What I’m Thankful for in December

December 17, 2013

Guest blog by Ann Sheets

The time between Thanksgiving and the New Year always seems to go by in a hurry for me. It seems like it was just yesterday that we were ringing in this year — and already it’s time to celebrate the holidays and start another year. Holidays always make me slow down a little and think about how lucky I am, especially to be involved with the camp community. At the risk of being a little sentimental, here are some things that I am particularly thankful for, now and throughout the year:

I’m thankful . . .

  • that my parents let me go to camp when I was a child. Those first experiences in an organized outdoor program, out in nature and with my friends, set the stage for a lifelong love of the outdoors and the camp experience. Neither of my parents had been campers as children, but they both recognized the importance of camp, from learning independence, to sharpening skills, to spending time in nature.
  • that my parents encouraged me to be a camp counselor, to the point of letting me work at camps far from home, where I knew not one single soul. This Texas girl discovered a whole new world by spending summers in California, Washington, D.C., and Indiana, and along the way made some friends that now forty years later are still very important in my life.
  • for camp directors who were great role models and who told me that if I really wanted to be a camp director, then I should join the American Camp Association (ACA). They were right.
  • for the chance to participate in the learning environments that ACA offers, both locally and nationally.
  • for every ACA committee meeting, task force conference call, and board retreat that I have been a part of. It’s not just the satisfaction of accomplishing a task for ACA, but also the value of relationships that are made with ACA colleagues. My life is richer because of these camp friends who have shared ideas, traditions, and insights.

‘Tis the season of joy, of sharing, and of giving. Here’s to the camp community — thanks and happy holidays to all!

Ann Sheets served as ACA's national president from 2005 to 2008 and recently completed a term as the board development chairman. She is senior vice president at Camp Fire First Texas in Fort Worth.