Summer camp, at least at TheZone, is not just a fun-filled vacation. Overnight camp offers a chance for children to grow into themselves and learn new talents and abilities. One of our counselors at TheZone, Tanya Smith*, shared ten anecdotes to illustrate the way her campers grow in leaps and bounds over a few short weeks in summer:
- Last year, the girls last year got 10 minutes of free time in their beds before lights out. Everyone brought books to read except for one girl. When I offered her a book she said no thank you, she hates reading and she’d rather sit on her bed and do nothing than read. One day I offered her my book and she realized she actually likes to read and read often after that.
- During leagues the other team was missing players and mine had too many so a few girls switched to the other team and the girls on my team let others take their position so they can have a turn too—even though our team was really competitive and everyone wanted to play. The girls who let others play, turned on music and cheered for everyone.
- A girl was leaving camp early and before she left she went around putting her extra paperclips (it was our junior prize system) on her bunkmates’ beds.
- Another girl had to leave early and her bunk threw a goodbye party. The campers wrote goodbye notes, everyone signed a pillowcase, and they even put out food to make it seem more like a real party.
- The girls gained confidence by sharing stories during “pump.” First, many were shy, but as the summer went by, more kids wanted to share stories and answer questions from the other campers.
- A girl in one bunk was cold so one of the campers, without thinking, took off her own sweater and gave it to her.
- A counselor spent hours curling and doing her campers’ hair for Friday night dinner, and made them feel pretty. Though she rushed to get the girls ready, she spent so much time making the girls feel beautiful that she ran out of time to do her own hair!
- After color war, you can see the campers dressed in blues and reds dancing together and being happy for each other, no matter which team wins. It happens every year.
- During our trip to Six Flags, a girl bought an ice cream but didn’t have enough money on her Six Flags prepaid card and a girl quickly swiped her own and paid the extra.
- A girl last year was really scared of heights. We went to a ropes course place, her friends encouraged her to try it out, and she got over her fear. After that, she was brave enough to try the zip line and rock climbing in camp.
*Name changed to protect privacy