My camp experience truly encompasses why I consider summer camp my second home. Most campers come off the bus their first summer conflicted, not sure if they’re feeling homesick and nervous or excited and eager. After watching my four cousins grow up at camp, I couldn’t wait to go myself. I was the energetic 7-year-old always the first to every activity. Those 7 weeks would help shape who I am today, encouraging me to come back as long as I could.
Over the next 9 years I had the privilege to grow up with my best friends, who to this day I consider my brothers and sisters. The traditions and opportunities offered at camp allows you to create memories and connections that you will keep for the rest of your life. As I entered high school, I became increasingly/more and more aware of this incredible journey I am fortunate enough to enjoy. Fortunately, the Camp Towanda directors Mitch and Stephanie Reiter introduced me to SCOPE, a way for me to give back to the community the best way I knew, through the summer camp experience.
My first encounter with SCOPE was in the winter of 2015 when I received an email from my camp directors about some upcoming events, one which talked about the opportunity to join SCOPE’s Junior Leadership Council. After searching SCOPE online, I quickly identified with their mission and aspired to become involved. Summer camp is the greatest place on Earth because when you’re there everything around you is isn’t important; you’re oblivious to the outside world by just living and enjoying the moment. Kids from underserved communities can benefit from the same camp experience by being able to enjoy what’s in front of them. If there is a way for my actions to help send underprivileged children to summer camp, I want to help. The best way to contribute to your community is to be passionate about why and how you’re giving; after attending the first SCOPE meeting, I knew that I could feel this way.
After building my connection with SCOPE by selling raffle tickets at the annual dinner and brainstorming fundraising ideas at our regional gatherings, I decided to bring my passion for SCOPE to my school. I started a club at Trevor Day School designed to fundraise and create awareness for the goals and mission of SCOPE. With the help of over 20 members, we raised over $650 last year through various events and fundraisers. The cookie dough fundraiser was the most successful; we raised over $300 by selling tubs of different flavors of cookie dough throughout the school. I realized throughout this process that sending kids to camp is much harder than I previously thought and this helps me better understand how fortunate I am.
Following the cookie dough fundraiser, we had the privilege of having the SCOPE staff visit one of our club meetings to talk to our members more about SCOPE and how to more actively get involved. We finished the meeting by donating the funds we raised throughout the year and taking pictures to share on social media. The club means a great deal to me because it allows me to be active in my community and share something I am passionate about. This year, the club hopes to surpass last year’s total raised and add new members, while growing interest for club members to continue leading and supporting SCOPE once I graduate.
My dedication for SCOPE will continue to grow as the years go on, but the impression that SCOPE has left on me has already left an imprint that will continue to shape who I am and how I can better help my community for the rest of my life.
– Evan Seiden, Trevor Day School SCOPE Club President & SCOPE Junior Leader
Your summer is truly only as great as those you surround yourself with. Camp Towanda has and continues to recruit the most caring people from around the world to help make our summers amazing. Whether it be the easygoing counselors, or the kitchen staff who work tirelessly to put together Friday night BBQs, or the kids I have spent 10 summers with, Camp Towanda is filled with great people, those who to this day I consider my best friends.
Camp is built around having fun, and the activities we engage in allow fun to happen. Camp classics such as ghost and gaga are only a few examples of where I have bonded the most with my friends over the years. Competition against each other during Olympics or against other camps as a team help us create memories for life.
What makes each camp so special? The traditions. Camp Towanda’s Friday Night Services, playing “American Pie” at lunch, and taps before bed are the few that come to mind. These moments work their way into our everyday home and summer lives and continue to shape us as we get older. Traditions are everywhere in camp, many which we don’t notice and many we don’t know exist. The longer we spend at camp, the more we become exposed to our Towanda history, and the closer we feel connected to our camp and peers.
AMAZING PEOPLE, AMAZING ACTIVITIES, BECOMING PART OF AMAZING TRADITIONS
See above 🙂
Camp has positively shaped the values I possess as a young adult. As a child who spent the majority of my summers at camp, I now understand the social, emotional, and physical growth it provided me, while helping me develop my individual interests and potential. The best way to contribute to your community is to be passionate about why and how you’re giving, and after becoming a SCOPE Junior Leader, I knew I could feel this way. Along with my friend Jenna, I created the first SCOPE School Club to help other kids enjoy the amazing experience of summer camp.