Maddie harte – Youth Leader
I stood on the Kitchi ramp. June 28th 2014 looked at the familiar Kitchikewana camp sign and thought “oh my gosh. What have I got myself into?” Being away from home for two weeks was just fine. I’d already been doing it for 10 years, but a month? 4 whole weeks away from the 2 people I loved most in the world and a 5 day canoe out-trip in the middle, with trip never going well for me. It was almost unthinkable that I was actually there. Up until a couple years ago I hadn’t known that leadership came for a full month. They’d always just been the big, scary loud kids that grouped by the dining hall door instead of lining up at a rock, lived in a cabin almost double the size of mine, and got to stay at campfire the longest. Once I finished my last senior year. I fully realized my next step. Leadership One, which my older sister had just finished. Honestly, I was terrified.
On that first day, looking up at the sign, the sign that had signaled my entering into my favourite place on Earth, my home away from home and for the first time, I was scared to go in. But now, more than 3 weeks in, with only 4 days left, I look back on that day and I laugh. I know now that my fear was irrational, just a figment of my imagination with no real place in my heart. This past month, from first closing to out-trip (best time of my life), to now, sitting here reflecting, has been the time of my life. I know I’ve changed during the month, coming more and more out of my shell and embracing life, and I know that I love it. All my old camp friends, combined with my new camp friends, will be friends that I treasure forever. Someone wrote on the bunk bed I sleep in. “Kitchi friends are never apart. Maybe in distance, but never in heart”. Now I know that we’re not supposed to write on the bunks, but I’m glad that this person did because that quote summed up my camp feelings. Another good quote about my Kitchi and my month thus far is from Peter Pan. “So come with me, where dreams are made, and time is never planned. Think of happy things and your heart will fly on wings, in Never Never Land.” Kitchi Leadership One, July 2014 is my Never Never Land. It’s everything I ever wanted in a month at camp, and I couldn’t have asked for more. I am now one of the big, scary, loud kids that stays for a month, groups around the dining hall door instead of lining up at a rock, lives in a cabin almost double the size of a regular, stay at campfire the longest and couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my summer months than at the one place where everyone truly belongs: YMCA Camp Kitchikewana, my home-away-from-home for 10 years now, and many more to come. “You can take a girl out of Kitchi, but you can never take Kitchi out of the girl.”