Chilawee taught me how to live fully in the moment.
Honestly, I don’t remember very much about my time as a camper at Chilawee. I must have enjoyed it, because I do remember paying close attention in March for the registration form to show up.
I do remember my first year as staff though. I was supposed to be the sports assistant with another girl but then she got the flu and the sports supervisor had to fill a counselor position. So there I was, a first-time staffer without a plan or any real experience. But I thought I could do the job and the directors had confidence in me. That week was amazing. I learned the meaning of real teamwork – all of the staff were helping and getting help from each other.
Since that first week, ten years ago, I’ve had the chance to work as part of the Chilawee staff several times. Camp is a huge accomplishment and helping to make it happen is an incredible experience. It’s really rewarding when campers remember who you are because you created a backstory for D’Artagnan, the sports mascot pig.
Some of my favourite memories of camp come from the friendships with other staff members. My idea of summer is shot through with these moments: washing dishes with music blasting, mud-sliding in the dark, taking turns reading Othello on the dock, dancing around the mess hall…
Now as camp director, I’m trying to give a new generation of staff and campers the chance to form their own moments.