Editor’s Note: We’re so excited to post these two personal stories by Sally Meek and Viv Shields, some of our former 16s, about what camp did to help them grow in their teenage years. Going forward, our previous 16s program is now for our 15-year-olds, who will now be the oldest campers in camp, and a Leaders-In-Training Program is being added for 16-year-olds who will be in-betweeners — that is, neither campers nor staff members but in a program all their own for developing leadership and life skills.
Coming Back and Going With the Flow
Last year, I wasn’t able to return to Camp Alleghany for Girls due to other activities I was doing outside of camp. But I was so upset to miss out on everyone and everything because camp is truly where I am happiest.
This summer I was somewhat nervous to return to Alleghany because I had missed a whole summer of bonding. But as I drove into camp my anxiety faded because I knew that I was home. ‘Ghany is my second home even if I missed a summer!
As camp began, I immediately got back into the swing of things. I think it’s easy to get back into the swing of things because no one is afraid to be themselves at camp. All ‘Ghany girls are so open to new relationships, mostly because we are unplugged from screens and social media.
Becoming friends with the girls new to Second Term last year was new, but I’ve loved getting to know them. It’s difficult coming back to relationships that have already grown; inside jokes have been shared and stories have been told that I missed out on from last summer. But it’s getting better and easier to adjust to the changes.
This summer has reassured me that if I can be myself, I can make friends. I’m better from being assured that this is my place. I have never been happier. I have also learned that the way I act and the way I react to positive and negative things affect everyone around me.
— Viv Shields, Alumna, Camp Alleghany for Girls
Loving Being Back
Sadly, coming to camp my 15s summer wasn’t a part of my plans. But by the end of that summer I realized how much I missed Camp Alleghany. But then I came back for my 16s summer and realized I experienced triumphs, challenges, and growth.,
Many people referred back to last summer — that 15s summer I missed — and what happened, leaving me clueless. One of those things was what was different about camp, like for example a new Program Director, Casey Tucker, who I didn’t know like they did.
Many people asked me why I didn’t go to camp last summer, which wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to focus on. I came back for Full Term this past summer, which meant I was meeting the First Termers for the first time, and that was a triumph and a challenge because of making new friendships and finding my place within that. Thankfully this didn’t take long!
I loved getting to salvage my lost year as a camper by enjoying my last year as a camper in the 16s Program. And I enjoyed coming back with a new, more positive mindset about summer camp after missing a summer and seeing how much I appreciated it. It made me eager to bond with the girls in my age group even more!
We all wait to finally be the oldest girls in camp and to be a leader for the younger campers like the 16s once were for us. I loved that!
It was very exciting to get to bond with the Full Termers who usually go First Term. And coming back as a 16 with so many new privileges was something to really savor!
How I’m Better
Coming back to camp after missing a summer made camp even more something to look forward to because of the 16s Leadership Class and the opportunity to learn to be a better leader.
At home, being a leader isn’t always my strong suit, so I’ve been looking for help in this area. Also, this summer I quickly realized how much of an influence I have on everyone and everything around me, which taught me that being positive and always looking on the bright side is so important. I’m very excited about how my 16s experience at camp will affect me for the rest of my life.
—Sally Meek, Alumna, Camp Alleghany for Girls
Editor’s Note: We thank these former campers (now alumnae) for sharing their stories of joy about coming back to camp after missing a summer, and we congratulate them on their personal growth after finishing their final summer as campers!