Marie Salova spent this past summer as a counselor in the CIEE Camp Exchange USA program. When she returned to her home in Ireland she wrote us a beautiful thank you note sharing her experience. This is Marie's story.
I am writing to thank you for making this summer one of the best ones of my life. I made more memories and friends than I can even count. I just wanted to share a little bit of my experience with you all.
This summer I was working at Camp Pinecliffe in their Arts and Craft Department. I was hired at the first CIEE hiring fair in Dublin in the very first session, admittedly knowing very little about what was to come. I went through all the orientation procedures and decided on some dates for my flights and finally got my health check done. As the date of departure was arriving, a fellow counselor set up a Facebook group chat for us where we shared all our concerns and goals for the summer to come. We met at the airport by the gates. We joked about the summer ahead. Once in Boston we met Annie, a CIEE representative. She was telling us not to be nervous or scared but by this point none of us were any more, we were all eager to get to camp and start the summer of a lifetime. We explored Boston that night with some serious jet lag.
Once at Pinecliffe, we worked with an amazing group of both staff and campers. The eight weeks to follow were filled with laughter and enjoyment. The work at camp never felt like a job. This year was Camp Pinecliffe’s 100th anniversary. The summer was filled with all sorts of special events, trips and shows. So much happened during the summer that I could not tell you about it if I had another 100 years.
Each day was special, each week had its own mood. We sang song by the camp fire, we took a trip to Canada, we ate lobster for Pinecliffe’s birthday, we held sports events and socials, we worked with people from all over the world, we went to the funfair and we survived visiting day and alumni weekend. We had the most amazing view every morning and the best days off. We ate good food and enjoyed milk and cookies every night. The traditions at this camp will stay with me forever.
As camp drew to a close, they hosted a banquet. Hundred Acre Wood was the theme for the night, the girls spoke about their summers at camp, their memories and friends, their traditions and bunks. Spending the summer working with the eldest age group made this last night especially difficult as they knew their summers at Camp Pinecliffe had come to an end. In the dark, we were filling jars with things that capture the essence of Pinecliffe. Later the girls sat in a circle and confessed their camp secrets over the last six to eight summers. They will forever be Pinecliffe girls.
This photo was taken of the Irish staff prior to the final Banquet. We were dressed, like the girls, in all white. Wearing our special anniversary t-shirts. The amount of emotion that followed this photo is unbelievable and I would have never thought I would have something so special that makes saying goodbye so hard. Pinecliffe will forever hold a special place in my heart.
All of this came before an unforgettable experience traveling along the east coast. For this experience I will forever be grateful and would do it again in a heartbeat.
Thank you for all your hard work and commitment throughout the years,
I will never forget all you have done.
Camp Counselor, Summer 2017, from Ireland