I’m always amazed at just how quickly our campers go from being JR I’s to Seniors. For many of our Seniors, I remember the day they stepped off the bus at camp for the first time, all bright-eyed, nervous, full of personality, and ready to explore what life at Tripp Lake Camp was all about. The second their feet hit the ground, their curiosity came alive, and they had an entirely new place to call home. Year after year, their excitement when jumping off the bus only grew. The personal growth I’ve seen in these girls is immeasurable – they have not only grown into young ladies themselves, but they have been and continue to be role models for all our other campers, especially our youngest. I feel so lucky to see them step into this role!
Our youngest campers often come to camp, unsure what to expect for their summer ahead. Sometimes that first summer is met with more homesickness than parents expected — their daughter’s first time away from home, first time at this place called ‘summer camp’, and first time experiencing this much change all at once. Day by day, little by little, though, these girls start to open up, raise their hand in a group setting, be the first to introduce themselves to someone new or be the one to now welcome new friends into a game of Gaga. To me, this is not only an incredible moment of personal growth to witness, but it’s also a life journey we all take. The journey of pushing through the moments of feeling uncomfortable, and then helping people who may be going through that same experience once you’re on the other side.
This past year our kids spent more time than ever at home with their parents and loved ones while learning to make the most of a new normal and growing an even stronger comfort being with family. For many of us, the time spent with family this past year has been such a bright light in a year that brought more challenges than many of us could have ever anticipated. Leaving that place of comfort and coming to camp is a huge step in any year, but this year it holds an even stronger weight. Every year conversations about missing home are a part of summer, but we have been having more this year, and the thing is – it makes complete sense. Our girls have grown a deeper love for their home outside of camp and may need a bit more time to adjust back to their home at Tripp Lake Camp.
Just like any other year, our amazing staff members are creating a loving and safe environment for girls to be in as they adjust back to camp life after almost two years away. But what’s even greater is how our Seniors and older campers are truly stepping up to the plate. They’re always ready to make a younger camper feel more at ease, invite them to go on a walk or join their activity, write letters home together, and be their big sister at camp. Not only is the bond between our younger and older campers continuing to strengthen, but I’m also continuing to see campers settle into their summer here with bigger smiles each day. I look forward to continuing to share how these friendships strengthen over the coming weeks!