Life Lessons Camp Taught Me

Clearwater Forest Staff: Kate


Hi! My name is Kate. My favorite color is slate gray, and if I could jump into a pool of anything besides water it would be M&M’s. My favorite place at Clearwater is the Carriage House dock or any of the trails around the grounds. While I was only a camper for four years, I was also on the 2018 Summer Staff, so I’ve been at camp for over 18 weeks of my life. Being a part of the Clearwater Forest community has made a huge impact on how I live my life and these are just a few of the many life lessons camp has taught me.



Gain Confidence By Escaping Your Comfort Zone

Camp is the perfect place to try new things, even if it’s just jumping off the floating dock for the first time. Whether it’s your first time or your seventh, there are so many exciting activities to choose from for any level of experience. From kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding to the high ropes course and zip line. If you’re more comfortable keeping both feet

firmly on dry land, there’s all kinds of different lawn games to choose from like gaga ball, explosion ball, and nine-square. There’s friendship bracelet making, plenty of crafts, and of course learning about the Bible and how to connect with others on a deeper level.

So, wear the silly costume, learn the new dance, perform the skit, and don’t be afraid to belt your heart out to “Pharaoh Pharaoh”, complete with the hand gestures! The best part is, everyone else is doing it too! Getting out of your comfort zone at camp gives you the confidence to try new things back at home, like a new class, club, sport, or even just a different lunch table in the cafeteria.

Sunset over Clearwater Lake

Take Time For Yourself

We’ve all heard about the many benefits of self-care and taking a break every so often, but how does that fit with the jam-packed schedule of camp or our everyday lives? While you might think that rest hour will be a good time to plan who will be your buddy for free swim, talk to your new BFF, or play a card game, it’s actually the perfect hour for a little me-time and self-reflection.

At camp I’ve learned first-hand how important it is to take some time each day to rest, recharge and reflect. As an introvert, I need time away from others to keep my energy. This is something that’s not always easy at school or in everyday life, but having an hour set aside at camp to journal, read, or plan my cabin time for the next day, has helped me learn how to check-in with myself the rest of the year.

Clearwater Forest 2018 Summer Staff

Fake It ‘till You Make It

Maybe your quest leader decides to have a quick game of tag before settling in, or the all-camp game isn’t your favorite, but that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable! If you smile for just 30 seconds, a bunch of “happy hormones” flood your brain. So even though you really don’t want to play, if you act like you’re having fun you just might find yourself actually having a good time! For example, if you don’t feel like doing the actions to a song, or really don’t want to sing, try to lip sync, or even tap your foot. One person with a bad attitude can be a bummer for everyone else, so fake it ‘till you make it, and everyone can have a good time.

Clearwater Forest Group Prayer

You Get Back What You Put Out

At Clearwater, every cabin makes a covenant on the first night, a set of ground rules for the week ahead. Every cabin I was in as a camper, and each cabin I had as a staff member, always included something along the lines of “treat others how you want to be treated”. If you’re unkind to your cabin mate, quest partner, coworker, or any other person you may encounter in life, they’re more likely to be unkind to you. But that also works the other way! So even if you really don’t want to be partners with someone (at camp or in chemistry lab), if you’re respectful and kind, you are going to have better time and be more productive.

Similarly, if you are willing to listen to others, they will listen to you. I’ve met some of my best friends at camp, many of which were people I wouldn’t have been able to talk to otherwise. Camp has a way of bringing all different people together, so it’s important that we are respectful and listen so that we might learn from one another. You never know what you might find out about yourself if you don’t try!

Clearwater Forest group hug


Clearwater Forest Camp & Retreat Center