A d v e n t u r e   E v e r y   D a y

Not Your Typical Camp Nurse
Willowbrook Day Camp, 1986 
I want to take this time to tell you that as a youngster I did not get the chance to go camping or have the experiences of camping at all. So I was amazed that in the spring of 1986 my mother came to me with The Citizen and showed me where there was a nursing job available at Willowbrook Day Camp. I had just gotten my LPN license about 1 year before, and I wasn't very sure of myself as a nurse, nor did I like the idea of being outdoors all summer and working at a camp. However, I adored kids and loved helping people so I decided to put my application in and--low and behold--I was called for an interview. Dorthea Hughes was the camp director then and she took a look at my background and gave me the chance I now call "the chance of a lifetime."  It was the time of my life as well! She hired me as the camp nurse for Willowbrook, and I started a journey, to which now I look back fondly and remember the fun, frolicking, and fantastic people I worked with that summer. She had the faith in me that I soon learned to have in myself. I had my own office and she had the confidence in me to run it as I saw fit, with help from her at any time, which was greatly appreciated.
I remember playing, and this will amaze Random*, capture the flag, and I LOVED it!  Of course I was the Patient of the Day, as I fell trying to tag a camper and bruised my side from under my arm all the way to my hip, BUT I had so much fun!  One time, I remember they needed someone to sleep with the little girl tribe on an overnighter, and Dorthea asked me if I would mind helping out. It was the sleepover of a lifetime! We had so much fun and I got to see the campers in a whole other light. It was amazing.
I remember being in the mix with the kids daily and doing everything I could to try and get the most out of my job and the experience that had been given to me. I would take my lunch daily and sit amongst the kids and just listen to their stories and share in their excitement of their camping experiences. I remember Dorthea used to tell me that I was NOT to sit with the older campers during lunch because some of the campers were actually taller than I was while sitting and she couldn't find me! 
The experience followed me through the years, and I remember my years at Willowbrook so fondly and with great memories. In 2009, my husband came to me with the newspaper, as my mom had so many years before, and showed me that Y-Owasco needed a medical director, and I signed on again and have been there ever since. My school year consists of bus driver and daycare assistant, and my summers are taken up with my favorite job IN THE WORLD: medical director of Camp Y-Owasco. I now LOVE TO CAMP! I love all the experiences I learn every year, and Random is right when he tells not ONLY the campers but his staff as well, "You will only get out of your experience at Camp Y-Owasco what you put into it."  Thank you, Dorthea and Joe, for having the faith in me that you do. I love working with you all at Camp Y-O and Willowbrook. The three words that I use to describe my experiences at Willowbrook and Camp Y-O are Awesome, Amazing, Adventure. 

- "Charlie"

Submitted 2/20/12
A L U M N I   C A M P   S T O R I E S 

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Auburn YMCA-WEIU
Camp Director's Note:  "Random" is the campname of Joe Murphy, director of Camp Y-Owasco 2009-present.  "Charlie" is the campname of our camp nurse, 2009-present.  Campnames for staff were introduced at Camp Y-Owasco in 2009 as an improvement to the camp culture.  Not only are campnames fun and interesting, they also help to maintain a healthy level of separation between the counselors'  personal lives and work lives and reinforce the concepts that camp is a special place where one can be the person they want to be and things don't always work the way they do in the "real" world.