Dec 1, 2016

Being a Model Camper Abroad

August 21, 2016 Dear Vic, Craig and Margot, After missing out on what I heard was another amazing summer on the sunny shores, I wanted to share a bit of what I learned this summer with all of you

Choosing not to go to camp the past two summers was a nearly impossible decision for me. Camp is where I felt at home, had the most fun, made the most memories, challenged myself and where my Tamakwa family was. However, I decided that taking a few summers off would be a good way for me to broaden my horizons and step outside of my comfort zone.

This summer, I spent the month of July camping in the outback of Australia. Though I loved canoe trips at camp, I think I forgot how much I truly missed camping until I was doing it without the Senior Girls of 2014. This time, I was in the middle of the wilderness with a group of people who had very clearly never been camping before, to whom the sweaty sleeping bag, lack of showers and dirty clothes were not appealing; being a Tamakwan, those were a few of my favorite parts. I was bothered by their negativity; all I wanted was for them to have a positive attitude, because I knew they could have fun if they wanted to.

I thought of what Vic told us my Senior Girl summer at the end of PP&P: be a model camper. So I was. I participated at half-court tennis and actually had fun (shocking), ran out to the ballfield with a smile on my face and a boat-load of bug spray, and tried not to complain – even when my entire fifteen-day was a freezing cold, torrential downpour – because why complain when you’re at camp?

So, in the middle of the outback, with a group of people that I did not know, I decided to be a model camper; to make the best of every situation and have fun doing whatever I was doing. And it worked, just like Vic said it would. I could immediately see other people wanting to have as much fun as I was. They stopped complaining, started participating and had an incredible experience. The group dynamics improved, our staff were overjoyed and I was so grateful to have learned what I learned at camp.

Traveling the world has only grown my love and appreciation for Camp Tamakwa. There’s something so special about a summer at a place with no stress and your best friends. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t crying at the bus last night, wishing I was a JT who just spent their first summer at camp.

’Til we meet again… (hopefully soon)

Maddie Fink

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