Although this is my second year serving as an AmeriCorps intern at Mt. Adams institute, this is my first experience working here at the camp, in-person with the campers and fellow counselors. I began my time with the program last summer, right in the middle of the pandemic. In-person summer camp had been cancelled and we were forging ahead with “At-Home Adventures” or “A-HA!” virtual camp. While online camp brought its own set of challenges and new experiences, I still found great value in the connections I was able to make with the campers, even through a computer screen.
That being said, when I found out that camp this year was going to run in-person, I was elated. Once I knew that we could safely run camp on site, I was filled with the familiar comfort and joy that working with children has always brought me. I couldn’t wait to have them on campus, design curriculum to get them excited about nature, teach them fun and silly games and create many projects and crafts using nature as our main medium.
This summer provided it’s fair share of uncertainty, as we navigated coming back to in-person programming, but I knew getting to connect with campers in our beautiful little space outdoors would allow me a way to find joy, excitement, silliness and fun during a time of constant changes. The campers I have gotten to work with this summer have graciously allowed me to ease my way back into a world of socialization, collaboration, routine, and creativity that has felt so absent during this past year. They have been patient with me, as I have tried to be with them. We’ve had a few struggles, but a lot of laughs shared between us. I love ending everyday with a new quote from a camper that made me laugh or smile or, sometimes, just melt.
We have had incredibly sweet messages from parents whose campers enjoyed their time with us and were grateful that we were providing a safe and fun space for kids to spend time as they came back out into the world. Those words have meant a lot to me, but I could write the same ones back to them. The campers have brought me back out into the world as well, and for that, I am very grateful.
Here’s to finishing up a beautiful summer that has held us so gently as we have walked back into the world a little fragile, but ready to start exploring once more.