As the only child of the directors and owners of an all-girls camp, I had the great fortune of participating in a few of the camp activities at the early age of four years old. My parents finally let me be a “regular camper” when I turned seven and I was ecstatic to live in a cabin with girls my own age. My camp family became extended family for eight glorious weeks during the summer. The excitement of camp and the special all-camp activity days always contributed to the most memorable moments over the years. As a young camper, I vividly remember the Sunday afternoon programs such as Roman Holiday when everyone dressed up in togas, or Circus Day when my mother (the camp director) was transformed into a lion tamer! Imagination sparked creativity and every day was a new adventure. The awesome magic of camp was ever present.
As the years passed and I grew to be a staff member and a cabin counselor, it was apparent to me that young campers in my charge still loved to be creative, dress up in silly costumes for a theme night in the dining hall, and let their imagination run wild in a safe environment. Like myself at that age, they were thrilled to walk through mud puddles, explore the secrets of the forest on campouts, and ham it up during a talent show. When at camp, youngsters lose those inhibitions of fear and being judged. They feel accepted, included, and are free to be.
Fast forward more years … our camp is now proud to have three generations of owners who still consider the campers and staff members to be extended family. My two sons also grew up at camp in the North Woods and built forts in the forest, dressed up as soldiers and knights, and used their imaginations to the fullest extent. That creativity has now been infused in our programs today. Collectively, we have seen youngsters shine and acquire self-confidence and pride when inspired and challenged. By designing a program that is relevant and fun, kids can acquire positive outcomes that will last a lifetime!
I am honored to be a guest editor for the July/August issue and I encourage camp professionals, newbies and veterans, to never be afraid to play and continue to discover the magic of camp!
Georgianna Schrader Starz
Owner/CEO, Camp Nicolet, Inc.