Staff Notes – Emma Mactaggart

Camp Kawaga is a place unlike anywhere I have ever been. It is truly a community and somewhere, which I am so glad to have found myself this year. I am from Australia where summer camp just doesn’t exist. Many people from home have come across to America and Canada during our winter months to experience the camp life. As much as I was told about Camp, nothing could have prepared me for what it is like here.

Back home I have completed university and I am a pharmacist, so I do feel that I have a little bit of world experience under my belt. Even so, I have been challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone in many ways here, especially being a girl at an all boys’ camp. I have gained confidence through leading clubs and coaching leagues teams and feel that the girls here have all been integrated really well. I have also never worked with this many children, but I am loving it. Having homesick kids around is challenging but having learned how to deal with them, I feel much more confident in these situations.

I am blown away, firstly, by the fact that kids as young as six are prepared to spend between two and eight weeks away from their family. That is something that I did not do until the age of sixteen. I can see how beneficial this time away is for a child’s development and independence, especially when it comes to these children moving away from their families when it comes time for college. I can only imagine how much more prepared I would have felt after finishing high school if I had a regular period of time away from my family growing up. At the age of twenty-three, I am likely moving across the country next year. It’s an idea that terrifies me but I am finally ready to move away from my childhood home, something that I believe most of these kids will be prepared to do at a much younger age because of their time at Camp.

Secondly, seeing the CITs from 2016, that have been attending Kawaga for years come back as Junior Counselors has really impressed me, especially considering they are yet to finish high school. The maturity and leadership skills that Kawaga gives campers allows them to transition into counselors seamlessly. This will put them in great stead for college and for future job prospects. It’s something that I would have loved to have done at their age.

Finally, I really love seeing and hearing about the true friendships that come out of Camp with kids from all across the country. I have been told that school friends are good friends but Camp friends are family. I feel very lucky to be a counselor at Camp Kawaga and will always value what it has taught me and the amazing friendships I have made.


– Emma Mactaggart