My first time enrolling in Camp Big Canoe, I was very nervous about going. I was 11 years old, much older than many first-year campers; I knew no one at camp and had very minimal sleep-away camp experience. However, the second I arrived for my camp session, my anxiety imminently went away. All of the leaders and campers were incredibly welcoming to me, it was evident that the staff cared about my while-being and happiness, wanting me to thrive and grow in the spaces provided. The leaders tried their best to make the camp fun and welcoming for all participants every day. Throughout my first week at camp, I was immersed in many great activities; got to canoe for the first time, go on an out trip with my unit, share great meals and laughs with my new friends, and spend my last night at a beautiful banquet to celebrate all the friends and memories I made. I left feeling like a valued member of my new camp community, and joyful that I had the experience of meeting so many great people and doing such amazing things at Camp Big Canoe. After my first experience, summer camp became an annual ritual for me and something I looked forward to every year. I continued making friends and great memories through my camp years, with many camp friends I still talk to today.
Currently, I am 17 years old, becoming a first-year staff member six years after I first went camping. I am so excited to spend the summer in a great place, with people I genuinely love. I hope to help recreate the same amazing experiences I had at camp with new and returning campers. Camp Big Canoe will always have a special place in my heart. I am ecstatic to go back, and give back, creating a great and welcoming experience for the new generation of campers!