My Story: Rebecca “Frankie” Frank
In the summer of 1998, each weekend I traveled camp to camp with my family to find a sleep away camp for my brother to attend the following summer. I was jealous immediately, as I was still attending a day camp near home, but hoped that someday one of these camps would be my summer home. My brother chose Tyler Hill and my parents stopped bringing us to visit camps. Lucky for me, 3 years later it was my turn to spend my summer at Tyler Hill.
I was in bunk four as, “ The Bunk 4 Cauliflower Pickers,” but I couldn’t even try to tell you what that inside joke means now. Even though it was 15 years ago I still remember small moments – being a lion tamer for girls sing when we were “Freshmen Circus”, and being in the Austin Powers dance for color war that summer (I was on White Espionage). But what a remember most of all, was that this was the summer that I met some of my closest friends.
It was never an option (in my head) to not come back. So summer after summer I returned to my second home, leaving my parents easily and waiting for them to leave on visiting day so that I coul
d get to eating the yummy food. My bunk stayed together as we continued. We celebrated birthdays, bat mitzvahs, reunions and more. Just this year, I moved into my first NYC apartment with Emily Finkelstein, one of my friends who I started with in bunk four. You might not think so now, but your friends as an 8/9 year old at THC are your future best friends forever.
After I finished my days as a camper, after being a CIT in 2009, my friends and I all came back to be counselors. It was different. We weren’t in a bunk together anymore, we couldn’t run to one another to tell each other the hilarious thing that just happened, and we couldn’t end our nights together doing ridiculous games in the bunk. However, we started to create those bonds with our campers that we used to have with our counselors. We were beyond fortunate to end up with some of the greatest counselors who are now still some of our friends. We started to realize what life was like on the other side.
I was now the one on the porch helping girls get through little quarrels. I was now the bed that every camper came up on to hang out (even though only like 2 people could fit up there at a time). Most importantly, I was now the one falling in love with my campers, who to this day, make me proud and feel more loved then I ever could. My “original girls” are now freshmen in college. I truly feel like an older sister who has to check in every so often to know how they are doing, if they have nice friends, make sure they’re actually doing their work, and giving them advice. Parents always tell counselors how “my kid is lucky to have you,” but to be honest, it was because of their kids that I became the person I am today.
Since my girls moved on from being campers, I have now gotten to see them as counselors for two years now. I see parts of me in them when they talk to their campers, and I feel nothing but happiness when they come tell me “crazy” stories about their bunk – considering that was them just a year ago! Now I have moved to the youngest girls in camp. I was truly worried about going from the oldest to youngest, and I couldn’t love it more. These girls make me laugh and feel needed every single day, and I love being a second mom to them throughout the summer. Each day, I watch them try new activities, make friends and even try new foods! It makes me remember how I started as a freshmen and grew so much to where I am now at THC, a Friendship Coach, living in Wayne Hall – something you always think about as a camper.
I truly believe more then ever, that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Tyler Hill. I am currently a special education teacher at a school in NYC for elementary students. All year I get the opportunity to work with children. Tyler Hill has given me more than I could ever imagine, and I hope it does for every new camper every summer at THC.