Camp is filled with a number of big events. We have fireworks on the 4th of July, Halloween, Carnival, Campfires and many more. It is easy to map your way through a summer at CEL using these big events as milestones. However, throughout my 15 summers at CEL I have found that big events often blend together throughout the summers and it is the small moments that really stand out. These small moments are what I like to call game changers! They are moments that at the time do not seem “big” but when looking back on them I realize how much that moment impacted me. They are the moments that I can think back on many years later and still remember what the weather was like, what I smelled, or what I heard while it was happening. They are moments that for one reason or another are ingrained in me and will forever have an impact on me.
Thinking back to my first summer as a counselor, now 15 years ago, I had a number of these small game changing moments at camp. I remember that summer being in the cabin with my campers during storms and they would play “Harry Potter” (with a broomstick and all) and put on fashion shows. These were not big planned moments, but they stuck with me because they provided us all with lots of laughter and became a way for our group to really bond, campers and staff alike.
I remember the first time I went to the high ropes course that summer and was so scared due to my life-long fear of heights. This moment may have not actually stuck with me, but I remember when roles reversed and a camper encouraged me to climb up the tree to a platform. I can still picture the counselor who was waiting at the top and gave me a big hug when I arrived shaking. These were two game changing moments for me. The words of encouragement I received and the simple act of a hug gave me confidence I needed to conquer a life-long fear.
These are moments that I still talk about with my campers 15 years later.
Camp is filled with small impactful moments. That is what makes it feel like such a special place. A bedtime story a counselor makes up on the fly can suddenly turn into the belly laugh that the group can bond over for the rest of the summer. A stormy day can suddenly turn into hockey tournaments in the cabin, that campers and counselors alike will never forget. These moments are when memories are made and 15 years later, a counselor like myself, can be thrusted back in time and remember every feeling that they had in that moment.
As both campers and counselors we are so lucky to get to be a part of those experiences. One small hand on the shoulder when someone needs to know you’re there for them, a smile passed across the room, or simply a fist bump, could be the moment that is a total game changer for somebody else. I cannot wait for some more game changing moments in Summer 2021!