Kerryn “Jack Sparrow”
Job: Lower Boys Unit Leader. I oversee the counselors working with boys ages 7-10.
Years at CHB: 4
Outside of camp: I manage a seafood chain in Australia, and they allow me to take all of my vacation at once, so I can come to Camp Homeward Bound each year.
What camp means to me: I just love being around the kids, being creative and getting into all kinds of fun. Some find this population complicated, but I find it easy because all of the staff work together so well to help the kids. My first year, there was a boy, he was really troubled and we didn’t get along to start with, but then mid-way through the session, we were building sand castles on the beach and chatting away. That moment changed everything. We were close. By the end he was in tears saying he didn’t want to go home because he wanted to stay with “Jack Sparrow.” That was a big moment for me. That moment said to me, “Ok, now you need to come back,” because you definitely see how much of a positive effect you have on the kids. You just can’t get enough of that.
Job: Program Coordinator. I am in charge of organizing all big camp events, like the Halloween Party, talent shows, Olympics, and all the all-camp activities.
Years at CHB: 3
Outside of camp: I teach in England and Italy.
What camp means to me: Camp is a little bit of an addiction. It feels almost like a home away from home. The people. The kids. It’s everything. There is something special about Camp Homeward Bound that makes you not want to go to another camp, or to find a job at home so you can keep coming back! For the kids, they get to get away from their life in the city and be out in the open. Nature is very special for them. By the time they leave, the smiles on their faces and tears down their cheeks really show you how much it’s meant to them. For the counselors, you make some of your best friends. You come and you are not the same person when you leave. Even if you do it once, you learn more about yourself.
Job: The Older Girls Unit Leader. I help the counselors who work with the 10-15 year-old girls.
Years at CHB: 3
Outside of camp: I am a teacher in Australia.
What camp means to me: Camp is like my second home now. From the minute I pass the gate, I feel like I’m back with my family. Every year we make a new family and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. My first year I had a camper who never swam before. She was 15 and was really scared and embarrassed. I made sure I got in every swimming lesson with her and by the end she was finally able to let go and float. It might seem really small, but it was a great step for her. A lot of the staff come to camp thinking they are going to change a camper’s life. But what they don’t realize is that the campers are going to change their lives, and by the end of the summer, we will be completely different people. Much better people.
Published in Safety Net, Autumn, 2012