My Summer Camp was Boot Camp for Future Business Success
Could summer camp have given me tools for future business success? This year, my company, CMg Design, is 26 years old. When I think about how I got here, memories of my time at Camp Timberlane always surface.
I remember the goosebump chill of lake water, the mournful wail of loons at dusk, the bounce of swim docks underfoot, and the pop of flames that danced in bonfires. I remember the smells of the laundry, the mess hall, and the funky toilets. I remember putting on musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, and Hair. I remember learning how to play tennis, shoot a gun, use a bow and arrow, water ski, canoe, and swim. I remember my childhood best friend, Sandy, who was always homesick. We used to walk around camp holding hands, as little girls often do.
I lived for camp. It was my anchor. When my father passed when I was 13, Camp Timberlane was still there. I counted down the days on my calendar at home, labeling them with my own personal acronym of DUC, or “days until camp.” Today, Camp Timberlane’s home page has its own countdown.
What was it about this place that so many of us alumni believe in our souls that without our camp experience, we would never have become the adults we are today? Was it being on our own with only our cabin counselors for protection? Was it sleeping in bunk beds, playing jacks, and giggling the night away reading “bad” magazines and talking about the cutest boys? Was it getting your period for the first time and having your bunkmate instruct you on the supplies to allow you to keep on swimming even during that time? Maybe it was not being allowed to call home unless it was an emergency during the eight weeks of camp. Was it being pushed to try new things daily? Maybe it was all of these things and more.
I was at camp for ten summers, from ages eight to eighteen. For sure, I grew up there. I discovered art and friendship and boys and swimming, but most of all, independance and growing confidence. I truly believed at camp I could do anything. From early on, we were given the tools to push and fail and push again until we succeeded. And if we didn’t succeed, that was fine too, because it was about making the effort. And then there were the team sports. At camp, you weren’t allowed to hang back. You were encouraged to push ahead, especially if you sucked, and I did suck. You did everything as a group, and the group dynamics were not always easy. You had to get along.
Often, as people get older, they wax nostalgic about the good old days, particularly their time in high school or college. For me, if I could go back, it would be to my 10-year-old self, just to spend one more summer on Lake of Two Islands, holding hands with Sandy, where everything was possible. Camp was not my home away from home, it was my home.
Thank you, Barry and Philomena Lowes, for your investment in all of us and for your purchase in 1958 of that land where Camp Timberlane continues to unlock the world for other kids.
Julie Markfield, CEO & Creative Director