Hayley’s Story


During my 8 years at camp I met many people from different places and backgrounds. Through these people, I learned about different communities, cultures and even countries. Some of the people I met at camp became friends I will now have for a lifetime. While our backgrounds may be different, our experiences and growth together at camp will always be our common bond.


When I started camp at the age of 8 I had multiple life-threatening food allergies. Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree-Nuts and other foods were like poison to me. So, while other first-time campers were preparing to leave home for the first time, I also had to think about managing my food allergies and keeping myself safe while away from home. This wasn’t easy and I was very nervous.

Growing up, my parents had always helped me manage my food and medications. Not only did I have to remember to carry my Epipen and Benadryl with me every day at camp in case of a reaction, but I also had to explain to others why my “special” meals were prepared separately; why I couldn’t eat the same camp food that everyone else was eating. While I had to learn to take responsibility for my food allergies, it really helped to know that Timber Lake Camp, and camp owners Mindy and Jay Jacobs, worked hard to create a safe environment for me. Food allergy procedures were put in place and counselors were trained. I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to go to sleep-away camp without Mindy and Jay’s support and help!

This experience taught me to take responsibility for my medical needs at a young age. I also learned to accept that I was different, and that it was okay to be different. Although I was the only child in my division (and maybe even the camp at that time) with multiple, life-threatening food allergies, although I carried medication, and although I couldn’t eat the same food my friends were eating, my friends were still my friends and accepted me. I learned to accept myself and my situation. This also taught me to be accepting of others and their differences.


When I started camp, I was a little shy. But, living with others for 8 weeks at Timber Lake helped me become more confident. Living in a bunk with other girls, and interacting with different campers during daytime and evening activities, allowed me develop and become more comfortable socially.


Summer camp allows you to develop as an individual, interact with others, develop friendships and grow up in a place away from home. I hope that SCOPE campers are able to experience all of these things! I want SCOPE campers to know that they have the opportunity to enjoy their summers and interests no matter where there are from.


I love the little things about camp: playing sports, singing songs, color war, arts & crafts, downtime in the bunk, canteen, camp trips, camp reunions and staying in touch off-season!


Older campers and counselors; my dad, uncle and aunt; and Mindy & Jay were role models for me. During my years at camp, I became a role model for my younger cousins and friends, and younger campers. I liked having others to look up to, and I was happy to have younger campers look up to me.


Camp is my happy place and one of my favorite things. I would like everyone to have an enjoyable summer and the special experience I had… especially those who cannot afford it. Camp is a life-changing experience.

Along with her father Jay, Hayley is a long-time and devoted SCOPE supporter. Read Jay’s story >