Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota Faces: Camp counselors July 24, 2015

Portrait #32: Counselors at Camp Omega, rural Waterville, Minnesota

Camp Omega counselors at July Fourth North Morristown celebration. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2013

Camp Omega counselors at July Fourth North Morristown celebration. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2013

They are the faces of enthusiasm, of adventure, of leadership, energy and a passion for the outdoors. They are summer camp counselors in Minnesota. Friends, surrogate moms/dads, teachers—they are all of these and none of these. They are young people. Who care.

I never had the opportunity to attend summer camp while growing up—there was no money for such extras. But my younger siblings did. When I had children of my own, I determined they would go to summer bible camp no matter the financial sacrifice.

My girls, from kindergarten age on, every summer, went to Camp Omega near Waterville. The first time I sent my eldest away for a weekend, I wondered how I would make it through camp. Me. Not her. I survived her absence and she thrived in the serene setting of woods and water in the care of faith-focused counselors.

Amber loved Camp Omega so much that she eventually volunteered there during high school and then worked two summers as a counselor. The friendships she forged and the confidence and faith-growth she experienced were immeasurable.

Some things cannot be taught by parents at home. Some must be learned in a canoe, in a raucous competition, on a climbing wall, around a campfire roasting marshmallows, in a circle of new friends with a counselor strumming a guitar, in the top bunk of a lumpy bed with whispers in the dark and the brush of branches against roof.

Mosquito bites and sunburn. Raccoon eyes and bounce of a flashlight. Rousting out of bed and falling asleep exhausted from a day of running and screaming and breathing in all that fresh air.

Camp. Counselors. Summertime in Minnesota.

#

Minnesota Faces is a series featured nearly every Friday on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Advertisements
 

21 Responses to “Minnesota Faces: Camp counselors”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    Summer Camp is a great experience for youth. I vividly recall an incident at the BB gun range where ground wasps were in the bank behind the targets we were shooting at. We all ran very quickly to the lake getting stung the whole way.

  2. I have fond memories of Summer Camp 🙂 I even went Winter Camping growing up when the family would go on snowmobiles into the woods for a weekend. I also did a Winter Survival Camp – that was a great experience.

    Happy Weekend – Enjoy!

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    “Mosquito bites and sunburn. Raccoon eyes and bounce of a flashlight. Rousting out of bed and falling asleep exhausted from a day of running and screaming and breathing in all that fresh air.”……yup, that was me the year I volunteered (as an ADULT!!!!) at our Baptist camp at Trout Lake (MN). I was in charge of a cabin of 18 TEEN girls and, no, it wasn’t just a gals’ camp week!!!!! There were guys there, too!!!! That last part of the above quote did NOT apply to me!!! I don’t think I slept but a couple of hours each night!!!! It was an incredibly fun, exhausting week and I’m so glad I did it (from my “years after” vantage point, of course!!! LOL!!!!).

  4. Almost Iowa Says:

    And don’t forget all the “friends forever” that the kids meet.

  5. Jackie Says:

    I never went to a summer camp, but like you…. my kids attended church camp which I believe helped make them who they are today. My son Brice especially has lasting friendships from his camp days!

  6. I didn’t realize your daughter had been a counselor at Camp Omega. I’ve met a lot of great counselors at Camp Omega over the years. It’s amazing to me how they always find such great young people to work so hard for so little pay each year at camp.

  7. That sounds like a great time. I’ve been camping several times but I never went away to camp.

  8. hotlyspiced Says:

    Do you know, we don’t have summer camp in Oz. I think it’s an American thing. I’ve seen many movies that revolve around children going off to summer camp and I’ve always been a little envious that hasn’t been a part of my world. Like you say, it can give kids the extra ‘somethings’ they don’t get at home. And what a great opportunity for the teenagers to be leaders and learn that role xx

  9. Sue Ready Says:

    What a great idea featuring these young women who volunteer or who work for little pay to create a memorable experience for young people who might not have the opportunity in the summer. Their enthusiasm abounds! My children loved camp and being on their own


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.