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Thoughts and Memories from Previous and Current Staff

Kenzie Hopkins

Kenzie Hopkins, Staff: Junior Counselor,
Senior Counselor, Head Counselor and Program Director

Camp Cheerio is unlike any other place you will ever encounter. For me, what started as a different way to fill a summer, became a lifetime of memories. Complete strangers became closer than family and difficult to ever leave. Just another place became a home and a safe haven from the "real world." Most of all, the truest, most authentic version of myself came to surface. I will always credit Cheerio as the place where I grew the most; both personally and professionally. So, if you're looking for a place to work where you can encounter some of the greatest humans you will ever meet, love hard on some kids, be completely and totally yourself, and fall in love again and again with the happiest place on earth, then Camp Cheerio is for you.

As a camper, I always heard people say that without the people, Cheerio is simply a pretty view. I understood this and acknowledged it as truth: The incredibly vivacious, reassuringly kind, unusually hilarious people at Cheerio are truly the element that make camp so irreplaceable. However, I never considered where this stemmed from, I just accepted it as something that coincides with summer camp. As I grew older, I continued to wonder why the spirit of my Cheerio friends was so different from the spirit of my friends at home. I continued to wonder why the spirit of Cheerio was so different from other camps I had previously attended. Why was this environment so vastly different from any other environment that I had ever known? My inquiries were not resolved until I began as a Counselor in Training. I took note of the mindfulness and organization of the staff, of the counselors. I saw everywhere, genuine encouragement and love being passed on from staff member to staff member. I saw campers mimic the positive, outgoing attitudes their counselors radiated and I saw counselors mimic the energy radiated by their directors. I saw a contagious ripple effect of positivity that infected the entire staff and spread to the campers. Most of all, I saw something that I was sure I wanted to be a part of. My question was answered. The one-of-a-kind Cheerio environment may only be accredited to Cheerio's incredible directors and staff.

Serving as a counselor and being a part of the Cheerio staff family has undoubtedly been one of the greatest joys of my life. I would not trade it in for the world.

Gracie Brown

Gracie Brown, Staff: Counselor in Training, Junior Counselor

Roark McLean

Roark McLean, Staff:  Camper, CIT, Kitchen Staff, Junior Counselor, Senior Counselor

Camp Cheerio, a place where Cheerios are eaten as well as memories that will last a lifetime are made. My name is Roark McLean and I am a Camp Cheerio counselor. Camp for me has been a second home, a place for me to grow and give. This year marked my second year as a counselor at camp. I am a middle years? counselor (10-12 year old boys), sometimes referred to as the hardest age group (I don't know about that though). For me camp and being a camp counselor has been the best move for me in my life. I have made friends, amazing memories, and learned many life lessons as a counselor. Being a counselor has prompted me to become and be my own person, to take responsibility for my life, and to find my voice. Before being a counselor or a Counselor-In-Training I was a shy and introverted kid, scared of saying hello to anyone new. I don't know how I made it through life up to that point. Being a counselor though changed that really quick. Being a counselor is amazing, you put in a lot of work but get a lot out of it as well. You will spend nights cleaning up throw up and other messes, you will stress over activities planning, and you will wake up when no college student should ever be awake. Being a camp counselor is not easy. Yet you will gain much from the experience. You will learn who you really are (you don't know yet - trust me) and you will have a blast on the crazy roller coaster that camp is. Plus, on the bright side, if you come to camp you can join me for 6am runs (it's optional I promise... or is it???). See you soon on the mountain top!

Working as a camp counselor at Camp Cheerio has been one of the most rewarding and meaningful experiences I have had. Cheerio is a place so special to my childhood, full of people who are genuine and have the best attitude. I loved waking up every day to the beautiful mountains surrounding Cheerio, often without a care in the world, excited to spend my day outdoors teaching children to appreciate all of the things that are important in life: nature, friendships, singing and dancing, and just appreciating the simple things.

Although this was my first summer being back at Cheerio since I was a camper, I felt as though I never left. I was welcomed back with open arms to be the best possible version of myself. Cheerio is a place where everyone believes in something bigger than themselves. It is a place near and dear to my heart, and one where I will always be happy and whole.

Mary Stuart Fountain

Mary Stuart Fountain, Staff:  Camper, Senior Counselor

Davis Keenan

Davis Keenan, Staff:  Camper, Kitchen Staff, Senior Counselor, Head Counselor, Program Director, CIT Director

Working at Cheerio has been an absolutely life changing experience. Even for someone who was a camper in the past, I was overwhelmed when I first began. What you quickly find out is that everyone on that mountain is more than willing to help you with any questions or problems you have. The full time staff has high expectations but will do everything in their power to help you reach, and surpass, those expectations. It is the most sincerely friendly place on Earth and they welcome everyone with open arms. Working at camp can be tiring and demanding but you'll be hard pressed to find a job that is more rewarding and allows you to have a positive impact on so many lives, including your own.

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