Maddie Says Farewell :(

Date published: May 9th, 2017 | By Maddie

Dear Longacre Family,

While I would much rather be updating you about the importance of native bee hotels or the cuteness of Little Moe, today’s post is about something more difficult: I am leaving Longacre Leadership Camp, and moving on to pursue a career in education.

I became passionate about special education while earning my Master’s, and I want to work with this population as a teacher, and as an advocate.

This has been a tough decision, as you can imagine, one that I have wrestled with for months. Longacre is a place I call home.

I first stepped onto the farm as a thirteen-year-old, nervous about befriending Clivus Multrum (our composting toilets) and practicing my communication skills (“Who needs those?”). I had no idea that four weeks at Longacre would impact my life.

Although I was a farmer for just one summer, this magical place stayed in my heart. I wrote my senior speech about the farm, and my college essay about the importance of building community.

Later, as soon as I was of age (maybe a little before), I called Susan and somehow convinced her to hire me as a Big Kid (a counselor). Since then, I've spent five summers on staff; and it’s been one year since I came into the office to work full-time with Matt and Louise.

To say that Longacre has helped shape me is an understatement (and by “Longacre” I mean the web of amazing people connected to this place and these values). I have found some of my greatest friends here — including my husband, Mark* — and developed a real sense of camaraderie with them.

I have spent hot afternoons shoveling manure, listening to teens as they speak passionately about the future. I have hiked through the rolling hills with children who had never before stepped foot on a trail. I have watched farmers communicate directly using skills many adults do not possess. And I have enjoyed countless conversations with parents who subscribe to our mission.

It has been a privilege to work in a place where the values resonate with me so personally — I know this is not the norm and I have not for a second taken it for granted. Throughout the year, Louise, Matt and I have strived to push ourselves, to honor the values we instill in our campers. I feel so appreciative to Matt and Louise for giving me this opportunity to grow professionally.

Officially, my last day has come and gone. In reality, I’ll probably be in the office through next week (assuming the baby doesn’t come before that).

Moving forward, please send new inquiries to Matt Smith ( Matt will also be handling parent communication this summer.

Although I will not be on staff this summer, Mark will be reprising his role as Big Kid, so I hope to make appearances for hugs and hellos. Thank you.

With love,


* Editor's note: Mark is pictured above, in the righthand background. The photo was taken the summer Mark and Maddie met.