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The name “Fitzsimmons” is practically a Sewataro tradition in and of itself, and Crafts Head Kelly Fitzsimmons, in her quiet and humble way, is one of camp’s unsung heroes.

Kelly has been spending her summers at Sewataro since she was five years old (as have her younger sisters, Mary and Kate, who are also Sewie staffers), and she is proud to continue in the footsteps of her parents, aunts and uncle. “Alba Taylor hired my dad, uncle and four aunts when my dad was fourteen years old.” That summer, Kelly’s dad (whose nickname was “Tommy Taylor,” due to the myriad of ‘odd jobs’ he performed around camp, in addition to being the Blackfeet tribe counselor), met Kelly’s mom (then fifteen), who was the Pima tribe counselor. Her aunt Patty was a waterfront supervisor for many years, and her uncle John (a.k.a. John Fitz) was the Boating counselor, who at Closing Exercises led many of the Sewataro “classics” – songs that are still sung today.

Kelly on the right with her sisters, Kate and Mary

Kelly on the right with her sisters, Kate and Mary

Naturally, Camp Sewataro represents both family and tradition to Kelly. “There have been several changes since my parents and their friends were at camp, but they all still recall the same rituals, the same cheers, the same songs, and the same – until this coming year! – cold mornings teaching swimming in the pond…There is a comfort in knowing that each summer those traditions will be celebrated, and also that there will be new events and adventures as well.” (Not surprisingly, Kelly’s favorite new addition at camp is the brand new pottery studio and kiln. :))

Each summer Kelly brings a variety of fun (and typically nature-based) projects to inspire campers, including candle-making, tie-dye, pin-making, and pottery. She is both a chief visionary and key player in bringing Sewataro’s beloved Friday Special Events to life. And in her 5 years as Crafts Head, there hasn’t been a Friday order too tall for Kelly to take on, both literally and figuratively. In 2014, she was instrumental in turning the 20’ Treehouse into Elsa’s castle for an epic “Frozen” Friday finale. Of the experience, Kelly says: “‘Frozen’ was particularly memorable, especially decorating the Treehouse with Mark [Taylor], and running out into the field while he was on a ladder to try and make sure every painted cardboard panel was perfectly straight and symmetrical to the others…it took a while!”

Elsa’s Castle Elsa’s Castle

Her love of working with children began at a young age, when Kelly was a babysitter. Around that same time, her budding interest in art began to take shape. “I was very shy in elementary school and spent a lot of time at home, drawing or working on my own art projects. My mom and grandma always encouraged me to continue practicing my art.” In high school, Kelly’s teachers continued that same encouragement, and ultimately Kelly went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (with a major in Art Education and a studio concentration in painting) from Syracuse University. Today she is an Art Teacher at Westford Academy High School (coincidentally her alma mater), and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Art Education from Boston University.

Kellys painting

In her spare time, Kelly loves to paint. (Here is one of her pieces, which was on exhibit at Serendipity Cafe in Maynard last spring – go Kelly!) She is already dreaming up lesson plans for Summer 2016, and delivering those lessons is extremely rewarding for Kelly. “It’s fun to teach art at camp, because the assignments can often be more messy, unconventional, and exploratory than in a classroom. And, it’s exciting to see how campers react to the lessons and what they learn from candlemaking, tie dye shirts, creating pins or making pottery,” she says. Kelly’s favorite part of her job? That’s easy. “Working with children of all ages and seeing familiar camp faces every summer.”