By Ray Liggett
Foundation Board Member, Husband and relative of Clearwater daughters.
It was more than a decade ago and it was the last day of Family Camp. I was visiting with Sunny Moore, the beloved late owner and director of Clearwater Camp, talking about the many benefits that I observed came to those who attended Clearwater Camp. It was time to leave and as I stopped to give Sunny a good bye hug she stated that she considered me an honorary Clearwater daughter. Now to borrow a line from the late singer/songwriter Harry Chapin “Another man might have been angry, another man might have been hurt.” However the emotion that I felt from Sunny’s benediction was one of pride and honor.
Obviously I never attended Clearwater Camp for Girls but I became very aware of its impact. My mother-in-law and her sister were campers, my wife and her sisters were campers and many of my wife’s nieces have been campers. Early in my relationship with my wife, Kate Conyers, I saw what Clearwater had done for her. She was showing up a former Boy Scout with her knowledge of sailing and canoeing and horseback riding and other outdoor activities. “How could this be?” I finally asked. “I learned so much at Clearwater Camp where I spent my summers when I was younger” was her short answer.
Over time I realized that she had learned so much more from her summers spent at Clearwater. In addition to a love and comfort with the outdoor life, she had gained a confidence in herself that allowed her to realize that she could attempt anything she wanted. Kate, by the time I met her, was self-assured, had no lack of self-confidence and could see her way in the world in front of her and knew how to go about working through life’s challenges. Her experiences at Clearwater, along with positive parenting, grew these characteristics and abilities. Camp life taught her how to cope with adversity, work with diverse personalities, look out for the well-being of her campmates, share in responsibility and rely on herself to accomplish her goals (not to mention she learned to make a mean omelet over a campfire).
I’ve seen the same results in her sisters and nieces as well as other girls, now women, that I met over the years that I’ve been associated with Clearwater. I always come away impressed after talking with a Clearwater daughter.
Another observation I’ve made is that those raised in the Clearwater tradition are less susceptible to negative peer pressure and are intent on going their own way with a spirit of independence and the confidence that they will succeed.
You might ask why a father of two sons and no daughters would be such an advocate for Clearwater. That’s a good question. I think I want the same things for my sons that a father would want for his daughters – for them to grow up as independent, self-confident, self-assured, smart, caring, individuals with a love and respect for the outdoors. I want my sons to live in a world filled with such women. (As a result of my exposure to Clearwater ,we sent our two sons to a “brother camp,” Camp Highlands. I feel the same about Highlands as I do about Clearwater.)
Having shared what I know about Clearwater Daughters I hope you can understand why I’m proud to have had that title bestowed upon me by Sunny. If you have daughters, I encourage you to learn more about Clearwater Camp for Girls. While you would miss them while they are away at camp, you will be pleased and impressed with their growth and maturity evident upon their return home.