Camping, as it is done is the USA, (sending kids away) was not as institutionalized in South Africa and I really had no clue what to expect when I first applied or arrived.
Family run and owned, I have been fortunate enough to return twice as year-round staff.
It was here that I truly learned that all children just need a safe and fun environment to play in.
Soon, it dawned on me what an important job we as adults have to keep children safe and how this camp has been doing it for almost 50 years.
Since my first visit, it may roughly have hosted 90 000 children and staff from all over the Tri-State area and the world (90+ countries)
Besides being part of a family, “being there”, simply meant helping a child who had stumped his toe, not only with an ice-pack, but also with a hug.
Finding out that a quiet, often sullen teenager, eventually displays amazing leadership qualities through a series of ice-breakers and low-ropes.
Bursting into song and dance, impromptu theatre and friendship bracelets were foreign to me and I never thought that learning it, sharing it and feeling it, could make a difference.
There is a certain kind manic enthusiasm that comes with working at camp, and I didn’t think I had it in me…but I did…I think we all do…Because at camp, you can safely and without ridicule, be who you want to be, or not want to be, as the case may be.
I left camp in 2009, but Camp Friendship never left me.

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