Carolann Del Bene

You never think that you could miss a place or the people you are with for only two months as much as myself after working at Camp Chen-A-Wanda. I started working at CAW in 2014, and my life changed for the better. My best friend had worked there the summer before, so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but you don’t truly understand what you’re getting into until you experience it for yourself. I was told so many stories and how when the campers leave on the last day of camp, I would hysterically cry. I remember thinking to myself, “Cry? Me? Absolutely not!” Let me tell you, on that last day, I cried like a baby.

My first summer at camp, I was a basketball specialist – I got paid to teach and play basketball all day and got to hang with my amazing Junior girls (what could be better?). The following summer in 2015, I became the Group Leader for my girls who were now Middies. In 2016, I was coming back as a Group Leader and a few days before leaving for camp, I was asked to be an Assistant Head Counselor for Mohican Camp and that’s where I still currently am! CAW is so amazing and will change your life regardless of the position you hold. The environment is just something to smile about. The bonds and relationships that you create at Chenny, whether it’s between you and your campers or with the other counselors, is amazing.

Working at camp was a blessing in disguise for me as I was studying to become a Health and PE teacher in college. At times, I was shy and didn’t want to stand out, but Chen-A-Wanda changed that about me…after only one summer! There were so many times to act silly or do something you’re totally not used too, and I am so thankful for that. Now, I’ve dressed up like Hannah Montana and got on stage as if it’s nothing to perform in the Lip Sync Battle in front of the entire camp – that’s around six hundred people! Besides being thankful for camp taking me out of my comfort zone, I am also more than thankful for the lasting friendships that I have made along the way. Even though we are only together for two months, the friends I have made have become my best friends!

For me, being a captain for Color War was a huge highlight! Having a staff Facebook group helped answer a ton of questions, but also had me anxious as many staff members have been there for multiple summers, tons of camper counselors and a lot of Junior Counselors. I was nervous throughout the summer even though I was receiving positive feedback. Coming to work at a summer camp and not being a camper counselor felt difficult even though you were doing a great job! You don’t really know or understand the environment right away and it can be intimidating as some have been at camp for almost 10 years, even if it is their first summer being a counselor. I felt like I was the new one to this place, unfamiliar with camp, and that it would be hard to fit in. With that being said, I never thought I would receive Color War Captain. I remember when it happened, being so shocked, but so humbled. It was a great feeling knowing that I did fit in, and was just as good. Ever since the first week of my first summer, I knew, Camp Chen-A-Wanda would be my home away from home…for a very long time. Bring on Summer 2018!