Melissa is the Director of Arts & Culture and Camp Valley Forge. When she’s at camp, she goes by Firefly, so named because of her love of the short-lived sci-fi show from 2002.
As a girl, she attended Camp AnSeOx, a Girl Scout day and resident camp in Oxford, CT. Melissa’s always been a day camp person—there’s something wonderful about falling asleep in your own bed after a fun day at camp! She also was a Girl Scout from Daisies to Cadettes; using cookie proceeds to fund fun camping trips with her troop. In 2011, Melissa returned to Girl Scouts as a staff member and wore many hats before finding that Camp Director fit best. She briefly served as Assistant Director at Camp Valley Forge during the summer of 2012 before embracing camp full time in 2015. This will be her third summer leading the staff and campers at Camp Valley Forge.
In the off-season, Melissa attends conferences and trainings to network with other camp professionals and keep up to date with camp skills and topics. She is a Level II archery instructor, has completed American Camp Association Director training courses, and is currently working towards becoming Low Ropes, Climbing Wall, and ServSafe certified. She enjoys tent camping near the Delaware beaches, creating her own Halloween (and camp) costumes, singing along to Disney movies, reading novels, painting, and other handicrafts in her free time.
Melissa graduated from Chestnut Hill College with a Bachelor’s of Arts in History, with a focus on Women’s Studies. Melissa’s passion for female empowerment is a core focus of everything she does, especially as it relates to running camp and training staff.
Camp Valley Forge is an ACA-accredited day camp tucked just off the main roads in Phoenixville, mere minutes outside of the National Historical Park. We share a campus with the Valley Forge Service Center and are surrounded by private residences and the National Christian Conference Center. Our camp includes an archery range, low ropes challenge course, GaGa pit, pool, and two picnic areas, complete with fire pits. In addition to our outdoor spaces and activities, Camp Valley Forge offers four indoor units for girls to utilize. The Blue & Purple Rooms each have full kitchens, indoor bathrooms, and open space to play games and do activities. The Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) is a large, open space where girls gather in the morning and can play large group games or spread out to relax and make friendship bracelets. The Art Room includes tables where girls can draw, paint, or craft.
During a typical day at Camp Valley Forge, girls will swim and participate in themed activities each day. They’ll also enjoy arts & crafts, archery (grades 2+), low ropes (grades 4+), teambuilding & diversity activities, and a visit to the trading post at least twice during the week.
Our staff hails from all over the area. Some are college students working on degrees in marketing, business, education, and psychology. Others are full-time educators in local schools while some are finishing up high school. They have been campers at our camp and others, Girl Scouts during the year, or just really excited about creating enriching experiences for every girl. All undergo a week of training before camp begins, lead by our director, assistant director, program director, and office & healthcare manager.
Our Favorite Tradition
Tradition is a huge part of Camp Valley Forge. The one that always throws folks off is camp names. When you pull up to drop your camper off and someone is introduced to you as Bubbles, Sprinkles, or Cheese, you might think you’ve landed in an alternate dimension. When you step into a leadership position at camp, whether as a camp program aide or a staff member, you receive your camp name. Maybe it’s something that your friends or coworkers give to you, or maybe you choose it yourself. Either way, your name represents who you are at camp, what some call your truest self. Other traditions are newer—like the daily flag ceremonies or all-camp games on the field at the end of the week. The common factor in all of them is the fun they add to the camp experience!
“I am happy to send my daughter there for multiple weeks in the summer time. It is obvious that this camp is built on Girl Scout principles of kindness, caring and respect for others. The counselors are all great!” ~Parent of 2016 camper
Check out the camp session available at Valley Forge Day Camp now!
Join us for an open house at Camp Shelly Ridge on Sunday, April 30, 2:30-4:30 p.m. or Saturday, May 20, from 12:30- 2:30 p.m. to meet camp staff and get a tour.