Favorite Camp Memories: CCAC
It’s been about 11 years since the original ribbon cutting ceremony at Collin County Adventure Camp (CCAC). During this time, countless children and young adults have experienced the joy of Camp, almost always returning to reload on more treasured moments. The magic doesn’t just reside with the kids, however. Staff at CCAC put their heart and soul into their everyday activities. In return, they have been gifted with memories of the best kind—ones that last a lifetime.
Tiffany Barker is an outdoor instructor at CCAC. During the summer, she runs the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) and Jamboree programs. Known by almost all as Styx, her given camp name, she’s coming up on her third summer here at CCAC.
“My goal is to wake up every day and make sure that each kid has the best experience that they have ever had,” she says.
Camp is vital to Styx’s life, and she credits it for making her the person that she is. On the upper part of her arm, she’s tattooed the word “Unless,” a reference to The Lorax which she often quotes to her campers.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
One of her favorite camp memories revolves around a simple handmade necklace, constructed from beads given to her by other campers and staff. While the beads are identical to those found in most arts and craft stores, their worth is invaluable to Styx. Each bead represents its own important quality and meaning, and when campers and staff give beads to each other, it’s a token of appreciation and respect. Styx mentions that each bead has almost inexplicably landed in her palm at a time when it’s most impactful to her life. Thus, these beads represent some of her most cherished of memories. In fact, she mentions that if a fire ever threatens to consume her cabin, her CCAC necklaces would be the first thing that she would rush to save.
Lucy Heinrich, another member of the CCAC outdoor instructor family, finds the memorable in almost every aspect of camp life. Among the many other education activities that she performs, she values leading trail hikes and working on water labs with her students. Watching kids experience nature is especially important to her, and Lucy makes it her goal to allow them to immerse themselves in their surroundings.
“We take care of our kids,” she says.
She’s even taught her students how to skip rocks on the lake, recounting those moments as some of her favorites.
CCAC outdoor instructor Ross Renshaw also prizes his wealth of favorite camp memories. One of his favorites revolves around working with campers at the climbing wall.
On a particularly cold day last January, Ross remembers that both he and his students were soaked under a cold downpour while he guided their attempts to summit the wall. The experience could have been a miserable one … but not for Ross.
“That’s what I like doing,” he says, “turning fear into excitement.”
He did just that, converting a wet, wintry day into an adventure-filled blast for both himself and his campers. His team stayed true to their task, conquering the challenge of the climbing wall, and Ross still warmly remembers the laughs that he and his kids shared during their adventure.
Sit down with nearly any staff member at CCAC and it’s not hard to quickly find a bond over the joys, adventures and learning moments of camp life. It’s these moments—ones that revolve around the connection of our YMCA core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility—that bond both staff and campers at CCAC over our mission, spur us forward and fill us with treasured memories for life.
Interested in going to Collin County Adventure Camp?