Do yourself a favour: be a camp counselor

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To be honest, it’s hard to remember why I work at Camp Trillium. There’s those moments that will break you. When the days get long and hot, when the water search alarm starts to blare and you have to run into the lake, when the kids in your cabin are intentionally trying to get on your last nerve, when there’s a dead rat in the staff lounge, when you have to bring your cabin around for a whole afternoon on theme day, when the only thing you want to do is sleep for days – but you know you have to get up in 10 minutes.

But then there’s those moments that remind you why you do what you do and makes you realize how much camp has helped you grow. Seeing a smile, that lights up the world, on my camper’s face because of something I’ve done for them makes me feel like the richest woman on the face of the earth. I feel love when we hold each other during the goodnight song and sing silly songs about Princess Pat. I feel hope when I share  intimate moments with my family or special friend – when they open up their lives, make themselves vulnerable, and share their pain and their trials with me. These are the most precious moments at camp; when they can trust you enough to share their story without fear of judgment.

There’s something magical about Camp Trillium.  Camp Trillium is my second home – at the very least. Formally, it’s a camp that provides a normalizing experience for kids and families who have experienced childhood cancer: a childhood cancer support centre, if you will. It’s a place that shapes a person; it builds character, personality and confidence. A place where children, parents and counselors alike can stand on their own and be their own. It’s a place that celebrates life, no matter how old or how young you are.

Camp has never been and will never be just another “day job”. It’s an opportunity to be part of a community that will stretch your mental, physical and emotional limits into a better person. In hindsight, I don’t think I go back to CTRL so I can “help” families and have fun with the kids. No, I go because they have made me a stronger and better person.

Peace out, A-town, down,

Sarah

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I wrote this during my second summer working at Camp Trillium in 2013. If you’re in Canada this summer and you’re wondering how you should spend your summer, I highly recommend applying for a position at Camp Trillium. Guaranteed one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

 

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