Melissa Lemire made her way through the gate, past Antenna, and took a sharp turn to drive through the Frio River for the first time in 24 years. The last time Lemire made this drive, she was heading toward Echo Valley as a staffer in the Summer of 1991. Before that, she was an LLYC camper at both Singing Hills and Echo Valley. And in 2016, Family Camp called her home to the Canyon once again.
“After my summer on staff, I thought I’d never have the chance to come back,” said Lemire. “Then, years later, I heard the Foundation had started a camp for families, and I thought, ‘This is my chance.'”
Lemire had no idea what to expect from camp this time around. Two decades is a long time, but Lemire said she “came in and found the Canyon felt exactly the same as it did before. There were updates and now Headwaters exists, but the Foundation had been so respectful of the land. It hadn’t been taken advantage of or overdeveloped. It even smelled the same way it always had.”
Of course, the major difference for Lemire was having her kids, Zach and Sophie, at camp with her. Unfortunately, her husband, Bo Lemire, was unable to join them due to summertime being the busy season in his career managing sales for a learning software company. So Lemire turned Family Camp into a special mom-and-kids tradition for the next several summers. “We were disappointed we wouldn’t all be together, but then my kids had my absolute, undivided attention. It made me feel closer to them, and it made them closer to each other,” Lemire said.