“You can leave camp, but camp never seems to leave you.”
How true this is for me! I am now a well-established member of AARP and still look back upon my summer camp days as some of the most important times in my life. Overnight camp changed me in ways I cannot begin to express. I went from being a child who clung to her mom’s skirt to a person who found herself in leadership roles – all because of camp.
Before I went to camp, I rarely made decisions for myself. Little choices such as what activity to sign up for during free period or deciding what or even how much to eat represented the start of independent thinking. I remember running to breakfast when it was so cold I could see my breath – no one told me to bring a jacket. It was OK to listen to morning announcements with goose bumps crawling up and down my skin. I promise you – the next time the breakfast bell rang, I grabbed my sweatshirt before heading out. I do remember deciding whether I really wanted to brush my teeth at night and knew no one would know if I did or did not. I decided it was the right thing to do even if no one checked on me. What an important step in growing up!
Maybe that is why I love what I do. I want to help every child who wants to go to summer camp to have the same opportunity for growth. I can state with certainty that camp helped me build confidence and independence in a safe and supportive environment.