For years, Catherine Salls sat front and center in her camp memories. But Catherine’s camp story is now undergoing a transformation. As she drops her own children off for the best two weeks of their lives, builds lasting memories with them at Family Camp and gives back to the place that has impacted her life so greatly, her camp story only grows. We caught up with Catherine to hear about her camp experience and her involvement with the Alumni Ambassador Program.
What has been your experience outside of camp as an LLYC Alumni?
I’ve really enjoyed getting to know people again. Facebook has reintroduced me to so many people I knew as a camper and then later as a counselor; some are across the country and others are here in Austin. Actually, some of these people I’ve gotten to know better now than I knew them back then! It’s nice to make new friendships and strengthen the old ones, while picking up where I left off with friends I had 20 years ago.
What is it like for you to return to LLYC as a parent?
Well, besides going into the girls’ cabins and seeing the same curtains that I saw when I was a camper, I’m loving passing on this experience to my children. When I picked my daughter up from camp this summer, she said, “Mommy, I’m sorry, but I didn’t really miss you much this summer. When I was at Singing Hills, there would be a time when I would want to come home, but this year at Echo I didn’t ever get that feeling.” And I told her, “That’s okay, sweetheart, I completely understand!” So, I didn’t take offense to that!
Tell me about your experience with the LLYC Alumni Ambassador Program.
It’s a wonderful program. We talk to parents on the first day of camp, giving them directions and answering any questions they have. Even before they arrived at camp, we were given a few names of new campers to call in order to answer any last-minute questions they had. I think it gives parents peace of mind and makes them feel confident in the place they are dropping kids off for two weeks. And it was fun for us Alumni Ambassadors to do that! A real honor.
How does camp continue to influence your life today?
Camp has been such an important part of my life because that’s where my relationship with God really started. During any low points of my life, I’ve gone back to that foundation that I made at camp. Low points, high points, and everything in the middle—that’s where the spiritual part of me was born when I was about 12 years old. And that’s one of the most important parts about me!