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Letters by Laura A column by Laura DuCharme

Summer camp

July 02, 2014 - Working at a summer camp teaches you more life lessons than you would think.

Most people would consider their favorite presents from someone to be a clothing item, a piece of jewelry or maybe even a car.

Ask any camp counselor, and it's probably a bracelet from a camper.

Knowing that they worked on that bracelet for you when they could have given it to anyone else is something every counselor takes to heart.

You learn that the little things in life can mean the most.

Counselors see campers face their fears everyday. Personally, I've never liked heights. A lot of campers share this same fear.

There is a zip-line at the camp I worked at and helped kids every week conquer their fear of heights.

Some went down the zip-line, while others simply went to the top and gave the worker up there a high-five and walked back down.

Both took a lot of courage and the kids always felt accomplished. You learn to conquer your fear, even if you do so in small steps.

Some campers come with friends, but many come not knowing anyone. The first day some are nervous and shy while others are loud and energetic. By the end of the day, all of the campers are running around and are friends with everyone in the group.

By the end of the week, many have had their parents exchange telephone numbers so they can keep in contact. You learn to get to know everyone and don't make assumptions.

I think I was spoiled at my job working at a summer camp. Not only was I encouraged to act like a child (while being responsible, of course), but I also got to help make an impact on many campers' lives.

I often had campers tell me they want to be me when they grow up because they liked my job. Funny thing is, I didn't grow up. I acted just as silly as they did, I just happened to be a few years older.

Working at summer camp taught me many more lessons that I use in my everyday life, including patience, flexibility and, most importantly, responsibility. The job allows you to be a kid but also to be a grownup.

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