From Camper to Captain
by Yaretzi Valeria Perez Colin
Camp experiences often hold a special place in our hearts, and for me, it’s been no different. In this blog post, I’ll share insights into the daily routine and unique moments at camp, as well as my personal journey from being a camper to taking on the role of a team captain. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or curious about camp life, there’s something to learn from my experiences.
The Camp Experience:
At camp, the girls are grouped by age and begin their day with early prayers and Mass, followed by a wholesome breakfast. Throughout the day, a series of talks and activities revolve around the camp’s theme. This year, our theme was gratitude, and Father Heenan emphasized the importance of being thankful for all life’s experiences, even the challenging ones. One standout activity involved a gratitude mailbox, where we recorded daily blessings.
Accompanying us throughout the camp are nuns from various congregations and the girls’ mothers. Some cherished camp traditions include the talent show, reminiscent of “America’s Got Talent,” and the campfire sessions where we roast chocolates and hotdogs while singing songs. Father Heenan also presents a moral-based play, with assistance from mothers and girls. Although there’s time for the girls to enjoy the pool, free time is limited.
My Personal Camp Experience as a Camper:
In previous years, I enjoyed the camp as a camper, finding the experience incredibly fun. While discipline is essential, camp life isn’t a vacation where you do as you please. It’s a unique opportunity to live alongside other girls, creating lasting bonds. The talks contribute to our spiritual growth, and daily Mass and continual prayer serve as reminders of God’s constant presence, making Our Lord the focal point of camp life.
Having a priest like Father Heenan at camp is a remarkable aspect of the camp. His availability for conversations, confessions, or guidance adds depth to the camp experience. The presence of nuns is equally beautiful, inspiring reflection on one’s vocation and the monastic life. The nuns’ smiles and joy are exemplary, mirroring Father Heenan’s availability for meaningful discussions.
Games and activities keep boredom at bay, ensuring that camp remains an enjoyable experience. The pool offers a fun escape, a cherished part of camp life. It’s crucial to note that camp organizers emphasize the separation of time for Mass and play, ensuring a balanced schedule that respects both spiritual and leisure activities.
My Experience as a Team Captain:
This year marked a significant change for me as I transitioned from being a camper to a team captain. The journey began before the camp with preparation talks by Father Heenan, which helped us understand the responsibilities that lay ahead. We arrived a few days early to prepare materials, clean, and mend tents, allowing us to strike a balance between relaxation, prayer, and Mass.
Once the campers arrived, my role changed dramatically. As a captain, I took charge of welcoming and managing my team. It was a demanding but fulfilling role. My team consisted of older girls, so my responsibilities were different, involving more mature issues such as addressing gossip.
Being a captain demands a great deal of effort and constant motivation. It’s challenging to maintain team spirit and set a positive example, even when things get tough. Each captain faced unique challenges, but despite the difficulties, none of us regretted our role. We all grew close to our teams and relished the experience, firmly believing that our team was the best.
Camp life offers a rich tapestry of experiences, from the joy of being a camper to the challenges and rewards of being a team captain. Both roles come with their unique aspects and lessons. As a camper, I cherished the camaraderie, spiritual growth, and the presence of Father Heenan and the nuns. As a captain, I learned responsibility, leadership, and the art of maintaining team morale. In the end, camp life, whether as a camper or a captain, is an unforgettable journey filled with growth, lasting friendships, and cherished memories.