Where I Began: Anonymous
One of our long time campers had a school assignment recently called “Where I Began.” She writes about how camp has shaped her into a strong and independent young girl, and how this small camp in Connecticut had such an impact on who she is now.
Where I Began
Camp Mohawk; a tranquil all girls sleepaway camp stuck in the 2000’s in all the best ways. Nestled between Mohawk Mountain and Mohawk Pond, it is here where I discovered my love for kids, the importance of girl-love, and the value of a good role model. Over my three years at camp I have been blessed with girls who have grown to be my best friends and my sisters, and it is a privilege to have been hired as a counselor to carry on this philosophy and assist other girls on their journey to discover the kind of person they want to be.
Ask any camper in the Senior Unit last summer and they will tell you that our cabin was in fact a family. We were the loudest singers in the dining hall, the recipient of the third place prize in the talent show (even though we wrote our song in 1 hour,) and the ones who shed the most tears during dinner that last night. Although I cannot identify a specific moment when I knew this place had changed my life and shaped my heart, I know it happened within the four walls of my cabin last summer.
Camp life is viewed as detached from real life. We are our own thriving little world up there in Litchfield, free of cell phones and their quick fix to pass time. In its place, friendship bracelets are the activity of choice to fill the little downtime we have. It is common to see girls with finished colorful bracelets decorating wrists and incomplete ones made easy access tied to water bottles. Finishing a bracelet is an immediate accomplishment and when I found myself with too many for my own use, I started giving them away to younger campers. This small and perhaps insignificant act on my end showed me that little acts of kindness can truly make someone’s day-as cliche as that sounds.
As the oldest campers, we know that how we act and speak to each other will be observed and copied by the younger campers. This is not much different than my life at home, where my 7 year old sister is always on my heels. Everywhere you turn, there are elementary Jawaks and middle school Utes watching as the “big girls” dance and laugh and have fun. The same can be said about the older girls watching the counselors. Through this role model totem pole, I have learned to act with integrity with everything I do, as if my little sister or a young camper was making note of my actions.
Camp Mohawk is unparalleled in its capacity for love and call for adventure. It is unlike anything I have ever experienced and I am so fortunate to have found this place and the best friends that came along with it. It has taught me optimism, integrity, the importance of being a leader, and how to appreciate what is around me. I have learned more about myself here in a collective six weeks than I will ever learn within the confines of a classroom. Camp continues to present deep rooted empathy and what it means to act out of love. This is the kind of place where I want to begin.