My Home Away from Home – Erin Lasher

I have spent ten summers of my life at Runoia. I grew up there, and made some of the most amazing memories. Camp is not just a place anymore for me, it is a feeling of home. This past summer as I drove myself to camp for the first time I realized how much I had grown up. For the first time I was driving myself to a place that I called home, instead of having my family drive me, but as I was sitting in the car I realized that I was not going to be away from my family at all. I was returning to the family that I got to choose.

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            Pam and Alex have been in my life since I was 8 years old. They are my moms and they definitely had a hand in raising me. Camp was not just a place for me to learn activities, and later teach them, but a place for me to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. I loved every activity at camp, and it is amazing to say that I made the basket that now sits on my desk, but the things I hold most dear are those that were outside of activities.

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            The things that you don’t even realize that you are learning are at times more valuable than the known skills, things like sharing a room, becoming a leader, asking for help, being able to laugh at yourself, and being independent. I still remember my Mom driving my sister and I to camp for the first time all those years ago. I was only nine years old and absolutely terrified. That summer I became known to Alex as the one who cried, and she, along with the rest of camp, made Runoia feel like home by the end. I ended up signing up for camp for the next six years, and then became a CIT and a counselor. I bet neither Pam nor Alex could have expected that the scared little girl they held that day would end up being there for the next decade.

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            At 20 years old I have spent half of my life at camp. I have laughed, cried, and made the best friendships imaginable. I can proudly say that I have Runoia sisters all over the world. I was even lucky enough to be able to visit them while I was living in Europe last semester. They were a little bit of home for me, and I was so fortunate to be able to visit them in their own countries. At camp I found family, and learned lessons that I am still discovering. Over ten years being a part of the Runoia family is incredible, and I have made friends that I will hopefully keep for the rest of my life.  Being able to have the opportunity to be a camper and a counselor was amazing and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for my home away from home.

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