Summer 2018 was her 4th summer on staff and we can’t wait for you to get to know this gem of a person!
How did you decide on your camp name?
My camp name is from the Penguins of Madagascar. Kowalski is the tall and smart penguin – two things I aspire to be.
Do you ever wish people called you by your camp name outside of camp?
I always tell people that I “want to go to the place where they call me Kowalski.” I feel like it’s a huge part of my identity that so many people in my life are unfamiliar with and can’t relate to. I’m torn because Kowalski is my name and who I am and I want to be called that, because in some ways I relate to my camp name more than my own name – after all, I actually got to choose my camp name! Another part of me though, wants to keep the privilege of camp names strictly to camp as some sort of way to preserve the sacred thing that camp names are.
What jobs have you had at camp?
2015 – Kitchen Crew
2016 – Kitchen Crew Part 2
2017 – Craft Director
2018 – Girl’s Program Dean
What did you love about the latest job you had?
I LOVE PROGRAM! I love that as Program Dean I had the opportunity to manage girls aged fourteen to twenty, as it provides a vast array of life experience and perspective for everyone to draw from.
I love that Program is filled with some of the misfits of camp – loving and serving where they are called.
I loved being able to see all the different behind-the-scenes jobs at camp at their most active and least active. I had the opportunity to chill with my staff who were on duty but not in a rush hour. I loved the lull of go-karts and rock wall when everyone just sat around and talked about life and played games until the campers came.
If you were stranded on an island and had to pick 3 TCBC staff members to rescue you, who would it be and why?
I honestly don’t even have to think about this. Timber: He can reach things up high, he always has a knife, he has some medical knowledge, and he is not prone to panic. Gelato: She identifies my emotions better than I do and if I’m stranded on an island I’m going to need some emotional support. Beanie: My rescue would be the most efficient of several carefully formulated plans and it would be explained to me using perfect and precise grammar.
What are some of your favorite things about TCBC?
I literally wrote a song about my favorite camp things!
What’s your favorite activity at camp?
I like being the Queen in ‘The Queen Desires’ because it’s about time I start getting treated like the royalty I am around here.
What is one of your favorite camp songs?
Fill Up My Cup – It’s a timeless classic, and no one sings it quite like the TCBC staff.
What is your favorite camp skit?
The King and His Daughter – but only when Little Joe and Fidgit do it!
What is your favorite camp meal?
BROCCOLI CHEDDAR AND GRILLED CHEESE. I AM VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT THIS.
What is your favorite game we play at camp?
Wells Fargo, obviously. Honestly because I like to be at the collecting buckets. I don’t sport. This should be obvious by now.
How has your life been transformed by working at camp?
In 2017, for some reason that I still don’t understand at all I was allowed to work at camp despite being broken, grieving, and struggling even if it negatively affected staff as a whole to a certain extent because Little Joe knew it was the best place for me to grow and restart and ultimately wanted the best for me as a staff member and a sister in Christ. That decision gave me perspective as to my own value. I’m honestly so thankful Joe too a risk with me, because it paid off and I’m closer to Jesus than I’ve ever been. I know my place in his kingdom.
What has God been teaching you lately?
For a decent chunk of time I have been continuously learning the following lessons:
(1). the greatest indicator of what God will do for us in the future is what he has already done for us in the past. (2). Sometimes hope is about resting in the promises of Jesus even when we can’t see how those promises are being met yet. (3). I am temporary. God is not. (4). God promises He works for the good of all those who love him and are walking in alignment with His word. I can rest in the fact this is true even if I can’t see that good until I’m celebrating in eternity with Jesus.
What is one of your fondest memories from working on staff?
This past summer Canada (Girls Crew Leader) and I (Girls Program Dean) forced all of our girls to wake up at an ungodly hour and walk to the drivable so we could sings songs to Jesus before breakfast. We had hot chocolate for them and printed out some lyrics to our favorite songs and just sang together. Honestly at first most of the girls were too tired to be into it and some never really woke up enough to get excited about sitting in the cold singing songs, but it was so meaningful to me because it symbolized some sort of girl power Jesus united front we’d created this summer.
What is your favorite place at TCBC? Why?
My favorite place at TCBC is the craft room. It is where Program Staff gets to have Bible Studies, I’ve hosted my own Program events there, on weekends it’s where I would crash and watch Netflix, and I had the great honor of leaving my mark on that room as craft director for a summer. It’s a pretty meaningful place for me.
What staff member has had the biggest impact on you at TCBC?
Joe “Sensi” Fanno. He was one of my deans my first year on staff in 2015. We had a positive dean/program relationship but it wasn’t until after camp he impacted me so heavily. Joe let me call him during a personal crisis and talked to me about Jesus for no less than two hours while I cried and asked some pretty difficult questions about the Bible and life. He didn’t have all the answers but the fact that he would take time out of his day to point me in the right direction was impossibly important to me.
What are some of the weirdest or funniest things a camper has said or done to you?
In 2017 I bonded with a specific cabin over talking in a Russian accent with them in the craft room. It went really overboard. I was half of a tent in a skit and they made me cardboard signs that said “Go Kowalski” on them and head them up during fireside. Then I was invited to tell a bedtime story about my fictional goats on the Raz to several cabins. Honestly it was one of my favorite weeks that have ever happened. One of the campers sent me a letter later that summer, and because I’m not on counseling staff it’s the only letter I’ve ever received from a camper. I still have that letter and a picture of all of us hanging up on my wall in my room.
How would you explain working at TCBC to people who have never done it before?
What simultaneously seems like both a mob and a small handful of teenagers to young adults gather for three months to share living spaces, communal bathrooms, and chores while watching other people’s children. All for the hefty salary of ten free soft serves.
Would you recommend working at camp to someone? Why?
At camp we celebrate each other. There’s acceptance through Jesus of one another and that allows us to make connections and memories with people we might never have interacted with outside of the camp environment. We have tradition, inside jokes, and just a ton of “camp quirks.” If you haven’t lived it you don’t understand it, which is why when you feel what camp is like, you have to keep coming back over and over again because you can’t get that feeling anywhere else.