Zoe, 13, Reflects On Her First Year at Camp

Thank you Zoe Pride for sharing your beautiful story with us!

“I was seven-years-old for my first year at Camp Toccoa with Camp Fire Georgia (one of six years and counting!), in the summer of 2011.

I was too young to realize that I was going to spend a week away from my parents for the first time in my life. And, unlike most kids at any summer camp, I never thought, “I want to leave and go back to A/C” or “Too many bugs, I want my parents.” (Even when there were so many Daddy Long Legs one day I screamed about twenty times!)

Honestly, I loved Camp Toccoa from the first minute and I still do.

“…All of the sudden this profound magic happens.”

My very first memory that stood out in my mind was finding a tiny robins egg. I hadn’t even been in my cabin yet, but all of the sudden this profound magic happens. The tiny, pale blue egg was broken in half; the baby bird must’ve only hatched that morning. That really cemented in me the fact I was going to have fun. Later years I saw and learned so many interesting things. I’ve learned what sassafras is and looks like and I even ate my very first blackberry at camp (it was delicious!). Even when we sit inside, it doesn’t feel like it. You are surrounded by trees, laughter, and wildlife. You really connect with nature.

And every year at camp, I make new friends. Before camp I just watched cartoons, played with my dolls, or drew pictures all day. I didn’t have many friends and I was extremely shy. But my first year in Yoki was where I met one of the most amazing friends I know. We both had the same activities so we sat together all the time and really bonded, even though we were in different cabins! We exchanged letters for a year and saw each other at Toccoa again this past summer (this time in the same cabin.) She is one of the nicest, wholesome, funniest, sweetest friends I have ever known and I’m so grateful for Camp Toccoa for bringing us together.

Right from the start, Camp Toccoa has given me so much that I can’t name and so much I have to yet to discover. I cherish every moment and feeling: like how I can say anything to my friends without being made fun of; the woods that feel so desolate yet magical; the innocent feeling of having a butterfly landing on you. Even the feeling of laying under the stars at night while whispering secrets into someone’s ear.

“Camp Fire…is the feeling of friendship and nature and a million things in between.”

Camp Fire’s Camp Toccoa is the feeling of friendship and nature and a million things in between. But those a million things is how Camp Toccoa changed my life when I was seven years old and how it’ll change me even now. And even though I only spend one week there every summer, I know a beautiful Wo-He-Lo will always be there to welcome me back.”

Camp Fire Georgia

February 26, 2018

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