Waterfront Mara has kept guard of the Towanda waterfront for the past 5 summers. She shared with camp her experiences as a camper and her continues experiences here at Camp Towanda.
The year was maybe 1980. I was in a lake not so far away from here. I may have even been on the “Cherokee” color war team vs. the “Iroquois”. We weren’t very politically correct back then….I just got my cast off from a gymnastics injury two weeks prior. I was a young lower camper swimming the Individual Medley against three upper campers, one happened to be my older sister. The horn blew and I dove into the water, I may have fallen behind during the freestyle lap, I maybe closed the gap a little during the breast stroke, but them it happened. I started doing the back crawl, I heard everyone calling my name and cheering for me, I must have been half a lap ahead. I don’t remember if I had a last stroke or not, but I do recall finishing the race FIRST with lots of time to spare. Everyone cheered my name, even my sister came over to me and asked how I swam so fast and beat her. My favorite counselor (I think he was everyone’s favorite), picked me up on his shoulders and carried me around cheering. This is just one memory from camp that will stick with me forever. I think my sister too….
Moments like this happen for everyone in different ways and different times. As a parent, the memories of my accomplishments gets put in the background and the moments when your son scores the winning goal in a nail-bitter lacrosse game or when your daughter shines the brightest on stage that it makes you cry . Who would’ve thought that CAMP TOWANDA would give me dozens more kids and proud moments as a MOM then I could’ve ever imagined.
Moments when a little Deb has the look of determination paralleled to Michael Phelps just to finish their swim test, and finally get her green chip. Or that gigantic smile that could take over his entire face from a Junior Boy who’s finally got up on a waterski, or when one of my swimming instructors gets a senior boy whose never really swam before to come every day he could at rest hour to become a Real Swimmer” and even when I see one of my past waterfront staff on social media and they got their dream job or even got married. I am the proudest MOM you can imagine. It is true what everyone says about your camp family.
I came to Camp Towanda 5 years ago, stepping out of my comfort zone, not for myself but to give my children an opportunity and experience they couldn’t get at home. As they’ve grown here at camp, they have made friendships that will be remembered for ever and memories that will make them smile for years. Maybe ones that they will tell their own children. And to my surprise, I have also made “Sorority” camp mom and dad friends, that only can share a bond and relate if you’ve ever worked here as an adult.
I have made friends with my second set of kids, my Waterfront staff from the past and present who come from all parts of the world. One day, they will hear from me when I take that trip around the world, and get to know all of their homes. And of course, my overwhelming admiration and respect for Mitch and Stephanie for every minute they put into this amazing camp. Thank you for finding me a place and taking a chance and on this Mom from Boca who literally melts when she is not by the water.
For all you campers, my extended children, new and old….. find those moments, step out of your comfort zone, try new things, learn about new cultures. Make those bonds with your friends that know body outside our bubble can understand. And most important, find those moments and memories for yourself. It is all here for you to find at Camp Towanda. Believe me, nothing will make your parents happier and more proud then to hear every detail about it. Have a great Summer!