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Katie - Humans of Camp America (CA Interviewer)

05.10.16

The emotions you feel at the end of something so amazing are something you wouldn’t imagine feeling so strongly eight or nine weeks prior. You see the camper who wouldn’t go to sleep unless every bug was out of her tent, now she’s happy to sleep with a spider or two crawling across the floor, the first time camper who was so homesick when she arrived is now sobbing because she doesn’t want to leave.

During my time at camp I was involved in some unforgettable experiences, I was a titan, I was the sorting hat at our Harry Potter meal, I was Miss America, I was Luke Skywalker, I was a fairy, I was a Greek God, I was part of the British Navy, but more importantly I was a role model.

I was one of the High Ropes Specialist’s at a Girl Scout Camp in Massachusetts in the summer of 2014 and 2015. Being a specialist on a camp was fantastic; one reason why I loved it so much is because I got to see every child on camp. Most campers adore high ropes, they get to come to camp and be adventurous, trying new things they would never be able to do at home. Not only was I helping campers face their own fear of heights but I was increasing my own confidence and working out of my comfort zone too.

At first it was daunting, I was clipping children in on the zipline, belaying them, checking their harnesses, it didn’t take long to feel confident and proud of the responsibilities I had. It helped having great supervisors with loads of experience who I learnt so much from. One great thing about the ropes course is that it is ‘Challenge by Choice’ it’s a safe, facilitated area where campers aren’t forced into anything, and they can choose their own level of challenge. It was so positive to me to see young campers cheering on their friends who were a little nervous, and for cheering them on even more if they decided that going all the way to the top of an element and jumping wasn’t for them. Campers come to camp and learn so much about themselves, their limits, and accepting other peoples limits too.

I’ll let you in on a secret… Counsellors go to camp and learn exactly the same thing, you are able to grow so much as a person, living in such a small proximity with people who you’ve only just met, you learn invaluable skills such as teamwork, problem solving, and leadership (or knowing when to take a back seat in some cases). Not only are you a role model but you find role models in the staff a little older than yourself who run the entire camp! Being in the outdoors was something else I loved, seeing the stars so clearly, jumping into the warm lake, seeing wildlife from turkeys to turtles.

It’s a tradition at many Girl Scout Camps to have a camp name, something you go by to both staff and campers mine was Flounder (I love the Little Mermaid), you could spot us a mile off in Walmart calling ‘Hey Sponge…’ without batting an eyelid. My family and friends have become accustomed to hearing stories about time off spent with ‘Hollywood’ or ‘Souzie Jacuzzi’, it’s part of what makes camp camp! The staff you were introduced to ten weeks ago are no longer strangers with funny names, but some of your best friends, people who share the same passions and interests as you!

My advice to you if you’re considering going to a summer camp is ‘Stop thinking about it, just apply. Go on, do it! NOW!’

Katie - Camp Wind in the Pines (2014-2015)