10 Consecutive Years at Camp: An Interview with Jolie
Today I spent some time with a long time camp friend, Jolie. Jolie holds the Camp North Star record for most consecutive years at camp as camper or counselor! This summer marks her 10th summer here at CNS. We chatted about why she keeps coming back to camp, her camp favorites and what it’s like to move up through the ranks over the years.
CNS: Jolie, let’s start with the basics. What was your first year at camp and which cabin were you in?
Jolie: My first summer was in 2002. I was ten years old which meant I was one of the youngest campers (CNS has now expanded to include campers as young as 7). My first cabin was Copenhagen.
CNS: Ok, run us through the rest of your years in terms of which cabins you were in.
-Copenhagen (first year)
CNS: How did you decide to come to camp all those years ago?
Jolie: I was looking for something fun to do. Well, actually, my parents were looking for something for me to do, so we went to a camp fair at my school. It was really love at first sight. I knew right away that I wanted to come to CNS.
CNS: How did that first year go?
Jolie: I was nervous at first, which most new campers tend to be, but I was also so excited. I only stayed for two weeks my first year, but every year after that I stayed for four weeks.
CNS: What types of activities did you like as a camper?
Jolie: My favorite activities were ropes, water-skiing, and pottery. I think my favorite activity was guitar, though. I learned to play when I was 15. Now I play several instruments and minor in music in college. I think I really got my start in music at camp.
CNS: Why do you keep coming back year after year?
Jolie: Camp North Star is the one place I can really be myself, have a lot of fun, and not worry about anything…I love this place, it’s like my second home!
CNS: In your expert opinion, how would you describe camp?
Jolie: It’s definitely a friendly environment where kids can have fun without worrying about typical life stressors. It gives you the space to find yourself.
CNS: What did you learn about yourself at camp?
Jolie: I learned to have confidence and not worry about what people think, really accept who I am. I think a lot of that had to do with learning the guitar and performing at camp.
CNS: Tell me about your first camp performance.
Jolie: Actually, I think that is one of my favorite camp memories. The first time I performed was at the closing campfire. I played Waiting on the World to Change with now fellow counselor, Morgan. It was fitting—we were CIT’s and so full of energy for camp and for what was next.
CNS: So we have our first session closing campfire coming up in just a few days. Do you plan to play anything?
Jolie: My girls and I are going to play Here Comes the Sun. I’m also deciding between the camp song I wrote, Find Your Way, and Maybe by Ingrid Michaelson. It will have to be a surprise!
CNS: Well, I vote for all three! So with the closing of Session 2, brings the opening of the second half of the summer. What advice would you give to our new campers?
Jolie: Come to camp with an open mind, ready to have fun and make a lot of great friends. And, come prepared to stay forever.