My appreciation for camping began at a very young age on family vacations but it was not until I was 7 years old that I spent my first week at sleep away camp and realized that camping was an even better experience when your friends camp too. While my first week at sleep away camp left me with memories of a sun burnt neck and going to the bathroom on my friends sleeping bag I also remember the kindness of my group leader as she treated my sun burn and washed the bedding and the fun I had running through the woods with my friends, and the independence I gained washing my own dishes and cleaning up my tent. It wasn’t long before camping every summer was as much a apart of my life as going to school everyday and each year I gained new skills like the correct angle to push in the stakes when pitching a tent, the importance of collecting dry fire wood to build a camp fire, how to read a map and navigate for the group when we were hiking, that work is lighter when everyone lends a hand and that listening is a much a part of communication as talking.
As I reflect on all the experiences I had over the many summers of my childhood and adolescents I realize how theses experiences have shaped me to be the person I am today. Singing Folk songs around the camp fire gave me an understanding of civil rights and the importance of peace within communities, helping to peel potatoes made me appreciate the food I ate each meal, sleeping in a tent with 3 other girls taught me how to share my space and be considerate to others, digging a fire pit then carefully placing everything back in it’s place when we were done taught me the importance of leaving nature as you find it and living, working and playing outdoors with a large group of people taught me the importance of community. I am so grateful for the experiences I had at summer camp and I believe these experiences should be available to every child.
I am now incredibly thankful to be able to provide these types of experiences at Camp Rosenthal to youth each summer where they too can be an important member of the camp community and build an appreciation for the beauty of nature, learn new ways to communicate, build friendships, try new things and gain new skills. As I watch our campers grow each year I am aware of the ways that their camp experiences are shaping their values, increasing their self esteem and building their confidence. I am proud to be a part of an experience that helps kids grow to be more confident, understanding, peaceful and caring individuals and I can’t wait to see what more is to come.
Tales from Chippewa trails…
(Guest blogger and Operations Manager at CYC Camp Rosenthal)
Chicago Youth Centers’ Camp Rosenthal is located along Michigan’s southwestern fruit belt in quaint Dowagiac, Michigan and is within 2 hours drive from both Chicago, IL and Grand Rapids, MI. Set within 330 acres of scenic woodlands Camp Rosenthal boasts an abundance of nature, a 90 foot climbing wall with zip line, a full archery range, picturesque hiking trails, a private 30 acre lake, a variety of housing options, a full service dining hall and a passionate and dedicated staff . Summer programs offer life changing experiences to over 350 campers each year and private group retreats are welcomed through all four seasons. Please view our Summer Programs and Retreat Center for more information about our rental packages and the programs we offer.