Wildflowers and Campers

by Andrea Wackerle

WildflowersIt’s finally almost here! Summer camp season that is. I spend 10 months in eager anticipation of campers arriving back at camp, and the last month is the most exciting wait of them all. I can’t wait to hear the laughter and voices of the campers through the trees, to see their smiling faces as they ride by on their horses, thoughtfully climb the rock cliffs, paddle by in their canoes or just simply enjoy a meal with their comrades.

I know it is time to get excited when our staff starts arriving. And in North Carolina, they have already started training. We begin next week here in Wyoming. The first staff that arrive will see camp in its skeleton form and help transform it into its full glory that campers and parents see when they arrive. I love watching the transformation of camp as it awakens from its winter hibernation. Spring is slower to arrive in Wyoming than it is in most of the country, but it comes as the staff arrive. The trees bloom, the grass turns green, and yesterday I saw the first wildflowers of the season. This should be an amazing wildflower season because of the huge amount of precipitation received this winter. We should be greeted by one of the best displays of color that we’ve had in years. The different colored flowers come and go through the summer just like the different campers that arrive and bid farewell each session. Each one special, unique and amazing to in their own right.

I can’t wait to see this year’s group of campers. Several names are familiar alumni that will be greeted with a hug and questions about their school year. Many are new that will be greeted with a big smile and questions about them and their personal worlds. SOAR is unlike any other place I have ever worked or visited. A place founded on developing the strengths of the individuals we serve and creating strategies to make progress on goals. A place where one can watch, as flowers and campers alike grow through transformations into something new and fresh.

The campers that visit Eagle View Ranch this summer will be blessed with our ever-changing wildflower season and the amazing views. I feel blessed every summer as campers arrive and I watch as they grow and mature, learn responsibility, make new friends, and share endless fun and laughter with a group of similar campers. I just spoke on the phone today with a camper that was in Wyoming 12 years ago. He told me about what an amazing experience it was for him. He also informed me that he still keeps in contact with several of the people that were in his group that summer. I think that is a true story of just one of the amazing benefits of our summer camp.

I know that all the staff at SOAR love being a part of making magic happen at camp and we are all excited to be so near to campers arriving. We look forward to seeing you at all of our amazing locations this summer.

Author: Jeremy Neidens

Director of Eagle View Ranch, Wyoming