The first thing that shaped my experience was how accepting my camp friends were/are. I started attending sleepaway camp at a relatively late age, but you would never know it from how easily my bunkmates and the rest of my age group included me. I am so lucky to have such a special group of camp friends.
The second, and perhaps now most important, thing that shaped my camp experience is the group of campers I’ve worked with for the last nine summers. When I was 16 and an LIT (Leader in Training), I was assigned a bunk of 8-year-olds to work with. I stayed with those campers when I became a counselor the next year and was able to spend every summer with them until they became LITs themselves this past summer. It’s been so special to get to grow alongside these campers – they’ve grown from 8-year-old lower campers to 16 year old LITs and soon-to-be counselors while I started as an LIT and then junior counselor and was lucky enough to be their head counselor this year and run their LIT program.
The third thing that has shaped my camp experience has been the structure of leadership at Camp Taconic. I have long felt supported as I moved through the ranks as a camper, then an LIT, counselor, group head, and now head counselor – I hope that I’ve been able to give back that level of support to those starting their own journey at camp as both campers and staff.
I hope that SCOPE campers experience the ability to try new things that they would not otherwise experience in their daily lives – whether it be trying new activities, experiencing new environments, meeting new people, or even trying new foods.
FREEDOM TO BE KIDS
I also hope that SCOPE campers are able to experience the freedom to play and just be kids. There can be a lot of stress in daily life during the school year, and so I hope that SCOPE campers can immerse themselves in an environment in which their biggest stresses are picking which activities to try and how to have as much fun as possible.
I hope that SCOPE campers also experience that special sort of moment that only happens at camp in which nothing especially remarkable happens and yet everyone is laughing hysterically, lying on each other’s beds and simply just enjoying being together in the magic environment that is camp.
Much of my camp experience has involved working with the same group of campers from the ages of 8 to 16, and it’s been so special to watch them mature from young children to complex teenagers. I have been fortunate enough to be able to closely observe how much camp positively impacts each camper’s life. I have seen the ways my campers relax and are able to truly be themselves the moment the step off the bus on the first day. It is because of these experiences that I am inspired to help as many children as possible experience the magic of camp so that they too have a place to learn, grow, and become the best versions of themselves possible.