Carla Andre-Brown Talks About Camp Being the Constant In Her Wacky, Wonderful Life

Every now and then a camper, parent, staff member or alum send us an email that give us the chills, in a positive way. Carla Andre-Brown checked in the other day, with one of those emails and we would like to share it with you. She talks about how camp gives kids a world of good and in turn receives incredible joy watching campers de-stress, take healthy risks and try something new.

All of my life I have had an eager appetite for camp (and for food, but let’s talk about something else for once!) I went to all kinds of camps and programs; some as short as a weekend, others as long as 8 weeks. Going away in the summer meant meeting new faces. By Fall I’d have recorded inside jokes on loose-leaf, next to campy song lyrics and knotted masses of macrame string. I’d pour over photos I took on disposable cameras and talk incessantly to my friends about camp. They’d all politely listen and ask me to throw the ball so they could get back to playing.

Well guess what? As I grew older, the fun never stopped! I’m always busy meeting new faces! I’m a language teacher! Social butterfly! Traveling! Adventure! Heck, I’m in Buenos Aires right now! It’s hard to sit still when there is so much to see out there in the world. But honestly, I’m only mentioning these things to emphasize that I am the kind of person who demands a lot of variety in her life. And with all that variety, I do have one thing that is a constant. Since 2009, a premier part of my well-being has been Timber Lake West.

We spend the better part of our year wrapped up in being so busy, that we’re worried when our schedules are blank. Unfortunately, I think nowadays kids are that busy too. The best part about Timber Lake West is that everyone has a chance to take a breather and refresh. Without the hustle and bustle of carpooling, book reports, cryptic text messages, and swim meets all in one day, we can focus on capture the flag, snack time, and perfecting the s’more. That ‘refresh’ might be found trying something new! I am fortunate to help with the talent show every summer. Some of these campers have never been on stage before, and they blow us all away with their courage and gifts. It can be as ridiculous as perfectly executing the cha-cha slide at our end of session prom. It might be even more simple though: that breather comes from making your friends giggle uncontrollably every night before flashlight time. Watching the stress roll off these kids (and my peers) and be replaced with confidence gives me incredible joy.

For someone who craves variety, I will never tire of that feeling.

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