Chris Poland – MY Y – Camp Kitchi

Chris P – Camp Kitchi

People always ask me why I like camp so much.  They wonder what makes this ‘Kitchi’ place so great that I feel the need to talk about it all the time.

The thing is, I don’t really know, but I will try my best to explain.

This past summer I was a Leadership facilitator.  Along with 6 others, I lead a group of 60 teens over a month at camp.  These 6 others are some of the best friends I have, and I met them all at camp!  It’s incredible when everyone has something so important to them in common, and in this case, that thing is Camp Kitchi.  Right from the start, I have always had an easy time making friends at Kitchi.  It wasn’t always like this for me, especially when I first started going.  Although I don’t remember the events of my first day at camp I do remember how fast it all was.

In a flash I was friends with my cabin mates.  This had never happened to me before at school.  What was this magical place and how did the little nerdy kid fit in so well?  I learned to canoe, sailed for the first time, learned cheers, idolized counsellors, jumped off the tower and so many other things with my new friends.  I went in for morning dip every day and got my daily dipper badge.

Some of these friends continued coming back throughout the years as Kitchi slowly became one of the biggest parts of my life.  I was a part of the leadership program for two years and they are some of my favourite of them all.  I was a completely different person at Kitchi then I was at school.  I was myself.  Perhaps this is one of the things that makes camp so great, as long as you are nice, you can be as crazy and weird as you want and you’ll still be accepted, if not praised for it!

Eventually I became a staff member and all these characteristics were even more present.  I started to realize that it wasn’t just some weird coincidence that I got along with these friends so well, it was because of the person I had become.  I grew so much over the summers at camp, all while having an incredible time.  I was given the opportunity to give my campers the same treatment I received, and worked hard to make sure each one had a great time.  I looked up to my counsellors and Leadership facilitators so much and was now in that position, what an honour!  Seeing kids grow and have fun just as I did in the past was truly amazing.

Camp has always been the place where I can 100% be the person I want to be.  Over the years, I am proud to say that I have become this person in other walks of life too.  Camp has had a huge influence on me as a person and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go over the years.  This year I am working for my fourth year, and I still haven’t missed a day of morning dip.

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