The American Camp Association celebrates its 100th year in camping next month at our annual national conference in Denver. The theme of this monumental conference is “Because of Camp….”
I took a few moments to think about that phrase and what it means to me as a one time camper/assistant counselor/counselor/odd-job woman/ridge leader and now program director of the place which has so intimately shaped me over the last 24 years.
Because of camp, I journeyed over 600 miles away from home without my mom, dad, sister or pets…when I was 12.
Because of camp, I realized I WASN’T exactly like my mom…I LOVED horses.
Because of camp, I overcame the grade school taunts of “duckie” “pudgie” and climbed a 14,000 foot mountain…11 of them, actually.
Because of camp, I made friends who were more diverse, interesting, opinionated, and different than my friends at home.
Because of camp, I appreciated my strong legs, ability to carry a heavy pack, and the admiration I earned from my friends and counselors for being a little kooky.
Because of camp, I remembered odd facts about odd things at odd times…did you know that the dust on aspen bark has an SPF of 4?
Because of camp, I had role models who took time to know me, laugh with me, share themselves and their lives with me.
Because of camp, I found out I was truly an alto…or maybe a tenor.
Because of camp, I decided it was easier to ask for permission than to beg for forgiveness.
Because of camp, I felt grace and true harmony for the first time.
Because of camp, I watched women eat…and eat…and eat…because eating together was a celebration and a communion—celebrating all the hard, physical work we had done together.
Because of camp, I figured out that experiences are more valuable than things.
Because of camp, I learned how to be a leader by simply being myself.
Because of camp, I accepted responsibility for mistakes I made, and altered my path to avoid making the same mistakes again.
Because of camp, I watched hundreds of unique sunrises and sunsets…and remember every one.
Because of camp, I know what it feels like to genuinely believe in someone so strongly, that she feels like she can do anything.
Because of camp, I understand the power of women to both tear down and to build up…and, at camp, there is a lot more building up than tearing down.
Because of camp, I listen to triumphs and heartbreaks with thoughtful ears, and not a boastful mouth.
Because of camp, I see a uniquely, personal gift in each Colorado blue-bird summer day…and the other 300 campers, 120 staff, and 59 support staff feel the same way.
Because of camp, I am a better mother, wife, and daughter.
Because of camp, I have become the woman I always wanted to be.
Now, your turn.
Because of camp…..
Play as Poetry
3 years ago