A day in the life of: Sam
Spend a virtual day with Sam, a counselor in the Green Cabin at Camp Promise-East. She's been coming to camp since 2015 and says thinks about camp all year long!
Day 0: Orientation for volunteer staff
I wake up early in the morning and am somehow even more excited than last summer. As a returning counselor I am not only incredibly thrilled to meet the new counselors and new campers, but also to see the familiar faces I grew to love in just one short week last summer. After arriving and embracing old friends and introducing myself to new counselors, I also get the privilege to lend a helping hand to those who were in my shoes last year during orientation.
Orientation includes hours of hands-on training and although extremely thorough, most things are learned and perfected throughout the week. We are taught everything from hoyer lifts to meal time expectations. The most important thing we learn is to ask not only other counselors for help, but to trust that our campers know best and will guide you best for in their needs and comfort throughout the week. The counselors and staff continue to bond and learn new things for the upcoming week and then are encouraged to get a good rest that first night before campers arrive. While the week ahead is fun and exciting, it will also be exhausting
Day 1: Camper arrival
The campers arrive and after the initial hectic organization of paperwork, medication, equipment, and luggage transfer, the fun begins. In 2016, the first day happened to be the Fourth of July, so you bet we were all decked out in theme as we are every day. Cabins are separated based on campers’ ages and we spend Day 1 getting to know our amazing group we’ll be spending most of our time with. As a Green Cabin counselor the past 2 summers, it has been an awesome, high energy group of campers each year with other counselors equally as passionate about having fun and encouraging the youngest kids at camp, as I am.
No matter the weather, we always having a blast and as the programming expands each year, thanks to Camp Promise's amazing staff, there is never a camper who says “I'm bored”. New in 2016, the campers had a chance to choose an elective to do each day. My camper Beyond Arts & Crafts and he loved the incredible opportunities to be a complete rockstar in the art room. Over the week, he used stencils and spray paint to make at least 10 canvases and 3 t-shirts. On the final day, he contributed in making a beautiful mural by choosing his favorite color paint and creating wild designs by using his wheelchair to roll over the enormous paper laid out on the floor.
Halfway through the day, as the sun is out and beating down, it's pool time! We get the campers changed into swimsuits, transferred into the pool, and the water fights begin. Campers are given floating devices like life jackets and pool noodles, and can either just relax and hangout, or as the Green Cabin members prefer: being pulled around the pool on a noodle. Happy screams and laughter begin to fill camp.
After showering and changing campers into drier clothing, we have some cabin hangout time. The amazing thing about the youngest campers is their imagination. Any free time is a portal into either a game of Mafia or time to devise a prank on the Blue Cabin. Our proudest feat this summer was filling the Blue Cabin’s rooms with cups of green-dyed water.
The first night of camp, being the Fourth of July in 2016, there was an amazing fireworks show. It left the campers saying “ooo, ahhh” and almost TOO excited to go to bed. And lucky for them, they didn't have to right away, as after the show it was s'mores and sparklers time. Lucky for the counselors, their sugar rush didn't last too long and before we knew it, it was time to get our wonderful, tired, and happy campers into bed after an amazing first day. Little did they know that things would only get more fun and more exciting as the week went on!