Camp…the word has special meaning to anyone who has gone to camp…
I was a Girl Scout that never went to camp as a kid. I was young for my grade with a late birthday, and was always a shy, self conscious, late bloomer among my peers. I wanted to work at a camp the summer after graduation, like all of my friends, but was only 17 at time so instead, worked at the ice cream shop at the mall.
After my first year in college, I finally got my camp experience as a counselor at YMCA Camp Surf. It was the first time I felt like I had found the ultimate job, I found what I was meant to be doing. The job had perks for sure: learning to surf and how to teach it, living in cabins with screen walls and hearing the ocean pounding away each night, and wearing flip flops all day long as the mandatory footwear in a sandy environment.
But it wasn’t the perks that drew me in. It was at camp that I had found a place where I could truly be myself. I could explore and try new things without pressures that I’d experienced in all other areas of life. I learned how to use my voice among my peers. I became an expert at “repeat after me” songs. I was caring for kids each week and seeing amazing growth in them. It was the first place where I really learned how to appreciate myself and become comfortable in my own skin. I had been a closeted extrovert, not knowing or having the confidence to know how to express myself. That all changed at camp!
At camp, I realized that I was not on the right career path and that making the big bucks does not equal happiness. I found that happiness could happen anywhere, it just depended on your state of mind. I was able to blossom into the person I am today. My favorite people and memories involve camp songs, drives up to the ropes course, and sitting on the old camp stage, waiting for campers or weekend groups (usually Girl Scouts!) to arrive.
Camp is about opportunity. The opportunity for a girl to achieve something for the first time. The opportunity to make connections with “camp friends” who will be her friends for life. I am excited to work with an organization that creates opportunities for all girls to get to camp, to experience the outdoors, and have a chance of feeling how I feel when I am at camp!
Tomahawk Ranch Camp made this video, “because of camp girls will…” (check it out!)