How Lucky Am I? I have been a camper since I was 5 years old. Yes, 5 years old (at my first camp) and when visiting day came and my parents ran over to hug me…I wouldn’t get up from my Nok Hockey game (lol). My camp day memories are as clear as the day they happened; being a Color War Lieutenant, a Color War General, creating and publishing the camp yearbook to candles floating on the lake as we sang our alma mater on the last night of camp…I was simply heartbroken when I took my first job and had to give up camp.
But I got another chance and I am still able to say #ILive10For2! My journey at Camp Chen-A-Wanda started the summer of 1995 when I was looking for a camp for my son, Howard (some of you may know him). We toured 3 camps, and this is the camp he loved.
Howard spent 2 summers at camp before my husband, Evan, started to work as the camp doctor for the first two weeks of the summer. In 2001 when my daughter, Sheri, was old enough to go into a bunk I was hired to work in the office.
This will be my 18th summer at Chen-A-Wanda. As the Office Manager, I work with everyone from Campers, Parents, Counselors, Support Staff to Head Staff. I do a lot of behind the scenes, from creating parent information, camper forms, scheduling camper phone calls, to making sure your camper has his/her allotted spending money for their trips. During Orientation Week, when I speak to the staff I always tell them, I am the person to ask when they aren’t sure who to ask since either I will know the answer or else I will know where to direct them.
How does one describe Chen-A-Wanda – it’s the place where as soon as you step on the camp grounds, you feel as though it was yesterday that you were with “your family.” It only takes hours for the “first timers” to be a part of the family! It’s a place where you can be yourself, where you grow and mature. It’s a place where you are ageless. It’s a place that time stands still, yet it flies by.
One of the greatest joys is seeing the personal growth of the kids. Before they know it, they are Junior Counselors, making that hard transition. But then, they realize how much fun it is, being looked up to, creating relationships with their campers just as they had looked up to their counselors.
There is nothing more beautiful than leaving my Mountain Top room as the sun rises; walking down the hill to beautiful Chenny Central. The start of another fun-filled day of music, activities and awesome singing in the Lodge. Watching these kids (staff included) dancing and singing their hearts out is indescribable. The icing on the cake, watching the sunset over Fiddle Lake as we close the office for the night.
Last weekend Evan and I drove to Pennsylvania. We went to some of our favorite places in the area before stopping at camp to drop some things off. As we drove down Camp road we saw people ice fishing on Fiddle Lake instead of boats and swimmers. It was quiet, but that feeling, that special feeling that I get every time I see the Chen-A-Wanda sign and I turn onto Camp Road was there…I knew I was home!