I was nine years old when I drove through the Camp Harlam gates for the very first time, far too young and naive to realize the lasting impact this place would have on me. I am so thankful and excited that now, eleven summers later, I have the honor of being the assistant supervisor of Sharon. I’ve enjoyed every second of watching my staff members teach new and old campers–tiny little ones like I once was–lessons that they will take with them forever.
One particular evening program that our staff created really embodied the magic of Camp Harlam. Themed entirely around “outer-space,” the entire unit dressed in their best costumes, silver face paint, and wacky hair-dos after hearing the news that aliens were invading Camp Harlam! While the sun started to set, our Sharonians brought out their flashlights and worked diligently in the soccer fields to build their own space ships. These space ships were constructed from scraps of recycled materials. Each group was given one egg, and the space ships had to act as a protective shield, as each would be dropped from a high porch and expected to survive the fall.
The groups established plans for themselves, divvying up various tasks on their own and then decorating their ships. They each needed to create an original spaceship name, color, and background story to support their egg devices. Seeing campers huddled around their creations, giggling with excitement, was infectious. Their counselors chimed in, supporting and encouraging their creativity, a brief snapshot of what camp is about. Campers were learning and growing from each other with the guidance from our staff, all in hopes of building a safe home for their egg.
Every time I look at the joyous faces and experience the adventurous attitudes of my campers, I am reminded of what it was like to be nine and ten years old. Sharon was my first summer at Camp Harlam and I still remember feeling that anything was possible … and my biggest worry was what we were having for dinner.
Since my first summer at camp I felt I had my very own egg spaceship, a safe place built just for me. My counselors, unit heads, and peers made up that spacecraft: providing me with a safe environment in which to grow. These bonds carried with me through my emotional middle school years, my challenging high school milestones, and my transition into college. Every day spent at camp opens my eyes to new ways and levels of magic that camp has to offer, all of which can be boiled down to an egg spaceship.