I remember getting ready to board my flight to Chicago, nervous yet excited about spending my summer working at YMCA Camp Benson. The whole concept of a summer camp was completely alien to me. We just didn’t have this kind of thing in England, yet films like The Parent Trap made the camp life a dream of mine. I didn’t know what to expect but I couldn’t have wished for a better experience. I was welcomed into the Benson family from the moment I met T-Bug and Mama G at the airport and I haven’t looked back since.
It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t been to camp how amazing and life changing the experience can be. I was told several times that camp is a bubble – and it certainly was one I wish never had to burst!
I couldn’t pick a favourite moment from the summer as I had a blast the whole time, but I have to say that it truly is amazing watching the children learn and develop so much in such a short space of time. Camp really brings out the best in everyone through caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility and each and every week I felt so proud of all of the children I met.
Not only did I have the pleasure of watching the kids grow, I also learnt so much myself during my time at camp and I’ll be forever grateful for the experience and friends I’ve made. Kindness only takes a minute and can truly make someone else’s day. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you, you can be yourself without concerning yourself of the thoughts of other people because those you matter don’t mind and those who mind, don’t matter.
Finally, and I’m still pushing myself with this one, I learnt to be brave. The best experiences come from the moments that scare you and the feeling you get when you’ve completed a difficult challenge is far better than sitting on the side watching other people have fun.
I’m definitely going to miss the community and friendships I’ve made this summer and fully think I could easily stay at camp full time; but for now, I’ll just have to savour my memories – until next time anyway!