I have accumulated experiences at camp that have shaped my life, my decisions, my identity, and how I move in this world. Although my camper experience was not with Farm & Wilderness, there are universal feelings that go along with a wilderness adventure.

Inspiring role models

Sense of belonging

Chances to explore aspects of identity

Choices to diligently work towards a skill or achievement

Taking emotional risks

The continuous inspiration to step outside my comfort zone was fostered every day at camp while I navigated friendships and swam with the fish in the lake. My camp story, like many others, began with a challenge that I worked to overcome – a 14-day canoe trip in Maine at 12 years-old. For others, it’s an overnight SOLO, picking up a chicken, completing a tippy test in a canoe, or felling a tree.

Part of these accomplishments are not only in completing the task but having the courage to go forth in taking the risk.  In tree felling, campers take the steps to learn about tool care and usage and choosing a tree. This preparation is completed by a few campers each summer working towards the task of cutting down an individual tree. These challenges are made known in the community, so they have the support and mentorship from peers and the role models cheering them on.

WATCH: An Indian Brook Camper Shares Her Greatest Camp Accomplishment!

With emotional risk comes growth. This philosophy of continual growth that camp instills continues outside of camp. In my own life, I still use the lessons summer has to offer to tackle my own challenges. After camp this summer, I took a trip overseas to do an inter-continental 4.5 km open water swim with Indian Brook Waterfront Director Taylor Ward.  Camp reminded me that when faced with an obstacle, each small accomplishment along the way builds competence, confidence, and self-worth.

The first step to a  Grand Circuit swim around Woodward Reservoir is a (much shorter) swim to Bear Pit. Camp offers space, time, support and encouragement for these stepping stones to lead to greater and greater accomplishments.

Every summer I am inspired by camper’s determination and courage to take on something they are afraid of. This summer, my real achievement was not completing an inter-continental open water swim but the fact that I got into the water in the first place and was willing to try something that I was unsure of the outcome.



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