I credit Camp Eclipse for who I am today. It's been said time and time again that camp is magical. Once you attend Camp it's something no one can deny. It's like the wind, you can't see it but you can feel it. Camp Eclipse is a place where everyone is welcomed and embraced, where laughter is plentiful, and each person's struggles are supported by 50 other people. It's a place where strength and vulnerability become one.
When I first applied in 2013 my intensions were simple; I wanted to connect more with the LGBTQ2 community. I wanted to be a Youth Leader and help create an environment for others to thrive. Never would I have imagined the profound impact Camp Eclipse had on my life. Throughout the four days the atmosphere and the people that surrounded me created a space for the struggle I hadn't been consciously aware of. At the time I was part way through my social work degree and had faced a few challenges. During the previous year I had people question my capability as a budding social worker, and others who questioned the integrity of my character. Around the camp fire on the final night I had admitted to myself, and everyone around me, that I had started questioning my own path and if I should continue my education. Just like that, Camp magic swooped in and saved me. In my moment of vulnerability, an opportunity presented itself that reaffirmed that I was not only cut out to help others, but I was good at it as well.
When I returned home I went to a close friend's house to tell her about my weekend. I will never forget the words she spoke to me; "You have been tapped out of life for the past 6 months and now it's like your light is turned back on". Camp Eclipse saved me. I had lost track of who I was and somehow, my Camp Family was able to pull out the real me. I haven't lost sight of myself since.
Attending Camp each year fuels my heart and soul. It's amazing witnessing the growth of each person over such a short period of time, and it proves to everyone that change can and will happen. It's a joy to witness Campers, Youth Leaders and Mentors use their leadership skills that they built at camp to impact change all across Newfoundland and Labrador.
The above article was originally published in 2018.
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