Un Nouveau Soleil - Wyatt's Stomping Ground Story
Last year we were so lucky to steal Wyatt away from Dunkin’ Donuts and he solidified to me that you do not a camp background to get into the camp game.
Eventually, I got to know Wyatt as an incredible counselor with an infectious smile and a knack for one on one interactions with his campers. I also remember Wyatt getting to camp and I must say the nerves he mentions in his story are by no means understated.
Wyatt, thank you so much for sharing what that first sketchy and spooky day was like for you as you leapt out of your comfort zone. I cannot wait to catch up and see the impact you will make this summer!
The day I left for camp it was cloudy and wet where I lived. I packed my things the night before so that in the morning i could just wake up and go. And i did.
As my brother drove to camp, I started to wonder about this whole camp thing and I grew nervous. This was going to be my first summer camp experience ever and it was happening at 22 years old. I’m too old, I thought, kids wouldn’t like me. I’ll be surrounded by people who grew up at camp, who’ve worked at one for several summers, who lived and breathed summer camp. Would they even care if a person with zero camp experience didn’t show up? Maybe they’d be better off?
It was a rather short ride. It was little over an hour and a half but that time flew by really quickly. More and more thoughts piled up as I got closer; so much so I didn’t even know what I was thinking anymore, but what I did know was that I was terrified, I needed more time to prepare. Sooner than I would've wanted, we pulled into the parking lot and went through the open doors of the dining hall. My heart was pounding and my hands were sweaty. Why am I here right now? I could easily be working at home making coffee for everyone I've come to know in that small town I lived in. But I was here, I’d committed; however, my mind was still miles away, at home where everything was comfortable.
Shortly after entering the building, I meet Laura for the first time, in-person, at least. We introduced ourselves to each other. Laura says to me, “it’s so nice to finally meet you,” and then we hug. It threw me off a bit, I wasn’t used to a boss being so friendly at a job. And then I meet Jack for the first and even though we shook hands, very soon hugs replaced the handshakes.
I remember the first time I met Kate. All the staff were at camp already working away, getting better but Kate hadn’t arrived yet because she was working hard elsewhere. But when she did, a group of the counselors met her in the parking lot and everyone was giving her hugs. And even though it was my absolute first time meeting her, I gave her a hug (which I hope she didn’t find weird). The atmosphere Stomping Ground built is a kind, loving one that takes over you.
After that it was off the races; I tried to learn what I could learn, always meeting new, delightful parents, kids, and people. Building friendships, creating a summer with everyone involved that we would never forget. Jack and Laura believed in the staff and in the kids and created something so special, that it is impossible to shy away from it.
Summer 2018 was incredible. I am forever grateful for Laura and Jack for the opportunity, all the PANDAS that helped when I struggled, and everyone that gave me the chance to grow as a person (which was literally everyone that summer). Future summers are forever in competition with the summer of 2018.
I believe a Stomping Ground summer will live with you forever, no matter how busy a person gets; the s’mores at the fire pits, the fire tower nights, and evening activities will always be a part of us and live forever in our memories.
I don’t remember shaking a hand that summer, besides Jack’s that one time, but I remember all the hugs that were given.