In the summers growing up, I would always count down the days until I could go to Girl Scout camp. It was the highlight of my summer, hands down. The first time I went to camp, I wasn’t sure if it would be a good fit for me. I had been camping with my troop before, but never on my own. By the end of the week, however, I never wanted to leave camp. I returned the next year… and each subsequent summer for five years.
My time at camp had such an incredible influence on my life. It was at camp where I discovered my love of the outdoors, which would later lead me to study natural resources in college. From the camp staff, I learned not just basic camp activities, but also leadership, courage, and strength. I watched how enthusiastic the staff were and wanted to be just like them when I grew up. When I was in high school, I decided to participate in the two-week Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program to see if working as a camp staff was something I was interested in.
One of my favorite things about Girl Scouts is how dedicated all its employees and volunteers are to the mission: Building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. To me, camp is the perfect place to do that. Girls are given the opportunity to try things they might not otherwise do. They are encouraged to develop a wide variety of skills and discover new talents. I knew I wanted to be a part of helping girls learn and grow, which is why I applied to work at camp for the summer of 2013.
Deciding to work at camp was one of the best decisions of my life. Nothing is better than seeing a girl’s face light up as she starts a campfire for the first time, or the joy on her face as she poses for a picture with the first fish she has ever caught. As a camp staff, I get to watch first hand as girls learn and grow during their week at camp. As a returning camp staff, it’s fun to see familiar faces return year after year, and their continuing excitement to try new things every time they come to camp.
If the circumstances allowed, I would love nothing more than to work at camp every summer for the rest of my days. I can still recall many of the staff from when I was a camper and the lasting impact they had on me. I hope that for some of my campers I can have that same impact. And perhaps one day they, too, will work at a Girl Scout camp and love the job as much as I do.
Marissa was a Girl Scout from first through twelfth grade and continues to be a lifetime member. Through Girl Scouts, she developed a love of all-things outdoors, and in May 2016 she graduated from Northland College with a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources. She hopes to find a job that allows her to be outside as much as possible. This is Marissa’s fourth summer at camp where she goes by the camp name Dragonfly. This summer she is the Waterfront Director at Camp Lakamaga.