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Meet Ann Marie Gallo of Summer’s Edge Day Camp & Tennis School in Lexington

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ann Marie Gallo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ann Marie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Since my brother Joe and I had such a wonderful summer camp experience in as children, we developed our own summer day camp: a camp to inspire a new generation of kids to love camp…

Founder Ann Marie Gallo established Summer’s Edge in 1991. The Day Camp is an ACA Accredited Camp for campers ages 3 1/2 to 14 years old. The initial summer season included an average of 33 campers per day and eight enthusiastic staff members. The start up investment was $3000.00. Our youngest camper was 3 1/2, while our oldest camper was 9 years old. Summer’s Edge Day Camp resided in Lexington seven years. Each year the number of campers and staff grew proportionally. Campers and staff returned each summer and brought many friends and relatives to the Summer’s Edge community. In 1997, Summer’s Edge Day Camp hit a record high of 99 campers in one day! The combination of our rapid growth and a renovation that removed the gymnasium at the Lexington Club prompted a relocation plan. In 1998, Summer’s Edge Day Camp found a new home in Waltham. Our new location offered us exclusive use of the indoor pool, five indoor tennis courts, and a spacious indoor facility for rainy days. The summer of 2002 Summer’s Edge Day Camp serviced a record high 155 campers during the entire season. In 2009, however, we seized the opportunity to make the 65-acre property of Minuteman High School in Lexington the current home of Summer’s Edge Day Camp and Tennis School.

In 1993, Summer’s Edge Tennis Camp launched its first season at the on the North Shore in Danvers. Staffed with just three dynamic coaches under the leadership of Joe Gallo, the tennis camp provided youths with an enjoyable season of summer fun with an emphasis on tennis skills. The success of this premier program initiated Summer’s Edge Tennis School.

Since commencing with eight children and three staff, the program evolved into a full-service tennis school for youths and adults. The half-day SWING & SWIM® program is the flagship program of Summer’s Edge Tennis School. The flexible registration options and exceptional instruction serviced hundreds of north shore customers.

In the summer of 2003, the Summer’s Edge Tennis School enjoyed its first summer in Waltham. The 2004 season marked the year that Joe returned to the Waltham site, and Summer’s Edge Tennis School and Day Camp operated exclusively out of Waltham.

Following the Summer’s Edge Tennis School six-week season in Waltham, the SWING & SWIM® program returned to the north shore at Salem State University from 2008 to 2014. Presently, the SWING & SWIM® program operates, side by side with our day camp, for six weeks in our Lexington location.

The current day camp features a wide range of sports, daily swim lessons and free swim, arts and crafts, hip hop dance, and classic camp events, including a carnival day, movie nights, talent show, Olympic games, and a camper-counselor tennis tournament. At Summer’s Edge Day Camp building character and community is just as important as learning how to swim or play tennis.

Summer’s Edge is a camp community where kids unplug and discover the real meaning behind the camp’s familiar tagline, “Character Counts!” Smart phones and laptops are traded in for days spent playing physical activities such as pillow polo, aiming for archery targets, creating crafts from nature, practicing golf swings or swim strokes, and cheering on the younger campers. Campers earn colorful stretch bracelets when spotted in an act of kindness, caring, or good “sportspersonship.” Each week every camper is recognized for their own personal achievement whether it be helping out a younger camper, improving their tennis swing, or simply persisting at a new sport that they have found to be difficult in the past.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Transitioning to rent different locations and sites has been challenging. The leadership team has been together for over a decade providing stability to location changes (same people, makes it easy to be in different places). We learned that Summer’s Edge was about the people that make our community unique, not the place. We could make “camp” happen just about anywhere. However, our current location at Minuteman High School, in Lexington, has become our home where we are able to program on the spacious property, adjacent to the Minuteman National Park.

Please tell us about Summer’s Edge Day Camp & Tennis School.
I am most proud of our community values, our current and past campers and staff and their connections to Summer’s Edge. We pride ourselves on personalizing campers’ experiences by limiting enrollment. Campers and staff return summer after summer.

Campers complete our teen program, CIT programs, and junior counselor training to become staff members. Our staff combined years of experience at Summer’s Edge exceeds 200 years; 50% of the staff have been at Summer’s Edge for 10+ years. The leadership team of 6 individuals combine years of experience is 134 years.

The camp offers learning experience to promote emotional and social learning, aligned with the character counts words of the week: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship, and sportspersonship. The camp’s mission, values, and traditions are fulfilled by the commitment of the leadership team and counselors.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Nothing, except securing one permanent location for Summer’s Edge.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jacqueline Supprise
Tyler Billouin
John Camp

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