Written by Olivia Rinesmith, Camp Counselor Alumni
When you go back to school in the fall, everyone asks you “where did you go this summer?”, most kids say the beach, vacation, the pool or hanging out with friends. I always said, “I went to 4-H Camp!” Growing up I saw it as an opportunity to get away from home and have some fun. Little did I know what kind of impact it would have on me.
Ever since I was a Cloverbud, I have gone to 4-H Camp Clifton every single year. It was the highlight of my whole summer. I loved packing my clothes and swimsuits, shopping for outfits for the “dress up dinner” and loading up the car. I always loved picking workshops like canoeing and hiking even though my mom wanted me to do crafts. I loved being with other campers from my club, as well as meeting new campers through sharing cabins, tribes and workshops.
As a camper, I had the best experiences because of the counselors that I had. They made everything so much fun as well as educational and safe. To this day, I still remember the bus rides to go canoeing, screaming campfire songs and the on-going competition on who could hold their breath the longest in the gorge. The camp staff was absolutely amazing. They have so many talents, from caring for all the campers to fighting off “Coon-zilla” from the girl’s cabin area. From learning line dances, worrying who I was going to the dance with and when FOB, “Flat On Bunk” was, I loved every second; until I had to leave.
Once I outgrew the age of a camper, I knew I wanted to be a counselor. I was ready to be that role model to my campers, and I definitely was not ready to leave camp. Those years of being a counselor were the best four years of my life.
Based on my past experiences with camp, I knew that I wanted to make each and every moment with the campers’ days of their summer they would never forget. The best feeling for me was decorating the cabin for my campers and seeing them all arrive. They were all so excited with big smiles on their faces. As I saw all the campers come, I saw myself in them. Oh, what I would give for one more canoe flip, polar bear swim, and campfire skit!
Each year came with trials and tribulations through the planning process as well as executing the best camp possible. I truly do not think that I couldn’t have done it without my fellow counselors. Throughout each of my years, each group was diffenent. This past year, the group was very special. We all had gone to camp together and grown up in those cabins and the lodge together. We all created a bond that was so much more than a team; and that is what camp is all about. I consider each and every one of them one of my closest friends and they have a special place in my heart, along with the Oreo pudding!
At the end of camp, we sing a song. “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold. A circle’s round; it has no end. That’s how long I want to be your friend.” Looking back, I am so blessed that I had the experiences I have created as a camper and counselor. I have met some of the best people, made amazing friendships, and became a role model for the campers I have been with along the way. I will cherish these memories for a lifetime. 4-H Camp has shaped me to the caring, responsible, and passionate leader that I am today I wish that the future generations get to have the experiences that I was so lucky to create.
4-H Camp Clifton Buckeye Funder was created as an emergency response to the unprecedented COVID-19 needs. How are you giving back in honor of your own camp experience? Share and inspire others to give together, even when we’re apart. Now more than ever,4-H Camp Clifton need your support. Your gift today helps us to make it through this storm to welcome campers back next summer.
For decades, 4-H Camp Clifton has helped to grow leaders and make the best better. Show your camp love by supporting this program to ensure they are still here next year to welcome our 4-H youth and continue the tradition of excellence.
Donations are accepted at buckeyefunder.osu.edu/4hcampclifton via credit or debit card. Checks or cash gifts can be mailed to the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, C/O Ohio 4-H Foundation at 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43210 and made out to Ohio State University with the memo: “BuckeyeFunder, 4-H Camp Clifton”. Thank you in advance for your support!