Each and every May I get the same feeling in my stomach as the trunks are pulled out of the closet and the clothes are laid all over the dining room table: I know it is time to go back to my home—Tyler Hill Camp. Tyler Hill is a very special and unique place for everyone’s life it touches. The counselors and campers have all become part of me and I consider them part of my family. Tyler Hill is a place where I can truly be myself, and my summers there have taught me the true value of friendship. Returning summer after summer to my second home means the world to me, and allows me to disconnect from my hectic home life and spend time with “camp” friends. Camp is like living in a different world. It is a judgment-free zone for me where I can have the time of my life. Each of my summers has taught me something different about strengthening bonds between friends. At the end of my camp “career” I will have successfully made friends who will last a lifetime, and I will meet people I will talk to for the rest of my life. Camp is special. Camp is special because age does not matter, and I can be friends with my counselors who are older than me, or I can be a role model for someone in a younger division. Camp has the power to bring people together – something that going to school each and every day for ten months simply cannot accomplish. Tyler Hill is my family and has taught me nothing is more important than friendship. Because of the bonds I made throughout my summers at camp, I now have an amazing group of friends who make me smile day in and day out. These are people whose text messages brighten up my days. Being lucky enough to attend Tyler Hill allowed me to broaden my horizons socially and become comfortable and able to be myself and express myself as who I really am. Tyler Hill is truly people meeting people and has forever changed my life.
To this day I am in contact with all of those people I was lucky to make a connection with at camp. Fortunately my time at THC was not over when the buses rolled out the gates on my final day as a camper. I then went back to join the Tyler Hill staff, which proved to be another amazing experience. Many of my friends came back as JC’s and it allowed us to strengthen our relationships, branch out and make friends from around the world, and have a lasting impact on our campers just as our memorable counselors had on us. Being a staff member has allowed me to give back to a place that gave me amazing memories and a perfect summer home. From taking pictures on an iPad as a JC to now leading the Media Team, I have grown in more ways than I could ever imagine. Not only did camp teach me skills about building and maintaining relationships, but also about leadership and other skills that will be beneficial for years to come and will always force me to think about camp. I cannot wait to return for the summer of 2017 and I am counting down the days until the buses roll in the gates, people start cheering, and of course, I can’t wait to put the THC One (The Drone) back in the air.