The Story: Then, Now, and 2018
Welcome to Camp Somerset! We are so pleased to be able to share our overwhelming excitement and this incredible story with you.
In 1921, Camp Somerset for Girls opened its doors and welcomed the first campers to East Pond in Smithfield, Maine. For the next 60 years, as one generation followed another, campers returned to Maine and made the lifelong memories and friendships that only summer camp allows. Sadly, in 1986, Somerset closed, and was replaced by Lake Forest Camp until 1990. Since then, for more than 25 years, this beautiful, prestigious, home away from home, has sat idle. Until now...
On Wednesday, October 5, 2016, we purchased the land, and, in 2018, Camp Somerset for Girls will reopen! While the property retains its exquisite waterfront and beautiful scenery it does need our attention and care to be restored to the glorious and magical place it once was. Soon enough, new buildings, fields, and facilities will rise and the sound of joyful campers will fill the air.
This is a labor of love for us, one that we have been talking about for years. We are both so passionate about the camp experience and, more than anything else, our time as campers and counselors has shaped the people we are today. We are true believers in the power of camp as a mechanism to shape girls into confident, compassionate, and well-rounded women.
We are thankful to have the support and partnership of our good friends at Camp Manitou for Boys and we are so looking forward providing the opportunity for girls to thrive at a summer camp that is inclusive and unique.
While Somerset has a rich tradition, the lost years have left a hole both in our camp's history and in our hearts. It's up to not only us, the directors, but all of our future campers, staff, parents, and our dedicated alumni to write the next, and greatest chapter, in Somerset's history.
The plans are drawn, work has begun, and the potential for both the camp and its future residents is limitless. We can't wait!
Kate & Josh
The New Camp Somerset
Kate & Josh
Kate Levy Auerbach
Imagine finding out that your dream job, something that you only thought existed in your imagination, was an actual possibility. Well, the time has finally come where I get to live out my dreams – opening and running Camp Somerset and seeing it bustling with girls making memories and living life as their best self – I could not be more excited.
My first introduction to camp was when my brothers began their summers at Camp Manitou – I tried to sneak in, but it was only for boys. I found my way to a truly wonderful summer camp in New Hampshire when I was 8 years old and since then summer camp has been a driving force in my life. Camp was the most formative experience in my early years, and then the most fun and challenging experience as I grew into adulthood. Now, Camp gets to be my everything: my family, my future and my dream come true.
I have known Josh since we were young kids growing up together in Newton, Massachusetts and can’t believe that we can now turn our years of friendship and mutual love of summer camp into creating and running an exceptional girls summer program.
In between summers at Manitou, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a major in political science, and a minor in women’s studies, and then attended Suffolk University School of Law. For the next seven years, I practiced health and employment law before returning to the camping world.
These past few summers, I have been spending time at Manitou, helping during the offseason and getting re-acclimated to all the elements that make up a wonderful camp. Now, I feel ready, confident and thrilled to be able to open the door to Camp Somerset.
My husband Jared and I live in Natick, Massachusetts with our two young daughters (aka future campers) and our son who is set to join us in a matter of weeks! I cannot wait to share this amazing new experience with both my family and yours. Soon enough we’ll have dozens of kids around the campfire roasting their s’mores before heading off to their first night at their summer home. Now doesn’t that sound awesome?
I’ll never forget August 14, 2002. That was the day that I drove out of Camp Manitou after my final summer, tears in my eyes, determined that I would eventually find my way back to camp. For as long as I can remember, running a summer camp has been my one and only dream job. Since that day nearly 15 years ago, I have been consumed by how I would make that dream a reality and am so excited that I now get to do so alongside such an amazing friend and colleague in Kate.
I came to Camp Manitou as an 8-year old in 1989. I was homesick for one night and then I never looked back. My 14 summers at Manitou as a camper, counselor, and assistant director have done more for me than any other experience in my life. The opportunities for growth, the skills I developed, and the friendships I made, all stay with me to this day. That is why I am so passionate about the summer camp experience and believe that every child deserves the gift of camp.
After graduating with a business degree from Emory University, I moved to Washington D.C. and began an incredibly rewarding career in the restaurant industry. Along with my partners, we built EatWell DC into a company of 5 restaurants with a private produce farm in Maryland and more than 200 employees.
The past 8 years I have been fortunate to be a founding volunteer, board member, and associate director for Experience Camps, a non-profit organization that provides free, one-week camps to children who have lost a parent or sibling. As the Program Director for the Manitou Experience, our flagship program in Maine, I have been able to live my dream for one week each year.
I live in Washington with my partner Adam and our dog, and new camp mascot, Maddie. We’re all so excited for our new summer home along East Pond. The countdown to arrival day begins…I can hear the cheering now.