Unit leader, camp promise-East & west
When was your first year at Camp Promise?
My first year at Camp Promise was in 2014 and I've been to six sessions of camp in the three years since that first magical summer.
Why do you keep coming back to camp?
I keep coming back to camp because of the people - it's like a family. You form really deep friendships when you spend a week working and loving hard side-by-side. Because that's what we do - we try our hardest and cheer our loudest for others. And when everyone is doing it, it's actually hard NOT to do it and grow into a better version of yourself in the process. I mean, you're surrounded by huge-hearted, dedicated, insanely creative individuals—you can't help but be influenced. It becomes hard to sit out when everyone else is giving their all and difficult to take short cuts when everyone else is rising to the challenge. In this way it feels like an intensive, one-week incubator for personal growth but it also gives you a community that helps and encourages you to keep being the best version of yourself all year long.
What's your favorite camp theme day and why?
It's hard to pick one camp theme day because what makes them special isn't the theme as much as how all-out people go in their theme-related costume. Because here's the thing: dressing up is really about all of us - campers and counselors - getting outside of our comfort zones. If we can wear a silly hat, maybe we can try a new activity. If we can do that, maybe we can make an announcement to the whole group. Then maybe we can get on stage with friends for the first time. Then we can find the courage to talk to someone new and make a friend. By creating an environment of radical acceptance and support and love, it feels safe to try new things. And if we can do that in camp, maybe we can do it at home, too...by raising our hand more in class to ask questions, being willing to try working with a PCA that isn't a member of our family, or signing up for a new hobby.
What's your favorite camp memory?
I LOVE the Talent Shows because you can actually see people growing and it's totally camper-led. The day of the talent show you'll have campers asking counselors to do acts and performances with them and the counselors are like, "On stage?? Are you crazy?!" So the counselors are nervous but the campers get them to do something that scares them. And you'll also have some campers who didn't want to sign up but then when they hear all of the cheering and see the support, they ask the MC if there will be time for them to sing a karaoke song or tell some jokes. So we always end up adding more acts because people are inspired by the bravery of others. That's as cool as it gets in my book.
If we did a talent show right now, what would your talent be?
My talent show talent is a weak spot in my counselor repertoire! I haven't figured out a good one yet. My go-to is usually telling jokes and hoping the audience laughs with me instead of at me because I always mess them up :)
What’s your day job?
I'm a full-time graduate student at Boston University School of Theology where I am training to be an inter-faith hospital chaplain. I also work as a research assistant in the Division of Women's Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital. But all of the studying and work comes AFTER camp planning & dreaming.