So Long, Farewell

This summer has flown by. Last year here felt like an eternity, and I miss that feeling this year. I am super glad I got to stay for an extra session this time, but it still isn’t enough time. To truly understand ASCCA, you have to experience it yourself. I had come to camp for weekends before, but never when campers were here. The entire atmosphere of camp is completely different than anything I had ever experienced before. There is a feeling of safety and adoration here that is unmatchable anywhere else.

When I applied last year for my first summer on the PR staff, I didn’t know anyone. I had only been to camp a few times and had seen some of the full-time staff working. During those yearly weekend trips to RYLA at camp, the staff would use the leadership building games we played to talk about the campers who come during the summer.m After hearing about the summer sessions from the full-time staff, I decided to try and apply. At first, I wanted to be arts & crafts program staff, which I still want to try if I return. Once I found out PR was an option, I knew that was the best way for me to join camp.

Since I am an introvert, I like to stay in my own bubble and have time to myself. I knew I couldn’t be a counselor because of the one-on-one time they have with the campers all day and night. I left that job to those better suited for it. With PR, I can step back and take pictures, but I can interact with everyone when I want to or if I need to. I’ve grown to enjoy being around people a lot, not just tolerate it. Mealtimes have become one of my favorite parts of camp because I get to talk to the campers and staff instead of spending all my time trying to capture their moments together in photographs. I get to be a part of that time, not on the outside of it.

Camp changes you as a person once you work here, and my willingness to socialize in general has certainly been expanded. This year especially I am less afraid to join conversations or activities instead of standing back. I don’t ever want to take away the chance for someone else to do an activity or say something in a conversation because I was taking that time. I saw this summer how that was affecting my experience at camp and keeping me from having the amazing time I knew I could have. I am slowly coming out of that shell and doing activities and talking to campers when I want to. Just this week has been a major step forward for me by dancing with camper Lydia at the talent show and going on the trampoline once all the campers had their chance.

dancing with Lydiaflipping on trampoline

Being on PR forced me to be more proactive than I normally would be. Outside of camp, I go with the flow. I never want to be the one to make decisions. I am able to bring out more of my bossy side when taking pictures. Sometimes people won’t be in the best place for me take a picture, or I might have to have someone move so I can take a picture from where they are standing. Last summer, I was hesitant to ask someone for a picture of them or ask them to move, but this summer it’s much easier. Knowing everyone a little better and having a summer on the staff already under my belt helped me since I was confident in my ability to do my job properly.

Walking into orientation last year on the first day without knowing anyone was scary for me, but leaving on my last day of my second summer is scarier. I am entering my last semester at Troy University and have to start planning my future after that soon. If my life takes me into grad school no matter where I am, I will try to come back for the summers. I am not sure if I will be able to return next year, but I hope and plan to. If I do come back, I have goals for myself. I may apply to be arts & crafts program staff, but PR will always be on my mind. I would love to come back for a third summer on PR staff. I would want to improve myself in every aspect of the job: photos, blogs, tours, etc. I even have goals for improving my friendships here. Keeping up the ones I’ve already made is my biggest goal, but I want to push myself harder to make closer friends and socialize with the other staff more. I want to spend more time in the cabin with the staff and campers because I feel like I missed a lot, and the girls in Moundville were amazing this summer. 

Moundville Group Photo

Last summer’s PR staff was amazing, and I can’t really compare the two summer staffs. Both summers were so different for me, and both staffs were different. Last year’s staff was my first summer and will always hold that special place to me, and this year’s staff was full of the hardest working, most warm hearted people. The amount of photos we could take in one week blew my mind. I couldn’t have asked for better fellow PR staff.

PR Staff Group Photo

It has been an amazing summer, but I have to go. As the song from The Sound Of Music says, “So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, goodnight, I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.”


April Garrett, PR

Camp ASCCA 2017