My Experience as a Keely's Camp for Girls Coach
My experience as a Keely’s Camp for Girls Coach…
When the campers arrive at Keely’s Camp for Girls, they are quiet and unsure of what to expect. Parents’ drop their girls off at the Mazama hiking lodge in the forest above Government Camp, Oregon. As a coach, my job is to greet the new campers and coax them away from the comfort of their parent’s car and into the jungle that is the thirty girl bunkroom where the campers will be spending the week. “Get settled,” I tell them. “Dinner at 6:00pm and camp meeting directly after.”
The girls arrive at the meeting with wide eyes, “are we in trouble already?”
But as Keely begins to go over the camp schedule and rules the girls dissolve into giggles and the mood immediately loosens. Is she really describing a technique called “the double flush” to avoid clogging the lodge’s delicate plumbing system? Completely true to character and mostly improvised, Keely is in her flow. Inspiring and teaching young female athletes is what she is meant to do!
Without mercy the next morning’s alarms start beeping early! 5:30am the girls (and coaches) groan! “Get in the van!” we chant and the herd of girls and ski equipment move toward the cars and up to the mountain!
We ski everyday of camp! A mixture of slalom, giant slalom, directed free skiing and drills. By the time we get off the hill for lunch I am tired and ready for a nap… but not the campers! It takes about three days for the girls to bond with each other and from then on, the sound of the “quiet, unsure” girls who arrived at camp only escalates. Lying in my bed in the room next to the bunk jungle, I know things are going well when a steady mixture of laughing and screaming echoes through the lodge.
After not enough lunch and too many sugary treats from the general store in town, the girls are bubbling with energy. Time for dryland activites! The coaches again yell, “Get in the van!” and we’re off to play games, hike or swim in one of the many lakes surrounding Mount Hood.
Lights out at 9:00pm, everyone is tired but happy! As a coach and mentor at Keely’s Camp, it is my job to push the camper’s limits just enough to show them how strong they can be. I am a role model of confidence and empowerment and love to teach these life skills without ever having to explain them. You can tell someone how to be tough… but I think a better way is to show them how tough they already are. Hence the camp motto: Girls Moving Mountains!
By Megan McJames