ECC’s City Camp Enriches Summer

For nearly 40 years, children from the Olneyville section of Providence have had the opportunity to spend part of their summer at ECC’s City Camp, a free day camp for children ages 6 to 12 that includes both field trips and the games, fun, and relationship-building of more traditional summer camps.

Marisa Rainey first came to City Camp in 2011 as a counselor. “City Camp made me want to be a teacher,” she says. After several years of serving as the program’s director in the summertime as director of City Camp and teaching middle school math in Roxbury, Massachusetts during the school year, Rainey is now ECC’s full-time summer camp and program director.

“I knew I wanted to work with kids, but I didn’t know how,” she says. “That summer, I was the only female counselor, so I had all the girls. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the 11- and 12-year-olds talking about their lives and families and school, but disheartened by how little they liked math. I wrote my college admissions essay about that and became a middle school math teacher. Except for the summer after college when I worked for Teach for America, I’ve been at City Camp ever since.”

“Service to the community is a pillar of ECC, as is the belief that every child deserves chance to go to camp,” Rainey says. “As an educator, I know that kids fall behind without camp and the activities and connections it offers.” City Camp, she has been delighted to find, runs in families, and she now meets younger siblings and family members of previous generations of campers participating in the program.

While City Camp offers children exposure to activities they might not otherwise experience, Rainey says that counselors benefit as much as campers. City Camp “is not about us giving an experience to others. It’s about all of us having an experience together.”

Although City Camp 2023 lasted just two weeks due to a staffing shortage, Rainey hopes to return soon to the camp’s typical six-week program. To support the program, ECC accepts donations of water bottles, healthy snacks, and other items on their wish list. Granola bars and other breakfast items are particularly helpful, because while Rhode Island’s Summer Food Service Program covers lunch for each camper, its hours of operation do not qualify it to receive breakfast funds.

Congregations interested in supporting the program or hosting a lunch in 2024 can email Rainey at