a packing list for the camp counselor

I went to summer camp for the first time when I was nine years old, and promptly fell in love with the cabins and mountain air of my Girl Scout camp. I grew up at this camp and a few others in between for the next several years, surrounded by strong leaders who helped me to find myself and empowered me to grow up to be just like them.

The past 3 summers, I have been a counselor-in-training at the very same camp I fell in love with years prior. This summer however, I am an apprentice counselor, and I could not be more excited! I am looking forward to getting to be the kind of staff member that I looked up to as a camper. Although I have 65 days until I get to go back to my “home,” I’m already preparing in every way I can.

To start, I’ve organized a very detailed packing list based on my years of camp experience and my camp itself, and I thought I’d share it for any other excited camp counselors or CIT’s! A few of the listed items, like the themes under “Costumes,” are specific to my summer at camp so add and subtract what you need!

Click here to download my FREE camp counselor packing list!

I hope you all have a blessed week!

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thoughts on the passing of 2017

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Hey friends, it’s been a while. This year has been a crazy beautiful adventure. It brought so many feelings and lessons learned. Here are some of the things I did and learned in 2017:

  • Performed in 3 musicals and worked behind the scenes for some others.
  • Continued studying theatre, dance, and music in every way available to me (even though that brought being knocked down time and time again).
  • Baked countless batches of brownies.
  • Was surprised by an incredible group of friends on my sixteenth birthday and danced the night away.
  • Organized a prom.
  • Relished in all of the glorious (and sometimes not-too-glamorous) moments of getting to play fairy tale princesses and bring joy to the community.
  • Worked for a week teaching kids to dance to the Beach Boys and Lilo and Stitch while wearing a “dad shirt” and plenty of glitter.
  • Spent 3 weeks secluded from the outside world hiking, kayaking, making inside jokes, loving and crying, and learning at my summer camp with 5 other amazing and strong counselors-in-training.
  • Graduated the CIT program at camp and asked one of the staff members to be my mentor, which turned into one of the most meaningful relationships built.
  • Went on an all day adventure with some friends to find the best chicken strips in town.
  • Became close with some friends and drifted away from others.
  • Finally accepted that I am dairy intolerant and changed my diet to better support that.
  • Started college and in turn, a great adventure with my friends David and Elaina–becoming the rowdy trio of best friends who are often late for things and have really strange conversations over lunch.
  • Went on a field trip to study art and architecture and got lost in the city with a stranger-turned-friend on the hunt for coffee.
  • Lost a friend and bright light from my church family.
  • Had to learn to say “no” when I need to focus or be alone.
  • Watched my first lighting ceremony with my family and a few best friends.
  • Remembered why I adore theatre people; how fast a group of strangers can become a family!
  • Saw many plays and musicals and became more educated about the many different stories written about the many different moments in life.
  • Started planning my summer 2018 journey to England!
  • My family started building our own house from the ground up and are soon to move in!
  • Started studying voice and piano more seriously and was surprised to hear how much I’ve improved, even with several failures along the way.
  • Finished up the last hours of the year curled up on the couch marathon-ing the extended versions of Lord of the Rings with a most spectacular crowd of people.

Okay, that was quite a list, I’ll admit but each of these beautiful moments and experiences changed me hopefully for the better. Most of these listed memories were happy, because they help me remember that even in my times of struggle, I have the world’s best network of loving and caring people behind me to support and guide me through every mountain and valley.

So thank you, 2017…you were an interesting one but I wouldn’t have changed you for the world.

And to you, happy new year! May 2018 bring wonderful things.

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thoughts on the five-minute journal

Earlier in the summer I participated in a three day musical theatre intensive camp, where I had the opportunity to grow as a performer but also as a person. I had to face the fact that one of my biggest limiting factors, especially as an actor, is self-doubt and start taking steps to leave that behind. At the end of the session, I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.

As I walked out of our last day, one of our head instructors handed me The Five-Minute Journal and urged me to commit to it for at least 5 days. I listened to him and made my way through the first five days and began to really appreciate the mindset and habit.

The Five-Minute Journal is a pre-outlined journal that is quick and fulfilling to complete but really helps you put your gratitude, goals, and memories on the page. It also has quotes and weekly challenges!

My first five days were great, I was able to commit to filling out the journal day and night and actually began to look forward to starting and ending my day with it. It gave me a place to pour out the things and people that I am grateful for and put me in a good mindset for the day. I managed to keep up with it for almost two weeks before I got into a slump and started feeling discouraged because I felt like I was writing the same things over and over again or not being able to think of things that I was grateful for. Then I discovered Five-Minute Journal Tips which has a link with an email sign-up for tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your journal right in your inbox. One of the best tips I’ve discovered is that you don’t always have to stick to the outline, you can write as little or as much as you want, you can be messy or neat. It’s really up to you!

Overall, I would really encourage everybody to give The Five-Minute Journal a chance (or at least try the style of journaling for yourself!). I now use it in conjunction to a plain journal where I just write about my day because they both benefit me in different ways. I didn’t think it would be something I would end up sticking with and loving but it has definitely helped me see my world around me in different light.

Have a great week!

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Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own.

thinking out loud- thursday morning thoughts

Good morning! It’s a sunny and slow Thursday morning and I’m enjoying some time for myself. It’s been quite the week, I started college as a high school student and am learning how to navigate my life while taking 4-5 college courses.

There’s been rough spots of anxiety, several schedule changes, and being the youngest in any of my classes at 16, but it has also been filled with sunshine and moments that make my heart happy. My camp mentor/big sister is a student on campus too so I get to see her every now and then. I have a class with two of my best friends and they never seem to mind when I need to borrow their books or just feel like tagging along between classes because I don’t want to be alone. These people are such a blessing in my life.

I’m loving my newfound independence and schedule that allows for me to explore, and finding things open to me as a student. Being back in school is actually kind of nice because I have a set schedule that helps me plan my week but it also allows for flexibility and time for me. I also am loving the fact that I have been able to choose classes based on what I enjoy (lots of theatre and music in my schedule!) and I actually look forward to getting up and going to class.

So that’s what I’m tackling right now in my life. I am so excited to share this journey with you and I can’t wait to share some of the new posts I have scheduled!

Have a great week.

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from this corner in the library

I came to the library to day to study and work on my literature homework before meeting a few classmates for coffee. Normally, when I leave the comforts of my home to study I end up getting a lot done because I’m in a different setting. Today however, has been quite the contrary.

I came and sat down at the farthest little table near the history section, the one with the chairs that make it impossible for my feet to reach the ground. I set up my laptop, turned on my music, and set to drawing up this week’s planner spread. This however took me a whole hour due to the fact that I am sitting by a very large window and there are so many things to see; the man a few tables across from me with a highlighter tucked behind his ear and an exasperated look on his face, the children playing in the park, the older couples walking around with their grandchildren or dogs.

From my spot, I can see the last remaining bits of snow on the mountains and the sun shining on the lake for a bit, until the gray clouds roll back in and it starts to drizzle once more. I can see the public art and sculptures below, and the man in front of me working on his resume and sipping his coffee. These people don’t know me, nor I them, but today our stories are all connecting even in the smallest of ways.

So here I sit, my open books beside me and my fingers clattering away at the keys that line my laptop. I should get back to work, but I just wanted to take a few moments to share my thoughts about this wonderful day between the reading and people-watching.

Talk to you soon, have a lovely day.

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