Welcome to the new Camp Promise Spotlight series led by longtime camper Molly Murphy! Molly is leading the charge and interviewing our camp community so we all get to know the wonderful members of our camp family, both campers and volunteers alike. Take it away, Molly!
If you’ve gone to Camp Promise-East, you’ll probably recognize purple cabin unit leader Caroline Claflin. Caroline is one of the originals of CPE’s purple cabin, and one of the two counselors to have been involved in it every year since we’ve had a purple cabin at East. She’s kind, compassionate and caring, putting her want to help others above all else. It wouldn’t be purple cabin without her, that’s for sure!
- Name: Caroline Claflin
- Camper or Volunteer: Volunteer
- Camp Attended: East and Connect
- Years in Attendance: 5
- Cabin(s): Purple!
- Movie: The Parent Trap
- Singer: Kenny Chesney or James Taylor
- Food: Sushi
- Color: purple 🙂
- Dream Job: Teacher
What do you like most about camp? What makes you keep coming back?
Right – everything about it! I guess the people obviously. I mean all the relationships, friendships we make, the bonds that we make. I think that’s the main thing. I mean obviously it’s a fun week and we make all these memories and have all these great moments together but it’s the people that are there. That’s it. That’s the reason why I love it!
It’s so nice to still have you around, you’ve been with the purple cabin since the beginning. Having you, Maria Anna and Melissa around as the original counselors still, with me, Steph and Ari as original campers is such a unique thing. You were originally Ari’s counselor and then got bumped up to cabin leader. How did that transition go from normal counselor to running the whole cabin?
Yeah! I still felt like I was in a role where I could be supportive to one camper at a time if needed but I also felt like I could help any camper that needed it and any counselor that needed it. Which is a fun part, it’s busy but it’s exciting. And I loved being Ari’s counselor for a couple years and developing such a strong bond with her, but then it’s been such a gift to develop such strong bonds with everyone else in the cabin as well. I’m very thankful for that.
Outside of camp, what do you do? Are you in school, or a graduate? If you are a graduate or not in school, what is your job?
I graduated from Framingham State University in 2016 and I am currently working at a day program with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
What is that like, working in your day program?
The program I work in is called Bridges to Work, so we encourage and promote independence for the individuals I support. So most of the goals for the individuals that I support is to be living independently one day and getting a job. Having some sort of career or even just some sort of part time job being out there in the workforce, working independently, making their own money so they can eventually live on their own.
I teach primarily a lot of skills classes like life skills and social skills and things like that. We do a lot of hands-on activities and relate things to everyday life. We try to go out into the community a lot and get a lot of practice with those types of things too. Little things, like going to the grocery store and learning how to pick out certain things, keeping a budget, making sure you have enough money, getting change back, everything. Every little thing that you can think of.
It’s been a little bit more difficult obviously with Covid and not being able to go out into the community as much. So we’ve been trying to adapt and working on those skills just in our building. It’s basically just teaching those kinds of skills and strategies to eventually be as independent as you can possibly be.
Your favorite color you listed was purple. Was it always purple or was it affected by you being in purple cabin?
Ha! No, I’ve always said that [color] was my favorite and then it was just even more exciting when Libby asked me in my interview… whatever it was, five years ago, in 2016. [At the time,] cause I was [a PCA for] Austin and Max, and [she said] the first thing we ask when a PCA is coming to camp with someone is if you want to stay with the person you work with like at home or would you like to venture off, and if the person your coming with is comfortable with that too. And Austin was comfortable with that, he was like “yeah! Go please! Give me some time!”
So I was like I was happy to be wherever you need me. I have some experience so if you need me in an older cabin I’m happy with that, if you need me with the younger guys I can do that too. She was like “actually this year, we have a girls cabin this year. Would you be interested in that?” And I was like yes, yes, yes! I asked what color cause I know Austin talks about the colors, and she was like purple, and I was like “That’s my favorite color too!” It was just perfect.
Last question, how would you describe camp in one phrase. What does camp mean to you?
I know it’s kind of cliche because it’s part of the camp word, but limitless. Honestly. It’s limitless: campers feel limitless, I think counselors find that they go out of their comfort zone. And campers do too, like we all find this place we hadn’t been before, and we feel comfortable doing things we didn’t used to feel comfortable doing. And we encourage each other to all of those things, which I think is the coolest part. Just feeling totally limitless about everything at camp.