Director Jud's Blog

6th Year Camper Recounts Her Unbelievable Experience At SMA Teen Camp.

Posted by Jud Millar on Tue, Feb 2, 2016

If you only read one Blog Post on the internet this week, read this one!  Emily Fichandler first attended Stone Mountain Adventures Teen Summer Camp with her brother Matt in 2010. The first two summer she was here she ate her meals with the other campers in the farmhouse as the Rhino Dining room was not built yet.  Emily is from Philadelphia, PA and is one of the longest tenured campers in SMA history.


My name is Emily Fichandler and I have been at SMA for six years and can’t begin to 2-week-teen-summer-camp-2016.jpgdescribe how much this place means to me. My first year I arrived nervous but hopeful and I arrived feeling exactly the same way this year. I never know exactly what to expect form an SMA summer because every experience depends on the people – the new campers, old friends, and especially yourself. I have learned that what you get out of SMA directly reflects the effort and energy and love you bring. At camp this session I have started noticing tiny things that bring me the most joy – quiet moments in the van, the ground clouds on an early morning run, the secret smiles thrown across the circle at evening meeting.



Most things we do here at camp could possibly be done out of camp, but the feeling would be nowhere near close to the feeling achieved here. The people here bond to a point where anything shared is fun; from compost, to a walk across the lawn, to an egg toss. Somehow SMA always seemed to be filled with such amazing and truly good people. I have learned how to become more tolerant and understanding and have seen how great a person I and everyone around me has the potential to always be. Here I am the best possible me.



Here is how I think of myself for the rest of the year and here I am the person I love myself to be. SMA has done this for me. It has built me up and supported me in just the right ways and pushed me when I needed it. It has given me the time to dance around crazily to old hit and time to sit huddled around a candle safely sharing. SMA 2 week teen summer camp is the perfect balance of adventure and comfort. Whenever I think about leaving I have to stop myself from crying because of all my happy memories I have had at this very place. I think about Jud throwing the shoe and wish I could sit in evening meeting forever.



I know this place so well it hurts me to think I won’t have it as my safe haven for the rest of my life. The pure bliss this place has brought me is immeasurable and far outweighs the pain of leaving. SMA has made me who I am and who I love to be. When I think of happiness I picture myself running to the van with a lifejacket on, my Amish market hat, my hair in a braid, my bracelet filled hands holding a sour apple and a water bottle, and comforting music drifting from speakers holding me in a perfect moment. I have SMA Adventure Teen Camp to thank for this. Jud has made this the perfect place it is and I am so thankful to him for these six years and all of the memories it has given me. SMA is my second home. SMA will be with me forever – it is my happiness and who I am. I love everything and everyone here. Thank you SMA!

                                                                                     - Emily Fichandler

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This blog will give you the "411" about everything that is Stone Mountain Adventures Teen Summer Camp!  Everything from "Summer Updates" to useful family and camp resources.  Check it out! 

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