Canoeing and hiking through the Adirondack Mountains takes endurance, confidence and a lot of skill. So does getting through life.
A summer camp dedicated to girls and young women is guiding them through both. Camp Little Notch, located in Fort Ann, aims to equip campers from ages 7 to 17 with the ability to make good life choices through a host of programs held during July and August and led by Executive Director Ellen Tuzzolo.
“What we really focus on is giving kids the opportunity to make a real connection with nature and to make lifelong friends and also learn how to be their own best friend – to have an appreciation for themselves,” said Tuzzolo, who is in the process of moving to the area to run the camp.
Additionally, the camp’s mission is to “provide opportunities for all people to practice living in harmony with nature.” To that end, Tuzzolo said they have reached out to a diverse group of campers from various ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
Much of the camp’s philosophy stems from that of inclusiveness, which is also touted by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, previous owners of the camp. It’s also the place where Tuzzolo camped as a kid, which was an experience that shaped who she is today.
“Making lifelong friends gave me point from which I could really blossom,” she said.
Gabrielle Tayac, of Washington, D.C., also attended camp as a scout. She’s now a parent and has fond memories of her experiences at camp saying, “It’s an incredible, empowering place.”
Tuzzolo heard that the camp was being sold in 2009 by the Girls Scouts. She was working with incarcerated women in Alabama for the Justice Policy Institute at the time, a career that has roots in the diversity she was exposed to as a camper. It’s also a career she gave up to take over camp operations.