(written by Athena Parkin)
“I started attending Camp Newaygo in 2013 as a shy, little, eleven year old girl. Coming to a new place with new people for the first time, I was very nervous. But as soon as I arrived at Camp Newaygo, I felt instantly welcomed and back then I never realized how much of an effect it would have on my life. Throughout my six years at Camp Newaygo as a camper, I learned many new skills, like how to start a fire, windsurf, canoe, and go on a proper campout.
Something I loved during these six years was being able to see my friends every summer. I feel lucky to have gained such great friends from a young age. After my last summer as a camper, I became an L.I.T, or a leader in training, and spent my summer working alongside counselors and learning how to fulfill Camp Newaygo’s full mission. Once I turned eighteen, I became an overnight camp counselor. Over the summer of 2020 and 2021, I got to lead many campouts, help campers learn all the skills.
I learned as a camper, and show the other counselors how much Camp Newaygo can mean to a camper. During summer 2021 I was asked to become a year round intern for Camp Newaygo and I was overly excited to spend my year at camp and see it in all four seasons. Some of the jobs I have done at Camp Newaygo during this past year have included: setting up and working weddings, leading school groups, better organizing many areas around camp, working with TrueNorth’s Out-of-School Time Program, Engage!, and the Circles program. Camp Newaygo has taught me so much and I am forever grateful for everything I have learned and gained in my nine years here.”