Ely: Transitioning from Camper to Full-Time Team Member
A letter to my 10-year-old self…
Hey Ely, it’s me… also Ely. Your future self from 12 years from now. I have some exciting news, the camp that you are about to sign up for has officially become your full-time job. Don’t worry you are still teaching dance and your students are awesome, but in a few months you are going to get on a bus and make your way to the greatest place on the planet, Camp Chi.
It is going to feel overwhelming, you are going to meet so many people, do so many amazing things, and it’s going to feel scary and exciting all at once. So, when you get there, slow down, take a deep breath, and find a way to really take in the moment, because there is not anything quite like the feeling of taking those first steps into camp. But also remember to drink water because it is going to be hot and you get overheated real easy, and pool will not be for another few hours.
During this first summer you are going to feel a little weird, you might describe it sort of like a dream, but it’s not. Chi is going to be everything you need it to be and more, and although even now 12 years later it is hard to find the words to describe it. The journey you are about to start will be the most fulfilling experience. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes things will be hard, in the weeks and years to come not everything is going to be perfect. But that is what makes it so special. It is a place where you are going to learn so much about yourself and you are going to become a version of yourself that I know you will be proud of.
When you eventually become a counselor, you are going to second guess yourself. You are going to think you are doing it all wrong. But you can do this, by that point you are going to have so much love for camp and all you have to do is let that love carry you through everything you do. Remind yourself of all the reasons camp is so important to you and let that guide your choices as a staff member. Because by the time it is your third summer as staff, you are going to feel so good about the work you are doing at camp and the impact you are having. Even when you feel frustrated, you are going to put your campers first and you are going to give them and yourself the best summers yet.
Then it is going to start all over again. When you start as a supervisor, the fear of failure is going to be there, but so are your friends, your co’s and your supervisors. They all have your best interests at heart and are there to help you succeed. So, use them, do not do that thing where you take on too much and think everything falls to you. Everyone is willing and able to help you and hold up their end of the deal because just like you, they are going to want to give the campers the greatest summer ever.
After all that you are going to start thinking about what you want to do when you finish school. You are going to feel lost, and you are going to feel anxious about what the future is going to look like. But take it one step at a time. Things will work themselves out because you are going to stay true to yourself and continue doing the things you love. You are going to have that same feeling you are about to have when you start camp, that it feels like a dream. There are not many people who get the opportunity to take the things that make them genuinely happy and make them their careers. But you do. And beyond just doing the things you enjoy, you are going to help others find their happiness and watch them grow into the best versions of themselves.
So, I am going to ask that in the next couple of years as a camper, you really soak in everything that camp has to offer. The good, the bad and the incredible, because it is all working towards making you the person you are now.