By Deanna Ludwick, Senior Camp & Outdoor Program Director
This year not only marks my eighth year at Camp Mary Atkinson, but my 20th summer at Girl Scout camp. Yes, that’s right – 20! 20 extraordinary summers filled with girls canoeing and kayaking in lakes, trying their hand at archery, challenging their fears, learning to swim, spending the night away from home the first time, singing silly camp songs, eating gooey S’mores, making new friends… the list goes on and on.
It truly has been 20 FUN years! Seeing campers return year after year and seeing many become counselors and camp staff, means I’m not the only one having a great time at camp! One of our former campers and now camp staff truly says it best – “a world without summer camp is just not as great.” And here’s more about what camp has meant to her:
Camp has had and continues to have such a profound impact on who I am and who I strive to be. Camp is the most amazing place where you can gain the most valuable experiences and lessons you need in the real world.
It was at camp where I first learned how to be independent from my parents and friends. I learned how important it is to make decisions for myself, but also how to cooperate and work together in groups. I learned how to love and appreciate all of nature, I learned the importance of being kind to everyone no matter what, and most importantly I learned how important it is to be unapologetically myself and to be comfortable with whom I am.
Both as a camper and as a staff member I have made timeless friendships with people from all different walks of life, and the most amazing part of camp friendships is that no matter how long it has been since you saw each other last, it seems like no time apart has passed at all. I can, without a doubt in my mind, say that without Girl Scout camp I do not know who I would be today, and honestly I am very proud of whom I have become. Girl Scout camp is my life!
As this story highlights, camp provides an opportunity for girls to build confidence, learn real-world lessons, and become a part of a supportive community of friends and mentors. In addition, spending time in the outdoors helps girls explore leadership, build skills, and develop an appreciation for nature. And we can’t forget about the FUN – girls greatly enjoy the outdoor experiences they have in Girl Scouts!
So why wait? Extend your Girl Scout experience this summer at Camp Mary Atkinson. Not only we will celebrate a new summer at Girl Scout Camp, we will celebrate our campers as they grow and learn, try new things in a safe environment, make new friends, and have FUN!