"I had just finished my degree and wanted something big, exciting and fun to do. Camp was entirely different to what I expected. I had dreamed about the entrance way and got that semi-correct but I did not expect to be welcomed so much that I have found a new family!
I went to a Christian Camp and it actually profoundly changed my life - and perhaps not in the way you might think.
I did 3 years ('06-'08) becoming more and more senior each year. Prior to going I had never left Europe. I had gone to university to become a nurse and JUST been told I had not got a job. I had also been told that one of my patients might die whilst I was gone. I had been going to a very happy clappy church. I had had only 1 serious relationship.
I found a CA postcard on the floor and I decided to apply. I got an offer for a learning disabilities camp, or a christian camp and I chose the latter.
I was nervous about going but was warmly welcomed immediately and straight away my sense of humour was appreciated, the banter began (and has never stopped) and I got a camp nickname - an honour that I'm told most people don't get until the end of the summer. "Beaker" was born.
Beaker had an incredible time! I fell deeply in love with a girl (who annoyingly fell in love with me too, but had a boyfriend (scandal!)). I learnt new skills. I bonded with people. I become confident. I was able to be the camp nurse for some of the time, I got a different job, (from 4000 miles away!) and got an email to say that my dying patient had turned a corner and made a great recovery! I was allowed "behind the scenes" and welcomed into the fold and in the second year, was training Americans as to how to be new camp counsellors. But most importantly for my life I learnt that I could be a dedicated Christian with a firm faith in God and it didn't have to be happy clappy or judgmental. I visited in the winter to see my new friends. I spoke at CA talks to encourage others to go. This was 10 years ago. The camp sadly no longer exists. It ran out of funding and couldn't continue, whether I could go again or not.
I got married some years later and the camp chef was my best man. I am Godfather to his first born. My first love (from camp) and my wife (from UK) are good friends. I now visit Massachusetts every couple of years and don't bat an eyelid at hopping on the plane and going there. I got to know these people really well and got to love America too. It is a home away from home and I feel so happy there. About 6 or 7 of "these people" are no longer my friends, they have become my family - we go on holidays together, we laugh and cry together and we love each other.
Because of this experience "I have been changed for good" (Wicked)."See More Alumni