For this episode of the Podcast, I talked with five 17-year-old Junior Counselors who’ve been going to camp for a long time: Will (10th year); Jackson (7th year); Caroline (7th year); Blake (6th year); and Quinn (3rd year).
Below are some quotes from our talk.
How have you changed or grown because of your time at camp?
Will: “When I’m at camp, I realize that being yourself is the best thing to be.”
“The best friends to have are people that accept you for who you are.”
“Camp has made me a kinder person.”
Jackson: “When I first came to camp, when music was playing, I’d be the one just sitting down, not participating in the dancing, but as I’ve come back every year, I started participating more and more. Now whenever there’s music playing, I’m up dancing and having a great time.”
“I feel like camp definitely helped me just be able to be myself all the time.”
Caroline: “I think that camp has provided me with a new perspective on life. It helps me go back home and know that I shouldn’t care about what others think and that I should always be proud of who I am.”
Blake: “Camp has a really, really positive atmosphere.”
“When I first came to Camp, I had pretty big anxiety about introducing myself to other people. As I went through the years at camp, I became more and more comfortable with saying who I am, what I do, what I love. And now as a six year camper, I’m perfectly comfortable introducing myself to my cabin mates.”
“At camp I know I’ll be able to have that positive atmosphere and just the acceptance that you don’t always get in the real world.”
Quinn: “But after coming here again and again, I became more and more confident about myself and my abilities and what I can do.”
How is camp life different from what you experience out in the world?
What are some of the pressures you feel like you’re under when you’re not at camp that you kind of get away from when you’re here?
Will: “I think at school there are a lot of pressures for just fitting in and kind of being the cool kid at school.”
“At camp you can be whoever you want to be.”
Jackson: “Aside from just friends and just classmates or whatever, parents and coaches can also be like pushing you too hard, so when you come to camp it’s just a great stress relief from all of those pressures.”
Caroline: “I think that at home we are all so focused on the future and where life is going to bring us in high school, colleges and applications and stuff.”
“At camp we can live more in the moment and learn to take life for what it is and to really appreciate what you have in the moment.”
“I think what camp has provided me is that I can fully appreciate every day for what it is and not be like everyone else surrounding me.”
Blake: “At home I get a lot of pressure from both my parents but also myself to get good grades, because that’s something that’s always been important to me. But at camp, I really feel a release from that because I’m able to just do the activities and focus on what I’m doing now. I can really be in the now.”
“Camp really is a stress reliever. It does like all sorts of great things for me. Like I just love every part of it because it’s like a vacation — a better vacation than I could even have with my family going to some exotic place.”
Quinn: “Camp is a way for me to start off fresh.”
What words of advice do you have for parents who are nervous about their kids not being able to do camp?
Will: “I think like camp in general is a great experience for kids to have.”
“If you get a scrape on your knee or it’s a hard hike, when you’re home and in reality, it helps you through other things and helps you get through tougher things there because you’re like, ‘Oh, if I could do that at camp, I can easily do that here.'”
Caroline: “Parents will realize when the kids come back for however long they were gone that they’re a completely new person and they have grown so much and they have probably become more confident just because they have gone to camp.”
“Camp is a place where you can learn lessons that you can’t learn in school, you can’t learn at home.”
Blake: “It’s all about bouncing back and finding the positives even in the negatives.”
How do you think camp has helped you be able to do things, not just college but other things that are away from home?
Will: “I think camp in general just helps you all around with your skills like social skills and being independent.”
Blake: “At camp, it’s really about learning how to make the choices for yourself that will benefit you in the future.”
“I hated salad since I was a little kid. But after these past six years, I go to the salad bar every day at lunch and dinner. It’s like one of my favorite things at camp, at the dining porch. I love it.”