To me, working as an outdoor educator, director, counselor — or whatever the role may be — is always worth the lack of security and comfort of a conventional job.
Talking with a camper who is struggling to make friends makes it worth it. Taking time to engage with a homesick camper makes it worth it. Having a meaningful conversation with a camper who made a wrong choice in his actions makes it worth it.
Each camper reminds me why this work is so important in their own unique way, but I was especially struck by a Deer Camper this session who reminded me how fun and exciting my job can be through his fervor for learning how to paddle a whitewater canoe.
Every now and then, a camper comes along who reinvigorates the stoke of both campers and counselors around him.
In this last classic session, this particular camper has impressed and inspired me by his tenacity to learn and energy behind all that he does.
He is present and gentle to younger campers, but he never struggles to connect with older campers or even the CITs.
On a whitewater canoeing trip last week, he was the youngest camper by a margin of four years, but his difference in age and size didn’t dictate his ability to perfect canoe strokes and have a blast doing it.
Over the next several days following the trip, he must have come up to me 10 times to ask when the next trip could be and if he could be in his own solo canoe.
Campers like this get me fired up.
Not only do they kindle my fire to teach paddling, but campers like this push me to be the best paddler I can be.
He is already seeing the rewards of his hard work, enthusiasm, and humble confidence on the river, and I sincerely hope he returns year after year to perfect his paddling and inspire the next generation of Rockmont boaters.
Assistant Camp Director