Former camper becomes counselor – bringing impact full circle August 20, 2013Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Campers Experiences, Counselors, Experience, Interviews, Profile.
Tags: accessible, adaptive, adaptive summer camp, assistive, barrier-free, camp, camp counselor, campers, counselor, developmental, disabilities, Maine, Pine Tree Camp, summer camp
When Kingsley Floyd, who has Merosin Deficient Muscular Dystrophy, came to Pine Tree Camp for the first time in 2011 as a camper, she was scared and embarrassed.
“I was so nervous arriving,” said Floyd, who is now 19 years old. “Then they announce your name and cheer. Wow –I’d never had that sort of ‘rock star’ treatment before. It was an experience I wasn’t ready for and was instantly embarrassed.”
When Floyd’s session was over, she couldn’t imagine not coming back. Floyd had completely changed.
“I saw campers go swimming for the first time, tears of joy streaming down their face,” Floyd smiled. “I knew I wanted to be a part of making moments like that. I wanted to help make firsts.”
Floyd connected with Pine Tree Camp director Dawn Willard-Robinson during the winter and after some interviews and paperwork, was officially a Pine Tree Camp counselor.
“I remember my counselors vividly from Cabin 4 my first summer,” Floyd said. “It was so powerful to me to spend six days with these extremely committed people. I left my session jealous that they got to stay and have more of camp, meet more people, help more campers have firsts.”
Floyd spent the summer of 2012 learning the ropes as a counselor at Pine Tree Camp.
“In the beginning, campers would see it as, ‘oh, she used to be a camper,” so they thought they could get away with things,” Floyd laughed. “I had to learn to transition into a role where I could assert myself and balance that with compassion towards the campers, letting them know I understood exactly how they felt adjusting to camp life and in everyday life for that matter.”
As her second summer as a counselor ends, Floyd is more committed than ever.
“I have learned so much,” Floyd said. “I feel like I’m able to connect to campers on a deeper level. I truly ‘get’ them. I relate if they’re having a bad day, or a good day. More importantly, I get to learn their ways of adapting and share what’s worked for me. It’s an incredible privilege.”