As a camper, it was my bunkmates. Those girls shaped each of my summers, taught me what a strong friendship should look like, and that keeping in touch takes work (especially when all we had was AIM) but true friendship can surpass the fate of time. To this day, I feel closest to my four camp friends, all of whom are very different in personality, career, and life stages. The core of our friendship though was built on the summers of a completely unfiltered life, being in an unplugged environment was incredibly beneficial to building real friendships; we loved each other for who we were, not who social media wanted us to be. In our 19 years, I want to say we’ve been through it all together, but that’s not true… We’ve sure been through A LOT as a group but we still have a long ways to go, and knowing we’ll always have each other makes life just a little bit easier to manage.
COMING FULL CIRCLE
As a counselor, it was my campers – they are what made my camp experience come full circle. There’s something special about every group of campers, but there’s nothing like your first set of campers. Watching my campers embark on the journey that so profoundly shaped me was incredible. Seeing their friendships evolve over the years, being a mentor, and watching them gain independence, confidence, and start to navigate life was the most rewarding. Giving back the love I once felt, (and still feel) and watching them turn into the best versions of themselves, day after day, year after year showed me that the impact camp has will last far beyond a lifetime.
As a camper, counselor, and alum – it’s the directors and leadership team. Time and time again they deliver an experience that no matter what age you are, you’re impacted just the same. The vision that they have for creating an experience that can shape you at age 8, 18, and 28 never ceases to amaze me. Everything they do is based on the values and mission of the camp, and that’s why each time the experience feels like it lasts more than just a summer.
- The ability to gain skills that they can take with them after the summer to help them be the best version of themselves, always.
- Continuous support from mentors, it only takes one counselor to change your entire camp experience for the better.
Every person deserves to find a place where they can learn, love, lead, and grow all in one day. At camp you can feel all the emotions in 24 hours, but knowing you’ll always be supported from one person in your camp community is comforting. Everyone deserves to feel support from those around them and from their community, no matter what. From my camp experience it only took 1 person, 1 summer, 1 counselor, and 1 camper to impact me in such a deep way. My hope is that every child gets to experience camp so they too can have that 1 experience to hold on to and look back on so highly.