Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Camp Tanuga


My next adventure was as a camp counselor! I was previously a camper one summer, in elementary school, but was so pathetically homesick I didn't have a chance to truly embrace the experience. Picture me holding onto my mom's pant leg begging her not to leave me. Oh, and letters with messages on the envelope like 'I want to come home!'

::glad that phase didn't last long. wouldn't have worked well with southern gent's travel schedule::

So at the close of my freshman year in college, I decided to revisit that innate desire to be at camp. It boggles my mind looking back...I didn't know a single sole or have any connection to Tanuga. I found it online and it sounded like a nice place. It was in Michigan and they needed a counselor who could double as a water ski instructor. Ah-ha, that was me! I had a phone interview and was offered the position.
They sent a list of items to bring, and off I went. My mom drove me 6 hours to Tanuga. The counselors arrived a couple weeks early to prepare for the masses. The camp director led me to my cabin and pointed to a couple shelves I called mine. They said the other counselors were up-the-dirt-road at a bar/restaurant and I should join them. So my mom drove me up to the eatery, we said our goodbyes & I wandered inside. Looking back, that moment was surreal. My mom now tells me she peered through the windows to make sure I was ok. I am sure she was a mess. I was a young adult spreading my wings & completely open to brand new experiences...taking risks along the way. Cell phones were not a part of everyday life at that time. There was literally one payphone for the entire camp to use. If you heard the payphone ringing, it was probably my mom trying to call in! At least one of us adjusted well that summer. Love you mom ;D
Camp Tanuga was everything you can imagine. Mornings at the flagpole, talent shows, bike trails, archery, horse rides, arts & crafts, nalgene bottles, ghost stories, sail boats, s'mores, high ropes courses, poison ivy, summer crushes & milk n' cookies. I was a counselor for a cabin of 13 year-old girls. We traveled to Canada & Upstate New York that summer with the cabin. A 16 passenger van is always an endeavor. My favorite camper that summer is now a stylist/artist in NY City. We stay in contact and that makes me smile.

Time keeps moving whether we fill it with substance, or just stand around. Fill your years with memories you can be proud of. Take risks!

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