Director Jud's Blog

Here is the SMA Session 4 Camper and Staff Memory Book!

Posted by Jud Millar on Tue, Oct 9, 2018

Click Here to Download the Session 4 Camper and Staff Memory Book 

 

Camper and Staff Memory Book

1st Session Summer 2018

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Sydney Lillis

            Looking back on the past two weeks, I can honestly say that SMA has been one of the best experiences of my life. I came in feeling lost and insecure but came out crying that I had to leave and never being more sure of the person I am and want to be. I’ve met some of the most amazing, funny, influential people I’ve ever known, and am so lucky and grateful to have met every single person here. I’ve tried so many new things there, and just went through so many things that I never would have without SMA. I’ll always remember getting up on the wakeboard for the first time, getting to climb at Donation Rocks, power hours every day, bunk junk, meal times, all my amazing bunkmates, belting out songs on both the long and short van rides, the Invention Convention, the fair, every single evening meeting – all the warm fuzzies and cold pricklies, the dance, sweating more than I ever had before when I biked for the first time, the smiles, the candlelight, the crew, and most importantly, the place that I can forever call home.

            Before I wrap this up, I just wanted to thank every person I met here for being so kind and welcoming, and for being people I can admire and look up to so thanks. Thanks for making the past two weeks the best two weeks of my life.           

            And for these reasons, I know that SMA, and everyone I’ve grown to know and love here, will always be engraved in my memories and heart.

 

Natalie Brucker

            My experience as a first, second, and fourth session camper of 2018 was incredible. I got SMAM first session for completing every activity at camp. This camp changed me so much as a person & I’m so grateful of that. Getting away from reality & the actual world feels so good. I never want to leave SMA. I’ve been able to get close with so many people I have met here & talk to so many people I actually have a lot in common with. When I left second session I cried because I didn’t know if I’d be able to come back, but luckily I did 4th session. I cannot express my love to SMA in any other way. This place is my second home.

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Karissa McMahon

            I had lots of fun at SMA and I can’t wait to come back next year. My favorite activities were white water rafting, rock climbing, and wake boarding. This summer was the best summer yet. Getting to go rock climbing with friends was the best. I like to belay other people. SMA is the best place on earth.

 

Lily Bang

            Reflections. Looking back at the fastest and most fun two weeks of my entire summer, I’d like to start off by saying that I was very comfortable the entire session. I started out the session with an extremely tiring trek up to Mattawanna to find a friendly face, Jordyn and my newest sister Natalie. I can now say after these quick two weeks I could spend the rest of my life with those girls. Wait, no, I can say that I could also spend the rest of my days with everyone here, especially the Little J girls who are absolute sweet hearts. Now for some, well a lot of my most memorable times: starting out with getting rained out in belay school and we all squeezed into the white van and jammed out to the blasting music, loud thunder, and pounding rain. Rock climbing this year was also just as good, maybe even better than my first year rock climbing. I got to repel down the rocks, which was absolutely beautiful, and on Sharks tooth, when I was ready to give up, Jacob claimed it was my old age getting to me which gave me no choice but to power through it. SUP and sail was my favorite activity, was just as relaxing as well as interesting with our games of Mafia around the paddle boards. Then after the activity getting to share the nickname Pickle with a member of Furnace, Tony. Secret friends, or not so secret friends, were amazing this year. Emma had me and got me all the string I could dream of while I had Pickle and my favorite git to him was at the end a jar of pickles. The overnights this year were extremely memorable, on the canoeing overnight getting eaten alive with over 30 bug bites and the wakeboarding overnight having a triangle of hammocks and the tarp as well as playing war with Karissa around 2:00 in the morning was definitely worth the extreme feeling of being sleepy. Our evening activity when we went bowling was stellar, I was ins two games and everyone including Pickle, Daric, and Noah couldn’t understand how I jumped when I bowled. I was also on dance prep this year, the theme was candy land and I couldn’t stop laughing the entire time setting up. The Yough this year was a blast, being able to lay out in the van was very comfortable. When we were on the water and came to the swim zones Daric and Jacob would always launch me out of the raft which led to the best joke of all time: Is that the absence of rocks I see? … SWIM ZONE! And the van ride on the way back teaching Jacob and Noah how to make friendship bracelets was the best thing ever, and it’s fairly easy as long as you don’t use the gold string. Almost over, I promise. The friends I have made in the past two weeks I know I will have for the rest of my life. And I’d love to come back again next year because I’m not done.

 

Noah L.

            What have you enjoyed? – While at SMA I have done so many activities and loved all of them. However, many of those activities stood out to me. I really enjoyed wake boarding.

            I made many friends here, I know they are my friends because I can just be myself around them and we all forgive.

            One thing I love about SMA is that every day here at camp there are three delicious meals without fail and it’s great to be eating food as the day goes on without even having to cook.

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Jordyn Bitton

            So here it is, my last reflection, my 167th day at SMA. I am torn apart that today has to be my last day at camp. I have spent 3 amazing summers here and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I swam, I rode and had so much fun this session. I was so happy when Nat came back along with making more friends like Justin, Tony, Lily and Kat. My favorite thing this session was running barrels with Spats finally. I also enjoyed smaller more personal groups on activities like the Trough Creek Hike and SUP & Sail. I couldn’t have asked for a better last session.

            Jordyn Bitton signing off.

 

Katherine Pile

            Even though I was only here for a week, SMA feels like home, and all the people are family here. I don’t have the words to tell you how much I love SMA. I wish I never had to leave here. All the people were so nice. Little J was so welcoming to me, when I first got here. One of my favorite events was the candle light. I am a very quiet person but at the candle light I got to let my feelings out and no one would judge me. Camp has really helped me show my true personality. Thanks SMA.

 

Tony Cowham

            Session 4 has been a lot better than I thought it was gonna be. I got here, and after half an hour, I was already having fun. I’ve never been to a summer camp like this but I’m so glad that I did. I’ve made so many good friends and had so many great moments. SMA has a lot of great traditions. Traditions like Furnace and Mattawanna screaming goodnight to each other. The counselors were really laid back and strict only when they had to be. I wouldn’t trade anybody here for the world and SMA has helped me out a lot. If you’re feeling sad, you can talk to anyone and they’ll try to help you out. I’m gonna try my hardest to come back next year. I had inside jokes with a lot f people after a couple days of knowing them. Like my friend Lily who said I looked like a pickle because I was wearing all green one day, and we called each other pickle for the rest of camp. She was also my secret friend and gave me a whole jar of pickles. The people in my cabin were amazing and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. SMA is one of the best places I’ve ever been.

 

Claudia Demotte

            SMA was fun, it has changed my life for the better. When I first got here I was so scared of what it was going to be like. As the session continued I got more relaxed. I even got a boyfriend… it was a good relationship, but it did not last… I’ve done so many fun things since coming to SMA such as rock climbing, horseback riding, wakeboarding and so much more. All of the people I’ve met here are so nice and I’m glad I met every one of them. My bunk mates and I have become such good friends and I will really miss them, the counselors Cassie, Ellie, Ash, Beth, Jess, Swags, and Helen are some of the best women I’ve ever met. They’re so strong and their all special in their own ways. The boy counselors are all nice, funny, and cool especially Matt L., Nathan, and Diego. They’re always chasing everyone with water guns and getting everyone soaked. My bunkmates ended up breaking the roof last night so the new question is how many girls does it take to break Little J’s roof? 2 campers and one Helen and two hammocks. I can’t wait to come back next year! XOXOXO!

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Kat Price

            When I arrived at camp, I was a little nervous because I had never been to an overnight camp before, but within a number of minutes, I felt close to SMA. I have enjoyed everything at camp, especially the overnights where you get to sleep outside and stare at the stars, and the evening activities where you get to be with everyone and become closer with both campers and counselors. I have made many friends and become close with everyone at camp. My best friends were the girls in my cabin, Little J, and the girls in Mattawanna. My favorite camp memory was the canoeing overnight where I got to sleep outside, stay up late with friends, and see many shooting stars. A few funny times were when Little J broke their rafter and when Daric kept saying “Irene, you get out of your car and you run! You run, Irene! They won’t hesitate to hit ya!”. Little J was one of the best groups of people I have ever had the honor of meeting. They stuck by my side when I was down and when I was scared, and every other emotion that I experienced. My favorite van rides were the ones where Shotgun would turn on and everyone in the van would punch the ceiling in unison. I also loved when 1985, Mr. Perfect, and Stacy’s Mom came on the radio and we all knew every word to each song. My favorite camp day was the day we went to the Yough, white water rafting and the van rides were an amazing experience to get to know everyone at camp even more than I already did from past experiences. Camp has helped me with some of my anxiety and has also helped me be myself more and not change my identity when I’m in public. Overall, SMA has been the best experience I’ve ever had and has helped me so much. I can’t wait to come back year after year and get to know the new campers and staff every year. I’m really sad that I have to leave soon, but I can’t wait to make the most of my last few days here at SMA. Thank you SMA for all that you have done to make this the best experience of my life.

 

Jacob Bader

            This session was really great. The small number of people made it so everyone was really tight. The staff were great this session dealing with any issue that arose (mostly the rain). The Yough was a ton of fun. All in all this was one of my favorite sessions.

            Quotes: “Is that the absence of rocks I see?”

            See you next year SMA J

 

Justin

            I have really enjoyed mountain biking with Chris, Toner, Tim, & Nathan. I have made so many friends here but my closest were Toner, Darik, Jacob, & Noah. One of my other favorite memories was when I pushed Matt L. off the boat & Cassie helped me by tricking him. The most unexpected thing that happened to me is when I messed up my ankle really bad. My favorite van ride was on the way back to camp from the hospital with Jess we had a great time even though I was injured. My biggest fear I overcame was letting my feelings out and talking to people about them. Thanks SMA! J

 

Robert McKoy

            I have enjoyed horsemasters, SUP and sail, Alex’s Lemonade stand, talent show, canoeing with Flat Matt, wakeboarding. I made friends in all of the cabins. Favorite memory is not falling off Snoopy at all. I overcame stage frightness a bit.

 

Aaron Meyerson

            I have enjoyed riding in the boat. I have made 11 friends. My favorite memory is when I went mountain biking. I loved cantering on Bilbo. I loved breakfast. I can’t wait to come back next year.

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Austin

            Camp this year has been great. I have enjoyed many things like mountain biking, going on the trails really fast were great. Half way on the trail I found out the counselor got a job. In my cabin I made a friend named Chris. He was great. Sadly he had to leave through half of the session. One really funny time was when Jordan was telling Sydney to do the dishes when the whole time he was talking to Lily. My favorite memory was candlelight meeting. I learned so much about everyone else. My favorite camp day was the fair. I got to see all my friends outside the camp. I had too much lemonade. One of the camp days was going white water rafting. I got all suited up and then went in the water paddling was so easy with the help of our raft guide. All in all this camp session was great.

 

Emma Westrich

            This was the first time I have ever been to an overnight camp. At first I was so scared to even come here. But when I got into everything and met everyone I didn’t want to leave. I loved riding, wakeboarding, and SUP and sail. I really liked the canoeing overnight. Me, Lilly, Justin, Austin, and Kat slept outside under the stars and it was amazing. I also really liked the white water rafting. I didn’t fall off (which is good) and our guide was amazing. My secret friend gave me M&Ms, Sour Patch Kids, and gummy bears. When my secret friend was revealed I Found out it was Diego. I am so glad I got to come to SMA.

 

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Counselors

 

Ash

            First of all-I’m Ash!! (NOT BETH!!)

            At the start of the summer it felt like we had forever here at SMA, and now it’s the end of session 4. It’s crazy how fast these 9 and a half weeks have flown. I am just not ready to say goodbye. Session 4 has had a completely different kind of magic to the other sessions. A smaller session with mostly first time campers-watching friendships blossom, barriers/fronts coming down and seeing who the campers truly are when they’re given a space where they can be completely themselves, a space to be vulnerable, honest, to act completely ridiculously, to accept who they are and figure out who they want to be. It’s been such a privilege to be a part of these campers’ journeys and I hope very much tat they continue on their journeys this coming year and that they return next summer. Little J was absolutely fabulous-we had matching bunk bandanas and sneaky hot chocolate and cookies after dark. Combining canoeing and climbing trees on the canoe overnight resulted in capsizing on the first rapid and requiring knights in shining armour (Daric and Tony) to rescue the first aid kit and our canoe. Perfectly toasted mountain pies, torrential rain and waking up completely soaked made for the most memorable time. I loved the endless games of knock out, nukam and being coached in ultimate frisbee and fortnight dance moves. White water rafting was off the scale-Wickersham Rockers were of course the BEST raft on the river!! I’m devastated to be saying goodbye to this group-I have nothing but love for them and I’ll miss them dreadfully. So long session 4. Love you, miss you, bye!!

 

Jessica

            When I started my summer at SMA I had no idea what was in store for me and couldn’t have imagined what an experience it has been! Wrapping up Session 4 is hard to believe this is the last session of the summer of a lifetime. I can’t put into words how much this summer at SMA has meant to me and the impact it has on me and all the feelings I’m feeling right now so I’m just going to focus on reflecting on Session 4 before the tears start to flow, and when they do I’m afraid they won’t stop! With such a small group of kids this session, the connections and relationships that were made were deeper and more bonding was done as a camp unit which was really nice to be a part of and witness. Some highlights of these two weeks were an absolutely awesome day on the Yough, volleybally tournaments, mountain biking, the dance and the all camp day skits! Some hospital trips were made with the gnarliest injuries we have had all summer! (Noah more so than Justin). Overall this session was a blast full of friendship bracelets, full sending and being down for anything. I have really enjoyed counseling the session 4 kids and hope they have enjoyed this time here too. Goodbyes are never easy, no it’ll have to be a see-you-later SMA! This place and the people have changed my life and I know I will be back!

 

Ellie

            Wow! Session four was an AMAZING end to an already incredible summer here at Stone Mountain Adventures. Even though Session 4 was a bit smaller, we managed to have a blast! It was a unique experience being with a small group of kids and getting to connect with each and every one of them! Highlights include both the overnights, the talent show, and so much more. It is sad to see this summer coming to an end, but I find comfort in knowing I was a part of something so special, especially for the kids. Peace out summer 2018!

 

Cassie

            It seems like only last week we were training as staff. I can’t believe that session 4 is over! Not only that, it’s the end of camp. Session 4 has been great. Being a bunk captain has been great. All of the Little J girls have been a lot of fun. Highlights for me have been mountain biking. I wish I had done it more over the summer. I also loved being a secret friend to Kat. Having a splash fight at Greenwood with the Furnace boys and Little J girls was fun along with so many games of Newcome. Alex’s Lemonade Stand was amazing. I loved dancing to Cotton Eyed Joe and the Macarena! Thanks to all campers and staff for an amazing session 4 and summer! Wake overnight was amazing! Stargazing with Nath and Matt L. was awesome.

 

Beth

            Wow. Last day of Session 4. I’m at a loss for words. Session 4 has been the smallest and the most special. The vibe has been one of family: of openness, honesty and vulnerability, encouragement and support, of laughter and warmth. I am so happy to have been here for these last two weeks. Thank you campers for all you have done to create this accepting culture. I loved all the activities I did with you: the chilled canoeing overnight where we ran the rapids in our PFDs and slept outside and got eaten alive by bugs; horsemasters, learning how to take care of the horses; rappelling at Triceps, climbing on Sharks Tooth; bumbling around the fair, seeing the animals, the insulting clow, eating fried dough; exploring Trough Creek; and the nights spent in Little J with the gorgeous (inside and out) girls, the giant spider, the giggles and Harry Potter-thank you for my bandana ladies. I’ve had a wonderful time, thank you for making me feel a part of the team even when I was on day camp. Love you guys-never change!

 

Flat Matt

            As the last campers leave the song Closing Time begins to play over the PA system. Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end. These words perfectly reflect the sentiment I have towards session 4.

            Session 4 was a new beginning for most of the campers as first years. This group took right to the Stone Mountain spirit and from day one formed bonds that will last a lifetime. Through rain, injuries, and technical difficulties this group made the most of every moment and left with expectations of returning in years to come.

            For others this session marked the end of their camp experience. Although this may be a hard thing to do it comes with the opportunity to return as a counselor later in life and the responsibility to take what you have learned back into the real world.

            As for me Session 4 marks the end of my Stone Mountain journey. After camp I will be starting my career as an engineering and will not be able to return as a counselor: I will be forever grateful to SMA for giving me the greatest summer of my life. I know who I want to take me home. Take home, to SMA.

 

Matt L.

            Our small but mighty group of fourth session campers persevered through some lingering rain to have an amazing two weeks! The enthusiasm level was through the roof throughout, as the large portion of Stone Mountain Activities Masters shows.

            A personal highlight of the session was getting out on the boat at every opportunity and seeing campers make so much progress in their wakeboarding and kneeboarding skills. The two wakeboarding overnights were both incredible!

            As my summer at SMA draws to a close, I feel immensely grateful to all of the campers and parents, to the incredible staff team, and to Jud and Anne for making this experience possible. Often, it seems, a summer at SMA provides growth experiences for the staff just as much as it does for the campers!

 

Swaggers

            It’s hard to believe that another summer has finally come to a close. It’s the end of my seventh summer at this magical place and saying goodbye never seems to get any easier. SMA is a magical place that always seems to know when you need it the most and to build you into the exact person you need to be. So a thank you to 4th session for being a part of that for me.

            This session was absolutely amazing. The small group became like a family overnight with so many new faces experiencing camp for the first time. It is always one of my favorite things to share SMA with people for the first time and watch the transformation that everyone goes through.

            There are so many warm memories from this session but I think one of my favorites was my small candle light group. The discussion and the level of support shown for everyone in the circle was awe inspiring. I think that the small candle light was a perfect summary of the session and what it was about.

            Thank you for making 4th session so spectacular! We really did save the best for last!

 

Tim

            What an amazing group of kids to conclude the summer! We had an absolute blast both weeks, especially during activities. Ultimate was really fun the first week as was the canoe overnight. The paddle was really fast and I was terrified and exuberant when Beth and I floated through one of the rapids. We also had fun playing mud football, until Justin fell and twisted his ankle. The Yough was at the highest level all summer and the presence of a guide in each boat made for a quick and exhilerating trip. In the last week we had an amazing 1000 step hike in which Comet joined us and canoe float that was really more of a party boat. This last session was small, but intimate, and a perfect end to the summer. Thank you campers for all of the fun memories.

 

Helen

            Session 4 is always special, as campers and counselors enjoy some of their last days of summer together and embrace each moment of fun to the fullest. This year was no different, and it was incredible seeing how quickly this group of campers became one cohesive unit that was down for anything, whether it be flag football, foosball, or Yough day.

            While I spent a lot of my time the second week with the day campers, I was very grateful for how excited the campers were to embrace me back into the fold whenever I came back into the teen camp during evenings and spare moments. Whenever I started to get sad about the summer coming to a close, I could simply walk into the Board Room and know there’d be a Furnace boy calling me ‘Mom’ or a Little J girl to give me a hug. Thank you all for being the bright, shining humans who you are. This session was perfect.

 

Nathan

            Session 4 was a perfect end to the summer. The small group didn’t stop us from having fun and enjoying everything that we did. The days out with the mountain bike crew at Allegripis were great, I loved the wakeboard overnight and getting to sleep outside under the tarp and the day in Ohiopyle with Noah, Lanie and Katherine seeing Cucumber Falls and eating pizza was great fun.

            It sucks session 4 went so fast but it was one of the best sessions this summer.

 

Diego

            The last day has arrived and is difficult to find some words to express everything that I feel. This summer was the best summer in all my life, definitely has changed my life. This year was my first year as a camp counselor and my first time in USA, I was so excited because it was a good experience for me. I never forget this definitely was so good spending my time with the kids and with my coworkers I have learned a lot about. I am a little sad also because my returning to Mexico is coming and I don’t want to go back but I have to do it. I have to come back to the reality, keep going studying and working to progress in my life. I would love to come back here but nobody knows what is going to happen in the future. I am so thankful with everyone and for this reason I just can say thanks.

 

Jordan

            This summer has flown by and I can’t believe that session four is over already. It was nice to end with a slightly smaller group in the last session as everyone became really close. The vibe around camp this session has been super positive. I’ve enjoyed taking the kids out on the lake, wakeboarding, waterskiing, cleaning the boat was also a laugh along with the dance parties on the boat. Playing flag football was a fun activity even though it was super slippy and muddy. The wakeboard overnight was my favorite activity as I got to do some fishing for the first time this summer and we also made a huge tarp city to shelter under during the thunder storm. I’m sad that the summer is coming to a close but really happy I’ve spent the summer working here at SMA.

           

 

 

 

 

About Director Jud's Blog

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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