This is a guest blog post written by Lauren “Millie” Miller, Assistant Director and Head of Seniors at Camp Timber Tops. Millie was a CTT camper growing up and can’t imagine spending her summers anywhere else! During the year, Millie works in Washington, DC as a school guidance counselor.
As I enter my 25th year at CTT, the question of “what does camp mean to me” is a tough one. I could talk about the people and how I have come across the greatest, most welcoming, most wonderful friends I’ve ever met. I could talk about the traditions, the memories of my childhood at camp around those traditions, and how teaching those traditions to the younger generation has helped me appreciate everything camp has given me over the years. I could talk about the laughter, since at camp there doesn’t seem to be one day that goes by where someone or something doesn’t have me crying from laughing so hard.
But when I really think about what camp means to me I keep coming back to this idea that camp is a place where every camper, counselor, and camp leader can truly be themselves. Camp is a place where it’s socially acceptable to dress in funny costumes, dance on tables, and sing silly songs. Camp is a place where kids who are terrified of putting themselves out there can stand up on stage and sing at a Cabaret, dance in a competition, or pick up a field hockey stick for the first time, without fear of judgment or ridicule. Camp is a place where kids can take risks and grow confidence despite any setbacks or shortcomings. Girls are pushed and encouraged by everyone to be themselves, to try new things, to tackle obstacles they see before them. At camp there is no social pressure to fit into a certain box or to be a certain person. At camp, girls encourage each other to be themselves.
The way girls feel supported by and connected to their fellow campers and counselors at camp is nothing I’ve ever seen before in any other social setting. There is no other place where girls are inspired to figure out who they truly are and who they want to be. Camp has a large part in making me who I am as an adult today. And every summer, I look forward to seeing how the influence of camp helps to make each camper stand a little bit taller, take risks a little bit easier, and form life-long friendships as they develop into confident, independent, young women.
Millie (right) with Head of Juniors and former CTT camper, Rachel (left)