Monday, January 18, 2010

Because of Camp...

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…..


  1. I loved your memories of camp and how you feel that they have helped to shape your life.

  2. LOVE this theme! Thank you for this great invitation to reflect.

    Because of camp ...

    ... I know what Douglas Fir tea tastes like.
    ... I realize the value of openness in relationships.
    ... I grew stronger from living with strong, self-sufficient, inspired women.
    ... I am better able to work effectively in a team.
    ... I sing in public.
    ... I know the six d's of dumping in the woods.
    ... I can "just do it."
    ... I got over my gripping fear of heights.
    ... I recognize the smells of kinnikinnik, sage, and juniper.
    ... I am more open and friendly.
    ... A-HEM. I can do the broom dance, can you?
    ... I keep a quote book inspired by Vespers.
    ... I learned to ride western, love quarter horses, tie a double-diamond, a single-diamond, and boscoe, pack sawbucks with paniards, tie a high line, hobble and hawk a herd of horses.
    ... I am better at directions and get lost far less frequently.
    ... I know that Crayola can't possibly replicate the colors of a western sunset.
    ... I am more fit physically, mentally and emotionally.
    ... I understand community, that I can't do everything myself, that it's rewarding to share in the journey.
    ... I know that stories are sometimes better than photographs.
    ... I am more present in each moment.
    ... I have more realistic standards for myself.
    ... I know the value of a solo hike into a forest. I know the value of a hike with friends.
    ... I am closer with my family. Yes, because of camp.
    ... I dream bigger: anything is possible.