When I was 17 and applying for college, one of the questions on the common app was: “Where do you feel most at home?”. Brant Lake Dance Camp was the first place I thought about and still do to this day whenever this question is posed. I started attending Brant Lake as a baby because my dad was the modern dance teacher, and when I was old enough to be a camper I jumped at the opportunity. When I was looking for a summer job before going off to college, I knew exactly where I wanted to be.
Now here I am three years later, a rising senior at American University, and Brant Lake is the only place I could image spending my summers. While my peers clutter their resumes with unpaid internships and “real-world” experiences, I count the stars in upstate New York and think about the invaluable lessons I have learned at such a unique place.
I reminisce about learning a double time step in Tap 2 when I was 13 and about winning lip-sync my final summer as a camper at 15, but mostly I think about how my life continues to be shaped by the incredible people who also call Brant Lake home. I have joined a family for life, and I hope I can emanate that sensation to every new camper, parent, and visitor who steps on our grounds and into our lives.
Brant Lake teaches leadership. It teaches commitment and confidence. It fosters friendships and mentorships the supersede any that I have experienced to this day.
While nothing beats the thrill of a great afternoon swim in gorgeous Brant Lake… or leading a camp-wide evening activity called “LassaPallooza”, the moments I will never forget are the sing-a-longs on the arts and crafts bead porch, the hours spent sipping hot chocolate on the Adirondack chairs, or the numerous times giving advice to campers the way it was given to me nearly a decade ago.
The amount of pride I have in the work we do at Brant Lake is unmatched. Seeing my campers grow into intelligent, empathetic, caring, and beautiful young women year after year is what keeps me coming back. There is a lot that changes in a year, and I love hearing about all of the incredible things they have done. We have less then two months until drop-off day, and I can’t wait. With a walkie-talkie on my hip, a clipboard in my hand, and enough bug spray to make it through five weeks…I am home.
So while my peers clutter their resumes, I count down the days till I can jump in the lake and walk up that hill.