On this episode of the Gold Arrow Camp Pog-cast, Soy talks camp and family with Tootles and Batman, long time campers, current staff members, and life-long sisters. They discuss why camp feels so much like family, what it’s like to work with your sister, and how hard it is to remember each other’s camp names.
“To be able to experience all of the amazing activities in such a supportive and friendly environment has been such a gift.” – Courtney Cohen
For the Cohens, Gold Arrow Camp is an important family tradition. With a combined total of 38 years, they’ve created a second home at camp. According to mom Lisa, “Gold Arrow has been, and will continue to be, an incredible part of our family’s life.”
Dad Scott Cohen discovered both ceramics and sailing, two hobbies that he still enjoys, during his days as a camper in the 1970s. He enjoys ceramics so much that the Cohens have a kiln in their garage, and Scott has incorporated creating and installing ceramic tiles into his clients’ projects (he has a landscape design business). Scott sails as often as he can and has his captain’s license, and he has passed along his love of sailing to his three daughters, all of whom have attended GAC for 10+ years!
Oldest daughter, Kinsey “Tootles” Cohen, taught sailing at GAC in the summer of 2015, is returning for 2016, and is the captain of her university sailing team. Says Kinsey, “Being able to come back to GAC as a counselor after being a camper for so long was an amazing experience. I got to pass on my stories of how much fun I had to my campers, as well as teach them that it’s ok to be yourself all of the time, and that people will like you for you. It was amazing to give back to the GAC community.”
Kinsey attributes a lot of her personal growth to her time as a camper. “I was really shy when I was a kid, but whenever I was at camp I was never shy. I became a completely different kid, and eventually as I got older, I used what I learned at camp to burst out of my shy shell in the ‘real world’ too. I wouldn’t be as confident, as accepting of myself, and as free to be me no matter what without camp.”
According to Kinsey, “GAC has been a HUGE part of our family. Camp gets brought up all of the time whenever we’re all together, and it’s usually Courtney, Cassandra, and I talking about funny moments during our years there. Dad will try to throw in a story from his time too, to be included in the conversation. It’s given us something to bond over, and without GAC we wouldn’t be the kind of family we are today.”
Courtney Cohen, who is excited to come back in 2016 as a counselor, says, “GAC has made me a much better person. I have developed a love and respect for nature, an understanding of why it is necessary to step back from technology every once in awhile and enjoy what life can offer. Being able to interact with people from multiple nations has expanded my worldview and allowed me to have and maintain friendships from across the world. Camp taught me a lot about recognizing my fears and being able to conquer them. Not only that, but to help support others conquer their fears as well. It also helped me break away from my shyness and feel safe being my silly weird self.”
Courtney also thinks GAC has brought her family closer together over the years and appreciates her time at camp: “To be able to experience all of the amazing activities in such a supportive and friendly environment has been such a gift. I have learned to be more patient and understanding when it comes to mistakes and arguments. Also, I think there is a more positive attitude after being around a family like environment with all the friends at camp.”
Youngest sister, Cassandra “Mystery” Cohen, participated in our new month-long Junior Counselor program last summer. She says, “Being part of GAC has impacted my family because it brings my sisters and me a lot closer to each other through our fun experiences of going to camp together. Also, being that my dad went here as a kid, it also allows the whole family to share fun memories and have a good laugh.”
For Cassandra, “GAC is another home to me and to have been going here for 10 years is absolutely amazing and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I can’t imagine my life without GAC. I have made life-long best friends from camp and I wouldn’t have met them if it wasn’t for camp.”
Says mom Lisa, “I am thrilled that we were able to give our children the opportunity to spend so many summers at Gold Arrow Camp. They each have grown more confident, independent and mature through your guidance. They have learned to overcome fears, work in group environments and have gained leadership skills that will help them throughout school, the work environment and life.”
It looks like the Cohen family will continue to be part of GAC for a long time, because, according to Kinsey, “I know that once I have kids, they’ll be attending GAC and continuing the tradition.”