Humans Of Camp America- Hayley

Feb. 2, 2017, 3:13 p.m. by Editor

I have a completely different Camp America experience to most.

I'm from Chicago and grew up going to the most amazing place on earth-camp. I have a completely different Camp America experience to most. I started going to camp when I was 10 years old. Just an innocent little girl who was forced to go to camp by my best friend. I remember learning to waterski that first summer, to climb the climbing wall, to make a fire, make puppy chow, and so so much more. I remember being homesick and holding my stuffed animal close, my counselor came up to me and made my stuffed animal talk to me. I remember this moment so vividly. She told me that camp is such a special experience and it's okay to miss home but to think about all the fun activities and people I was meeting and just take it all in day by day. And she was right. I woke up the next day so excited for my activities and fell in love with my camp surrounding and cried when I left camp because I didn't want to leave. I was camp sick when I got home, camp sick can you believe that? After being homesick at camp I was home now missing camp so much!!

After my first summer at camp I returned for 4 more summers. I was never homesick again because I learned camp truly is a place to be who you are and try new things and that there's no other place like it. After my five years of being a camper making life long friends who were both fellow campers and counselors I continued my camp journey by teaching waterskiing for 4 years then doing evening programs on the leadership team.

The best part about being a counselor is the way all the campers just look up to you with these big shining eyes. There's something there that you can tell you've truly made an impact on them. At camp I have done so many things like doing silly dances on stage on stage, songs in the dining hall, eaten my weight in smores, camp fire songs, helped kids reach their goals, and just be my crazy self. Camp is one of those places you just can't help but returning to. I spent 11 amazing summers at camp where I made life long friends who I've traveled the world with. I have friends all over the world who will gladly lend me their couch to sleep on during a visit. I'm now living in Australia and seeing all those camp friends I've made over the years. Camp is the reason I love to travel and see the world. It gave me the confidence to be me and follow my own dreams and goals. Most importantly I grew into the person I am today thanks to Lake of the woods family of camps.