“Camp has such a positive impact on each and every one of us. It brings so much joy. Camp changed my life and changed me into a better version of myself.”
When JiYu thinks back to her first trip to Tims Camps at age 12, what she remembers most are the tears.
She had been full of excitement for the experience – her first time travelling solo from her home in Moncton – right up until the day of departure. That’s when, suddenly overcome with nerves, JiYu tearfully begged her parents not to make her go.
Imagine their surprise when, 10 days later, they returned to pick her up from camp and once again found their daughter in tears – this time, because she didn’t want to leave.
“It was embarrassing, but I was like: ‘I don’t want to leave, why did you guys come here so early? Can we just not go back home right now?’” JiYu recalls with a laugh.
“They were so shocked. They were like: ‘OK, only 10 days ago, you didn’t want to come, and now you’re crying in front of us saying you want to stay longer. What happened?’”
JiYu, too, was surprised at how much could change in such a short time. And she continued to change, growing in confidence and abilities as she progressed through Tims Camps leadership development programming for five summers.
What were your first impressions of Tims Camps?
The first day I got there I was like: “Oh man, why am I here? What did I get myself into?” But then I met my cabinmates and my counsellors and all my nervousness disappeared. I became my normal self – I had so much fun.
All the activities I did there, they were things I would never really do back home, mostly outdoor activities. That was really my first time appreciating nature, going on hikes, or learning how to properly canoe.
It was such an amazing experience.
It really had a big impact on me. When it was over, I was counting down the days to the next summer.
What memories stand out to you?
Camping is one of my best memories – canoeing out to these campsites at provincial parks. It was another challenge that forced me to step outside my comfort zone. Because I had never camped more than two days.
I thought, “OK, there’s going to be no shower, no bathroom, we need to canoe, we have to carry everything. I don’t know what to do.” I was excited but there was a level of stress.
But when we got there, we learned how to carry our canoe on our backs, we learned how to stern properly, we learned all these things. And I just remember this feeling of pure joy until the very last day of camp.
It was so amazing. I miss it.
Did Tims Camps change you in any way?
When I was young, I was a bit more of a shy girl. It was a bit hard to step outside my comfort zone. I had to get used to the environment first to actually show who I am as a person.
I think Tims Camps had a huge impact on me because I feel like now, I'm still shy, but I don’t have a hard time reaching out to people.
Camp has such a positive impact on each and every one of us. It brings so much joy.
You don’t think about it while you’re there. But every time I came home, I was always so mesmerized at how just in that short period of 10 days, camp changed my life and changed me into a better version of myself – a more happy version of myself.