It all began in September almost six years ago when I was walking home from school with a friend. We were just getting to know each other and one of the very first things I remember him saying to me was that Kitchi was his favorite thing in the whole entire world. I thought this was an exaggeration so I asked him to explain why, but he could not think of what exactly to say. He just smiled and remained quiet for a few moments as he pondered what Kitchi memories to share with somebody who had never been before. Needless to say, as I become closer with this new friend, I heard all about his best memories from Kitchi. He was so passionate about the stories he shared with me, that I truly felt like I knew all of his camp friends. I could see what an impact this camp had made on him and I soon realized that I really wanted to experience Kitchi.
Here I am six years later.
I have worked on staff for just two summers and I cannot believe how much this time on Beausoleil Island has impacted me. I can honestly say that these past summers have been my two most memorable summers all my life. Recently, I have realized that much of who I am today comes from my extraordinary times at Kitchi. It is difficult to express what this camp means to me just as my first Kitchi friend once tried to do.
Kitchi brings every single aspect of you out into the open, and this is what makes camp so enjoyable. Everybody becomes who he or she wants to be. Nothing holds people back. I never thought that I would bawl my eyes out when my leadership campers left at the end of each month last summer. I was so proud of how much they devloped and I never wanted the last days with them to end. I knew that they had gained immeasurable insight on their identities and that they would carry it on outside camp. As one of my campers once told me, one of the most important things to do after the summer ends is to “preserve one’s camp-self”.
Nothing even comes close to a summer or session at Kitchi.
The staff that I have worked with, the campers I have counseled, and the leaders that I facilitated, are without out a doubt some of the greatest people I know. Camp is all about being comfortable and proud with one’s self. It is what I think of when I hear the word “community” and I believe every child should experience camp, especially Kitchi. Kitchi teaches kids limitless life skills and gives them strong connections with friends they will have forever. I want every kid to have experiences like that. In the words of Garry Bard, “everyday people just would not understand.”
Thank you for reading my story!