My THC Story: Ste & Nicole
“My name is Ste Lane and this will be my 7th summer at the hill”.
My first summer was 2010 and I was going in blind. I didn’t know what the summer held for an English guy taking on his first ever summer camp role as a waterski instructor. Let me tell you, I had no idea how much this place was going to change my life.
Stepping off the bus onto Tyler Hill Camp grounds on a dark, wet, and chilly night, I began to wonder, like many others, what I had let myself in for. Was I ready for this? Would I fit in? Will I be good at my job? The list goes on. However, upon waking up the following morning and meeting the Director, Andy Siegel, along with a whole host of other staff that had turned up early, I somehow knew I had made a good choice. This place had something special going on, and although I couldn’t quite put my finger on it in those first few days of orientation, I soon learned what it was. When you bring together a mass of people, instill the values that THC lives off, inject some key head staff members in there, and finally and most importantly throw 500 kids into the mix, I realized exactly why Tyler Hill Camp was so special.
It will never be easy to convey how much of an awesome and surreal place Tyler Hill is in words, I could sit here and try all day but somehow I will fall short of doing this place justice. At the conclusion of my first summer I only knew one thing for sure; that I loved it here and I was in for the long haul.
My second summer I took on leading a Mixed Martial Arts program, a first for THC and probably a first for the camping industry as a whole. My third year I was ready to take on a little more responsibility and tackled the role of ‘Group Leader’. Thriving off this challenge of being a leader and looking to seek more responsibility, I was invited to join the THC head staff team and take on the role of assistant Division Leader. This was the summer of 2013 and as it would turn out, it turned out to be a pretty special summer for me. Not only did I learn many skills in my new role, but I also met a very special woman who convinced me to go on a crazy adventure around the world. I guess this is the part where “My THC Story” Becomes “Our THC Story”. . .
The woman in question is Nicole “Avocado” Accomando, soon to be Nicole Lane (not quite as exotic I know) who was an extremely popular dance and Zumba instructor at camp during the summers of 2011 and 2012. However, Nicole was only part time during these sessions, so didn’t get to FULLY experience Tyler Hill in all of it’s glory. One day, during the spring of 2013 Nicole decided, very much out of the blue, that this summer she wanted to experience the full Tyler Hill Camp summer and emailed Wendy asking if there would be a place for her as an in bunk counselor to run the dance program. Wendy replied delighted to offer Nicole a position as a full time staff member for the summer of 2013.
Nicole arrived, much like I did a couple of years earlier, wondering if she had made the right call. By now I hope you realized that she did make the right call, as she is marrying me (duh), but apart from that Nicole revamped the dance program and did an incredible job. Dance was a hit, zumba was a HUGE hit and Nicole became a key family member at Tyler Hill. As I mentioned earlier, during the summer Nicole convinced me (or I convinced her to let me) join her on an epic adventure through South East Asia. The summer ended, we had a blast and held fond memories of THC as we departed for our world travel.
The traveling was incredibly fun and adventurous. We didn’t really have a plan or set itinerary, we didn’t want it to feel too structured or rigid and wanted to go with the flow. There was one thing we both agreed upon, though – that come June we would be heading back to Tyler Hill for another crazy summer.
Fast forward two summers, Nicole has joined the head staff team and does an incredible job with the upper camp girls as a Division Leader. I am working with the Upper Camp boys as a Division Leader. We still love an adventure, we still love camp, and whatever we are doing throughout the year we know that our summer home and family awaits us for yet another great summer at Tyler Hill Camp come June.
It seems like only yesterday the buses were rolling out for the closing day of summer 2015. The summer went so fast, as they always do, and once again we find ourselves on countdown for the next round. We are set to marry in April on the beautiful island of Gili Meno in Indonesia (who wants a traditional wedding, right?) before finishing up our celebrations just in time to head back to THC for the summer of 2016.
And that’s our story. . . as you can see Tyler Hill Camp is a pretty wild and wonderful place. See you soon summer 2016.
Peace, Love and THC
Ste & Nicole