When I was 8 years old, I was riding in the car with my mom and brother. She was telling him about this really cool camp she had read about online. As I listened, I became increasingly more fascinated with this camp, so I asked if I could go too. I had always been interested in archery, and throwing tomahawks sounded pretty cool too. That week was so much better than I ever could have imagined. I met so many new friends and tried so many things that I never thought I'd do. It's difficult to explain how time seems to pass so slowly, but too fast at the same time. The days were so busy and exciting, they seemed to last a week on their own, but then the session was over way too soon, and the next thing you know, it's time to go home.
I knew immediately that I just had to go back. For about 6 years, I continued to go every summer, and I formed many friendships that lasted for years after camp. I learned how to make bracelets and spin poi, as well as how to make friends and meet people. I continued going until my 6th year when I just got too busy with high school. The truth is, I felt as if I never really left. Camp truly felt like another home, and the lessons I learned and the confidence and joy I gained stayed with me in my daily life. Ever since I started coming to camp, I felt as if I was continuing to grow as a person, and sometimes I could even share that growth and happiness with the others around me.
Now that I'm 16, I m finally able to return to camp, but not as a camper. This year I came as a CIT or a Counselor in Training. I bunked with an awesome counselor (Birdie) and met some amazing girls in my cabin. As the week progressed, I was given more responsibility in the cabin and more behind-the-scenes work around the camp. I have learned so much about being an effective leader and a good worker, and I got to experience camp in a completely different way. I spent less time in the activities and more time helping out around the camp and working on smaller tasks that I didn't even realize needed to be done.
There's something satisfying and rewarding about finishing all these tasks and seeing the results of your labor just hours later. It amazed me how much work was needed to run the camp that I never knew about as a camper. The best part of the entire experience was getting to see the bright smiles on the campers faces when they got their tie-dye or hearing the laughter as they got coated in the slim that we made earlier. I will always remember the people I met and the many things that I learned from my time at camp.
Former camper, now CIT
Alyssa Foley a.k.a ‘Bugsy’