Sewie Spotlight On: Heather Cedrone Emmy Niinimaki

Apr 1 2015
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Bubbles. Rubber chickens. Mini brooms. Faux french fries made out of sponges. Pinwheels.

Taken out of context, you might think this is a description of the local joke shop’s storefront window. At Camp Sewataro, however, it’s simply an indication you’ve reached the Ponca tent. Step inside and meet Heather Cedrone, Chief Magician and Young Head Tribe Leader Extraordinaire.

Ponca tent

“Heather has an absolutely contagious spirit,” says former Tribe Assistant Josh Bayer. “Her unique personality is full of charisma and excitement and energy; the only true way to describe Heather is: ‘Heather’.”

Heather Cedrone’s Sewataro career began in the summer of 2000. “The first moment I drove up the driveway for my interview, I knew in my heart this I where I needed to be,” she says. Her unique and creative teaching style is so natural (and seemingly effortless), yet at the same time there is a method to Heather’s magic. (Case in point: bubbles are not just for fun; they also create a familiar, welcoming and enticing effect for young campers heading to their tents first thing in the morning, while pinwheels make the tent itself look spiffy…*and* recognizable.)
Move over, Mary Poppins!

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Clearly, Heather has found her calling. “[Working with young children] is a love that comes from inside,” she says. “When I was small I began replaying a daydream of becoming a teacher – my dolls and stuffed animals were my students! My earliest and most memorable jobs were babysitting at the age of twelve and volunteering in the Children’s Room at the Museum of Science when I was fifteen.”

After college Heather began nannying for a family whose child attended a preschool situated on a working farm in Brookline (The Apple Orchard School). It was here that Heather’s dream was about to be realized. “I have been a ‘hands-on’ learner for as long as I can remember, and I fell in love with their teaching philosophy, which encourages children’s natural sense of curiosity and exploration.”

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Eventually, Heather left nannying and began working full-time at The Apple Orchard School (coincidentally, the same year she was hired at Camp Sewataro). She earned both a B.A.and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education (with a Reading specialty), and today is Lead Teacher at The Apple Orchard School. Heather feels “blessed” that her jobs at school and at camp complement each other so perfectly. “I know it sounds really clichéd, but Camp Sewataro is not just a job for me – it’s my summer home away from home.”

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At her “summer home” Heather is a wonderful and welcoming “host” to all. “She’s just so much fun, and so eager to make sure everyone is having a good time,” says Josh Bayer. In addition, Heather serves as a wonderful role model for younger staff members. “She took me under her wing when I was a first year counselor, and gave me as many leadership opportunities as she could. I’ve pretty much learned from the best by observing her love and compassion for the kids…and I became who I am today because of it,” says former Tribe Assistant (and current
Waterfront Superhero) CJ Khoshabjian.

White Witch

Heather says she is “young at heart,” and (not surprisingly) cites Friday Special Events as her favorite camp tradition. “I’m always giggling and having a blast right along with the kids,” she says. And as anyone present for Heather’s dramatic (and shocking!) turn as the White Witch in 2011’s “Narnia”-themed Friday Special can attest – Heather really gets into Fridays!!

But perhaps it’s the purpose behind the fun and excitement that keeps Heather coming back year after year. “Camp Sewataro offers amazing experiences that encourage each camper to shine while building meaningful friendships…it is an incredible life experience that I want my own children to experience.”

At the end of each camp season, I cautiously ask Heather about her plans for the following summer. Will she be back? Without hesitation she smiles, gives her trademark mischievous wink and says, “Of course I’m coming back…I’m a Lifer!” May it always be so. :)

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