Camper to Counselor

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

I stood on the platform above Corey Lake at Camp Eberhart, goosebumps slowly forming as my teeth chattered from the cold wind’s touch on my bare skin. My eyes fixated on the dark blue hues and the ripples forming in the water below me. My hands gripped my sides as I focused on my mission. My fellow counselors-in-training and I had been instructed to close our eyes and jump. I knew I wasn’t the only one petrified by the thought of plunging into a lake teeming of seaweed based on the reactions of my peers. I felt their eyes follow me as I ascended to the top of the ladder, waiting for me to finally accomplish this simple yet terrifying task. The thirty feet of air separating me from the lake appeared endless; doubts began to surface and I convinced myself that I lacked the courage to follow through.

These feelings of uncertainty were not foreign to me; as a child, every new situation was a thirty-foot jump. I found it difficult to adapt to new environments. When my mother married my stepfather, his presence brought a darkness into my once happy atmosphere. The dynamic was ruined and instead of vocalizing my true opinions of him, I remained silent. I idly sat by as everything around me changed. With each moment that I desired to speak up but stayed silent, I became a sheltered version of the girl I could have been.

Until I arrived at Eberhart, I did not take chances. My silence in my own home had affected the way I approached life. The more walls I put up, the less willing I was to experience new things. Fearing to venture into the unknown, the loss of my voice crippled me. Camp Eberhart, the placid, woodsy, century-old camp in Three Rivers, Michigan, made the unfamiliar much less intimidating.

Every aspect about camp was new to me: the people, the surroundings, the activities. Meeting strangers, an already difficult task, was frightening. Going kayaking into Corey Lake whenever I felt the need to be alone helped me accomodate to the new, refreshing environment around me. The regret I carried, due to missed experiences that my apprehensive self had kept me from, was erased with each new moment at camp.

Going to Eberhart transformed me into a more outgoing, confident leader. The contrast between the way I lived my life at home to the way I lived my life at camp brought several moments of self reflection. Although every instinct told me to keep to myself, camp inspired me to step out of my comfort zone, with each new friend bringing out a different side of me. As my friendships strengthened, I began to accept myself and my voice. The time I spent at camp, surrounded by some of my now closest friends, where we jointly grew and explored the world around us, made me realize what living truly means. Camp returned to me the confidence and the voice I surrendered, which allowed me to form meaningful relationships and make numerous beautiful memories.

As I transition from camper to counselor, I hope to carry my past experiences as a camper with me, and provide a comforting environment for campers to express their opinion and allow their voices to be heard. I jumped off the thirty foot platform. I will continue to jump into every new opportunity to come. I hope to continue to be a role model and someone others are able to confide in. The lessons camp taught me are ones I want to relay to graduating seniors. I aspire to assist others in taking risks and jumping from their platform.

Leave a Comment