There is a specific feeling of being at Camp Wyman. It’s definitely something special, but it is nothing compared to the people I met or the new experiences I had.
From rock climbing to learning how to take care of children, the involvement in these activities generally increased my ability to see through more aspects of life.
I was there to take care of the children, so it was important for me to be empathetic and see through their points of view. I’m not the only counselor who felt this way.
Karrie Smith, sophomore, remembered the moments she shared with her campers.
“Nights in the cabin were always fun with my girls. We played music on our radio and danced around the room,” Smith said.
I remember the late nights I spent with my campers, staying up telling scary stories, spilling secrets and sneaking snacks.
The girls in my cabin weren’t too close before Camp Wyman, but the bonding we did every night in the cabin was enough to create lifelong friendships between them.
Being a counselor is more than just keeping the campers safe and out of trouble. It’s also getting to the bottom of internal problems the children may be suffering with. It’s our job as counselors to make sure that the campers are having a great time and that they can leave camp with a warm feeling inside.
As a counselor, I definitely had to practice lots of patience with the children, but when it comes down to it, the children with the most behavioral problems were suffering most. Maybe it has to do with them not feeling well, or maybe they’re missing their parents, either way, if a child is acting up there is normally a deeper meaning behind it.
A camper in my activity group would occasionally lash out at peers or call an activity “boring.” This behavior wasn’t because he is a bad person but because he had trouble fitting in with the rest of the group.
Camp Wyman lasts five days (Monday-Friday), with four possible weeks to attend depending on what sixth grade team you wish to counsel. With a full day of training on Monday, I felt very prepared to handle the children. Everything went smoothly throughout the week; the schedule is so packed it keeps the children all very organized.
The dense schedule kept us bouncing from one activity to the other so there would be no room for children to feel homesick or bored. Everyday each activity group would go to three main meals and two activities. To fill in the gaps between the activities, there is field time (counselors get a break), cabin time and a variety of other things, like the ceremonial campfire.
Athough I was trying to help the children learn and grow, I now feel like they’re the ones who helped me. They helped me practice what it could be like to be a teacher or maybe even to raise children of my own.
Sophie Delay, my fellow counselor and junior agreed, “I’ll never forget the kids. They were so sweet, and sometimes they’d surprise you by saying something really funny or being thoughtful.”
I really encourage everyone to be a camp counselor. The attributes it provides went beyond anything I expected, and I will most definitely be seeing Camp Wyman again next year!
This is news and opinion editor Elise Wilke-Grimm’s first year on ECHO staff. She is excited to begin work on the ECHO and get lots of chances to write.