Going to camp was never about learning “life-skills” when I was a camper. I loved camp and returned every summer to have fun and hang with my friends. I didn’t realize until much later in life how beneficial spending every summer at Camp Laurel would be. So, with the ability to look back now, I’m going to talk about the most meaningful skills I gained because of my time as a camper.
My college roommate once asked me how I was able to introduce myself to anyone and everyone so easily. This was the first time I realized how big an impact camp had on me. Camp Laurel helped me learn this early on because no matter how tight-knit our friends were, we were always excited to meet new campers and counselors.
Camp also taught me to get to know people beyond first impressions. Sometimes it’s easy to make snap-judgments of people, but at camp I learned to never judge a book by its cover.
My second night at camp I participated in one of my favorite camp traditions: Egg Drop. It seems so simple: our cabin is given supplies to safely drop an egg from the top of our climbing wall without breaking it. Looking at it now, I can see how intentional that evening program was because it allowed everyone in our cabin to creatively find a solution to our dilemma. But this is one of a countless number of opportunities to campers are given to communicate.
Clean up, cabin dance-offs, Group Sing, College Days…All things that helped me learn how to communicate effectively with a wide range of other campers and counselors.
Trying New Things
There’s no place like camp to try new things. For seven weeks, I had the opportunity to learn how to waterski, climb, become a Laurel Gladiator, shoot a bow and arrow, try out for the play, learn an instrument, go camping, make something (anything!) in ceramics. And those are only the things that pop into mind on top of enjoying the things I loved before camp like basketball, tennis and painting. Camp Laurel let me get out of my comfort zone in the most comfortable way. I was able to try so much because the counselors were willing to instruct and coach me with a positive attitude. I never felt like I wasn’t good enough at something. Now, when new opportunities come about, I’m excited to try them and learn how to get better.