"Can I come help at camp tomorrow?"
A high schooler who faithfully served at camp as long as she could texted me the other day to ask if she could come by camp. Even with all the fancy emojis and ways you can add embellishments to a text, there wasn't enough to get the exuberance of my yes across.
This girl is awesome. She now spends her time at Berry College doing great things and being a great person. She has worked at a few other camps but always comes by to visit when she can. She's one of those people who makes you feel good about yourself and is genuinely interested in knowing how you are. She cares about people and she's willing to do whatever is needed to be helpful.
As she walked into camp with her little sister who is still a camper, I knew it would be a great day. I abandoned my post at the breakfast line (they really don't need me there, I just like to feel helpful) to catch up with her.
"I can't believe how much I missed this place. When I got here all the memories flooded in and I never want to leave."
I think I covered it well, but I could have cried in that moment. That's what camp is all about. It's about the people that participate feeling like they are a part of something bigger. It's about feeling like you belong even when you've been away for a while. It's about friendships and tradition and fun. To have the feedback from someone who has seen camp through the years and had the opportunity to compare it to other similar organizations and say that we are where they feel at home is the highest praise we could ask for. As honored as we are to receive grants and awards from outsiders who take the time to discover us and recognize the work we try so hard to accomplish, the work we do is not to please them. It's about our participants.