[This post originally appeared on Camp Timbercrest News]
This year, Paula Austin will serve as the Camp Director at Camp Timbercrest! She’s crazy excited about her new position, and we’re pretty excited too! Check out the interview below to learn more about your new director.
What is your camp name?
Why did you choose this name? I have no idea how I ended up with it. It was 1997 and I was a CIT, it was too long ago and there was no big memorable reason behind it. Now however, my name is most often associated with “Zoe Cakes,” a dessert I created during a cookout gone wrong in 1999. I was thrilled when my daughter started coming to camp to find out that they still make them!
How many years have you worked at camp? What were your previous positions? Over the last 20 years, I have worked at Seven Hills off and on for 11 summers. This will be my first summer at Timbercrest, and I can’t wait to experience all it has to offer. Previous positions include junior counselor, assistant unit leader, unit leader, CIT director, head counselor, administrative assistant,and assistant camp director.
Did you ever camp as a Girl Scout? If so, where and when? Camping was one of my favorite things to do with my Girl Scout troop as a kid! We had a pretty tight group that was together from Daisy up until high school. Our favorite winter camping destination was Sky High which had a great sledding hill behind the cabin. We cabin camped at Green Lake, Margaret Castle,and Seven Hills, and got to try out the platform tents at Seven Hills when we participated in the encampments for our service unit.
What’s one of your favorite camp memories? It’s hard to pick a favorite camp memory! However, some of my favorite summers were the three that I spent working with the CIT’s. I loved watching the growth that happened throughout their program and the transition from camper to staff. The following year, when they would return as staff, I loved being the one to give them their staff shirts during staff week. Many of them had come to camp since they were little. The symbolism of that shirt and their long journey to finally be a counselor was always a huge moment for them, and a favorite of mine!
Why do you think girls should come to camp this summer? Girls should come to camp because they will find the best version of themselves there! It sounds so cheesy, but its so true. When a girl comes to camp, she is met with daily opportunities to step outside of her comfort zone, out of her everyday life, and experience new things. The growth that can happen in a single week at camp is unbelievable. Sometimes it is little things, a seven year old left to get the shampoo out of her hair without her parents help for the first time. A nine year old that has spent a few summers at camp and “finally” makes it to yellow cap at her swim test. A girl that thought she was afraid of bugs and now she can remove a daddy long legs from her tent to help out a friend. First time on a horse, in a canoe,shooting an arrow, or trying the ropes course… camp has so many unbelievable opportunities!!
What’s your favorite part about camp? My favorite part of camp is campfires, specifically closing campfires. While everything at camp is special, it is the traditions that keep girls coming back year after year. At closing campfire, girls are presented with their 5, 10, 15+ year pins or patches. It is such a big moment for so many. The first time I attended a closing campfire as a CIT, I watched the girls telling their favorite memory during their five years at camp before getting presented with their pins. It was at that moment that I was hooked on camp! I knew I wanted to meet that milestone and more! Last summer, I was able to present my own daughter with her five year pin at Seven Hills and it was such an amazing thing for us both. I was so proud of her for her five summer sat camp, but more than that, it was such a great moment to share with her as we share our love for camp!