The Magic of the Island
This article features the impact Children's Island has had on one local resident.
Children’s Island has been a part of Carol Newcomb McEnaney’s life since she started working at the Y in Marblehead in 1984. When she started working as a counselor, she immediately fell in love with the magic of the Island.
McEnaney began her work within the Y at Small Fry camp. She loved working with children and once other staff saw her talent in interacting with kids at camp, she was recruited to work on the Island as well.
“I looked forward to the Island all year, every year,” said McEnaney. “We lived for the summers. It was an incredible place to learn and grow, to meet new challenges, and to be yourself. I made friends on the Island during those years that I still have to this day.”
The magic of Children’s Island is something that many generations and families have discovered living in this area. “Everything about that place is special; the people, the feeling of being out there, the magic is tangible. We were one big family working together every summer. It was intense, and lots of work, but it was fun,” said McEnaney.
McEnaney’s children started going out to the Island when they were 7-years-old. Thomas, who is now 16, has gone through the teen leader programs and the Counselor in Training (CIT) Program and he is now a counselor on the Island. Brendan is now 12, and is currently in Rangers Camp.
“I would say a lot of what pulled us back year after year was being counselors to the same group of kids. It was amazing to make that connection and be able to share the magic of the Island with a child. To help campers grow and learn about themselves was such a rewarding experience.”
McEnaney’s children have grown up around the Island, and have discovered the same magic for themselves. They have returned year after year, to have the same adventures that their mom had as a counselor.
“I sent my kids out because it’s the Island. It’s something that everyone who can, should experience. There is something special and indescribable about the place.” McEnaney references a line from a camp song to best explain it: “The Island has a mystic veil about her.”
“There is nothing like climbing the rocks to Hot Dog at low tide, doing a triangle swim, or climbing out to ‘Woosh’,” said McEnaney enthusiastically. “The Island has made my children confident and sure of themselves. It has created friendships that they’ll have for life, and fostered a love for the outdoors.”
Back to Nature
One of the biggest attractions for parents for many camps today is the return to nature. A summer camp like the Island provides time away from technology and computer and cell phone screens, something that is invaluable for children in our super-connected, plugged-in society.
That was absolutely a draw for McEnaney, when thinking about the time her children now spend at the Island. “When we were counselors, we were upset when they brought electricity out to the Island!” said McEnaney. “We only used walkie-talkies to communicate with the Y daily. I love that my kids have the opportunity to experience real summer fun: outdoors, back to basics, technology free and full of sun.”
McEnaney also has an uncle, Ralph “Jay” Henry, who was a counselor on the Island throughout the 60s, and a 20-year-old niece, Caroline Miller, who works out on the Island now and has been attending since she was 7-years-old. The Island has been the source of a family bond for this family for many years.
McEnaney is now a 4th grade special education teacher at the Charter School in Marblehead. “The directors and the people I worked with during those years on the Island were so amazing.
They influenced me so greatly and were such fantastic role models that I still think about them to this day as a teacher. I think about what they taught me, and how they would react in certain situations, and they are still with me in my work with children now.”
To learn more about Children's Island, visit northshoreymca.org or contact the Teen and Camp Director, Chris Bevilacqua at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-990-7013.