Sammie was a 1st year General Counselor last summer and made a terrific impact on her friends, campers and the entire camp. We look forward to her return for years to come!
If anyone were to tell me a year ago that just two short months would change my life forever, I would have told them they were insane and that two months is way too short to have any impact on my life. Then, I arrived at Camp Towanda. I was a nervous wreck the entire three-hour car ride and there were several moments where I wanted to just turn around and go home. I was about to enter a place where I didn’t know anyone and that is so intimidating. However, once I arrived, I was greeted with the warmest welcomes and brightest smiles, or, as we like to call them at CT, “Disney smiles.” It made my first night a little less scary. Fast-forward to when the kids arrived, I had the worst feeling of anxiety. All these thoughts kept running through my head like, “will my kids like me” and “how will I be able to make an impact in just two months,” these thoughts are so common and totally normal to have!! The first busload of kids arrived and my group (the tweens J) had only four kids. At first I kind of sat back and observed the personalities and they were goofy, cuddly, and so curious about what camp had in store for them this summer. The next day the rest of my little sunshines arrived and it was a tad chaotic, in the best way possible, of course, and I was more than eager to get the summer started. The key to making an impact, in my opinion, is getting involved in every way you can, be goofy with the kids, play games, get on their level when giving them a serious talk, and, most importantly, ENCOURAGE them to try everything and lift them up when they’re down. They will always remember those who encouraged and supported them.
This was my first summer as a camp counselor and I am beyond happy that I chose to be a sleep away camp counselor because it was the most challenging job I have ever had but it was also the most rewarding job. The relationships I formed with not only my co-counselors, but my kids as well will last a lifetime. It’s been almost two months since camp and I have already had a handful of my co-counselors come visit and stay with me and I keep in contact with my kids every once in a while to see how school is going for them and to let them know I miss them terribly and that I am still there for them even thought we aren’t at camp. I also want to say that the senior staff at Camp Towanda are some of the most hardworking, caring, warm-hearted people you will ever have the pleasure of working with. The support they give to their staff is untouchable; there were moments, as every counselor experiences, where I had no idea how to handle a situation or conflict and I went to a senior staff member and they helped me through it and ensured me that I was doing a great job. I learned so much about myself and grew so much as an individual and stepped out of my comfort zone (but never in the danger zone) at Camp Towanda and I can honestly say I truly found a second home. This job will push you to your limits and challenge you both mentally and physically but I promise you, “when you leave this place, you’ll never be the same,” to quote our Counselor Song (to the theme of Cheers) in the absolute best way possible.