Counselors Come in All Forms
Megan and her family connected with The Painted Turtle in the summer of 2008 when her brother Ethan attended his first Summer Session. Ethan absolutely loved coming to The Painted Turtle, and continued attending Summer Sessions every year until he aged out in 2017. Megan would often ride along to drop off or pick up Ethan from Camp and every time she stepped foot on The Painted Turtle’s campsite she recalls feeling a unique and inspiring energy.
I remember meeting Ethan’s counselors who always had such vibrant personalities and their infectious joy seemed to epitomize The Painted Turtle experience. – Megan
Megan shares that as a sibling who also attended family weekends and sibling summer sessions, The Painted Turtle is, and always will be, a treasure to her. It was a refuge for her brother and provided him with cherished memories and confidence. She saw what an impact Camp had on him and the difference it made in his daily life.
As Megan grew older, she knew she wanted to give back to the place that had changed her family’s life for the better. It brought her brother newfound confidence and lifelong friends who understood what it was like to live with a medical condition like his and provided her and her family with a wealth of knowledge and a lifelong support system.
After listening to her brother reminisce over the years about his first counselors and the impression they made on him, Megan felt inspired and wanted the opportunity to make an impact, just as they did. She admits that she was nervous at first – she thought it would be hard to remain energized and excited the way every counselor of Ethan’s always seemed to be. As she filled out her first application to be on Summer Staff member, she struggled with doubt that she had what it took to be a great counselor.
I am so thankful to this day that I applied to be a counselor regardless of my initial hesitations because I learned that there is not just one mold for a counselor.
In 2017, when Megan attended her first summer as a counselor, it became apparent that the Summer Staff team needed a mix of personality types to serve all the different campers that come through the gate. It became evident that her ability to be energized one minute, but also calm and collected the next, was invaluable. She had the chance to connect with many campers from all different walks of life. She admits that there were many times when she stepped out of her own comfort zone which enabled her to learn and grow in ways she never anticipated.
Anyone can make an impact and we need to embrace our individuality and what we can bring to the table. Camp can be for anyone!
When asked what motivates her to stay involved, Megan shares, “Every time I volunteer, I notice the campers don’t want to leave, they feel like they’ve found a community that fully understands them. Each time I say goodbye, I immediately know I need to come back soon. The friendships and the magic that are woven through every aspect of The Painted Turtle keep me coming back. I love being a part of the greater story that Camp has to tell.”
In Megan’s daily life, she credits The Painted Turtle with giving her a new perspective in life, one that taught her to be more selfless and maintain strong roots in philanthropy. She believes we all have the chance to make an impact every day, and everywhere we go, and Camp helps remind her of this. The Painted Turtle has a way of helping people find joy and spark creativity in the little things, and it has made Megan aware that living in the moment and experiencing all life has to offer, is what it’s all about.
Having reflected and seen her own hesitancy, Megan has words of wisdom to share with those interested in volunteering or working as a summer counselor.
You must go into it with a positive mindset and remember that these kids are just as nervous and when we work together, we can create Camp magic. The Painted Turtle is such a safe and inviting space, so it’s time to challenge yourself, be ready to grow, and I promise you’ll love the changes that happen!
The Painted Turtle is so grateful for Megan and all the ways she supports Camp. She recently got her company, Moose Toys, involved in supporting The Painted Turtle and is now a member of The Painted Turtle Ambassadors, a group of young professionals who raise awareness and funds for Camp.
To learn more about volunteering or becoming a summer staff member or volunteer, click the button below.