Camp Emerson has been owned and directed by the Lein Family since 1968. For us, camping is in our family.
Sue Lein & Kevin McDonough
Marv & Addie Lein
When you select a summer camp for your child, you are placing a huge amount of trust in the people who run the camp. If it were me, I’d want to know as much as I could about the Director, her values, priorities and background.
My name is Sue Lein and along with my husband, Kevin McDonough, we are the Camp Directors of Camp Emerson. I have gone to camp my entire life. First, day camps and then sleepaway before my parents, Marv and Addie Lein, started Camp Emerson. Camp Emerson has been owned and directed by the Lein Family since 1968. For us, camping is in our family. I love summer camp! I love the depth of the relationships, the joy of a day spent outdoors, the exposure to so many activities and the opportunity to define oneself separate from home.
I was a child who loved being at home and was cautious about putting myself out in the world. I never felt “popular” and didn’t have the confidence I saw other kids have. Except for when I was at camp. At camp, I could redefine myself and be who I wanted to be. I was comfortable at camp and that allowed me to try things and connect with my peers in ways that felt so much better than at school. I lived for the summers. I found that I was a really good swimmer. This gave me the self-confidence that I yearned for. My counselors encouraged me and I felt rewarded. I also loved the special days at camp where we could dress up, be silly and have fun. And as a swim instructor I found that I treasured helping children develop new skills or overcome a fear. These experiences profoundly shaped my college and work life.
I went on to train as a sociologist and work in Human Resources for many years. I was only away from camp in the 80’s and would visit every weekend soaking up as much camp spirit as I could. In 1990 it was time to come back full-time and learn from my parents. Now over 25 years later, my goals as a Camp Director are to be true to Camp Emerson’s core values of bringing out the best in each child, giving them many choices to explore and providing a place where they have fun, feel safe and are respected.
I made the smart decision to hire my husband, Kevin in 1992. We’ve raised our children, Gemma and Alex, at Camp Emerson and I’m thrilled that they now work here in their “special place”. Together we work all year to meet each family and take great care to plan another amazing summer camp experience.
I’ve lived as a camper before Camp Emerson and know what it feels like to miss my family to the point where I begged them to get me (they didn’t). I’ve worked as a counselor who relished the success of each of my campers and understands the hard work that goes into a long day with children. And I understand what it means to be a Director who feels the weight of the responsibility of caring for other people’s children. I’m also a Mom and appreciate what it feels like to miss your children and to send them away.
I have watched 1000’s of campers, each different, find themselves at camp and then use this special time to launch their future selves. I hope this has given you insight into who I am and why I believe in the power of the Camp Emerson experience.
I look forward to talking with you and learning all about you and your family.