Featuring Guest Blogger Ellie Harrington (right), Trip Staff 2016.
The drive from San Diego to Minocqua was beautiful, but the state of one thousand lakes, and ultimately the forked road leading into camp, was still breathtaking. I arrived at Clearwater Camp for Girls about two weeks before the campers would arrive, in order to get my life guard certification and partake in the week-long pre camp training with my fellow counselors and staff. I was welcomed instantly was a crowd of other new arrivals, and explored the grounds later, island and all, though I didn’t see my first loon until the next night.
We jumped right into training; I learned how to drive the 15-person van, and shuttled my fellow counselors and I to a local YMCA for life guard training. Our days began early and concluded late- I felt like I was actually a camper in an exciting new routine of teamwork and skill building. After life guard training, more counselors joined us for wilderness first aid, and our camp family steadily grew larger.
After our certificates arrived, we were rewarded with a day-trip to Clearwater’s New Land. Together we cleaned up the trail and campsites, and made our dinner over the same stoves we’ll be using for our trips. The atmosphere was smoky and fresh at the same time- crisp air and warm company.
I am new to Clearwater, but already feel like this is a place that I’ll be returning to. Pre-camp training has been a bonding experience in itself; sharing shampoo in the YMCA showers after life guard training, sharing s’mores and a fire in the Deck, and sharing company during the two-night power outage after a wild turn of the weather. Mostly, though, I enjoy the sharing of stories. Some of us are new to camp, others have been here all their childhood, and we all have years of different experiences, and a unique voice to tell them. We can’t wait for all the campers to arrive and join us in this summer, to share their own stories and make even more in the weeks to come.