For the past six months, I’ve been volunteering 12-24 hours a week at my local rescue squad, training to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). It is probably the most edifying, challenging, overwhelming, and enjoyable thing I’ve ever done.
The rush of knowing I helped to save someone’s life is something that fosters a sense of awe and humility. So, after half a year spending a full day every week at the rescue squad, leaving is very difficult (even if it’s only for two months). It’s especially tough since if I was staying home this summer I’d already have completed my EMT course and would be working on my probationary period prior to full independent EMT certification.
Should I stay or should I go now
I think that there are potentially a lot of counselors and campers who also have these qualms about coming to camp — they’re excited about camp but there are things at home that just seem too important to leave behind, be it friends, work, family, or anything else.
While leaving these things may seem extremely difficult, it’s also important to realize that they’ll still be there when you get back.
It’s something that sounds simple, but it can be hard to reconcile when you’re going away for three weeks, six weeks, nine weeks…the fear of losing out on something, or falling behind on something, can be daunting.
It’s true that at camp you sometimes do feel disconnected from your home life. But never in a bad way. Instead of it feeling like your friends and family are unreachable, it feels sort of like you’re in another world with an entire other family, made up of your closest friends.
Camp as counterpoint
Of course, you will miss out on a few things at home — pool days, late night movies, family dinners — but at camp you’ll float down the river, celebrate Fourth of July (or Christmas in July!!), and the famous Camp Alleghany Banquet, and how could anyone ever want to miss out on those?
Another thing is that just because you’ve left something at home, it doesn’t mean there aren’t applications at camp. I certainly plan to use my lifeguarding skills at camp, and even draw on my experience on the rescue squad in just being a very prepared, focused, Junior Counselor (JC) who has my crew in order with safety first! 🙂 Rescue squad experience can help me at camp and experiences from camp can help me back at rescue squad!
Same thing if your passion is something else — at camp you can still stay in shape, practice, and train in other ways that enhance your sport, or art, or music or leadership!
Although the rescue squad has been a huge part of my life recently, camp has been in my life for the past five years, and in my family for the past 70 years. I’ve been looking forward to my JC summer since the 2nd day of my 1st year at camp. I can’t imagine a summer spent in a house instead of a tent, in a pool instead of the Greenbrier River, watching TV instead of watching the Dance Show.
All in all, I think that leaving things behind is 200% worth it, because not only do you get to have the amazing, unique, sublime summer that is Camp Alleghany — when you get back you can talk all about it to your friends in band, on the team, or at rescue squad!
–Chloë-Ester Cook, Alum and Junior Counselor, Camp Alleghany for Girls