Just recently, I got hired (yay!) to be a camp counselor all summer. The camp is a church camp just outside of Spring Valley, called Good Earth Village. I have gone for about 10 summers, ever since I was introduced to it by a friend (thanks Mickaela) in elementary school. I have been waiting to be a counselor because not only is it where I made some of my best friends, it’s also a place where I felt and still feel incredibly safe to be myself and accepted. I want to be able to create that same environment for the kids that go this summer.
I have been introverted all my life so it has been difficult to make friendships. Going to summer camp allowed me to hang out with kids my age with my interests and religious background. When you are in a cabin with a bunch of girls, it is kind of hard not to get to know them and become friends. We have a bunch of team building games that we played at the beginning of the week that allowed the group of us to become closer and trust each other and listen to one another. Plus, getting to know your counselor was super fun and something that all the kids did together. I am excited to see my campers become good friends and I want to be able to help them make friends when it’s hard for them like it was for me.
Another thing that was really important that I felt during camp was that it was a safe place to be myself. At summer camp, I always knew it was perfectly okay to be weird and do my hair in weird ways and do dumb things because the counselors emitted this constant feeling of acceptance over all of us. I never had a counselor who said I was weird or different. I had one counselor name Anna who I had for multiple years and she dealt with all our weirdness and crazy amounts of energy, and I want to be the same way. I want my campers to feel like they can be who they are and have fun and not worry about what I might think of them. I know that if I am weird and honest around them, they will hopefully feel comfortable to be the same.
Lastly, as it is a church camp, I want to help the campers go through their faith journey. Obviously I am still and always will be on mine, but I know that when I came to camp, I had no idea what I believed and I felt like everyone knew way more than me and I had to make the decision right then. Once I got to camp, we were able to go through different activities and worships, and I found my favorite ways to worship and camp guided me through my beliefs. Also, hearing honest, raw stories from counselors and getting reassurance that it’s okay to fall out of your faith was really important. Having counselors that I could talk to about any problems or questions or thoughts I had allowed me to feel less fearful. I want to be able to be that counselor for the campers so they feel like they can talk to me when they are happy or sad, and they trust me enough to talk about their faith and their journeys because although I have a lot to learn, I hope that I can answer some of their questions.
Summer is coming up so quickly, and I cannot wait to see how my first summer of counseling at my favorite place in the whole world goes!