"My parents asked 'Where did this come from?' I'm sure it was camp that influenced me," says Springer, 26, a broadcast journalism master's student at Carleton
University in Ottawa. Late last year, she travelled in India by herself for five weeks to produce a radio documentary about the lack of regulation in the surrogacy industry.
Springer was 10 years old when she first spent two weeks at Camp Couchiching, also known as "Camp Cooch," just 1.5 hours away from her home in Toronto. As "the best gift" she was given as a child, she says camp gave her the confidence to create her own dreams. Springer's dreams took her around the world. She chose to enrol in the competitive international development program at the University of Guelph so she could study for a semester in Jaipur, India. Last summer, she taught English to Rwandan youth and acted as an editorial mentor for The Blink Magazine in Rwanda.
After eight summers at Camp Couchiching as a camper, she worked as a counsellor there and at Camp Wenonah in Muskoka, Ontario for six years. In 2007, she was camp director at Shikoku Canadian Global Camp, modelled after Camp Wenonah, in Takamatsu, Japan. During a solo trip through South America in 2008, she didn't feel homesick. She felt campsick.
"(Camp) has defined my life — not only in moments or summers," she says. "No matter how far I go, it's right where I left it... it really helps me take risks."