If you are one of the very lucky people to wear that badge of honor, you know that the experiences you have at camp last a lifetime.

This year, marked my 16th summer working at camp, and it never ceases to amaze me how summer camp becomes a second home for so many families. Although the year separates us, we are able to pick right up where we left off just like old friends so easily do. Instantly, memories flood our minds and remind us of the experiences we have had, but more importantly, the times we have had together.

Summer camp allows us to watch children grow in more ways than a traditional school experience. Their squeaky pre-k voices transition to Kidz Bop worthy performances as we witness them navigate through adolescence. We see teeth come out, grow back in, braces put on and taken off again, and even the occasional mustache makes an appearance. These days hair colors change and there is always a 1st grader who sports a mohawk.  Yes, we wish we were that daring and carefree as that kid or their parents should we say. We are there when the school year has left a camper depleted and it is our job to provide them with the opportunities that remind us all that childhood should be about so much more than test scores.

We hear the big dreams. I’m going to be Superman or a Dragon when I grow-up and we manage to remind them of these little moments years later when they’ve gotten to be too cool for anyone and everyone. We know their allergies, fear of thunderstorms and the right song to get them to totally lose their minds. We laugh so hard with them that we cry, play jokes on one another and share secret handshakes. We have bad days. Days where the sun is too hot, our friends start to get on our nerves and everything seems to go wrong. We live in this space of being real people and problem solving and learning to deal with one another fairly. We share space when family members pass, animals die and sleepy Monday’s make us act our ugliest.

It’s a privilege to be sticky and sweaty together. We test our boundaries, skills, and egos as we try to decipher the different things that at times make growing-up so challenging.

If you are a camp kid, or a lucky camp counselor, you know what I’m talking about. You hear a familiar name, smell the scent of acrylic paint, or taste a bomb pop and you just know where it all started, on those hot summer days, playing games and making memories.

Check out the memories we are currently making on our gallery page or and follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Ashly on stage
Ashly – Summer 2018

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