by Samantha Field – Camper & Staff 2000-2013
Session 3 2000. This was a summer that for many people will never be forgotten. I am sure just mentioning that year gives some PeeWee staff a little anxiety, remembering being stuck at camp, standing on a ladder searching for signal on those HUGE cell phones. Looking after nervous children away from home, missing their parents, hoping that the flooding would stop, and the road would soon be drive-able.
Session 3, 2000. I saw the camp on the news before I had the chance to see it in real life. I remember being woken up and brought downstairs to the TV to see what was happening, and finding out I wasn’t going the next day. This big dirt road was being washed over by an immense amount of water, and a guy with pointy blonde hair made a joke asking if anyone needed a cook for a few days. His name was Macco perhaps?
Session 3, 2000. I was 10 and going to Camp Big Canoe for the very first time. I had no idea that my life was about to change. I wonder if my parents did. I wonder when they made the decision to send me to camp if they knew then that I would never be the same again. Did they know that when I got off the bus and met my first ever counselor, Sarah Horsley, I would learn the importance of creativity, confidence and laughter? Did they know I would come home singing off key at the top of my lungs feeling more empowered than ever before?
Session 3, 2000. When we discuss that summer, there is always a story. For the staff it was packing in 12 days of awesome into 10 days of camp. I’m sure as a tripper it was trying to fit all those trips, organizing schedules and working longer hours packing and unpacking. As a Director it was safety, dealing with anxious parents and news reports. But for a camper it was an experience that will never be undone. Day one we sat on the playing field and a girl, Tabatha, in pink leggings brought out candy she had on the bus, for everyone to share. “Food is meant to be eaten” said Sarah, unknowingly ridding the group of any body issues that might have been stirring in a 10 year old’s head. Walking to the beach I remember telling Sarah she had a wedgy. I suppose I thought she didn’t know. She responds, “I just have one bum cheek bigger than the other.” Straight face, very serious, she just kept on walking. That was one of those lollipop moments, well I suppose they are all lollipop moments. Moments that impacted my life in an enormous way but breezed by someone else. One bum cheek bigger than the other. This is when I learned to be proud, that everyone is different and to love and embrace your uniqueness. Then I realized it wasn’t the truth and that is when I learned how important it is to laugh at yourself.
Session 3, 2000. I fell in love. I fell in love with the outdoors, with nature and the activities you can enjoy by just being outside. I fell in love with the art of meeting people, making friends and discovering new relationships. I fell in love with growing a community, building trust and respect, and with the endless possibilities the world presents. I fell in love with leadership, group development and teaching. In Session 3, 2000 I began my journey: 5 years as a camper, 8 years on staff and a lifetime devoted to teaching the skills and lessons I learned at Camp Big Canoe. Every single year is a new adventure, ever adventure is full of new lessons.