When you think of heroes, you might envision a superhero in a cape or a miraculous figure soaring through the sky. To me, however, a hero doesn’t need to wear a cape or a big letter S in the middle of their body.
In my mind, a hero can be just about anybody.
When I first started going to sleepaway camp, I went with one of my closest friends and had a hard time making new friends. I’ve always been a little shy at first, but once I open up, it's hard to get me to stop talking.
It wasn’t until my third summer that I started feeling like myself at camp. Even though it was my third summer at Camp Louise, it was my first time going second session and I felt very alone. Even though the girls were really nice, I had a hard time connecting with them, especially since many of them had been going to camp together for years while I was the “new girl”.
It’s important to note that every bunk (except for the trainee division) gets a Counselor in Training, or CIT, who in addition to learning how to be a counselor, assists the bunk and the campers in their daily activities.
When I first met my CIT that year, I knew from the start that she was awesome. For starters, she was one of the nicest and most welcoming people I’d met at camp. She also wore this super cool hat and went by her last name, which kind of made her a legend.
I would talk to her and she, in turn, helped me connect with the other girls.
When it was time to say goodbye at the end of the summer, we exchanged contact information and talked a little but but lost touch over the years.
A few years went by, I was finally a teen and I had a boyfriend at airy (not!). I came back to camp year after year and entered the trainee division, eager to gain leadership skills and to learn how to be a counselor.
To my amazement, my CIT soon became one of my CIT counselors. I was so happy. She helped me make friends and learn how to truly be myself a few years previously, so I was so excited when she became my counselor.
Over the course of 7 weeks, I grew as an individual, made friends, took on challenges and overcame obstacles. One night in particular, this counselor played us a song that was very meaningful to her. The song was entitled, “All Will Be Well,” and it is a song that has helped me through some of my darkest days. I don’t think this counselor will ever know how truly special that song has become to me over the years. I’ve play it whenever I'm taking risks, when I'm nervous about a test, when my depression stabs me in the back, and just when I could use a pick me up. I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times and each time, I say a little thank you to my counselor. This song and this counselor have had a positive influence on my life and I am truly grateful.
Flash forward a few years, and I became a a third year counselor and lifeguard. During the summer before camp started, I found out that this counselor would now be my unit leader and would watch me grow as a counselor, just as she did when I was a camper. I loved the time I spent with her and don’t think she truly knows how much she means to me and just how deeply she has impacted my life.
At the end of the day, this counselor helped, in part, to shape me into the person I am today. When it comes down to it, heroes don’t have to wear capes to save the day or to change someone’s life for the better.
Sometimes, all they need is a really cool hat.