My name is Lily Dart and I have spent at least a part of my summer, every summer on Kitchi sands since 2000. Every year, although my life gets busier, my driving force, my motive, and my inspiration is the fact that I have the opportunity to spend my summer at the most special place I know: Kitchi. When I think about my main influences in life, Kitchi is on the top of the list. The experiences I have gained from going to and working at camp have shaped who I am today. When I think of Kitchi, I think of firsts: the first best friends one will make, the first time a camper strums a guitar, the first time you hear the bell ring letting you know its dinner time, the first time one gets to skipper a sail boat, the first summer job a high school student will have. The amazing part of this is all of these incredible experiences, although seemingly small, can alter someone’s entire life. These all happen at a magical place on Beausoliel Island.
There are generally two types of campers that we see coming into camp on the first day: the camper veterans who had been coming to camp since they were 5, and the new kids (of all ages!) looking quite timid and and unsure. It is incredible to check in with the new campers even a day or two in to their stay. With Kitchi being the wonderful way it is, it does not take long for any camper to settle in. Soon enough they will be telling you about their first jump off the tower, or a new song they learned. Being at Kitchi gives a child an amazing sense of accomplishment and happiness through the experiences that being there has to offer. Growing up in the world today, it is easy to be caught up in technology and unimportant things as such, however, with the YMCA values of caring, respect, responsibility, honesty, and inclusiveness in place it becomes much easier to help children grow to endless possibilities. This summer I am coming back to Kitchi as a section head: a large role of my job is to support counsellors in making the summer wonderful for the kids who eagerly await to come to camp. I hope to once again give campers an opportunity to have the amazing experiences I have had by being there to support them and assist them in realizing their full potential.