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Grateful is an Understatement

I had never really wandered too far from home on my own before coming out to Kintail. To put that in perspective, I’m from Taranaki in New Zealand and was travelling for over 24 hours to get here, although the time warp would tell you that it only took me eight. Camp has already been everything I needed and more, it’s crazy to think that only three weeks have passed since I arrived.

So, how did I find myself here? Well, I was going into my third and final year of university and wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do with the degree I had earned. There was one random night where I went out for dinner with some teammates after training and we just started to talk about travelling. One of my friends mentioned that she knew someone who went to Camp Canada and loved it, thus the back and forth of ‘should I?’/‘shouldn’t I?’ began. Throughout the application process I was constantly putting myself on pause wondering if I was brave enough to take this leap of faith, setbacks with other camps and discoveries at home only made this doubt grow. This was when I found Kintail.

My parents instilled in me a love for the outdoors from a very young age, with my older brother and I occasionally being my dads test dummies since he worked as an outdoor pursuits instructor. It was Kintail’s deep appreciation and closeness with nature alongside their open perspectives that made me so sure that this would be a great place for me. I can’t remember the last time I felt this myself so consistently. I also feel so much closer to my dad and have a better understanding of his passion for nature based programming.

My favourite experience so far has to be seeing the northern lights over Lake Huron. Every sunset here is beautiful in it’s own way, but the northern lights were something else entirely.

Kintail continues to bring out my creative side, my quiet wonders and my boisterous laughs. The people that surround me have become fast friends and made me appreciate the importance of genuine connections. This is a community I am proud to say that I am a part of. Unfortunately, I have not landed on a nature name just yet. No mum, my childhood nickname of "Blossom Possum" has not followed me to camp. However, I am beyond excited to continue to grow my identity through the time I spend here, and the amazing staff and guests that I am lucky to get to know. I’d like to sum up this post with a little poem I wrote within the first week of being here:

Let the waves wash away this weeks worries

Put your mind to rest with the setting sun

Sink your roots into the sand.

Find comfort in the arms of your new family

See your smile reflected in theirs

Allow this to be your home.

A land where squirrels rule the trees

The beach is on a lake not the coast

And you are 16 hours behind.

But darling, you are not behind

This is exactly where you should be

Just keep your mind, eyes and arms open.

-Grace Jourdain

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