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Recollections of a History Careers Day Camper and Leader

Every year, I come to the McLean County Museum of History for History Careers Day Camp. I started out as a camper and have worked my way up to being a Junior Leader. The experiences with the kids and staff will forever be cherished memories.

My first year, starting as a camper, I was quite nervous. What if I got bored or I didn't like the staff or worse, the kids wouldn't like me? These pesky concerns remained with me until I stepped foot into the Museum.

Emilie and camper at Sugar Creek Nature Center June 2014

Immediately I was greeted by all the staff members, but that wasn't what really caught my eye. Scattered about the room were other kids happily talking and playing with other children whom they'd never previously met. Several of them came to me, inviting me to play in their groups, and the realization dawned on me. These kids were just like me, with many of the same concerns and experiences, and because of that, we all fit in like pieces to a puzzle.

Ever since I grew out of the camp age group, I have been a Junior Leader. Each day, I would have almost the same, if not more, responsibilities as a regular volunteer. Due to my previous experience with camp, I would help out with different groups and volunteers, or lead my own groups. All of the staff are exemplary role models and the kids constantly look up to us. Each new week I see the kids come in, they begin very nervous but by the end of the week are comfortable enough to show their true personalities and make many new friends.

Every year at the History Careers Day Camp has been wonderful. Being a part of this program has also helped me to become more outgoing and content in my own skin. The kids and staff whether they are aware or not, have had a major impact on my life. Each week we start as strangers, but end as a family.

Emilie Crowley first started attending Day Camp in 2009. She became a Junior Leader/Museum volunteer in 2012. Emilie lives in Evansville, Indiana and will be starting her freshman year of high school this August.