Camp Changed My Life

To understand the profound changes that Camp Kanata has made in my life it's important to know me beforehand.

It's quite safe to say that I was an awkward and socially ineffective child. I don't quite know what led me to the state I was in before coming to Kanata. Maybe it was my naturally shy disposition, or events in my life that shaped me, or the environment in which I was raised. Either way, the symptoms of my painful social anxiety were evident.

I was incredibly uncomfortable in even the smallest interactions with strangers, such as conversing with my classmates or even talking to retail staff. I would avoid social situations at nearly all costs.

In light of all this, it is still a mystery to me why I sought out overnight camps one summer. A simple flier from Camp Kanata came to my house one day and my parents prompted me about it.

I was skeptical at first, but the picture of a rock climber on the cover swayed me and I decided to give the camp a shot. I had never gone to an overnight camp before, but I decided not to trouble myself with this difference.

The day I arrived at Camp Kanata was an interesting one. I was only twelve years old and immediately placed into the oldest cabin, which of course intimidated me. People around me were friendly, but they had a certain confidence that I did not yet.

My first night was spent with negative feelings and a strong desire to return home and give up.

How incredibly glad I am to have stuck through it.

From that point forward, the week only improved. I made friends fast, enjoyed my activities immensely, and began to feel the spirit of Camp Kanata. By the end, I was fully convinced that I had made a very important and good decision by coming to camp. I learned so much about myself in six days and unlocked the doors of confidence that I had kept closed for so long.

In fact, I was convinced after this week that I wanted to be a camp counselor.

The effect of camp was immediate and profound. Even upon leaving the magical place my parents noticed a great difference in me; I was more talkative, and confident, and would take unheard of amounts of initiative in social situations. I made an active decision to apply the lessons learned at camp to become the person that I had always wanted to be.

The years following my first summer at Kanata were marked by my ever-improving experiences at the camp. My whole school years were spent in anticipation of returning to camp for just another few weeks. I kept building myself up on the foundations that camp day and constantly improved and changed myself.

I have broken out of my cycle of self-repression at last, all thanks to the power of Camp Kanata.

Until Next Time...
Michael S.
Camp Kanata Counselor, Alpine Tower Chief, 2013

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