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When Frances asked me about returning to Camp Skyline this summer as an Encourager, I couldn’t say yes fast enough! After almost five summers as a camp counselor, I truly think of Camp Skyline as a second home. I’ve made some of my best friends and memories here! As a college kid, when May rolled around, I was so excited to return to the mountain and spend time with my sweet campers and camp friends. I definitely didn’t expect the opportunity to return as an adult!

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My role as an Encourager was to simply help encourage the staff and campers (and admin too!) throughout the session! This looked like giving counselor encouragements during staff meetings, passing out stickers, being someone to talk to after a stressful day, and helping out whenever needed – cabin clean up can be a real feat in mini cabins! After so many years as a counselor, I was really able to bring my experience with all kinds of camper and counselor situations to the table. It was so incredible to see girls who were frozen by homesickness at the beginning of the session find their bravery and push through to have an amazing two weeks at camp. It was also so neat to see so many of my old campers now serving as incredible counselors!

While some things inevitably changed during my absence from camp – new camper lingo, new horses at the barn, and the best, Chinese food in the dining hall! – I was struck by how much stayed the same. Campers still giggled with each other during the day and waged war for their clubs during night activities. Campfire songs still had the same sweet messages. Counselors still found best friends after just a few weeks. And, funnily enough, I also stayed in Hot Box, the same cabin I lived in as a head counselor in 2016!

It was such a blessing to serve as an Encourager with Maggie during 4th session this summer! Camp is such a special place to slow down and be present with those around you, recharge your faith, and remember that kids are some of our best teachers. And, where else does a 29-year-old get to bang on a table and sing at lunch with beads in her hair?

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