By Abi Cox, URJ GUCI Counselor
Camp is SO much fun, all of the memories that are created and the friendships that are made is what keeps us coming back year after year. Camp is a place that every camper is able to freely express their true self and learn how to grow into the person that they want to become. That, among many other reasons, is why this will be my ninth summer at GUCI. Transitioning from a long–time camper to a first-year counselor has shown me so many things, but the biggest focus of being a councilor is one that I had never really thought of as being a big deal as a camper … rules.
Of course, on the first day of camp the rules and expectations are set for the rest of the session. But after that, except for the occasional extra shin in the air before a program or an additional time we were asked to “not move until I say go, even when you hear your name,” when moving into groups, to me, as a camper, there was never really any conflict with anything that was stated on the list of rules.
What I didn’t realize as a camper is that to the counselor, the most important rule is to make sure the campers have fun. That is, have fun in the safest way possible. GUCI has a very unique dynamic, as campers grow through the years and become truly immersed in the community, they are able to feel like they can “stretch” the rules a little more, yet, all they are really doing is being more experienced and having a deeper connection and sense of community.
When these ideas are instilled into our campers they are able to feel as though they want to do the right thing in order to have an amazing summer as well as continue the sense of community that the campers before them had created for them. Even when I was in second year Anaf (the last year eligible to be a camper), I was determined to make that summer my best summer and I knew that the only way I was going to be able to achieve that was through working WITH my counselors instead of rebelling against them.
This has been such a valuable lesson that has applied on and off of camp and it is my goal, my job, and my hope, that every camper will be able to find that level of connection, community, and worth in their own lives, in order to continue to carry out the traditions that those in which have come before set such a strong example.