A Summer Break

“Those on the outside don’t understand it and those on the inside can’t explain it.” This is the expression I use when trying to explain camp to my family and friends. It’s hard to put into words what camp means to me.

As a child I spent my summers at a day camp not far from where I live in Michigan. Those early summers taught me what patience, teamwork, love, friendship, and life were really all about. My life was scheduled out from the time I was a youngster. The sport of choice for me was hockey. Growing up I played on several travel hockey teams. That meant from August until May I was traveling all over Michigan playing hockey. My life was scheduled to school-hockey-sleep. It was nice, but I didn’t have any time to just be a kid. I wanted to play in the dirt and play games outside.

Camp became that outlet for me. Summer was the time that I was able to be a kid. I was able to play games and make friends. I had a blast and I didn’t even know all of the lessons I was picking up along the way.

Fast forward to the present and I have been working summer camps for the last seven years and I’m still growing. I owe who I am today to camp. My outgoing, smiley personality is because of all the wonderful kids and friends I have met along the way.  My best of friends are all camp people. I love that I get to be a big brother to so many kids at camp. It’s great to get to know them and be there for them during the summer. As an adult it’s easy to live a stressful life. You tend to let life pass you by and worry a lot. Camp is the perfect time to slow your life down a bit and enjoy the ride! It’s a magical place where in a few short weeks strangers become family.

I cannot wait to start this brand new journey at Cheley Colorado Camps this summer. “Camps- where family and true friendships begin.”

Stephen Smith is a first year Campfire counselor in Lower Ski Hi this summer. He is from Midland, Michigan and attends Central Michigan University. He enjoys anything outdoors- especially wake-boarding, tubing, boating and hiking.

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