Growing Up Frogbridge: Victoria Nelli

As one of New Jersey’s premier summer day camps, we’re extremely lucky to have some of our campers come back to their Frogbridge Family as team members. We feel that those who know what Frogbridge is all about can share our philosophy and share what they love about camp for years to come. We’d like to introduce you to Victoria Nelli, who went from joining us for senior camp in the summer before seventh grade to a team member today. Victoria spreads the excitement of camp to every one of her campers, and we’re excited to highlight her experiences with Frogbridge below.

Meet Victoria

“It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team.” That quote from The Opposite of Loneliness mirrors the exact feelings I have towards Frogbridge Day Camp. For the past eleven years of my life, I have been lucky enough to call Frogbridge my home for the summer. It’s a place where I know I can always go, a feeling that only people who have gone to Frogbridge can understand, it’s home.

The First Day of Seventh Grade

On the first day of seventh grade I sat at a lunch table, waiting to see which of my friends were in the same lunch as I, hoping I would see a familiar face, when suddenly I saw a handful of my friends come sprinting into the cafeteria. I smiled ear to ear because I knew the main talk of the table that day would be about what we did over the summer. I couldn’t wait to talk about my summer because it was, at that point, the best summer I had ever had, it was my first summer at Frogbridge. It was finally my turn to talk and gush all about my summer ventures. That’s when I began to go on and on about everything and anything I could remember from that fantastic first summer at the bridge. I told them about my team members, Sara and Jesse, who were incredible and I still remember fondly.

My Favorite Frogbridge Memory

My group, SG1, which were closer than ever, and my favorite part of the summer, Color War. I told them about the inside jokes we shared and the activities we did. That’s when I realized, they didn’t understand what I was talking about because they weren’t a part of it. They didn’t experience the pure joy I did when my team (the green pirates) won color war, they didn’t experience my team member getting pushed into the pool by one of the boy’s team members, and they didn’t experience hilarious and surprising fun that we had during our first rainy day. They weren’t there, but after I was done filling their heads with all of these over the top stories that didn’t even come close to doing justice to the summer I had, they were mad that they weren’t.

From Camper to Team Member

Working in the CIT program at Frogbridge taught me a lot of things, but mainly it showed me how much I love working with children. I’m currently applying to grad schools and have decided to ultimately become a communication teacher, a profession I doubt I would have thought of if I hadn’t spent so many of my summers surrounded by children, and people who genuinely loved working with them. Now a team member, I’ve learned what it’s like to watch after a group of children and to be a leader and role model for them. IT’s a position I don’t take lightly and something I’ve been very grateful for. Seeing my campers throughout the year at Frogtober Fest and seeing them come back summer after summer is wonderful. Keeping in touch with them and seeing them grow up is something I’ve always been very grateful for. It’s something I grew up doing, seeing my team member’s year after year and growing up at the camp, now, as a team member, I’m getting to do the same thing my team members did.

Frogbridge Memories Last

Frogbridge has always been something that I felt very personal about. I talk about it to people the way some talk about their children or about their favorite sports teams, I’m proud of it, and I’m proud to be a part of it. For more than half my life it’s served as a summer home and a place where you can be away from it for ten months, but then as soon as summer rolls around, pick up right where you left off. I’ve watched kids grow from tadpoles to senior campers, I’ve watched junior campers that I watched as a CIT turn into incredible team members. I’ve watched Frogbridge turn into what it is today, and it’s been one of the greatest privileges of my life to be able to say that I was apart of it. For the majority of my life, Frogbridge has been more than just a camp to me, and more than just a place I spend my summers. It’s been my family, my friends, and a place where I am my most happiness. Frogbridge has given me many things over the years. It had given me lifelong friends, a career path, but mostly, it’s given me a lifelong home.