All Throughout middle school and high school my schedule stayed the same. School, club meetings, swim practice, homework, sleep. Yet the time had come to decide if I wanted to do that for the next four years or if I wanted to take what I have learned from it and try to apply those qualities elsewhere and grow even more from new experiences. Change. It’s something that can be frightening for some people but it was something I was desperately seeking by the time I was a senior in high school. For the first summer in years, it wasn’t going to be spent at swim practice. I needed a change of scenery, a change of life and a change of purpose. And becoming a counselor at Camp Carysbrook brought me exactly that.
Carysbrook has taught me so much about myself but also about others. Megan and Savannah both previously touched on how it feels to arrive at camp for your first time, and I too felt that as an 18-year-old first time counselor. I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone, didn’t know how to get around, and didn’t know really what to expect. I quickly learned that the group of women I was going to have by my side for the next two months were some of the most incredible people that I, still to this day, have ever met. We all come from different states, countries, backgrounds, etc. but at Carysbrook we are all one in the same. We come to camp because we love to see friendships blossom, goals achieved, and confidence gained. We sometimes get told by parents that we have changed their little girl’s life, but really they changed ours in more ways than they even think is possible.
Camp teaches life lessons for everyone no matter what age. I am thankful that through being a counselor I have learned the importance of flexibility, honesty, and integrity. Mother Nature can always throw the staff for a whirlwind when it decides to rain for five nights straight during evening program. Yet it’s trials like that, which allow us to come together, make a plan, and execute it. Now instead of freaking out about a change of plans even outside of camp, I know that I can use what I learned and apply it to any situation. Honesty can be shielded in so many different ways through social media and texting, as it allows someone to sit behind a screen and say whatever they want- no matter the truth of it. At camp, we all learn how important and valuable truth is. The type of honesty that I have learned is that it is equally important to be honest with yourself as it is with others. Lastly, I have learned how rewarding it is to have integrity; doing the right thing when no one is watching. You don’t need an audience to perform an act of kindness, and you don’t have to be rewarded whenever you do. Kindness is what we as humans are supposed to treat other humans with, without the thought of a personal benefit coming from it.
One of the most rewarding aspects that comes with being a counselor is seeing young girls become confident and proud of who they are. There are so many false “social media set” expectations and standards that adolescents at any age feel the pressure to meet. At camp it doesn’t matter what you look like, how tall you are, or what color hair you have. Camp Carysbrook creates a safe haven that promotes lifting one another up, celebrating eachother’s interests, and accepting everyone. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to friendship at camp nor does popularity. The overwhelming sense of pride that fills my heart comes when your shy camper on Day 1 of their session, is helping one of her cabin-mates nail that dance move for Rock Concert because she can tell she is nervous. Or when you see an older camper take a younger camper under their wing because they had experienced that feeling once too. They change each other’s lives. I feel that it is an absolute privilege that I get to witness and be part of it in the most beautiful place in the world.