A Camper’s Life Comes Full Circle
As a kid, Andrew Davis felt like he couldn’t be himself in school. “I was hyperactive and loud,” recalls Andrew. “School wasn’t a great place for those personality traits so I was often pretty reserved around my classmates.” When Andrew started going to YMCA Camp Cristina for summer camp, something changed. “Right from the start, I loved Camp Cristina so much. Camp Cristina was a place where I always felt I could be myself,” shares Andrew. “I lived for the times I got to be ‘camp me’ over ‘school me’ and go hang out with my camp friends.”
The relationships Andrew forged at camp is what kept him coming back every summer – and it wasn’t just the other campers. “We always looked up to our counselors. We thought they were the coolest adults ever,” says Andrew. “They were the biggest part of creating the atmosphere that truly was Camp Cristina. They acted like a big family. Just like the campers, most of the counselors also returned year after year.”
After spending a decade as campers, Andrew and his friends became counselors too. “Being so close was a big part of what made us good counselors,” shares Andrew. “When we spent time outside of camp together, we often discussed what activities we wanted to put together for the kids – to really immerse them into the camp culture until they, too, felt like part of our camp family. For those of us who grew up there, part of you always hopes for that cycle to repeat itself forever.”
Andrew spent eight years as a counselor and even met his future wife at Camp Cristina. “She, too, grew up as a camp kid and counselor,” says Andrew. “I think of it as a testament to the amazing people Camp Cristina attracts. To this day, all of my closest friends are people I only met because of Camp Cristina, some more than 15 years ago.”
When Andrew started his career as an engineer, Camp Cristina never left his heart. “One day, I got a call from one of my old co-workers who still worked there asking me to join the Advisory Board,” recalls Andrew. He jumped at the opportunity and has been volunteering for two years now. “It’s a chance to give back to a place that had given so much to me over the years, and to work toward making sure other kids have the chance to become part of that same Camp Cristina family,” testifies Andrew.
As for that “hyperactive” kid who needed camp to be himself? He says, “The person I was at camp became the person I was everywhere. As mushy as it sounds, I could never thank Camp Cristina enough for that.”
Pictured above: YMCA Camp Cristina has been a huge part of Andrew Davis’ life for 20 years. It’s where he met his lifelong friends, including his wife, Heather.