There’s maybe nothing more fun to me than getting to interview one of our campers. I love to hear, in their own words, just what it is about camp that they love (and even feedback on things that didn’t thrill them as much — after all, we always want to improve camp!)
This year I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Helms about her experience last year at Mini Camp. As you might recall, that was exactly when the historic 1,000 year flood hit the area around Lewisburg where Camp Alleghany for Girls is located. It made for a muddy week, but not a fuddy-duddy week — the show truly did go on and the flood played its own wacky role in it all.
Read on to hear from Sarah Helms.
Elizabeth: When did you first hear about Mini Camp (and from whom) and what did you think at first about the prospect of going to live in a tent and stay overnight away from your family all by yourself with other campers and counselors?
I was scared at first to go away from home but when I got there it was fun! And exciting!
Elizabeth: Do you have any family members who ever attended camp? Tell us about that.
Sarah Helms: My mom went to camp from when she was my age until now…along with her cousin Meg and my second cousin Caroline. Caroline was Head of Canoeing last summer when I was there, which was so cool. Her mom was there the first year my mom went to camp!
Elizabeth: What was your favorite thing about Mini Camp and say a little bit about how and why?
Sarah Helms: My favorite part about Mini Camp was Milk & Cookies! The cookies were my favorite part! I have a little bit of a sweet tooth! But seriously, the Car Wash was another favorite thing about Mini Camp that I loved. Car Wash happens on the blacktop and there are water balloons, water hoses, and soap. The water was really cold! But it was still lots of fun!
Elizabeth: What things were hard for you at Mini Camp? How did you feel about that?
Sarah Helms: I was worried about making it to my classes on time, and waking up earlier. I was worried about being late to my classes but it all worked out ok. As for waking up….you just get use to it, I guess!
Elizabeth: Were you ready to come home after Mini Camp or did you want to stay longer?
Sarah Helms: I was ready to come home because I hadn’t seen my family members in eight days. I got an extra day at camp because of the Mud Flood last summer.
Elizabeth: Who was your tent counselor and what did you do with her?
Sarah Helms: My tent counselor was Annie Tanner. She ate meals with us in the Dining Hall.
Elizabeth: What was it like sleeping in a tent? What was it like having tent mates?
Sarah Helms: That wasn’t new for me because of all my sleeping in tents from Family Camp but having tent mates was different from family. They were fun!
Elizabeth: What activities did you take? What did you think of your activity counselors and your activities?
Sarah Helms: Tennis, Canoeing, Rifle and Arts & Crafts. I loved my activities and the counselors. There were all so helpful. I learned new things from them. My favorite activity was Canoeing. I had to take a swim test where we treaded water for five minutes!
Elizabeth: Do you think about camp during the school year? What do you remember or what is special to you?
Sarah Helms: I think of camp during the school year…I think of my tent mate Lily because we have the same birthday!
Elizabeth: Is there anything that we didn’t ask you about Mini Camp that you want to tell us now?
Sarah Helms: That you meet a lot of new friends and new people. A lot of the Mini Camp Counselors knew me but I didn’t know them.
Elizabeth: If you knew that a little girl was thinking about coming to Mini Camp but she was unsure if it was going to be okay, what things would you tell her to make her feel more confident about coming?
Sarah Helms: I would probably say that Mini Camp was really fun and the activities that you choose can either be things that you are interested in or something totally new!
Elizabeth: I’m curious if you feel you learned anything new at camp about YOURSELF? Not a new activity, or a new friend, but what did you learn about YOU? Anything?
Sarah Helms: That I could stay in the river and tread water with out touching the bottom. And I didn’t know that I would be able to survive a flood! But I did!
Elizabeth: Now you’re coming back to camp for Term Camp — 3 weeks! What do you think and feel about staying at camp longer? Scary or…bring on Full Term — 6 weeks! 🙂
Sarah Helms: Bring on Full Term! I’m excited to be going 2nd Term this year and can’t wait to see what Term Camp is like!
The Magic of Camp!
Camp is a new experience for our youngest campers, even when they’ve come with their families as part of Family Camp.
Still, new schedules, personal responsibility, a first time with “roommates,” and being absent from family for a week creates new opportunities and occasional challenges. In the end, as you can see above (and in my 2016 interview with Mini Camper Ali), the girls love it and are eager to come back for more!
And your child can too. We still have some openings for Mini Camp and Term Camp. We’d love for you to register your daughter for camp!
If you want to learn more about the benefits of Mini Camp, please download my FREE e-book, “3 Reasons to Begin Your Child’s Sleepaway Summer Camp Journey Early.”
— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls