Pretty Lake Camp
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“Rest of the Story”

For those who received our Spring Appeal, this is the rest of Cia’s remarkable story. We  hope everyone who reads this will be inspired to help support Pretty Lake in its efforts to provide life-changing experiences through free summer camp and experiential learning! 

Pretty Lake
My Home Away
From Home

Pretty Lake Camp has been a place where I’ve always felt a sense of peace, belonging and adventure. It truly encapsulates a home away from home that’s so close to my heart and so many other people who have had the experience to be touched by this camp. Truly, this camp has left an impact on me note only as a child, but as a staff member as well.

In relation to college, Pretty Lake was one of the places where I truly saw compassion and care especially when I was in the cabins when I was little. I studied Child Development and with that it’s allowed me to give that same devoted care to the kids I work with. I had amazing counselors who truly showed me how to be a genuinely kind person and how to put your heart into what you love to do. A prime example was my counselor, Kenzie. She was a role model to me and she was believed in my capabilities. That alone was a such a key factor that increased my confidence and made me realize that there will always be someone there who is rooting for you. I knew since I had been given so much love that I should share that same love in my future context.

In preparation for the future, this place allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and to not be afraid when a challenge comes forward. I had the opportunity to do the adventure center as a camper and I recall my first year in outpost I refused to climb the rock wall because I was afraid to climb the wall. I honestly regretted that, but my cabin mates were still so supportive of me even though I was so afraid. I was sad I didn’t overcome my fear, but I came back the next year and I climbed to the very top. I also learned this when I had done sailing for the first time. I had the opportunity to learn all about the boat itself and I got to go on the water for part of my weekly session. I had to tip my sailboat, which was very terrifying, but the counselors at the time truly made me become comfortable. They challenged me enough to learn, but never to be in danger. We did tip the sailboat and lost the paddle, which wasn’t ideal, but I survived and I’m better for it. Losing the paddle made me realize, mistakes happen, and we just have to learn from them. Tipping the sailboat made me realize we need to push past our fears, and we can’t let them control our lives. Amazingly, we got the boat back up and around, but the best thing I learned from sailing was learning to live in the moment and to let go. My home situation was all over the place at the time and sailing allowed me to feel a sense of peace. The world wasn’t always crashing and I was able to let go of the bad when we went sailing. All lessons that were very beneficial when it came to dealing with family, managing school along with extracurriculars and helping me to never give up on the pursuit of my dreams.

My favorite memories always came back to the games we played and the songs we sing. I loved when we would play gold rush camp-wide. We would collect all these gold rocks and the goal was to get the most as a cabin, but there were robbers and people you could trade gold with throughout the game. We had to remain holding hands in a circle and avoid getting our gold stolen. Honestly was one of my favorite things in outpost and inpost when we all came together. I also loved when outpost got to go on off-site trips during the week. I remember one year, we went on a kayaking trip where we kayaked to our site, camped out and played games as outpost. It was honestly the best parts when it came to outpost. To this day, I still love the songs that I would always sing after camp was done for the session. It was one of those things that always stuck with me because everyone just was so energized and happy when they sang songs. I also loved talent show and doing skits at camp too. Camp continuously had fun things around each corner and that’s what always made it hard to leave. Saying goodbye to a place that had shined so much light into my life.

Being on staff has been such a unique experience and each year has brought me joy, tears and a sense of hope. I have had the opportunity to be a counselor and the Outpost Director for the past two years. It’s hard to hear the stories of the multitude of kids that come through camp, but they can get away from the issues and just be a kid. The campers have so much potential and we have the opportunity to develop them into wonderful human beings in the future. I know personally, I have felt so inspired by the good camp has created and I wanted that opportunity to give back to a place that has given me so much.  This is my fourth summer and I truly love that I have had the opportunity to connect with so many different people from staff to kids. One heartfelt moment was when I had seen a camper who I had when I was a counselor. She had become an Leader in Training (LIT) and we were able to sit down to have a meaningful conversation. Honestly, she had given me a bit of trouble her first year, but she had grown over time. We were able to reconnect and I was just happy to see how far she had come. I had a similar experience when I had the same instance with Kenzie. She was Outpost Director and I was a counselor in outpost for her. Pretty Lake comes full circle and it continues to impact the plethora of people that enter the camp. I am inspired by those kids who are dealing with the worst circumstances, but yet have the most positive outlooks on life. Every child has a story or baggage to bring in, but we have the opportunity to help unpack that baggage or to even help life the luggage so they feel supported.

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