Growing and Learning Life Lessons as a Camp Staff Member

Blog-1The Scouting program changes lives. Testimonials from our young emerging leaders and their grateful parents prove it. But that’s only part of the story.

Staff members also experience great things through their service in Scouting. Just ask Lindsey Murphy.
Five years ago, Lindsey contemplated how to spend her summer during her break from college. “My cousin was the program director at Camp Cherokee, and she somehow talked me into working at camp for the summer,” Lindsey remembers. “I had never done anything like it before.”

In her youth, Lindsey had visited Camp Cherokee while her brother participated in Boy Scouts. “It wasn’t a foreign place,” she says. “But the idea of being outside all the time and not having any clue of how things are set up [was intimidating].”

Blog-7It took less than a week for Lindsey to get hooked. “Growing up I was super shy,” she says. “It wasn’t until the later part of high school that I began to break out of that shell. Then that first week working at Cherokee, my cousin said, ‘Lindsey, you’ve never been like that before.’ Scouting definitely allowed me to come out of my shell more.”

She also marveled at what camp meant to the boys. “It’s a safe haven,” she says. “They have so much fun and learn and create lifelong memories. It blows my mind how a place can do that for people. It’s a second home.”

One summer turned into two, then she served again right after college graduation. When summer plans changed for the fourth summer, she accepted the new challenge of program director at Camp Woodfield, which Lindsey has done for the past two years.

“Being a program director, you see camp in a different way,” Lindsey says. “It’s cool getting to see what camp does for people, from our volunteers to our staff to our campers and even the families when they come.”

Lindsey’s also thankful for the impact on herself. “It has allowed me to really learn how to communicate with people,” she says. “At camp, you are interacting with someone who just got out of the fifth grade all the way up to someone who is in their 60s, and the way you relate and connect is completely different. It has taught me to have an awareness and is one of the biggest things that Scouting has done for me.”

Lindsey’s camp experiences have been so positive, it’s difficult to choose her favorite memory. “At Cherokee, it would have to be helping with the Breakfast Club,” she says. “We would get up at 5:30 on Friday mornings to cook breakfast for the Scoutmasters. We had a blast getting to serve them. It was my way to give back.

Blog-8“At Woodfield, my favorite memory is Organized Mass Chaos, the messiest, craziest game,” she continues. “One year we had a camper who had cerebral palsy and had a walker. Normally in other activities, he would get to do half as much as what other kids got to do. This game allowed him to play. He was laughing the entire time. It made me realize that what we’re doing is so completely worth it.”

Lindsey has many reasons why her time at camp has been worth every early morning, every hot afternoon, every bug bite. And why she’s so glad her cousin convinced her to give it a try. “Camp has done so much for me,” Lindsey says. “It is such a special place. I can’t imagine my life without it.”

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