Sam “Skinny” Smith

Hi, I’m Sam “Skinny” Smith and this is my Camp Chen-A-Wanda story…

It was the almost the Summer of 2014. The summer was quickly approaching and me being a 19-year-old student, I had no plans for the summer. Luckily, a good friend of mine, Michael Evans, got in contact with me and started explaining how he had applied to work at a summer camp in Pennsylvania. Next thing, I am all set to work as a counselor at Camp Chen-A-Wanda!

I still remember the mad panic of getting the job, then rushing the visa, and finally, after all the flights and travel, getting to camp (three days after Staff Orientation had begun). I had made it and I will never forget my first night walking into the Counselors Lounge, jet-lagged, and desperate for my bed. The instant I walked in, Michael jumped at me and drags me to a group of four people playing a game. I remember first being terrified and then quickly getting to know them, and I still see a few of them every year at camp.

Even though my friend who introduced me to the idea of working at a summer camp was not up for a second summer, I did. The homely, friendly, and active style of camp had me instantly thinking I will be coming back here for more! Four summers so far in fact (and counting).

I don’t know whether it was “my boys” or the general camp vibe and excitement from all the campers and staff alike, but camp soon felt like home. Now as my next summer approaches, I am known by all my friends for constantly talking about camp and trying to recruit them to the next summer. It seems to be the first thing I ask people about if they mention looking for outdoor work.

I can honestly say that I have made some of my strongest connections through camp and still have members of the “Cheny Family” that I haven’t seen in multiple years, but can still speak to on a day to day basis! The summer at CAW are always different and seem to be getting better and better each year. Although “my boys” were CIT’s last year and some of the will not be returning this summer, I am still confident I will have a great summer back at camp. Now if I can only speed up time and get there now…