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 natural 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 in the summer of 2007. 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 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, 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 laid in the meantime, constantly improving and changing myself.
I have broken out of my cycle of self-repression at last, all thanks to the power of Camp Kanata.
Until Next Time...
Camp Kanata Counselor, Alpine Tower Chief, 2013