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CAMP OJIBWA… what it means for a Hungarian counselor…by Zsombor “Z” Zathureczky

Posted by Stuart Nitzkin on Feb 01, 2016

Camp Ojibwa… after spending two summers there, it’s still difficult to collect my thoughts about this special place.

Even for me, someone from Middle-Eastern Europe, who got there only as a counselor at the age of 23, Camp Ojibwa has become a crucial part and one of – if not – the most determining experience of my life.

The essence of camp is incredible: what they say in promotional videos, how special camp is and how people are brothers there, it’s not just promotion and marketing: it’s true. All of it. Camp is a place to grow, and not only for campers. During my first summer I learnt so many things about myself, about other cultures, about children, it’s almost unimaginable how much one can gain at Ojibwa. This is why I decided to return the next year, and even though I thought I couldn’t return for a third time, I made it happen, I had to make it happen. Because Camp Ojibwa is a place unlike any other.

For children it’s the best place to have fun, to learn, and to develop a high self-esteem. Because this is what camp is all about: learning and growing while having fun. During the day there`s nonstop sport, where they learn how to work as a team, how to compete as true sportsmen, they learn how to win, and – what might be even more important – how to lose. These are lessons that one will carry on for a lifetime.

The relationship between the campers and us, counselors, is unique: it`s not exagerating to say they are like little brothers to us. They turn to us with their problems, with their secrets, with their happiness and sadness, because they know they can trust us. Knowing that they think so highly of you, and respect you so much, is one of the best feelings in the world. And based on what I saw between the counselors who grew up going to Ojibwa every summer: not only they are best friends, they are like brothers in arms, they know they can count on each other NO MATTER WHAT.

Maybe this is what camp is about, other than learning while having fun: to connect. Connecting with your fellow mates, connecting with nature (it`s really easy, considering camp is located in the middle of the Northern woods of Wisconsin, next to the beautiful Catfish lake), and connecting with yourself. At camp every single person is encouraged to be themselves, and everyone supports you, nobody judges you. By spending summers there you can truly become the best version of yourself.

I don`t know for how many years I`ll keep coming back. Last year I said to everyone that I would not be back, but I turned out to be wrong. The next year, I will not even make predictions, because it makes no sense. Life is so unpredictable. But no matter how many summers I`ll spend at Ojibwa, it already has a special place in my heart. Before coming here for the first time in 2014 I knew that I was about to have the experience of a lifetime, but I had no idea it would turn out to be this important to me. I cannot thank the directors enough for hiring me, an unknown Hungarian guy, two years ago, and inviting me back over and over again. So Dennis, Stu, Joel and the others, from the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU, and see you in June!

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