Moments to Be Present During the Summer Camp Season

July 8, 2019
Anne Derber
camp staff looking at night sky

Remember that first night at dinner with your new cabin? The nervous excitement of your campers? The antics the campers did to figure out how they were going to fit in? 

The campers . . .  but what about you as the staff member in charge of these kids?!

Well, you made it! Nice work — you are still standing and in one piece. Congratulations. Now it is time to ramp up for the next group. You are tired, hungry, haven’t been on social media much, and you probably need to call home and maybe pay a few bills.  Your campers presented you with a wealth of challenges, headaches, moments of greatness, and some serious conversations that you never dreamed of having — especially with a 10-year-old. 

Now what? 

You have a few hours off and in addition to getting some serious sleep, you can’t get the parting words from one of your campers out of your head. As he was leaving, he came up to you and shook your hand and with tears of exhaustion and a huge smile, he said “thank you, I had the best time of my life.”

You probably didn’t expect that, especially from that particular camper. But you had a tremendous impact on that camper and so many others. Your campers watch everything that you do and while their actions may not always show that, your kids cared about you and admired your greatness. You are their camp hero and you mean the world to them.

So, stop, breathe, listen, and look around. Pause to reflect on your work. All your hard work and sacrifices paid off. You have enriched a child’s life . . . forever.

Photo courtesy of Camp Howe in Goshen, MA

Anne Derber, who serves as the vice president on the ACA Board of Directors, recently retired from Camp Manito-wish YMCA as CEO for 19 years. Anne and her husband, Brian are enjoying all that the north country has to offer. Anne served in the Y for 34 years professionally and has over 40 years as a camper and staff member and recognizes the impact that overnight camping has to offer youth, young adults and families. In addition to her work with the ACA National Board, she served on the YMCA National Board representing the camping movement, has a long history of serving the Wisconsin ACA movement and was a standards visitor and instructor. Both she and her husband are involved in the local community and enjoy walking, biking, golf and exploring various destinations in Northern Wisconsin.