Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Camp: The Outdoor Roller Coaster

In the beginning, it’s exciting to think that we are going on this ride together. Everyone straps up, packs up, and says goodbye to their families knowing that for 10 days they will be on a completely different level. Somehow camp elevates us emotionally and artistically. There’s a freedom here that the world doesn't always provide. This space is safe so that we can be who or what we want to be. Day 1 we strap into our seats and acquaint ourselves with the people who will be plummeting on this ride next to us. Day 2-4 begins the climb. This is the time of expression and growth. We all dig deep and give more than we knew we had but fear begins to set in as we reach the peak. Right around Day 5-7 we reach the top of the roller coaster and emotions run wild. We look down at the world around us and begin to realize that if we work hard enough and trust ourselves we can truly learn how to fly. We anticipate the fall but succumb to it because of all the creative staff, counselors, and friends cheering us on. And, even though we scream at the top of lungs, shed some tears, want to go home, and pray for a way out deep in our hearts we know we would never change a thing. So we hang on to our seats and enjoy the outdoor roller coaster. We wait for the operator to let us out and when we are free we join the line again because, the rush that we get at Camp cannot be replaced by anything that the world offers us for the other 355 days a year.

Abigail Caesar has been a counselor at camp for the past four years. This year, she is group leader to the Junior age group. She is smart, funny, and has a huge heart. I have the pleasure of working with her this year and she puts everything she has into her job. From waking the girls up in the morning, to bringing awareness of how important it is to respect each other, and to having quick dance parties before bedtime. Abigail puts her all into caring for the girls, even when she is running around with a head cold. She knows first hand how camp has its hard moments, which is why she wanted to let you know from the perspective she sees everyday and the perspective of the campers. While reading her part, I couldn’t help but agree with everything she said. Camp is a roller coaster, I know that more than most people. The ride is worth it, there will be loopty loops and barrel rolls that come out of nowhere but you take it as is. The end of the ride, or camp, is so satisfying and every crazy, emotional was worth it. You have now learned something new about yourself, and you can apply that to the rest of the 355 days. However, don’t expect each camp year to be the same. It’s A Broader way, we don’t do “same routine”. We like to have a plan and throw it out the window when the time comes. So be ready young ones, and be open to an amazing experience.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Welcome to Camp!...Now what???

Ahh the fresh scent of clean air, the sound of birds chirping, and Kristin’s voice yelling, “ARE YOU READY BROADERWAY? THEN LET ME HEAR YOU SAY HEY!” That’s right, camp has officially begun! However, the next ten days will be a bit different than the previous summers. You’re probably thinking, “Really Samantha, camp is always different each year, what more can be changed?” I’m glad you asked. For the past six summers there has always been a show, The Show Up, at the end of camp and during camp most of the classes and electives would prepare the campers for their parts in the show. This year, there is no show.
That’s right, no show. No rehearsal madness the last couple of days. Of course there are some mixed reactions to the news. Some are relieved that there won’t be any show stress, others can’t imagine camp without a show. I was shocked when I heard the announcement, I have been involved with camp for 6 years and it’s hard to picture camp not having the Show Up. But I believe it will bring campers closer. Now there isn’t one main goal to work on and accomplish. There are going to be a ton more activities that will give more opportunities to express yourself and learn new talents. The girls are also going to be exposed to more of the fun, camp life that makes the ABW bond so strong. Change can be hard to accept but it’s a good thing. I’m sure the girls are going to still have an amazing time, maybe it will be more amazing!

So as I am writing this there is an hour countdown until the bus full of 90 plus girls arrive, eager to make new memories that will stay with them for a long time. This year at camp isn’t the same, but when is it ever? We pride ourselves on being different and stepping outside of the box. All of the campers will embrace the change and they will continue to shine. They didn’t need a show to prove that. Welcome Freshman and welcome back Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors and LITS. Let’s make the next ten days better than they have ever been.

Friday, 9 June 2017

My Time With A BroaderWay by Samantha Arce

Hello there, my name is Samantha Arce! I am 17 years old and have been with A BroaderWay since the very beginning. A Broaderway started in the summer of 2011 and I was one of the first campers ever to participate and to graduate from the program. Camp BroaderWay helped me become the woman that I am today. It may sound cheesy, but it’s the truth. When I was younger I was a very shy, reserved girl. I preferred to stay in the back of the group rather than in the front. At camp, it’s impossible to hide which isn’t a bad thing. You may think you’re hiding from the eyes of the Counselors and Creative Team, but they see you.
For my first year at camp I stayed under the radar for the most part, but the second year was when I became more comfortable with myself. It was the first ever talent show and I decided that I was going to sing “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston. When the day came I was so nervous. I kept thinking of how everything could go wrong. Finally, it was my turn and the song flowed out of me. My nerves were calmed and I felt as if I was in a dream. I even brought other campers on stage with me to sing and dance along. That moment is one that I will cherish forever. The shy girl was stepping out of her comfort zone and embracing being in front of a crowd. My performance led me to be seen by one of our amazing creative directors, Jeanine and she told me in front of everyone I would have a singing solo in the final show that we have when we arrive back to NYC for our parents. I was teary-eyed and shocked. All this time I thought I was going unnoticed when it was the complete opposite. Since then I have become more comfortable with doing anything in front of numerous people, boosting up my confidence majorly.

A BroaderWay is more than just a camp and more than a foundation, it’s a family. Even though camp is only ten days, time flies by. You meet new people and at the end of the whole experience it feels like you have known them for years. Then when you come back together for events in the city and reminisce over memories, your bond with everyone becomes stronger. I was always in the oldest group of campers. Whenever a new group of girls came in, I could see myself in each of them. This was a whole new experience for them and it can seem scary. As the days go by they become less afraid to be put on the spot and embrace the whole experience. They learn more about themselves just like I did. With A BroaderWay you find your own way of self expression, whether it’s singing, dancing, acting, basketball, or knitting (Yes, we also knit). 

There is no judgement, no anger, no bad energy. We all come together as one and learn from each other. More importantly, it doesn’t just end after four years, ABW makes sure that everyone keeps in touch and informs campers, past and present, of new opportunities that can be very beneficial to them. I am still involved with ABW, even after six years. I was a camper for four years, a Counselor in Training for two, and now I am an intern for my Senior Year Project. No matter how many years go by, ABW will always be in my heart and every graduate, senior, junior, sophomore, freshman, counselor, creative member and general staff member are all shining stars and family to me.

Camp: The Outdoor Roller Coaster In the beginning, it’s exciting to think that we are going on this ride together. Everyone straps up, p...