The first time I came to Camp, I was eight years old and a mini camper in Goupil. I remember being so nervous about camp. But my first unit leader, Roxy, helped me to realize that Camp is a pretty fantastic place. After only three days, she taught me that nature is exciting, that my voice was important, that I was stronger than I knew, and more than anything, that, despite how shy and insecure I was, it was okay to be myself.
When I applied to be on Camp’s staff, I remember spending weeks running home from school and opening the mailbox every day for two weeks, waiting for The Letter. When I finally got that letter in the mail saying I was going to be a Camp Ondessonk counselor, I’m pretty sure I did a little dance at the end of my driveway.
Now, as a Camp O staff member, I could teach my campers the same things Roxy taught me. Along the way, I could learn to be a part of a team, to be responsible for the precious campers entrusted to me, and to perform well in a job that is hard and sweaty and fun.
I was blessed to have spent most of this past summer unit leading mini campers. Every day was an adventure filled with muddy shoes, silly jokes, and lots of laughter. When challenges arose, I would remember what my counselors and unit leaders taught me. I tried to teach me campers those same values of compassion and hard work. And my campers never failed to teach me in return. (You can learn a lot from eight and ten year olds!) And during the hottest, most exhausting moments, they reminded me that life has a simplicity and beauty that we often overlook.
I can’t imagine spending my summers in any place but the one I grew to call home so many years ago. My campers are a huge part of why I love being a Camp O counselor, and I hope I have helped make camp as beautiful and worthwhile for them as they have for me. I hope that when they return, they feel at home.
I love being a Camp O counselor, and I love my campers!
I don’t know how to put into words how grateful I am for anyone and everyone who has given any piece of themselves to camp. You are the reason this place has a heart and soul that so warmly embraces each person who walks across the Covered Bridge. You are the reason the lives of hundreds of staff and thousands of campers continue to be changed each year. You are the reason I continue to be inspired me to be the best counselor I can be. You are wonderful.
Thank you for all that you have done and all you will continue to do. From myself, and from everyone at Camp Ondessonk, we love you!