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I believe that camp has the power to change lives.
I believe in camp as a place where all people are welcomed as individuals and accepted for who they are.
I believe in camp as a place where people are welcomed as part of a team and appreciated for what they give for the good of the whole.
I believe in camp as a place where lifelong friendships are created and people can make new connections with others.
I believe in camp as a place for wild spaces where people learn to respect, protect, enjoy, and give back to the natural world.
I believe in camp as a place where laughter and tears, shouts and silence have equal value.
I believe in camp as a place where people are able to take a break from stress, take a deep breath, and simply be.
I believe in camp as a place where everyone is encouraged to share their talents and challenged to develop new ones.
I believe in camp as a place where people are open to new ideas and where tradition and innovation can go hand-in-hand.
I believe in camp as a place of diverse cultures and experiences where people learn about life beyond their own neighborhood.
I believe in camp as a place that would be less valuable and less powerful if one person hadn't been a part of it, no matter how short or long their stay.
I believe it is my role as a leader in camp to foster this community, to develop it, and to make a positive change in others' lives.
Katie Miesle's eighteen-year camp experience includes summer camp, adventure/challenge camp, and outdoor education. She is currently leadership director at Kingsley Pines Camp in Raymond, ME, and founder of Outstanding Team, a staff training resource.
Originally published in the 2010 July/August issue of Camping Magazine.