When I was 11 years old I was camping in my backyard when I decided I wanted to go to a summer camp. After some research, I found Camp Ocean Pines and little did I know that I was in a for a life changing experience that would shape me into the person I am today.
My first few summers as a camper were some of the best weeks of my life. To this day I still remember my first night sleeping in the Galileo Cabin. I was in a place where I could make new friends, unplug from technology and explore myself in a fun and inclusive environment. The independence I gained while at camp was insurmountable to what I had gotten anywhere else. This new-found confidence didn’t stay at camp; it came home with me and drove me to get out of my comfort zone by trying new activities and pursing international travel.
As my time as a camper came to an end, I continued as a junior counselor. The new experience at Camp Ocean Pines allowed me to develop responsibility and leadership. I learned about what goes into making a camper’s experience and how I played a crucial role in making that happen. The skills I developed during the teen leadership program allowed me to tackle new trails that came with my transition to college like a new lifestyle, city and school.
Over the last two summers I have had the privileged of being a counselor at Camp Ocean Pines. This role was without a doubt, the hardest, but also the most rewarding position. I made it my mission to make sure my campers left at the end of the week loving camp as much as I used to when I was a camper. As a counselor, I developed hard-work and even more confidence in my abilities as a young adult.
Every week I would learn something new from my campers. For example, when a campers first-choice activity was full I would take the chance to let them know about the opportunity to try new things and how what seems like a negative situation can be turned into a positive. It was moments like this that I quickly realized that these lessons I was teaching my campers could be used myself in real-life situations. In the process of applying for jobs and internships, you don’t always get your first pick and I’ve learned it’s important to make the most of what is in front of you.
My experiences at Camp Ocean Pines has pushed me in ways I had never though imaginable.The skills and confidence I have gained at camp have always helped me be the person I want to be. Today I am facing different challenges such as juggling school and work and considering graduate school and I know my time at camp will continue to see me through many more challenges to come.
Over the past seven summers at Camp Ocean Pines I’ve had the privilege of not only watching the camp and the campers grow, but myself as well. Aside from the life-long friendships and amazing memories, after every experience at Camp Ocean Pines I left a more independent and confident person.
Former Camper and Counselor
Elizabeth Thompson a.k.a. ‘Laces’