This past summer was Elizabeth’s third summer at Belvoir and according to Elizabeth, each successive summer is better than the last. Already she is thinking about next summer and what activities she wants to pursue. The learning environment at camp provides Elizabeth not only with improved skills, but most importantly with excitement, fun, and accomplishment. We are very pleased with the level of professionalism and dedication of the staff. The social environment at camp is wonderful for Elizabeth. She is able to spend so much time with so many girls similar to herself in interests and motivation and learn how to work out issues with the others, knowing there is guidance when needed. During these somewhat difficult teen years, Elizabeth is able to return from camp feeling both a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Both Elizabeth and I are aware of how supportive both the staff and campers are of each other. I am always amazed at how warm and sincere the applause, along with compliments and hugs, is after the performances. Not to be forgotten, is your magnificent physical setting and delicious food. We appreciate all you have done to make her summers very special.
Cathy G., Ridgewood, NJ, parent
From the time I was nine to the time I was sixteen, the shaded rolling hills of the Berkshires gave me sanctuary from the concrete jungle during the hot summer months. The safety of Belvoir allowed me to take risks in my activities and in my friendships. I can still recall the sick feeling in my nine-year-old stomach, the one that spawned from my realization that I was leaving my parents for a large duration of time for the first time. I boarded the camp bus unsure of what would come from this camp that was somewhat discerningly different from the kind of camp I always had imagined myself attending. I never even thought that a camp could be a world, but Belvoir is. I dipped my toes into every aspect of the Belvoir world. I danced at Dance Night, I sang in the Jesup, I drew in the Green House, I wrote on the lawn, and I keeled over in laughter with my best friends on the tie-dye couches of the Cottage. But the most important thing I did at Belvoir was grow up.
– Samantha R., NYC, former camper
I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to again have experienced the administrative staff and teachers of Belvoir Terrace. You are, indeed, a prime example of how to educate young women in a variety of art forms. Since our daughter, Crista, is at a critical stage in her development, it gives my wife, Linda and I, great comfort to know she is in such a remarkably positive atmosphere.
– Edward Villella, Artistic Director, Miami City Ballet, parent
Lucy, now 13, is excited about returning to camp next summer. I’m trying to recall what it was she likes about her summers there. Maybe it’s the sweater weather or hanging out with crazy girls from other parts of the country or the personal attention from highly skilled teachers or the magnificent campus which is prettier than the pictures or the good food or the late nights chatting in the dark or the tear jerking letters from home or the field trips to amazing places or the non-stop exposure to the arts or the camp songs or the collecting of dozens of pen pals or the tearful good-byes or the big hugs from parents when she flies home. I’ll have to ask her. Our hopes were that Lucy would be among her peers at Belvoir, and our hopes have been confirmed.
– Paul C., Austin, TX, parent
When Ms. Han first told us that we had to write an essay about our favorite place in the world, a chorus of sighs, groans, and mumbling arose from the class. The first thing that popped into my head was Belvoir Terrace, no sighs, no groans, no mumbling, just Belvoir Terrace – a place that changed my life and truly is my favorite place in the world. I couldn’t wait to get started.
Belvoir Terrace is the place where girls learn who they really are. They learn that they are dancers, singers, actresses, tennis players, or anything else that they discover. No matter what their interests are, their talents, or their dreams, every camper will discover something new about herself. There is something new for everyone to learn and that is something that campers appreciate so much. If it weren’t for Belvoir, I might not have discovered that I love singing, acting, guitar, art, and practically everything Belvoir has to offer. Belvoir Terrace really is life changing, for it opens the doors to new opportunities and new talents.
Another great thing about Belvoir Terrace is the people there. The teachers are all very experienced in their fields. They all know the right way to teach all of the campers and their one and only goal is for them to improve. I really appreciate what all of the teachers do for me. Diane and Nancy, the camp directors, are so important to every camper at Belvoir Terrace. Even though they don’t directly teach a class, they have a great impact on a camper’s life. Whether they are helping us choose a class, discover what our true interests are, or talking to us about life at camp, they make a huge difference.
Finally, at Belvoir I made friends that will last a lifetime. It means a lot to me to have friends that don’t live near me or go to my school. I can talk to them about anything and know that they will always be there for me. At Belvoir everyone is friends with everyone no matter what unit they are in, what talents they have, or interests. Friends that I have made at Belvoir will be my friends forever, and I am very appreciate to have people like them in my life.
I am so grateful to have a place like Belvoir that I can call home. I thank everyone there from teachers to friends for being so terrific. Belvoir is my favorite place in the world and I am sure that it will be even after my cottage summer.
– Carly S., present camper, grade 7
I am delighted that Emily had such a great summer. She feels the impact of all she has been learning at Belvoir on a weekly, if not daily, basis. I have always felt that Belvoir had that kind of impact on my life. I am certain that in the 33 plus years since I was at Belvoir, that, not a week has passed without some event or experience occurring which drew on my experiences at Belvoir. Besides adoring camp, I consider my education at Belvoir to be of equal value and importance to the education I received throughout my academic career. (And, it was a long academic career – 25 years of schooling!). I am so pleased that Emily’s experience has been as rich and rewarding as mine, and that she is mature enough to take it all in.
– Laura E., Wyckoff, NJ, parent and alumna
The feeling of Belvoir is not so much that of a regular camp, but of a very high-quality Visual and Performing Arts Summer program, enriched by a nurturing sense of community and fabulous recreational facilities and programs. One of the great strengths of the program is its diversity – the range of subject choices is truly remarkable. The highly professional staff ensure depth of instruction in the chosen artistic disciplines, but the integration of artistic practices with physical and recreational pursuits allows for a truly rounded experience. Being part of a community, of teams and ensembles, adds rich dimension to personal development. Both my daughters have grown enormously, both as individuals and as social beings – friends among many – as a result of being at Belvoir. I have no doubt that the experience will have touched them deeply and meaningfully for the rest of their lives. I cannot imagine more caring, competent leaders of such an enterprise than Nancy and Diane. Furthermore, the natural beauty of the setting, as well as the surrounding cultural landscape of the Berkshires, add great value to the joy of being at Belvoir.
– Professor G. Brian Smith, Faculty of Fine Arts, Univ. of Calgary, Canada, parent
After being a Belvoir camper for 7 summers, I’ve learned that Belvoir is about so much more than the perfect pirouette, the perfect painting, or the perfect high note. Belvoir has taught me to appreciate and make the most of every opportunity, and I’ve learned that there are a few things to keep in mind during your precious time here. So, I’ve compiled a list of 10 steps to a perfect Belvoir experience.
Step 1: Don’t waste your time being homesick. Trust me, it’s not worth it. Camp is a privilege and any girl who is lucky enough to have this experience should take full advantage.
Step 2: Try new things and take risks. Belvoir is a safe place to try new things with supportive teachers and friends and a forgiving audience. Where else in the world can you take classes ranging from ballet to sculpture to stage combat? And who knows, you may end up loving something that you least expect.
Step 3: Always listen to Nancy and Diane. Trust me, they are experts. When they push you to do something, it’s to help you reach your full potential.
Step 4. Remember that what you put in is what you get out. Although Belvoir is a summer camp, the amount that we accomplish here every summer is incredible. Everything that we do takes time, practice, patience, and a positive attitude. So if you want a good finished product, focus on the process.
Step 5: Take time to appreciate the little things. In our busy Belvoir days, we sometimes forget to take in all that Belvoir has to offer.
Step 6: Always be in the here and now. These summers are the most amazing summers you will ever have. Take one day at a time and enjoy every minute. Your summers will fly by so make the most of everything.
Step 7: Always be yourself. Belvoir is a unique place where you never have to feel self-conscious or like you have to impress anyone. Don’t ever hold yourself back. Make a new friend and push yourself in your classes.
Sept 8. Be proud of your accomplishments. Belvoir is about learning and exploring and improving, and at the end of the summer, take pride that your hard work has paid off.
Step 9: Take lots of pictures. Speaking from experience, it’s really hard to remember every memory. So take lots and lots of pictures.
Step 10: Cherish your camp friendships. Your Belvoir friends will always be your best friends who you can have a crazy time with or who you can talk with when something isn’t right.
Please remember to be grateful and appreciate everything and everyone. I can’t begin to tell you all how fast your summers go and how important every person you meet and every experience you have is. Belvoir has been my home away from home where I learned so much about dance, theater, music, and art, and most of all, I learned about myself. Belvoir has shaped me to be the person I am today. Belvoir, a special place, and I can assure you, that if you follow these 10 steps above, you will have the perfect Belvoir experience.
– Rebecca F., Cherry Hill, NJ, former camper
I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch. I still think so fondly of my 5 amazing summers at Belvoir. I did my undergrad degree at Williams College and majored in psychology. I’m currently a 3rd year medical student at NYU, which is keeping me very busy. While I didn’t end up going into the arts professionally, I danced all through college and I still dance recreationally and I see as many Broadway shows as I can. Belvoir certainly helped to shape me into the independent, professional woman I am today.
– Rachel B., NYC, former camper
I just want to let you know Sophie has arrived home. She was so excited and talking all night about her wonderful experience with Belvoir. She loves Belvoir so much, the classes, the people – counselors, teachers, camp mates, the food, evening activities, horseback riding and etc. She says Belvoir is like paradise and she wishes to stay there instead of going back to school. She told me the girl camp allows her being more focus on learning, exactly what you have told us before the camp. I am so happy to see the changes Belvoir brings to her. She becomes more confident yet modest. She seems to have more drive to pursue what she wants to do. She said she will go back to Belvoir next year to do more modern dance, jazz, horseback riding, voice, and acting. This is amazing! I would like to express my deepest appreciation to you and your entire team for working so hard to take such good care of Sophie. I am so happy we made the right decision to send Sophie to Belvoir. Please do pass my thanks to all of your staff at Belvoir, you truly did a superb job!
– Jack Hu, President, Ford Automotive Finance, China, parent
I wanted to thank you for everything you did to make Isadora’s stay at Belvoir a safe, fun, and enriching experience for her. I wanted her to improve her English and social skills, to be less shy and learn that she can be by herself and far away from her parents – i.e., to be more confident on herself. All of that happened, and I’m happy we trusted her to both of you.
– Claudio C., Brazil, parent
The impact of Belvoir Terrace can be seen at http://belvoirblog.tumblr.com. Please enjoy words and pictures from Belvoir alumnae.