I’m very excited to introduce you to my guest blogger for the day, Camp Counselor Maureen, a.k.a. one of my sisters. As I mentioned in the Camp Wanderlust introduction, Maureen and I both have cherished our camp experiences and so I asked if she’d like to share a bit from her own point of view. So without further ado…
A skit about hugging, Spic ‘n Span (AKA the cleanest cabin patrol), an off-course canoe trip, and more camp songs than I can count or remember: these are some of my prominent memories of childhood camp. They bring me comfort, to the point that I somehow keep ending up back at camp.
Five years of camp as a child just wasn’t enough for me. After two intense years as a teacher in urban Chicago, I sought out a nature-filled job at a family camp in California. I found wonderful friends at my childhood camp. I found Ian, my best friend and now husband, that summer while working at the family camp. Nine years later campfires are still our idea of a romantic date.
A year after I met Ian I landed a job as a coordinator of a summer academic program (basically a camp) for gifted elementary students. Over five years of planning fun classes, hiring great staff and creating a stimulating environment for young students brought me a lot of joy, with a few headaches mixed in. I even had the opportunity to share some of my favorite childhood camp songs with the students.
Now I’m sending our two and a half year old son to camp for the first time. It’s only four hours a week, split between two days, but it’s still a big deal to me.
Hopefully he’ll experience some of the fun that I experienced at camp. Hopefully he’ll learn a song or two that he can teach me.
I’ve realized that the thing about camp is it’s a place where I am the me I want to be. Whether learning to canoe, taking the lead as a childcare coordinator or falling off a mountain bike on a treacherous trail, I’ve found my strengths and discovered my weaknesses while at camp. As a kid at camp, I canoed, sailed, participated in awesome mud fights, made wonderful friends and faced my fears as I tackled the high ropes course. I became myself.
After those two years of intense teaching, escaping to the family camp was just what I needed. I laughed a lot, dressed up in silly costumes for theme nights, and relaxed in the beautiful surroundings. I found myself again with the help of Ian; he reminded me of who I am and who I want to be.
If I ever open a camp it will have to be called Camp Comfort. It will be a place of discovery, hope and peace. Nature will abound and cheesy songs will be a big part of the tradition. Canoes, arts and crafts, and hikes will take center stage, and a campfire will end each day. It will be a place that calls you back again and again and again.
Thanks again to my lovely sister. And thanks to you for reading! Back soon with more camp and other summer fun.