By Virginia Lee
Brothers and sisters are a common occurrence at Shrine Mont Camps, as campers, and also as counselors. Below are interviews with siblings from three families at camp, each with their own unique experiences and stories about being with their brothers and sisters at camp.
A CAmper and a Counselor; One Camp
Jenni Logan was a lifetime camper at MAD (Music and Drama) Camp and Art Camp. She always wanted to be a counselor, and now works at both of the camps she once attended. She’s what we at Shrine Mont Camps call a “lifer.” Jenni explained that she wanted to be a counselor because she felt it was important to give back to the place that meant so much to her. “I felt like my counselors had given me so much over the years. I wanted to do the same for the next generation.”
Shrine Mont is also a place for spiritual growth. Jenni certainly developed and explored her spirituality at camp, and it’s been particularly meaningful for her to see Will do the same. Jenni says, “It’s so cool getting to know him in a different way…to see how he sees faith and how he connects to God, and what his sense of spirituality is. It opens up the conversation for both of us to think and talk about it together.” Overall, Jenni feels that her and Will’s joint experience at camp has affected their relationship in a big way. “It’s a shared experience that no one else in the family has, which makes it special.
Two Campers and a Counselor; Three camps
Sometimes it’s not a particular camp that brings siblings to the mountain together, but Shrine Mont Camps overall. Taylor Hawks is a MAD Camp counselor, but her younger siblings, Conner and Ainsley, attended St. Sebastian’s Sports Camp and St. George’s Camp respectively. Taylor’s strong connection with camp and Shrine Mont was a significant factor in her siblings joining the camp family.
“When I started working for Shrine Mont, Conner wasn't that into camp. When I heard of Sports Camp, I thought it would be the perfect fit… I think it helps that I'm working here, because it's like a familiar face when going into a new environment. Ainsley was wary at first for starting at St. George's, but it helped that everyone on the mountain knew me and immediately made her feel at home too… I think they eventually decided that they wanted to have as much fun as I do when I'm here during the summer.”
It can be hard to be a counselor when your siblings are campers though. Taylor explained, “There are always some challenges like, not knowing if you should act the same way with your siblings as you would a camper.” Overall though, Taylor said seeing Ainsley and Conner at camp was great for her. “All in all, seeing them there on the mountain made the summer a little better when the days seemed to never end.” These meaningful moments didn’t end when Ainsley and Conner left mountain. The joy and love of Shrine Mont followed the Hawks siblings off the mountain. Taylor explained, “I think our relationships have deepened a little since being on the mount. I hope that it will continue to blossom into our daily lives.”
Three Counselors; Three Camps
The most unique examples of camp siblings this summer are identical twins Xolile and Xoli. They, and their older sister Lindelwa, were a rare trio of siblings on the Mount this summer. These three counselors came all the way from South Africa in an exchange program with Camp Christ the King (CTK). Their intention was to come to Shrine Mont Camps and learn about the camp program in order to glean inspirations and ideas that could be used at camp CTK. While they all worked at different camps, Lindelwa, Xoli, and Xolile all came with the intention to learn how to improve camp CTK by observing practices at Shrine Mont Camps. However, each sibling had different jobs to do and had different experiences as a result. Throughout the entire summer, they've helped each other process and cope with the new and challenging experience of traveling to another country.
Coming to camp for the first time, be it as a counselor or as a camper, can be scary. It’s a new environment full of people who already know each other and who are fully immersed in camp life. It can be hard, and even isolating, for your first couple days. First-time campers and counselors who come with siblings often adjust faster and more positively than those who come alone. Lindelwa, Xoli, and Xolile and were no exception.
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.