Hi. My name is Jocelyn Rossell and Camp Chen-A-Wanda is my home my away from home, my constant, and my happy place- even as an Alumni. As we all know, camp is a bubble and I feel truly grateful to have been a part of it.
My days at camp started in 2004 as a Junior girl. My parents say that I was born ready for camp and happily waved them off the bus on that first day wearing my custom Chenny shirt, red and gold hot loops, and my nails painted red and gold with Chen-A-Wanda across them. From that day, I knew that camp would be my home away from home. From playing on the sports fields to dancing in the dining hall, from writing songs for Girl’s Sing to Color War, and inevitably crying my eyes out on the last day, there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do to get to do it all again the next summer.
I was a CIT in 2011 and I thought nothing could beat that summer. I had done it all, even spray-painted Arts and Crafts, but I still couldn’t imagine my life without this place. I remember sitting on the Lake Court crying my eyes out, thinking how I’d come back and not get to be a camper and do it all over again. However, I thankfully realized that I did get to do it all over again, but instead through the eyes of eager young campers, just like I was eight summers before. I quickly saw them make those best friends connections with camper and counselors that we wouldn’t trade for the world, got to write songs for them to have them put on an amazing Girl’s Sing, and got to watch them develop a love for camp that is irreplaceable.
Those girls that I CIT’ed for were CITs themselves this past summer and used the quote “Did It For the Story.” While it may have felt like the end for them, like it did for me, I only hope that they go on to appreciate the counselor part of camp as much as I did. While my chapter at camp has come to a close, it definitely hasn’t meant that that was the end of the story. Though I still joke that I would love to be a Junior girl all over again, I would not trade my camp experience for the world. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about camp, talk to a camp friend, or have a song remind me such a specific memory of a certain summer.
I truly have camp to thank for shaping me into the person I am today. It was the place I grew up and learned the most, and those lessons have been with me every step of the way since. It was a place that’s given me life-long friends and little sisters that I couldn’t imagine my life without. To any camper or staff, new or returning, don’t take Chen-A-Wanda for granted, cherish each moment that you have inside that bubble because sadly it isn’t always possible for you to return. I left my mark and my camp story was over, but I will never not cherish Chen-A-Wanda and all that it gave me.