March Alumna Story: How Red Pine Prepared Me for Life
Posted March 12, 2015 by Carolyn Bernhardt
This month’s Alumna Story comes to us from Annie Hudson (Leadership ’05). Annie was a camper from 1999-2005, a staff member from 2006-2008 and Leadership Advisor in 2011 (pictured above). She is also a former Tennis department head. Annie grew up in Lake Forest, IL and graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011. She now works in development for a non-profit in Chicago, Catholic Extension.
While my camp days have gone and I no longer spend my time at the courts teaching tennis lessons, nothing makes me smile more than thinking about camp.
As a camper, Red Pine was pure fun. People would ask what I did during the summer and I would list the endless activities and evening programs. On staff I was able to share my love of camp with a whole new group of girls. Now a 20 something living and working in Chicago, I am able to see just how Red Pine has shaped the person I’ve become.
There is a line from a camp poem that has always resonated with me, “You can take chances or you can take safety nets.” Red Pine taught me how to take thoughtful chances. It is much easier to go out into the world when you know you have the ability to achieve your goals, and Red Pine builds that confidence. It starts with your first “Air Band,” lip singing as a 10-year-old in front of 100 girls, most of whom are older than you. Then you graduate to your first canoe trip where you learn that while yes, you can physically survive life in the woods for three days, you may never see the need to sleep in a tent ever again. By the time you’ve reached Leadership you’re ready to be a role model for younger campers, which is a responsibility that you not only accept, but take great pride in. Amazingly, all of this is achieved while you’re simply having fun!
Being a camper is something I wish everyone could experience, but my summers on staff will forever stand out as the most important. They came at a time when a lot was changing – the transition from high school to college, and college to the “real world” were setting in. Yet, for each transition I can think of a tough situation where camp prepared me to make it through with the strength, grace, and ease of a lady.
Every summer that my parents dropped me at the bus for camp, I cried. Every time they came to visit, I cried. I was 13, it was my 4th summer and I was still crying when they dropped me off. The weird part was that I loved camp and asked to return EVERY summer. But when my parents took me to college, there were other families saying tearful good-byes and this time my cheeks were dry. I had learned through my summers at Red Pine that I could be successful on my own, home would still be there when I got back, and every new adventure – while sometimes scary – had something to teach me.
It was my summers at Red Pine that made me independent and confident. While I made sure to have internships in college that would hopefully help me get my first job, it was my ability to reference camp experiences that would eventually get me hired and allow me to be a successful employee. As head of the Tennis department, I was learning how to manage a team. In the role of cabin counselor communicating with camper parents, I learned the fine art of customer service. As a member of a staff of over 45 people (larger than the company I now work for) I began to understand how every person has a vital role in getting a job done.
I don’t think I will ever be able to fully articulate how important Red Pine has been to me, but I do know that it is certainly a wonderful place that I am grateful to have in my life.
Originially published at: https://rpc4g.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/march-alumna-story-how-red-pine-prepared-me-for-life/