Friday, 23 October 2020 19:39

What Co-op Camp Has Given Me

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We asked a long-time Co-op Camper, Staffer, and Program Assistant, Kallin Kehrig, to tell us about what Co-op Camp has given him in his life.  I met this young man in January of 2019 and he made a lasting impression on me.  Here he is, in his own words, telling us about his experience.

 

When I first heard of Co-op Camp I was young, shy, and above all, I did NOT want to go to this new summer camp my parents had signed me up for.  Pulling up into a parking lot full of people I didn’t know was terrifying, especially because a handful were wearing silly costumes.  I remember asking my mom if I really had to go to this weird new summer camp.  It turns out that I did, in fact, have to go to this new summer camp.  The first words I told my mom when I got back from camp?  “Mom, I have to go back next year!”

Howdy-hey there reader!  I’m Kallin and I’ve been going to Co-op Camp as a participant and staff for six years now, and let me tell you, I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for Co-op Camp.  It played a huge part in my life ever since I first attended all the way back when.  So, how did all of the warm fuzzies, sessions, and camp change me?  How did it affect who I am, and why am I so grateful to camp?  All great questions!

When I first went to camp I was shy, awkward, and quiet.  One of the things I’m most grateful for is Co-op camp opening me up!  I was always awful at public speaking - that is until I started going to camp.  Camp helped give me the practice I needed to develop the skill in a safe environment.  So many sessions at camp involve some element of public speaking.  It got me out of my shell too and encouraged me to meet people that I wouldn’t normally meet, people who would become close friends of mine.  It helped me to connect to others and made me more comfortable sharing my ideas with others.

 

Building on that further, camp gave me the chance to develop my leadership skills as well!  While being a staff member has helped me in a huge way, even as a participant the program made me a much more confident leader.  So many sessions allow you to practice your leadership skills, which is invaluable as you become an adult and begin work or further education.  Camp also gave me an immense amount of confidence in myself in general.  As a matter of fact, I’d attribute Co-op camp to my success in job interviews, friendships, and volunteering.  It’s prepared me to be confident in myself and my abilities, to be prepared to talk to many people of diverse backgrounds, and above all, be comfortable while doing it!

Camp also gave me a lot of practical life skills.  I distinctly remember in my last year as a participant there was a lovely session all about personal financing and budgeting.  These are concepts I hadn’t really looked into much on my own.  As a functioning adult, it’s an important lesson to learn and gave me a huge leg up when I moved out on my own.  Camp was full of valuable life lessons like that.  Lessons that taught life skills, compassion, leadership, and empathy.  Lessons that encouraged critical thinking and being aware of the world around you.

Staffing camp only helped to reinforce these skills more!  Running sessions of your own is invaluable help for public speaking skills, and it taught me so much more about myself and about the content you’re presenting.  It taught me problem-solving skills for when things go wrong, and how to be adaptable.  SCYP Forged me into a leader.  If you were to compare the Kallin who walked into Co-op camp, who didn’t want to go, to the Kallin today?  It would be like they’re entirely different people!  Camp gave me a community where I was treated as an equal by everyone.  It taught me so many life skills that I’m sure I’ll use for the rest of my life.  It’s made me more comfortable with being myself, and it’s helped me to become more understanding of others and the world around me.

Even now, I find myself thinking the same thing as my first year at camp…  After each and every camp I staff, I always think to myself “I just HAVE to come back next year!”

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 November 2020 18:31