So this week IU and the school of HPER had their annual summer camp jobs fair! As a freshman, The fair caught my eye as I was on my way to get my daily starbucks. Not knowing what I was getting myself in to, I started visiting different tables.
When I was little the only camp I ever went to was a week long girl scout camp. I was about to enter jr. high and felt my pre-teen self needed to feel independent and get away from home- even if Camp Dean was only 30 minutes away! During that week long "vacation" I got too many bug bites, too sunburned, dehydrated, got humiliated because I couldn't pass the swim test and worst, broke my elbow. Then and there I vowed never to attend camp again- so what was I doing visiting this camp jobs fair?
The answer: I needed adventure. You would think coming to IU was adventure some enough, but do to some poor choices and the overwhelming shock of moving to a new place with a culture like IU- my freshman year was definitely not what I had hoped for. I am a person who thrives on adventure- and at that point my freshman year, I wasn't fulfilling that need.
I always loved working with kids- have always viewed myself as a kid at heart- and thought maybe working at a summer camp could be worthwhile. I knew I needed adventure- and I thought well- what could be more adventuresome than a far-away camp! I visited the space camp table- then realized I'm scared of aliens.... I visited a day camp- and thought I didn't want to just be treated as a babysitter over the summer.... Then I talked to Kenny at Camp Saginaw.
Pictured from left to right is Kenny and Adam- camp directors, as well as Zach and Matt- IU students and camp counselors at this years camp fair
Camp Saginaw is an overnight camp in eastern Pennsylvania. There’s nothing too unique about it- no space shuttles, not sports or horse backing centered- it just seemed fun. So I interviewed with Kenny and new that Camp Saginaw is the place I needed to go. I got the job, and anxiously waited for the summer.
That first summer at camp still puts a great smile to my face. I feel in love with my girls, met some of my best friends, had a perfect summer love, and really grew as a person. I thrived at camp Saginaw, and it became a part of me. When I returned to IU for sophomore year and even still to this day, it’s hard for me to stop talking about the magic a summer camp has. And when trying to explain things like color war, VIJ, off days, senior swim or Matt Stamm to my all my friends back home, I realized that no one will fully understand, unless you were a camp kid or counselor yourself.
Pictured Above from left to right: The '10 IJ Girls Softball Team, My Bunk D Campers, and the inter division counselors dressed as nerds before camp outting.
I returned for a second summer, which was unfortunately cut short. Needless to say, I was heartbroken. But the bonds of camp still held on, as I still frequently skype or facebook with my campers and other counselors from all over the world. Camp also made IU feel like a bit smaller of a home as well. Whenever I see another counselor on campus, usually followed by giant bear hugs and warm greetings- my mind is transported back to Saginaw and my day (no matter how bad) always gets a little bit better. I hope to return to Saginaw once again this next summer.
Without the opportunity IU and HPER gave by having the camp fair, I would've never had camp and never have had the most incredible experience since coming to IU.