One of our segments here on the Winona Camps blog is called “Meet the Counselor”. This week, we are featuring one of this past summer’s Bats, Uncle Andy “A-Frame” Frame. Enjoy!
Alright, we will start off simple. What tribe and color are you?
– I am a Grey Ojibway; only the finest!
Where did you go to school and what are you up to now?
– Well I went to college at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana where I studied recreation management. I’m taking my love for the outdoors that I gained at Winona and trying of bring it to a career path which I am now pursuing here in Boulder, Colorado. I am working for a non-profit called First Descents and helping young adults battling cancer get outside and recreate in the outdoors.
When did you begin at camp?
– My first year was back in 2002. I was a junior camper at the top of the tent line in tent 12.
As a camper what were your favorite activities?
– As a camper I was definitely about hoops, canoeing, and a little bit of swimming. The flather was always my spot, but you would definitely find me up on the basketball courts or down on the t-dock in senior most as a camper.
What activity do you teach as a counselor?
-Well, I used to primarily be a basketball counselor in Senior. For a few summers I was lucky enough to help out with the trips program and lead mountain trips with Uncle Fobes throughout the mountains of Maine and even the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Most recently I have led the mountain biking program in senior which takes the campers all around the woods of camp as well as on some trips throughout the woods and mountains of Maine.
So, obviously Winona has tons of life lessons that can be learned on a day-to-day basis, but to you, what is the most important one you have learned during your time on the shores of Moose Pond that helps you nowadays?
– Yeah, for sure. I could probably write a small novel but what comes to mind is the importance of friendship, the importance of family, and the idea that attitude is a choice. There are not a lot of things that we have control over in our lives but one thing that we do always have control over is our attitudes and our perspective. I think that, you know, being at camp every year people realize that. Being under the pines you feel grateful and you realize how happy of a place it is. It’s all because people realize what camp has to offer and how they can contribute positive energy to help make it a more fun and adventurous place.
Of the many traditions that Winona continues on each summer, which would be your favorite?
– I think that Sunday Service would definitely be my favorite tradition. Getting everyone in camp together from all the different units. We don’t always see each other during the summer besides at meals, but bringing everyone together on Sundays under the pines to reflect on what we love about camp, the lessons we’ve learned, and to carry on new lessons probably has to be one of my most special times at camp. Often when I reminisce about camp I think back to those quiet Sundays under the pines listening to Uncle Spencer, Aunt Michelle, Aunt Laura, and back in the day Uncle Al.
What is your favorite part of camp?
– Well, I think I would probably get some laughs, but the Legend of the Bat. I will never forget the first bat showing I ever witnessed. I was in junior in the shallow end of the H-Dock and the bats came down from the CIT right there on the beach and got right into the shallow end of the water and were screaming at us. I remember chasing them up the road towards the wiggy and from that day on I have always been in love with the tradition. Obviously including last summer, which I don’t even have words to describe how meaningful it was to be the bat, the Legend of the Bat is definitely my favorite part of camp.
Have you ever been close to catching the bat?
– [Laughs]. Umm, yeah, you know I grabbed the cape back in my first year in intermediate. There was a bat showing that was during an evening program of steal the bacon, I want to say. They came up right behind us on the rock wall and I grabbed the tail end of the cape right before I was gracefully put down on the ground. The bat will never be caught [laughs].
What’s then most valuable part of camp that you hold onto while outside of camp?
– The friendship. The sense of friendship and family there and the idea that you can be whoever you want to be there and not feel like you’re being judged. The fact that it pulls together so many different people from so many different corners of the world and forms this sense of community and friendship. I can firmly say that I wouldn’t be the person that I am today and those people and Moose Pond Momma are the reason that’s all pulled together.
If you were talking to someone who’s never been to Winona before and was considering a summer on the shores of Moose Pond, what would you want to be able to tell them?
– That you’re looking at the best summer of your life [laughs]. I think I would probably sit them down and explain to them a little bit about what camp has to offer but most importantly getting in the beautiful state of Maine and trying things they’ve never tried before, getting excited to learn, being the person they want to be, and really just adventuring. I feel like Winona has endless opportunities to offer that whether you are going to be practicing sports all summer or doing a little bit of the trip program it is the perfect place. I guess to answer the question I would tell them its endless opportunity to really get out, do you, and make some amazing friends along the way.
Is there anything else you would like to add about camp or about your Winona experience in general?
– Yeah, I would like to quote one of my good friends Gus Polstein. He texted me the other day saying, “There comes a time where we embark on a journey in which we take what we’ve learned at camp and apply it in throughout the world”. It will always be there for us in terms of our friendships and support, but everything we have learned while on the shores of Camp Winona can be used on any adventure we may have in life. Brix Brax!
Brix Brax, Uncle A-Frame!