Through the Eyes of a Camp Counselor: Summer at Glen Lake Camp

It’s a strange full-circle moment when you become a camp counselor after spending years as a camper. 

Though Glen Lake wasn’t the camp I grew up in, I knew the excitement and nerves that filled the girls on the first day. 

Having 13 girls in a tight space for the next five nights was going to be fun – and maybe a bit stressful. 

Daily reminders included: 

“Don’t forget your water bottle!” 

“Did you put on sunscreen?” 

Mealtimes involved a battle over whether my elementary school girls were going to eat the home cooked meal served or get a plate of croutons and cheese. 

The hike up the mountain was always something to look forward to, but without fail, there was a camper who didn’t have a water bottle, even though they brought one at the beginning of the week. 

Despite these frustrations, I loved getting to know the new set of girls I had in my cabin each week.

I enjoyed seeing how they laughed and made new friends and experiencing their energy whenever they got to explore the camp, swim, or craft lanyards and friendship bracelets. 

One girl surprised me with a beaded duck she made, which I attached to my backpack.

My favorite part of Glen Lake was evening worship, where we would sing songs and I would urge my campers to dance and have fun. 

It astonished me when, by the end of the week, the girls weren’t nervous to dance, even leaving the pews to dance in the walkway or join me and the other camp counselors at the front of the chapel.

The summer’s theme was “names of God,” and each day included a Bible story that revealed a new name of God. The mornings were led by camp staff, featuring musical talents from counselors and a small sermon to talk about the scriptures of the day.

The night before it was time for campers to go home, I sat around a picnic table with my middle school girls as they shared emotions about camp and what was happening in their personal lives back home.

It warmed my heart to see how much love and kindness these girls gave to one another after a week of knowing each other. 

When it was time to go to our next event, we couldn’t leave that moment, creating a circle for a group hug while some girls sobbed and conveyed their love for one another. 

Though the week was hot, and the sun was brutal, the campers enjoyed activities like archery, gaga ball, hiking, ziplining, and swimming. 

More importantly though, they understood the importance of community and made memories that would help them through the outside world, and hopefully bring them back to camp next summer. 

Heather Aldridge, a senior majoring in journalism at the University of North Texas, worked at Glen Lake Camp during the summer of 2022 and interned with People Newspapers in the fall of 2023. 

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