I was honored with the invitation to serve at Camp Erin this summer as a self-proclaimed yoga teacher/photographer. Although I quickly came to be known as “the camera lady” amongst the campers, I found that the full extent of my experience at Camp Erin was impossible to capture behind a lens. I was not prepared for the way in which my life would be changed by the children and young adults I met at camp. There were moments where I would forget that the campers were there because of a loss: when their faces lit up with both excitement and apprehension as they climbed on a horse three times their size, the dramatic flair that came out during skits and open mics, the intense concentration that emerged during a game of dodge-ball or while making the perfect s’more.
Camp Erin was full of these snapshots that each and every one of us treasured. It was the moments during which loss was addressed, however, that are the ones I will carry forever.
My own grieving process could not have possibly prepared me for the emotions that Camp Erin would bring forth. I have never felt safer and more understood as someone who knows what it means to lose a loved one. I saw my own loss in a new way with every camper and counselor I had the privilege of meeting. I received hugs before I even knew I needed one, and found comfort in knowing that there was someone in every direction whom I could turn to. The candlelight ceremony during which we honored loved ones whom we had lost was an experience that I will remember indefinitely.
I am forever grateful to have been a part of Camp Erin and for the incredible connection that it created between each and every one of us.
Some of the most powerful relationships I have had the privilege of forming came out of just three days spent with people who began as strangers. I hope to give back to my community even a fraction of what Camp Erin gave me and will forever cherish my time spent with the incredible people that were a part of it.
2018 Summer Associate