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What does camp mean to you?
Whether you’re a parent, a camp administrator, educator, camper or other, the question, simple as it reads, has such an amazing array of answers and stories for each of us. And it brings me to the topic for this edition of chattering from the chair.
I started in this industry as a summer camp counselor in 1986, and the following year continued camping more full time working year-round (OE, weekends, etc.). Like many of us I was going to college and trying to figure out what I wanted to do – and at the time it wasn’t camp. But something happened that changed my perspective and my professional path forever. For many of us this life changing experience came in the form of working with an amazing camper, sharing the camp experience with our son/daughter, or working with a staff member that becomes our best friend or even life partner. You can make that significant connection to that person from wherever you are, and typically it becomes your camp ‘elevator’ message when talking about camp. Or maybe it was an experience when you were able to ‘make a difference’ in a child. Because that is what camping is all about, isn’t it?
For me it was much different.
Camp helped me find my way as an individual. Yes, I had the euphoric experiences with amazing campers, best friends and the like, but camp truly changed my way of viewing the world and possibly more importantly, viewing myself. I can honestly say camp has been a significant part of shaping who I am – and it continues to do so in amazing ways. In its most basic form, that is what camp means to me. It gave me so much, and hopefully I have been able to give back just as much.
So what’s my point? My point is that when you peel back all the layers of this camp onion, there are so many anecdotal messages that in my opinion always come back to the fact that camp is so important on so many levels. And for many of us, the meaning of camp is just that simple at fundamental level – its important and part of who we are. And also for many of us, the message takes on such a deeper philosophical meaning. It may be everything to us. Bottom line is whatever camp means to you, be sure to share that message with others. Because remember always…Camp Does a World of Good!
Yours in Camping,
LCOL Chair, ACA Indiana