For six years, nearly every summer, I’ve disconnected from the outside world and escaped to my second home at Ryde Lake Camp – an all-girls camp located in Muskoka. However, returning to the camp this year was a little bit different. This year, I was preparing to become a camp counsellor.
As I entered the campsite this year, I felt a newfound wave of anticipation rush through me. Realization had hit me that I was no longer a camper, but a Counsellor-In-Training (CIT). I knew this year was going to be different than other years and couldn’t help but think about what could go wrong. What if I mess up on something important? What if I have a hard time with children? How on Earth do I stern a canoe? However, these fears soon dispersed as the two weeks went on.
Throughout those two weeks, we went through various CIT sessions. Some of these sessions including physical activities such as teaching archery (shooting arrows using a bow), building fires, and kayak rescues – an exhausting exercise of tipping a kayak in water and properly being able to get back in. Although these sessions were tiring, they were also extremely fun! I was able to learn so much and do things I would never have imagined.
Aside from physical sessions, there were also other CIT sessions where we would discuss possible issues or learn more about the camp. These sessions included ways to get along with campers of different ages, building leadership skills, and learning about the camp’s history. During these sessions, we were given different scenarios and had to give ways we would deal with them, like how we would treat a camper who is homesick.
Yet, the most memorable thing about being a CIT wasn’t the various sessions, but rather the experience. Through the CIT program, I was able to take risks and try things I would normally be afraid of doing. I learned that dealing with small children was actually not terrible. However, what stood out to me the most was the long-lasting friendships that came through these two weeks.
Though I was nervous to meet the other CITs at first, and I’ll admit – a little intimidated, staying in a cabin with the 8 other girls was definitely something I would never forget. From all the laughter, songs and tears, I personally thank my fellow CITs for giving me the best two weeks of my life. I have learned so much from this program, not only about the difficulties of being a camp counsellor but also learning new things about myself. I am excited to see what next year will bring!
To learn more about Ryde Lake Camp and their CIT program, please visit: http://www.rydelakecamp.com/girls.html