July 20, 2012
Where do I start raving about Chewonki? I was a 4 year tripper and before that went to Chewonki's old sister camp, ALC for 5 years. My experience at Chewonki started even before that. My mom worked in the offices there, and as a kid, there was nothing I would rather than run around campus with the other staff kids, playing games in the woods and sneaking popsicles from the kitchen. The 2 years that she worked there were some of the best of my childhood. I also did the vacation day camps every year, at least twice year, for probably 3 years. I remember falling into the farm's duck pond, building igloos, playing Camouflage in the woods, and assembling the skeleton of a whale. Not only was I getting incredible hands on learning experience from a young age, I also was having the time of my life. The same was true when I was on wilderness trips. I started on a trip that has since been stopped due to the founding of the Chewonki Girls Camp (which I can't say I have any experience with). It was an all girls 3 week canoeing trip. We lived in a yurt on base camp of 2 weeks, while doing day paddles, and then canoed down river for the last week. It was the perfect transition for me. After that trip, I wanted to challenge myself more, so for the next three years, I did a different type of trip every year. Sea kayaking, white water kayaking, and a hiking/canoeing combo trip were my choices. Those trips led me to some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. My leaders were inspiring, approachable, funny and super caring on every trip. My trip mates, despite differences in social status, age, and race, all bonded together as a family. On trips, you are a part of something bigger than you realize. After a few days, you fall so easily into your new trip life that you don't realize that is making a stronger, more thoughtful, and happier version of yourself. Even when a day seems like the worst you've ever had, you'll wake up in morning knowing that you made it through and that gives a feeling that is indescribably empowering. I had my fair share of tough days on every trip. My first year, while portaging a canoe for a couple miles, me and my partner lost our grips and the canoe came tumbling down.. on my face. Though my nose has never looked quite as straight, I look back on that day and laugh about how miserable I was, because I know that it really wasn't that bad of a day after the pain stopped. My experience at Chewonki really shaped me into a better person, with a love for everything around me. Despite the fact that I haven't been able to do trips for the past two years, I still carry everything I've learned with me. Chewonki gave me a sense of motivation and personal strength that has benefited my life in every way. I hope to work there next summer as support staff at the boys camp, so that I can give back at least a fraction of the amazing guidance I received as a camper, and to be able to be surround the strongest, happiest community I have ever been a part of once again. To all parents and prospective campers that have managed to read all the way through this, I want you to know that Chewonki has a place for everyone. The best choice I ever made was going, and finding out just how life changing a summer camp can really be.
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MY ROLE:Client Served & 4 year Wilderness Tripper.