It hardly seems possible that Girls Camp staff will be returning to Fourth Debsconeag less than twelve weeks from now. Is it too soon to start a countdown?! Here at home in Iowa winter is hanging on as long as it can, still bringing us brisk winds and chilly days, a light snow like dust covering the ground. Soon enough, however, one of my favorite seasons will be here as colors come to life in the emerging buds of trees and blooming petals of flowers. I love seeing new life and beauty brought forth each spring; I can only imagine what this change of seasons looks like in the great state of Maine. As I begin the countdown to the day I return to the east coast, I cannot help but think of why I am so elated to have the opportunity to spend another summer at Chewonki Camp for Girls. In truth, it is hard to sum up all the reasons I am so drawn to and passionate about this special place nestled in the North Woods. If you have been there, you need no further explanation. For those of you wondering, however, I’d like to paint a picture for you. Imagine this…after a morning filled with duffle shuffling and checking that the girls campers have packed everything they need, farewells and hugs are shared with parents and guardians and we’re off to our sacred home in the North Woods, 15 miles from Mt. Katahdin as the raven flies. A 5-hour ride of playing cards, getting to know new friends, napping, and singing songs with the bus driver takes us to our destination. We are greeted by the glistening waters of Fourth Debsconeag seen through the towering pines and cedars surrounding us. After unloading our gear, we gather into small groups to hike the last .4 miles into camp where a warm dinner and cozy yurts await our arrival. What seems unfamiliar in those moments of first stepping on to the grounds of camp will become an image of home away from home for both campers and staff alike for the rest of our lives. The following three weeks we will find ourselves doing things we never imagined possible, from seeing new places to challenging ourselves in fun and different ways. We will leave this place and never be the same, always wondering when we will have the chance to return again.Because I never attended camp when I was younger, I feel that much more blessed to be able to help provide an experience like this for girls anywhere from 8-18 years old. Whether it is the people, food, activities, wilderness trips, or scenery at Fourth Debsconeag, I’m not sure that we could provide a more diverse and unique summer camp experience for adolescent girls. Our staff come from all over the country (and world!) to be trip leaders, support staff, and cooking crew at Girls Camp. Every day at each meal, food is thoughtfully and creatively prepared by our incredible chef, Loryn, who manages to satiate the appetite of any person who sits down to enjoy her cooking and baking. Besides the optional 6:30am polar bear swims and bird walks available, several other activities are planned each day in camp that girls can partake in when not on backpacking, canoeing, or kayaking trips with their yurt groups. What other camp gives you the chance to carve your own ash wood canoe paddle or help fully construct a cedar canoe to be paddled once completed (with the paddle you made!); where else can you be sung to sleep each night and awakened every morning by three calling loons who annually make their home on the waters of Fourth Debs? Community is a huge aspect of being at Girls Camp, both in large and small group settings. Campers have the chance to get to know others both younger and older than themselves while in camp, as well as become closer to girls their own age within their yurt groups while out on wilderness trips throughout the state of Maine. Each session, girls head home with new friends of all ages from all kinds of places, whether as big as New York City or small town New England. One of the greatest things about Chewonki is that no matter how similar or different girls might feel at the start of camp, they leave at the end of a session with an everlasting bond forged by their connection in the outdoors. Every adolescent girl should have a chance to experience a place as transforming as this!If you are a parent or guardian of an adolescent girl, I hope you will consider giving your daughter(s) the gift of experiencing a session at Chewonki Camp for Girls this summer. Though there is already so much we can excitedly anticipate, there is much more awaiting each camper who comes to Fourth Debsconeag in only a few short months. Extraordinary experiences and unforgettable memories are awaiting her in the incredible and wonderful North Woods of Maine.