For Thanksgiving, we posted that we were thankful for our wonderful summer staff. For our final post of the year, we'd like to focus on the obvious: we're quite thankful for all our campers too.
Every camper who spends a week at 4-H Camp owns a piece of our camp community, and it is their influence that makes Camp the wonderful place it is, more than the individual influence of any counselor, senior staff member, or director.
Today, we'd like to illustrate that point in two ways, with some campers who manage to keep their Camp Spirit going strong not just in the summer, but the whole live-long year:
Exhibit Number #1: A Holiday Card
We've sent holiday cards to our campers for years, and occasionally, we get one back in return, which is always a nice treat. However, never before had we recieved a holiday card from an entire summer camp cabin.
Not until Cabin #11, Session 5, Summer 2017 sent us some mail a few days ago:
Exhibit Number #2: A College Essay
One of the real joys that comes from hanging out at Camp for a long time is to see our youngest campers become our middle-age campers become our oldest campers become our CITs become our counselors, only to go on and influence a new generation of youngest campers and do it all over again.
Our long time camper/camp friend Miranda (who is no stranger to the Camp Blog) recounts this very journey in her college application essay, which she was generous enough to share with us.
|Miranda during her Junior Counselor session.|
|Miranda making coffee, a necessity to a Junior Counselor session.|
|Miranda at the end of that Junior Counselor session.|
Throughout life I believe every person, whether young or old, has an experience that changes their life. For me, this experience came the summer of 2009 when I got to spend my first week at Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp. I had never spent a week without my family before, but after my first afternoon at camp, I knew it was a place that would change my life.
To those who have never been to a summer camp before, it is very difficult to try and sum up what exactly happens during a week in the woods. My camp director always explains camp as this - an entire summers worth of activities in six short days; in the end, campers explain it as how many summers they have spent at camp, not how many weeks. Summer camp changes everyone. In a single week as a camper, I have made some of the best friends I have ever met in my life, and lived some of the best memories.
As the saying goes, all great things must come to an end, and for me, my camper days at LG Cook 4-H Camp did come to an end. In 2016, I graduated from summer camp and could no longer attend as a camper. This was heartbreaking for me because it had been such a huge part of my childhood. But LG Cook has a junior counselor program, and this past summer I got to be a “JC” for two weeks. I lived with the youngest girls in camp, helped teach classes, held rec time activities, managed campfires and even cleaned dishes. I got to experience life as a counselor, looking after children and running off little sleep. Those two sleep-deprived weeks were the best of my summers at camp so far. As a little girl I always dreamed of being a counselor and always looked up to them. This summer, I got to be the role model for hundreds of little kids who love camp as much as I do.
I fully believe in the statement that it is not where you are, but who you are with that make moments memorable. Every person who either attends or works at LG Cook summer camp makes it as amazing as it is. No matter where anyone comes from, everyone has a place at camp. You get the chance to connect with people you never thought you would, and you can do activities you might never have even thought of. Not many times in your life will you witness a 16-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl play four square together and make friendship bracelets for each other, but camp encourages and creates these friendships.
Summer camp has shaped me into the person I am today. I know that if I had not met certain counselors at camp, I would not be the same girl applying to college. Camp showed me how to be kind to all those around you, to always throw my whole heart into any activity, and that screaming songs at the top of your lungs and dancing around like a crazy person will brighten anyone's mood. I have spent eight summers at summer camp, and I have never regretted a second of it. In the coming years, I will be on staff with the same campers who I grew up with, and I know my journey at camp has just begun.
Thanks to Cabin #11, thanks to Miranda, and thanks to ALL OF OUR CAMPERS for a stellar year. 2017 was a banner season for L.G. Cook 4-H Camp, and we can't wait to see what we can all create together next year.
Warm Winter Wishes, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. We hope you enjoy time with your family, and remember your Camp Family is thinking of you too.
(And of course, here's one final reminder to register for Summer Camp 2018 during Polar Bear Registration!)