It feels like yesterday when I first arrived at Camp Ocean Pines when an open house was held for the camp. The camp wasn’t very big at the time, and they wanted to let people know about the great fun kids can have here. I remember going on a tour of the entire camp, and I was given a choice of what week I wanted to attend in the summer. Being the outgoing child I was, I didn’t sign up for one week, but for FOUR weeks! My mom told me that once we got back into the car to go home, I said “I want to be a counselor one day here!”
And now, nine years later, I am a Junior Counselor at this amazing camp. I have been a CIT (Counselor In Training) for the past two years, so this hasn’t been my first rodeo. I find that there is no real way to describe my experience without involving the camp’s three main goals: Connect, Explore, and Grow.
One reason why I have returned to Camp Ocean Pines for so many years is due to the many connections I have made with other campers and staff. There are a lot of kids that come from near and far, and they get the chance to meet others that they couldn’t meet anywhere else around the world. I’ve made many friends throughout the years, and we’ve managed to keep in touch after camp. The friends that campers make here at camp are never broken, and they can last a lifetime.
When campers come to a place where there are an abundance of activities to try out and secrets to uncover, it is impossible to resist exploring. Campers are given the freedom to choose whatever activities they would like to participate in. For example, a camper who loves target sports and relaxing can sign up to do Archery, Sling Shots, and Tomahawks, then relax at Hammock Village with fellow campers. These activities don’t only help campers explore the camp, but also explore themselves. It allows them to try activities they may have originally thought were boring, then realized that it was actually really fun. At Camp Ocean Pines, there are activities to please every single kind of camper.
The most important aspect of Camp Ocean Pines is to grow. When campers decide to return for multiple years, staff who also stay for multiple years get to watch them grown into the person that they are becoming. I can confirm this by looking back on myself when I was a camper. I used to be a really silly and crazy camper, with a side of mature-thinking. I had a sense that my maturity would become stronger throughout the years, and my silliness will simmer down slightly. My hard work on being mature has definitely paid off, and it allows me to work at one of my favorite places in the world.
Camp Ocean Pines is like a second home for me. I have learned many valuable lessons that I would have never learned anywhere else. I made special friends that will last forever, attended many fun activities, and watched friends and myself grow into the people we are today.