|2011 Summer Staff: Zac, Curtis, Chris, Matt, Jacquie, Katie, Jill, Laura, Heidi, Kristy|
Friday, 9 January 2015
Katie's time to share around Campfire Circle.
Well Hello, You’ve already had a chance to read about why Shekinah staff decided to start a blog, as well as an introduction to Nick, and now it’s time for me to introduce myself. My name is Katie, and I work primarily with the summer camp program. I’d like to start my introduction with the following advisory: I’m a pretty open person, so please don’t be surprised when something I say may seem a bit personal. The thing about working at summer camp, is that you need to learn a few skills pretty quickly, one of which is all about relating to people, and forming a friendship in a short amount of time. A skill that I’ve learned, while relying heavily on the part of my personality that encourages me to be vulnerable with others.
I started my time CITing at Shekinah nearly 10 years ago, and it took a bit of time to realize just how safe you can feel at Shekinah. During camp, we have a tradition called Log Fire. It’s the Thursday night campfire of Sr Teens, and is the very last campfire for many of the campers. Each last timer is invited to sit in a circle closer to the fire and share some of their stories from their time at Shekinah (whether they’re stories from the past 10 years, or only from the week leading up, or anywhere in between), and put a log on the fire. My first Log Fire experience was not one where I put a log on, but saw and listened to others. What I remember most was someone, who I had not known before the week began, crying with me. It was unexpected, to say the least. But it made me think that this campfire circle was something special. I was open and, because of that, was accepted for the person I truly was.
Fast forward to a couple years later, and I found myself as a counsellor around the same campfire circle. The beginning of summer, before campers arrive, the counsellors have a night around the campfire where we share with each other about ourselves. Year after year, I found myself listening to my fellow staff, who quickly became some of my closest friends to this day. I also found myself sharing so easily with them, and feeling unconditionally cared for. It was always a wonderful and meaningful way to start our season together. Bookended on the other side of camp was Log Fire, a perfect closing. It is always a privilege to be present of Log Fire, listening to the stories campers choose to share with each other and with counsellors. My last Log Fire as a counsellor was a particularly meaningful one. As I looked around the inner circle, I saw a group of campers that had a deep love for Shekinah: I had personally had all the girls as a CIT in my shanties over the years, and the guys had an equal involvement in working and caring for camp. It was truly an honour to be there with them, and to have been a part of their time at Shekinah.
A good number of those around that last log fire have since returned to be counsellors, and again I’ve had the honour of sitting around the circle and listening to their stories. As a director, I have the responsibility of caring for the staff, each of them individually and as a whole. This is not a responsibility that I take lightly, and neither do the staff. It always amazes and humbles me with how trusting they are. There are a lot of words and moments that can describe me in terms of my work here, but what I feel is most important to say is that I am always honoured to be a part of camp, and a part of the lives who care for Shekinah. I may not have written the introduction for you that tells you the generic details of my life, where I’m from, or who I’m related to, but I hope this introduction has given you a picture of who I am.