Guest Blogger: “Life At Camp as a New Counselor”
July 18, 2017 by Leslie Levy
“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States
NOTE: This blog post was written by one of our current counselors, Jen Roux. We thought it would be refreshing to show you camp life through the lens of the new counselor experience. If you would like to learn more about Jen, we’ve posted a little counselor bio at the bottom. Enjoy!
Like many of the counselors at Tripp Lake, I am not from the United States; I was born in South Africa, where the only camps we know of consist of wildlife and safaris. Having studied in America for the last two years I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by more of this country, but Maine and Tripp Lake definitely have managed to do just that. When I came for pre-camp counselor training, I was thrown into the wonders of Tripp Lake tradition. At first, it was overwhelming, from camper lingo, department lesson plans, chimes, reveille, and the seemingly endless age groups.
My expectations for the camper’s arrival came from the stories of returning counselors and ex-campers. “Screaming, singing and a lot of energy” is what they told me to prepare for, and whatever I do, NEVER mention the END of camp.
Just as it was described, the campers arrived and our campus became alive and vibrant with excitement. Now my days are filled with ongoing hugs and me warning everyone else not mention the end of camp. As a new counselor, one can be stressed because you fear that the campers won’t like you, or there’s too much history we don’t know. Not only do I feel MORE at home than ever, but the girls are beyond inclusive and welcoming. Each day I find myself learning something new about the camp and have had the privilege of spending time with each girl.
What I’ve observed about this unique place is that it has its own culture; one that allows everyone–from campers to counselors–to express themselves comfortably and be supported doing it. This place has an amazing ability to enable people to reveal their genuine selves; the influences of the outside world are quietly shut away beautifully. Though counselors have the freedom of using electronics, I find that we have strayed away from using them and have become more engaged with one another. As we all say, each day at camp is long, but time flies by and by. It’s only week 4 and yet it feels like it’s been no time at all.
Jen Roux is 21 years old and hails from Cape Town South Africa. She is entering her third year of college in Idaho on a tennis scholarship. She now has the privilege of coaching campers the same age she was when she first started playing the sport. Jen is an Inter I bunk counselor and thoroughly enjoys it!