Long time camper and former staff member Constance Dupuis recently had to come to terms with what camp is. Here’s her story. #whatsyourstory #campbigcanoe #KeepingtheSpiritAlive
In conversation with a close friend recently, she told me she had never been sent to over-night camp because her parents believed that sending kids to camp is what parents who don’t love their children do. I was speechless. And, true to form when shocked, I couldn’t articulate why I so intensely disagree. Now, after some reflection, here goes…
In fierce defense of camp:
I, like some Big Canoe campers, grew up going to camp. And as a kid, if I could manage to hold off starting my ‘count-down to camp’ until February or March, I was in good shape. At the time, it was clear to me that this was my count-down to FUN – friends, laughter, canoeing, swimming, campfires, out-trips.
But camp is so much more than those things. Kids, when they are camp aged, are at their most impressionable in terms of developing their sense of self. And what better way to allow a child to do some of that exploring than in such a safe environment, surrounded by staff members and campers who embody such diverse ways of being in this world?
Camp is magical because so much goes into creating opportunities for kids to push themselves, to step out of the boundaries and stereotypes that kids are so often assigned or decide to accept for themselves.
Most of what I know about healthy friendships is from camp: I learned to be accountable to a community, I learned that vulnerability isn’t a weakness, I learned to trust where my passion comes from and to follow it. I also learned how meaningful it is to be a part of creating that magic…
All of that to say that I’m grateful that my father loved me enough to send me to camp.