Last night, as the farewell to our 6 week and 2 week campers, there was a synchronized canoeing torch paddle – the magic of fire on water. After that in front of the whole camp, we presented Hayley Miller, a Head Counsellor, with her bookshelf made of half an Arowhon canoe, to honour this being Hayley’s 15th summer at Arowhon.
Below are the words Hayley spoke to the camp last night:
“I put off writing this speech because it’s hard for me to put in words just how much camp has fundamentally changed me as a person. Growing up, camp was hard. I was chronically homesick, insecure and struggled a lot with figuring out who I was and what kind of person I wanted to be. Looking back I can’t exactly pinpoint the summer that changed me, but I do know that every year I left camp a better person than when I came and I largely attribute this to the people I’ve met along the way. I’ve been lucky that my that camp friends have come in many forms; there’s the people I grew up with, who’ve shown me an unconditional love, even when I couldn’t return that love to myself. There’s the many amazing women I’ve supervised, who’ve taught me how to be a leader, a friend and to be the best version of myself. There are my former junior girl campers, many of whom I’ve had the privilege of working with this summer and have made me so proud of the role models they’ve become. And there are my coworkers and supervisors, who’ve helped me believe in myself and trust my instincts. I don’t even really think it’s fair to call them my “camp friends”, because they’re more like family.
I may not have any high class awards and to be honest I didn’t really excel at any activity. However, even though I never learned how to windsurf or ride a horse, through my summers at camp I learned how to love myself. This lesson is something I’ll never be able to fully repay, although one that I hope I can hep others learn too. I keep coming back to camp because over these past 15 years I’ve spent at Arowhon I’ve grown into someone I’m proud to be.”