It's a large step out of the comfort zone when one acquires their first job, creating a new sense of independence and responsibility. I would not trade the way I've spent my past two summers. Working as a prep cook at a children's camp in Upstate New York has been an unforgettable experience. Keep in mind, I began without any prior kitchen knowledge.  I'm mainly asked to do tasks such as prepare special salads, creatively decorate the counter, wash dishes, take out the trash, etc. I learn something new each day I spend there.

This camp is a piece of paradise where the dogs and chickens roam free, the essence of cabin section' campfires (or burnt popcorn) engulfs your senses, and a camera does no justice in capturing the gorgeous sunsets along Augur Lake.  The sun never seems to shine as brightly as it does, there.

Witnessing the children in awe once they arrive to camp puts into perspective how us, residents of the Adirondacks, sometimes take the lovely scenery we are surrounded by for granted.  It's made me appreciate the area much more. My time at camp has helped me grown as a person, breaking away from the shell of shyness. Socializing with campers and counselors from all different walks of this Earth provides a cultural experience, making me forget I'm still in my hometown.

My favorite aspect of this job, besides the opportunity to engorge on the delicious meals we serve, is how close-knit of a community we are. We are not just co-workers but a family, too. I quickly became the best of friends with two of my track team mates, Hailey and Olivia, when they joined me at camp during the second summer. We wittily refer to ourselves as H20. I don't think there ever was a moment where we weren't laughing. We've had our fair share of hilarious incidents in the kitchen, such as the time Hailey and I attempted to make no-bake cookies. I made the mistake of using mint extract instead of vanilla extract. I'm almost certain we added far too much peanut butter. If a peppermint patty and a peanut butter cup had a baby, that's what this creation was. We served them anyways, receiving lots of confused and disgusted expressions. How we were still given the opportunity to help with desserts after that, I'll never know.

Often, the girls and I would take trips down to the craft house after our dinner shift was done and spend hours drawing or painting. After the lunch shift, we enjoyed going for runs, watching movies, or joining in afternoon activities like canoe tipping and archery.









At the end of every season, we host a banquet dinner. During the first summer we had a New York City theme. Each of us kitchen crew members dressed as the Statue of Liberty and the dining hall was elaborately decorated as the city skyline.  Vendor-like foods were served. I can't tell you how many soft pretzels I ate in that night. This past summer, our theme was "Out of this World" Literally. From galaxy print leggings to the wild, glittery makeup, it was a hell of a time. It makes you think,"What other job lets you have THIS much fun?" it's safe to say there's no place I'd rather be than on Frontage Road. Can June get here any faster?

Written by Haley P.