's bio.

July 20, 2021- Leigh Ann, Camp Director

Thanks to NH Fish & Game's Let's Go Fishing program our Discovery Campers had an amazing day fishing at White Oak Pond! Campers learned about the variety of fish species in New Hampshire, how to properly cast, how to put a worm on the hook, and how to take a fish off the hook. Every camper caught a FISH! It was a great day and we are grateful to Betsy's Park for giving us permission to host this program at the park.

July 15, 2021- Leigh Ann, Camp Director

Today was the best day of the summer so far because I escaped the office and was able to join the Explorer Campers on a hike up Mount Prospect! The hike to the top challenged some of our campers but a good old fashion riddle really does help pass the time. When we arrived at the top the view was shrouded by clouds and made many of us think a dragon or unicorn might appear. Then slowly the sun evaporated the clouds and voila we could see Squam! Environmental Camp Leader, Sawyer, told "The Green Golf Ball" story (a JSLA camp favorite) as we sat soaking in the view and eating lunch. Then it was time for the hike down in which we had surprise games of camouflage (where the person "it" calls camouflage and everyone scatters into the woods to hide and that person tries to find everyone without moving from where they are). As we neared the end of the trail we enjoyed some time near the stream, hopping across on rocks and of course playing another round of camouflage. 

July 13, 2021- Matt, Environmental Camp Leader

We are now onto our third week of camp! Each week on Squam has been incredible despite there being a large amount of rain. However, this does not stop the fun of the JSLA! Last week in Expedition the hike to Mount Percival was canceled due to impending thunderstorms. The group decided to put together a theme for a fun Thursday. The theme we chose was Hawaiian Christmas. On the day of the hike instead of heading to the trailhead the campers came to the SLA in Hawaiian or Christmas theme clothes. We played lots of games and then went to a makeshift Christmas tree that our Camp Director set up. Under the tree were wrapped objects that the campers had to shake and feel in order to guess what was in them. While I love the sunny days at the JSLA I also look forward to every rainy one too! I can't wait to see what more my summer at the JSLA has in store!

This is Matt's first summer as an Environmental Camp Leader here at JSLA after being a camper for 9 years! He's from Pomfret, Connecticut and a rising freshman at Trinity College!...Click here to read Matt's bio.

July 9, 2021- Maggie, Assistant Camp Director/Environmental Camp Leader 

The second week is a wrap and although we had a few rainy days, each of the three camp groups (Discovery, Explorer, and Expedition) still managed to spend some time on the lake. Despite the rain, we played lots of games in the field this week, and on Friday (during the downpour) we set up a slip and slide—which consists of two large tarps and biodegradable soap—on the hill by the barn. 

I was the counselor for the middle group, Explorer, and I enjoyed getting to know the new campers and catching up with the returning ones. On Tuesday, we canoed to Bowman Island after having learned some paddle skills. On the island, we played Marco Polo, the movie game, and a JSLA classic, “Spam Diving.” Thursday was a rather wet day, but before the worst of the weather arrived, my co-counselor and I decided to take our group out on the lake. We all took kayaks, and we saw the lake on a gray day with a heavy mist draped over the mountains like a blanket. We pulled our kayaks up on the rocks and went for a swim. The water temperature was warmer than the air, and it became quite chilly when it was time to get out of the water. 

About half of the campers had a tough time with the kayaks and the conditions, but we all stuck with it and made it back to the barn to warm up. Later that day, we told stories with the whole camp and had ice cream even though it was a little chilly. I am looking forward to another week, and even though it looks like there will be a number of rainy days, it should still be fun. It just means more slip and slides, indoor games, and stories, and we sure do need the rain!

This is Maggie's twelfth year at JSLA! She's from Natick, Massachusetts (near Boston) and is a Senior at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH...Click here to read Maggie's bio.

June 30, 2021- Sam, Environmental Camp Leader

The first week of camp has kicked off and it’s been an amazing couple of days! We have started getting out in the kayaks and canoes, practicing our paddle strokes and staying cool in Squam. Today, we had a Lakes Region Conservation Corps AmeriCorps member named Peter teach us about local native trees and plants. He also taught us about non-native species like milfoil and how it spreads. Then we played some Invasive species tag! It's been a super fun first week so far and I’m super stoked for the rest of the summer.

This is Sam's first summer as an Environmental Camp Leader here at JSLA! He's originally from the metrowest area of Massachusetts but calls Wilmot, New Hampshire home!...Click here to read Sam's bio.

June 23, 2021- Sawyer, Environmental Camp Leader

We have finished up our first week of training and I am so excited to start camp this year! We have some returning Leaders, new Leaders who were campers, and Leaders who haven't been to camp. I always love meeting new people and sharing the experience of being an Environmental Leader for JSLA. Last Wednesday we spent the morning on the water in kayaks and canoes which is always my favorite part of camp. In the afternoon we drove around Squam to the different trails that we will be hiking this summer (we have some exciting new hikes to do), and telling riddles in the van. Telling riddles has been a JSLA tradition for as long as I can remember, and what better way to get to know the new Leaders than to tell the Big Blue Moon riddle! We then got to hike at Homestead Forrest, someplace I had never been, which had a beautiful view of Lake Winona and incredible rock formations. All in all an awesome day of training and I'm just so excited to be back for another summer of JSLA!

This is Sawyer's third year as an Environmental Leader at JSLA and he grew up in Plymouth, NH, where I spent many summers on Squam Lake and in the White Mountains...Click here to read Sawyer's bio.

June 16, 2021- Leigh Ann, Director of Education/Camp Director

Our 2021 JSLA Environmental Camp Leaders arrived on Monday to begin their two weeks of training. You might see them out on the lake practicing their paddle strokes and T-rescues or tromping through the woods collecting data for Caterpillars Count, a community science project (pictured here). Other trainings include wilderness first aid, life guarding, team building games, nature activities, crafts, tie-dying, loon ecology, and so much more! To learn more about this summer's leaders see their bios below!

2021 Summer Youth Program Staff Bios


Hello my name is Andrew Mitchell! I live in Connecticut, but grew up in NH. I am 18 years old and going into my freshman year at Union College in Schenectady NY. I have been a camper at the SLA along with my brother Matthew since I was 9, so I am super excited to be a leader this year! I love Squam Lake a ton and have been hanging out on its shore since I was a baby because of family on the lake, so I know the area pretty well and I am super excited to share that with everyone. Some things I love doing are skiing, playing games(any type!), sailing, and really just being on the water in general.




Hi there! My name is Maggie Grant, and I'm from Natick, Massachusetts (near Boston). I spend summers at my family’s house in Tamworth, New Hampshire. I am a Senior at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH where I can often be found in the ceramics studio, the science lab, the sugar shack, or the nursery school on campus. I am certified in lifeguarding, first aid, and CPR. Some of my favorite things to do are canoeing, skiing, reading, going for walks, and just spending time outside and on the water. I also love pizza, lemonade, baking cookies, watching movies, and hanging out with animals (especially my dog Tim). This will be my twelfth year at JSLA, and I am very happy to be back in person as the Assistant Camp Director/Environmental Leader after a summer of virtual camp. Nothing compares to spending a summer adventuring and learning together on Squam Lake!


Hi, my name is Matt Mitchell. I am 18 years old and am from Pomfret, Connecticut. I am currently a rising freshman at Trinity College where I plan to take full advantage of their outdoor programs through all seasons. My love for the outdoors began at the SLA 9 years ago when I was a camper. Ever since then I look forward to every summer at the SLA where I can explore my interests such as hiking, canoeing and other outdoor activities. I love to do anything from participating in those outdoor activities to listening to music or any athletic activity. I am looking forward to my first year of being at the SLA for the full summer!



Hey y'all! My name is Sam and this is my first summer as an Environmental Camp Leader here at JSLA! I am originally from the metrowest area of Massachusetts but I call Wilmot, New Hampshire home! I am currently a junior at Plymouth State University and I'm majoring in Adventure Education. My favorite thing to do is climb! Whether it's rock, ice, or trees! When I am not climbing you can usually find me canoeing, hiking, or just enjoying the outdoors! And I am super stoked to do just that with campers this summer!Sam


Hi, my name is Sawyer. This is my third year as an Environmental Leader at JSLA. I grew up in Plymouth, NH, where I spent many summers on Squam Lake and in the White Mountains. I am home for the summer from Bozeman, MT, where I am studying to be a Social Studies teacher at Montana State University. I am also a youth nordic ski coach during the winter in Bozeman. In my free time I enjoy downhill skiing, nordic skiing, hiking, camping, kayaking, and sailing. A fun fact about me is that I have a webbed toe. I'm so excited to spend another summer on Squam at JSLA!​


Hi I’m Sheridan! I’m 19 and I’m a rising sophomore at St. Lawrence University and my intended major is conservation biology. I live in the Adirondacks in upstate New York and my secret talent is piano. I love alpine and Nordic skiing and I’ll be running cross country for SLU in the fall which is really exciting!