Alumni Tales is blog segment where alumni write in to us to tell us stories about their time at camp, be it a favorite memory, or about how camp changed during their time here, and how camp changed them! This first volume is written by a Lake Stockwell’s alumni Chris Gallagher!
My first year at Lake Stockwell Day Camp was way back in 1993. Back then there were only six tribes: Teepee, Hawkeye, Tonkowas, Conchise, Powhatan, and Top Totem. My first summer on staff at camp was back in 2004. Camp had grown over the years and all of original tribe names had been retired, except for Powhatan. At that point there were eight tribes: Shawnee, Huron, Cherokee, Iroquois, Seneca, Powhatan, Algonquin, and Explorers. There were also probably only forty staff members working at Stockwell. That summer the dams broke and we were without the lakes for a few summers. At the time, the number of groups had to be decreased based on enrollment and there were less staff members, but when the lakes came back, the enrollment increased, and by my last summer in 2010, there were probably fifty-sixty staff members working at camp and we were back up to eight tribes.
Camp changed in many more ways than just its size during my seven summers working there and even more over the seventeen years of being a camper and counselor. When the dams broke, we didn’t have lakes or boating. Because of this we added activities like photography, disc golf, ceramics, and air riflery. When I left, the lakes were back and we still had ceramics and air riflery. During that time without the lakes, we swam in a pool in the parking lot while we played volleyball on the other side of that very same parking lot. Another change was that the Explorers program was started when I was a CIT and I’m pretty sure there were like eight kids in the first group. Now I hear there are three Explorers groups and over seventy campers in the program.
During my time at camp, there are countless things I learned as a camper and as a staff member, but I will just mention a few things. I learned how to swim at camp and I will always remember that Fish video we watched in the Counselor in Training (CIT) Program. That video taught me to choose my attitude and that the attitude we choose can really affect our work and how we treat others. I learned how impressionable children are and the importance of being a professional role model. To be a professional role model you need to lead by example and hold yourself to the highest standard. The campers look up to you and will mimic your actions. Lastly, I forget who it was who said it but it is still true to this day, but whoever it was said something like, “if you care like crazy, everything will take care of itself”. With kids if you really care, you will give the kids your very best effort. Because you care so much, you work to improve yourself and you will learn strategies to help you work with kids and make the camp experience the very best for those campers in your group. I feel like camp really helped shape me into the person I am today. I really wouldn’t change anything about my time at camp. I feel like I gave it my all and made the campers’ experience at camp just as amazing and memorable as mine was for me.
My mom always tells me about the first time I went to camp for a tour. Apparently I hated her for making me go and I was vehemently against going there so she only signed me up for two weeks. After I was done with those two weeks, I was sad to leave and I asked my mom if I could go more weeks next time. Every summer after that, I went every week all summer. Over the years, some of the people I met at camp became my closest and dearest friends. I have fallen out of touch with people I knew in high school, but I have not fallen out of touch with those people I met at camp. I’ve even been in two camp friends’ weddings. I met lifelong friends there and created memories that I will never forget, memories that me and my friends still talk about.
Thank you for sharing your story Gallagher! If you are an alumni and would like to have some of your stories told, submit them to email@example.com so we can have more volumes of Alumni Tales!