Summer Staff Testimonials

“My Mayhew experience concreted ideals that I believed in at the time of my arrival on the Island but did not have the language to articulate.  Mayhew gave me that language.  Now rich in the experience, I constantly apply principles learned (or re-learned) at Mayhew in my professional life.  It is the primary reason why I am in a leadership position within the public education system.

Mayhew provided two axioms – I know, with no uncertainty, that groups of people with a common mission can effect change and that people within the group can change as well.

Personally, Mayhew is one of the two things in my life that I believe happened to me and saved my life.”

-Justin, 2001-2003

“I don’t think I would be half as good of an educator as I am now if I hadn’t spent my college summers at Mayhew. It taught me everything that college couldn’t: each kid is an individual, and needs your full attention and respect for you to have an impact on their lives. The needs and concerns of the kids who are with you are more important than a lesson expectation or assessment will ever be. I think my experience at Mayhew was also crucial in equipping me to be an active, thoughtful parent - it was the only experience in my life before motherhood which required me to put my own wants and needs on hold for a while.”

-Shan, 2004-2007

I came to Mayhew during the summer after my third year of medical school. When I attempt to describe to others what I did, I am always hesitant to say that Mayhew is just a summer camp that I worked at. It’s the simplest explanation, but it doesn’t do it justice.

I have yet to find another place, or another group of staff members, that are so fully dedicated to providing a wholesome space for kids. Wholesome does not mean easy—as a place founded on the ideals of discipline, respect, and co-operation, the boys quickly learn that the island provides some unique challenges. It also provides some unique rewards. Here, they can take pride in being constructive members of a community. Here, their accomplishments are celebrated, from climbing all the way up to the zipline, to offering words of kindness and support to their cabinmates during work hour. The Mayhew experience is permeated by a culture of positivity that I could see reflected in the boys as the session progressed, and surprisingly, in myself.

I found after leaving the island that I held myself to higher standards than when I arrived. Can there be any better praise? Mayhew has affirmed for me that there are few things more rewarding in the world than helping to shape healthy, happy, confident kids, and has spurred me to apply for training in pediatrics (fingers crossed!). If you suspect the same might be true for you, working at Mayhew would be a perfect way to spend the summer.

-Dane, 2009

Whenever I am asked to describe Mayhew or my experiences there, I am always at a loss for words. Any attempt at a simple explanation always turn into a longer discussion about what a great place it is. Mayhew encourages young boys to work together to problem solve, to be positive and supportive cabinmates, and to push themselves farther than they thought they could. (The boys never cease to amaze me by rising to the many challenges of Island life!)  I have also found, throughout my summers working for the program, that Mayhew not only challenges the boys to be their best selves, but it challenges the staff as well. 

. . . and from the perch atop the zipline (my favorite place on the Island!) I have contemplated many things, from Community Night skits that will go down in Mayhew history to life’s greatest questions. And the one conclusion that I have come to time and time again is that Mayhew Island is one of my favorite places.

-Stephanie, ‘04,‘08,‘09

“My work at Mayhew made every job I’ve held since seem lacking by comparison.  Damn you, Mayhew!”

-Dave, 1990-1995

“I have had the opportunity to help many boys grow into the good men they will become.  I have refined and improved my own ability to be positive, to be respectful of others, and to help others do the same.  I have had the opportunity to enjoy myself and just have fun with the boys for the entire summer.  And, when I am discussing my views of the most effective methods for dealing with people, I can point to Mayhew and say: ‘See? It works!’”

-Mike, 2006-2010

“Mayhew is where I learned to live in the moment, where I met 84 boys in the midst of island challenges that taught them how to persevere while they taught me how much they could actually achieve. Living on Mayhew time, where each and every minute was dedicated to the boys and their well being, made me realize that that sort of time was the only type I ever wanted to experience—time spent fulfilling my own life by working for kids discovering a positive new way to live their own lives.”

-Diana, 2010

“My Mayhew experience meant a lot to me. It is definitely a summer I will never forget. I think it has made me a more patient person. Overall it really improved my confidence as well. I find myself more willing to speak up. Perhaps less importantly, I have learned to juggle and am well on my way to Rubik’s Cube prowess!”

-Adam, 2010

What struck me most about that summer was how much freedom there is at Mayhew.

I know what you’re thinking.  Freedom?  How can that be when the schedule is measured to the five-minute mark, there are rules in the staff handbook about coffee drinking, and there’s less than five hours of personal time for every 48 hours on the job?  (I have a friend who once said that being a summer camp counselor was easy: all you had to do was have boundless enthusiasm for 16 hours and require no personal time.)

Mayhew is a place built around routine, structure, and consistency.  These are what make it function.  The Island is an incredibly safe place in more than one way.  It’s a place where, maybe for the first time, some boys can be themselves.  Mayhew’s also a place built around instilling in some pretty cool kids the ability to function as members of a community.  At Mayhew, I found the freedom to be a member of a community to which there could be no qualms about being you.  And that’s powerful.  I think it’s something the boys don’t see because they’re too frustrated at having no video games or having to eat tomatoes or having to stand in assembly.  I know some of them do see it eventually, but it takes time, like it did for me.  As a staff member it took me time to see just how the Island has had an impact on even my life.

So maybe what I’m trying to say is that Mayhew, because of its beautiful location and incredible mission and unique philosophy, does what no other place I’ve found does quite as well.  It creates an experience where an individual can learn to function in a community by first learning to take control of himself.

-Brett, 2009-2010

Mayhew was a fun and inspiring experience. During my time on the island, I saw a great improvement in the boys. The boys surprised me with their determination and team work. In the end, being part of the Mayhew staff was a big commitment, but it was well worth it to see a great group of boys succeed.

-Felipe, 2008