Every year I have to marvel at how much I learned that year at summer camp. I had never realized that it wasn’t just me learning things at camp every year. That really this learning experience was a mass occurrence every week, until I got to watch other girls go through the same thing.
When you are young, you go to camp and learn how to be on your own, away from your parents. You become self-aware, acknowledging who you are as an individual, or just that you are an individual.
As time goes by you start to learn about interacting with other people. You make friends and learn to work as a team, overcoming challenges and enjoying fun activities together, growing as a unit and into a family of sorts. You learn about conflict with others and how to deal with it with the guidance of your counselors of course.
When you get even older, you become the queen of camp. You know all the games, songs and secrets of camp. You start taking on leadership roles, learning responsibility and how to solve your own problems. You get a taste of what it is like to be in charge.
One day some even become a counselor, and you actually are in charge. Not only do you have to take care of yourself, but you have to take care of others. You learn about sacrifice for others who need it more, and what real hard work is.
This summer, I have seen many girls in every stage of these learning processes. From homesickness to group conflicts, from young and excited counselors-in-training (CITs) to exhausted and distressed staff. Sometimes it’s a really tough challenge to be at camp, there is no denying it. But at the end of the day, or the week, or the summer, you look back and realize how much you have grown and changed as a person. You think about all the friends you have made and all the new things you have learned, about others and yourself. And it is all worth it! As soon as you get home and set down your bags, that is when you get the yearning to come back. You have to go back. Because there is always more to learn, more room to grow and more new experiences to have.
Here’s to another summer gone by. Another summer of laughter, friendship and fun. Another summer of hard work, exhaustion and the dirt under your fingernails that never goes away. Another summer of having role models and being role models. Another summer of trial and error, growth, and lessons learned. Cheers to all as we take another big sip of our Nalgene water bottle.
We hope to see you next year!
-By Moose, Magic Sky Ranch Girl Scout camp summer staff member (located in Colorado)