Dreams are funny because sometimes you have a clear vision of what you want, and sometimes you’re like me and you change your major seven times in college. I’ve always been a jack of all trades, and I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduating from the University of Georgia. I thought about becoming a biologist, a teacher, or even opening a pizza restaurant! All that I knew is that I wanted to do something that made a difference.
Two months after I graduated college, a funny old friend by the name of Corey (Shaggy), showed up on my doorstep. I had done some conservation research with Corey in Costa Rica, but I hadn’t seen him in years. It turns out that he started dating a girl in Costa Rica and she moved to Georgia one block from my house! When Shaggy found out that I lived close, he came running over to my house. Corey told me about his wild adventures in Costa Rica, and he mentioned one place in particular that changed his life forever. It wasn’t the vast rain forests or the volcanoes that he was passionate about, it was this little summer camp in California. He told me I had to go work at Camp Ocean Pines. That they were doing something there that wasn’t being done anywhere else. He said that this camp was having a huge impact on kids lives and I had to go work there. So I did.
I have worked many jobs in my life, most of which I liked. This job was different. I was in love. On the first day of the first session of camp, I knew that this was the place for me. It wasn’t that I got to go kayaking, swing on giant swings or sing silly songs at campfire (I LOVE THESE THINGS!) It was that I was a part of something great! I was making an impact on kids' lives and I loved it. I still remember the first time a camper came to me crying for help. He was homesick and had never been away from home. I told him that I get homesick too and that’s okay! The whole cabin befriended him and 5 years later, that camper is now a Junior Counselor and wants to be a counselor one day! Every summer I get the opportunity to help kids overcome their fears, learn how to make friends and explore new things. I could write a book of all the kids' names who have been impacted by this camp and I can’t wait to add to that list in the upcoming summers.
I am so lucky to have been able to come back to camp every year. I met my best friends at camp. Even to this day, my best friends are the people that I met that first summer. Kat (Coral) and Doc (Scott) have become the two most important relationships in my life outside of my family.
I am forever grateful to Scott, Kat, Chris and all of the staff at Camp Ocean Pines for believing in me as a person and employee. This camp has taught me so much and I am honored to take over the role as Summer Camp Director. I hope this camp can have an impact on campers' lives the same way it has had on my life.
Caleb “Racecar Driver” Albert