Camp Blue Ridge has changed physically over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed are the bonds of friendship that are created at camp. Another thing that hasn’t changed are the traditions that we share like the singing in the mess hall. Some traditions trace back to the founding of the camp and some are newer than others and it feels good to know I have helped to establish those.
Blue Ridge has a special connection for me. I have many friends that went to different camps and they all recognize how unique the relationships I have with my friends from camp are – this connection is really interesting and unique. Everybody becomes sisters, it doesn’t matter who you are, everybody just becomes one. When you live with someone in a bunk for seven weeks, you let your guard down. You get to know someone in a way that you don’t get to know in any other type of environment. You become like family and just like any other family you go through the good and the bad – they are your family for your entire life and that’s what your camp friends are.
My counselors have helped shape me into who I am and my campers have made me a better counselor. As a camper, it’s important to branch out beyond your bunk and be friends with everyone in your group. The counselors I’ve had influenced my camping experience and helped me learn what the true meaning of camp is and all the values that comes with it. As a counselor, I found that meeting each person was as easy as welcoming them with open arms. While being a counselor at Blue Ridge, you truly realize they true meaning of what a camp family is when you pass on the lessons you have learned from your past counselors to your own campers.
Living closely among people who, at first, are strangers and then life-long friends, takes cooperation from all.
Although you are never really alone at camp, you are given the chance to make choices for yourself. This helps a young person develop confidence and self-esteem – two qualities I think are critical for success in the world today.
You quickly discover that you must all work together to solve problems, get along and have fun. You find that there is no one right way to do something and that ‘different’ doesn’t mean ‘wrong’ – it’s simply a new perspective you may not have previously considered.
Camp is a place to try out new things, and to take risks in a safe, caring environment. It is a place to try new foods, new sports, new activities and explore friendships with others whom you would not otherwise become acquainted. These are the types of friendships that last a lifetime.
Before going to Camp Blue Ridge, I was very dependent on my family to make decisions for me and to take care of my basic needs. After going to camp, I was able to make decisions and choices for myself; I became more self-sufficient in my everyday life.
Confidence was an important factor I learned at camp. While growing up at camp and learning to step outside of my comfort zone, I took risks and tried many new things. When making new friendships at camp, I met different people from different walks on life whether it was counselors who worked on girl’s side or boy’s side. It gave me the chance to branch out and learn about people’s values.