Corey Unger

Hi. My name is Corey Unger and I am a proud Chenny Alumni. From 8 to 21 years old, one of the few constants in my life was where I would spend my summers. That place was Camp Chen-A-Wanda.

Both of my siblings went to Chenny and in the summer of 1999, I visited my sister, Allison, at camp for Visiting Day. For the first time ever, my sister cried as we were leaving. My mom then told Allison that I’d be joining her at camp next year as if that would make her feel any better. From the moment those words left my mom’s mouth, I was hooked. After Allison finally came back from camp, I asked (forced) her to tell me all about camp. That was my new “bedtime story.”  Allison would tell me things about camp activities, traditions, bunks, routines, and trips. My sister even made me charts about things you could eat in the Dining Hall (I was relieved to find out that bagels made the cut). I was obsessed, and I didn’t even truly know what I was obsessed with yet.

Summer 2000 rolled in and I got on the bus to Pennsylvania and never looked back, only knowing one girl I met briefly before camp started. There weren’t Facebook groups or ways to connect with campers easily beforehand. I went in blind. I still remember playing icebreaker games on the baseball field, meeting the girls I am forever friends with for the first time. As days and years passed, I became inseparable with my camp friends. The bond you make is one of a kind and reaches far beyond the bunk and the summer. Together we learned how to problem solve, connect, communicate, and grow as individuals. Whether it was by playing broken telephone, writing an Alma Mater for Girls Sing, or apologizing after a fight. These joint experiences created a friendship and sisterhood that is limitless. All it takes is a text or a photo to bring back a lifetime of memories, even if we haven’t seen each other in years. I am happy to say that we are still friends and make it a point to see each other a few times a year. We always have the best time.
After my CIT summer, I knew I would be back at Chen-A-Wanda to work. I had an amazing camper-counselor, Allie, who played a huge part in my CAW experience; I wanted to be that for someone else, or at least try. I became a Junior Counselor, General Counselor, and then a Group Leader for the girls I was a CIT for. I followed them from their Middy summer to their CIT summer. As my camp friends stopped coming back to camp, these girls continued to teach me lessons on building relationships, solving problems, seeing things from a new perspective and learning to roll with the punches. It was a tough job, one of the hardest I have ever had, but also the most rewarding. My campers became my little sisters and a new generation that loved camp was born. I am proud of the relationships I have built with them and they still text me for La Piazza dinner dates when home from college!

Not a day goes by that a song, a memory, a joke, or a picture doesn’t remind me of a Chen-A-Wanda. Seeing my camp friends and my campers grow and make positive changes in the world are amazing and those summers changed us all for the better. I am currently a Speech Language Pathologist in a special education school in Queens, New York. My time at Chenny and the lessons I learned continue to guide me in this role, and in all aspects of my life. It is impossible, to sum up, what a 14 year (but lifelong) experience has done for me in just a few paragraphs, but I tried. To the new campers just starting out on their Chenny careers, embrace it. I promise it will be worth it. To old/former campers, if you haven’t spoken to your camp friends in a while, send them a message or a picture. Reach out and make lunch plans. You won’t even realize how much you have missed each other until you do.