If you've read my blog before, you know that every summer, I make the trek to Alabama to volunteer at Camp Smile-A-Mile, a camp for children with cancer. I became aware of Camp through my sorority's philanthropy. Tri Delta's "official" philanthropy is St. Jude's Hospital, but we are also allowed to have local philanthropies to support as well. Since Camp SAM's campsite is about 30 minutes from Auburn, we adopted Camp SAM as our local philanthropy, splitting our fundraising money between St. Jude and Camp SAM. I began volunteering as a counselor in April/May of 2001.
When I first saw the emails, my initial reaction was sheer joy! I sent a few texts out to other counselors asking about their plans and began re-arranging my plans. I printed off my packing list, made a trip to Target to pick up a few items and began dreaming of the second that I made the turn into the campsite!
As I really thought about it though, an extreme feeling of sadness came over me. This may be my last year at Camp...
Next summer, Will and I will get married in June. We also have weddings to attend in April, May and possible July, all weddings we will have to travel to. We
Camp is hands down my favorite place in the world, and I doubt that will ever change. I have laughed until my entire body ached, cried until I couldn't see anymore, and had every emotion in between. Sure, Camp is set on the beautiful Lake Martin and waking up to that sight is breathtaking, but Camp is all about the people. The staff that runs camp, the volunteers who come as counselors, activity staff, business owners who create special programs for our campers, and of course the campers and families who attend camp. Each one of them has touched my life in a way I cannot even begin to express. When I think of my favorite memories, many of them happen at Camp. We have inside jokes, monkey fists, candle-lighting, dancing on tables, banana boat riding, and so much more. They truely are more than just my Camp friends, they are my Camp FAMILY! When Will proposed and we were telling people we were engaged, my camp family were some of the first people I wanted to tell. A few weeks later at Camp Orientation (which I couldn't attend), the counselors who knew told the rest of our family, and I was overwhelmed with love and joy from them!
I broke down this morning, and it's still a week before I have to be at Camp. I hate to think of what I will do at closing ceremonies, especially after teen camp.
To all those who have been involved in Camp SAM, I cannot thank you enough for all the memories I have. They are certainly my most cherished!
(Don't judge the grammar...it is Alabama after all)