This was my favorite question to be asked this summer. After I told someone that I was going to a girl’s camp for a month, it was always assumed that I was a counselor by now. I had plenty of friends spending their summers as counselors and counselors in training this year, so this question isn’t out of the ordinary. But, each time I had to answer with a smile and, “No, not yet,” I was reminded of how lucky us Senior-Seniors are to have a place like Camp Greystone.
This summer, fifty-four rising seniors spent five weeks as campers. Five weeks is a long time for a group of girls who could have been looking for jobs, filling out college applications, or any of the other hundred things that need to be done this year. But, we chose to take a break from our lives and be Greystone campers one last time.
I started as a camper in 2012. As a 10 year-old, camp was just a fun few weeks out of my summer. I planned to work my way up to Main Camp, spend one or two years as a Main Camper, then move on with my life. In elementary school, the idea of leaving my phone (that I didn’t have yet) and my cool high school friends (who I hadn’t met yet) for an entire month was not part of the glamorous summer I imagined.
But, each year at Greystone showed me a little more of myself. And each year, God showed me a little more of why I needed Greystone in my life.
As a Senior-Senior this past summer, every reason and every feeling that pulled me back to Greystone each year revealed itself bit by bit. The butterflies in my stomach on Opening Day this year felt just the same as they did in 2012. I felt like I was 10 again; that is the magic of Camp Greystone.
Seniors and juniors can have the same experiences and joys as the tentalow girls still in elementary school. While the applications and jobs weigh on us at home, at camp we are running, screaming, crying, and laughing like we haven’t since the summer before. We are not forced to grow up and be leaders just because we are old. We become leaders because this camp has allowed us to grow and be leaders by example.
I looked up to the Seniors not because they could put camp counselor on their resume, but rather because of their strong faith, their love for each other, and their devotion to Camp Greystone. This summer may have been my last time experiencing that camper joy, but the love and support that Senior-Seniors feel at Camp Greystone is something that sticks with you and reminds you that it’s ok to take a break from growing up and allow yourself to be filled up with love and the Holy Spirit.
I know that people get busy, summers get stressful, and situations change all the time. A month of your summer is a big commitment. But, to all of the girls thinking that going to camp as an almost-adult is not cool or glamorous, let me tell you that being a Greystone Girl is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done.
Sure, seniors get privileges and special EPs and get to leave for dinner first (Thank you, Laura!), but the real beauty is in the way camp makes you feel a week, a month, or a year later. I feel the love that radiates out of Greystone each time I call my camp besties, read my Greystone devotion email, or even see a smiling face on the camp Instagram. Going to a summer camp as a 17 year-old filled me with the love and strength I needed to survive senior year, and I am still feeling that warm camp feeling four months later.
Summer 2020 will be my first summer without Greystone in 9 years. It will be my first birthday without a dining hall full of girls singing since I was 11. This summer will be a lot of firsts for me as I navigate a summer without my beloved camp, along with planning and packing as I leave for college. But, every day I am thankful for the 8 perfect summers with crazy mountain weather, my Greystone besties by my side, and Christ at the center of everything.
Senior-Senior year was the best yet, and I cannot wait until the Seniors of Summer 100 are your biggest group of counselors yet!!