It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that my time at Camp Ocean Pines is coming to an end. It has been an absolute pleasure to be working for such an amazing company and serving such amazing families. You are the reason I stayed here for so long and I will never forget the crazy campers I’ve gotten to know over the years.
Before I leave I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned while being here:
1.) Connections are everything.
It’s hard to come to camp and not make a best friend. I went through many ups and downs through the years and I wouldn’t have made it without my friends like Doc and Coral, by my side the whole way.
Life is nothing without relationships. The giant swing is not fun done alone. Singing crazy songs would just be weird without a friend. I worked at Camp because I really believe we are making a difference in the world. If the world was focused on making connections and building commonality, we would be a much more loving world and nation.
2.) Failing should be a good thing
I’ve made so many mistakes over the years at camp. My first year, I dropped my walkie talking in the ocean and slept with my friends pillow outside and ruined it. My second year, I backed the van into a tree. My third year, I used the wrong food coloring in our slime and stained the staff’s clothes. Long story short, I’ve made a lot of mistakes.
If Scott would have given up on me after my first year, I would have never grown into the semi-responsible director I am today. I have learned from a lot of mistakes during my time here and had I not tried and failed, I would not have grown. Failing is a good thing, if you are learning and growing from your mistakes. The worst thing you could do is not try.
3.) Don’t take life too seriously.
It may be hard to believe, but running a camp can be stressful. You are responsible for 600 kids over the summer and a lot of them have never been away from home before. The campers are nervous, the parents are nervous, and my job is to ensure everyone that everything is going to be okay.
As I go on through the day it can be hard sometimes, but it’s hard to stay overwhelmed when a camper runs up to you and gives you a hug out of nowhere. One time when I was really stressed about work, a camper came up to me and said, “Look what I can do RCD!”. She proceeded to blow a snot bubble out of her nose. I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it. Camp reminds me that life is fun and good. We all need a little snot bubble in our lives to remember that everything is going to be okay.
4.) Love others
The more I focus on me the less happy I am. Happiness truly comes from serving others. Whether it’s dealing with the 10th homesick child that day or just lending a listening ear to an upset counselor, I am rewarded in my job when I can help others.
Over the years, I’ve seen kids do extraordinary things just by being given a little support. Even this past year we had a camper who wouldn’t talk to anyone at all and hid in her sweatshirt. It wasn’t until staff and campers continually showed her love and support did she come out of her shell (or sweatshirt in this case). She then made a best friend and was continually smiling everyday.
If there is one thing that I can stress to anyone who is reading this is that all people(kids and adults) need more love and support in their life. The world can be critical, mean, and want to tear you down(For those that have a twitter account you know what I mean).
I have never been a parent, so I don’t know everything about kids, but I have served over 3,000 kids in my time as a camp director and a high school teacher. Here is what I’ve learned: Kids need more love.
As I go off into a world that can try and tear you down, I only hope that I’ve helped kids learn to build people up. I will be out and doing my own connecting, exploring, and growing and I hope to bring camp magic with me. Camp Ocean Pines is magical but how the magic is made is not a secret. Love people more and you will create that “camp magic” wherever you are. Thank you everyone for 6 magical years.