Without fail, every August for the past 3 years I have emerged from the holy “holler” where Alkulana is settled, carrying with me all the “blessin’s and lessons” from our summer. Every song from campfire seems to burst from me if somebody mentions a word from the chorus, a pop culture reference springs a story nobody asked to hear about this one time this one camper said this one thing, and shared dilemma evokes a cautionary tale about a mistake made. I even wrote my thesis on summer camps searching for an excuse to advocate for the value of Camp Alkulana. I’ve come to love this space and the people in it so much that I simply cannot stop talking about it, and certainly that has helped when I go through interviews and network with other professionals. When you find something that fuels your passion, it becomes a light that you can follow into unknown, scary places—like college graduation and getting an “adult job”.
Camp Alkulana has gifted me with blessin’s and lessons that have enabled me to step forth confidently into these new environments, knowing that even if things don’t go my way, there are people around that care. I’ve been blessed by campers that laugh at unfortunate situations, helping me see the joy in pain. I’ve been taught lessons on how to connect better with the people around me, and am now blessed with richer relationships. I’ve learned better leadership, communication, and strategy; deeper love, patience, and kindness. These seasons carry me everywhere I go, so it feels natural that my affection for Alkulana and messages from Alkulana flow out.
Without fail, every August I become the most predictable conversationalist my friends know. I repeat stories, only talk about a select group of people, and try to connect every conversation back to a few special values. Suddenly I become everyone’s aging relative reliving their glory days, because that’s what they have been. Shining bright, messy and emotional, filled with love kind of glory days.
by Sarah Snoddy
Sarah has been been a counselor at Camp Alkulana since 2017 and one of our Lead Counselors for the past two summers. She got connected with Alkulana because her mother was also a counselor years before. She is currently a senior at Hollins University studying Communication and Spanish.