In His Own Words: Jeppe Thanning, Camp Counselor

Today’s post is a message from much-loved Camp Spring Creek counselor Jeppe Thanning. After camp, Jeppe traveled for 3 weeks and then returned to his home country of Denmark. He just moved to a city called Aalborg to study Social Science at the university. His (American) football team, Triangle Razorback, just qualified for its 10th straight semifinal. Here’s Jeppe, in his own words: Camp spring Creek is a place with a lot of passion and pride for the things it does. I was really happy when Susie and Steve gave me the opportunity to come to camp and experience that firsthand. I don’t think many people realize how hard the van der Vorsts work; it is incredible. I can’t talk about this summer without mentioning the great staff we had. We had so much fun as a group and I think that was part of our success! It was wonderful to meet a lot people from all over the world. I remember that after one week of camp I thought: This is going to be a lot of hard work, but it’s going to be worth it!

A typical day for a counselor started 15 minutes before we woke up the kids and we were on duty from that moment forward. We helped the kids get ready for the day and assisted those who needed extra help. Then came all the fun!

I personally loved reading hour. I loved listening to the kids read and hear how they improved over the summer. Reading hour was also a good way to get closer with the kids. Counselors also helped in the woodshop, art room or by being lifeguards at the pool until the late afternoon, during “Outdoors” period, which involved new activities every day. Every counselor had a couple of periods off every day, but mine were often spent walking around watching swim classes or hanging in the woodshop. I was really impressed with the level of creativity the kids had in the woodshop. Later, when the kids had study hall, counselors often spent the time with lifeguard practice or meetings. Then we all tried a new activity every single night after dinner. My favorite activity was going to Bakersville to play Capture the Flag (and I think a lot of campers loved that, too). After the evening activity, the kids had a little cabin time before bedtime.

There’s no doubt that working at CSC as a counselor is hard work, but it is totally worth it! It was so rewarding to help the kids and see them improve in so many ways. Some off the kids needed a “big brother” at camp—someone they could trust and rely on—and I can’t think of a bigger compliment than when a kid picks you! I got so close to those campers in particular that they felt like my actual younger brothers and sisters.

One thing that sometimes felt a little tricky about being a counselor and a role model was the age difference between the campers. Some campers needed teenage advice, while others needed a little help with practical stuff. Some needed a firm counselor. Every camper is unique and should therefore be treated a little differently. I used a lot of the experience I have from my former job at a school for ADHD kids, so it felt kind of natural for me to try and see the strength in every child as well as help them with their weaknesses. I hope the campers learned something from me, because I learned a lot from them.

To all the campers: Thank you for making my summer a great one! You guys are always welcome to send me an email or a letter and I promise to write you back!