I stepped off the bus at Pine Forest Camp with a bit of trepidation not knowing what I was in for.  Although I had  been a School Nurse for almost 10 years, I still was apprehensive in this unfamiliar territory. 

Putting my suitcases down, I breathed in the fresh crisp air as my eyes scanned the landscape and the horizon in the distance. The camp grounds resembled my childhood woods in rural Alabama and instantly I felt at home. 

On the first day there was a flurry of activity doing health checks for the staff and a few days later repeating the same for our campers. 

Orientation was well prepared, I especially loved the CPR training with the doctor.
A precious amount of time was spent by our devoted veteran nurses sorting through the meds.  I was privileged to be a small part of that.  Later each piece of the camp’s organization fell together like a puzzle.

When the campers finally arrived,  all was ready for them.  Hearing their cheerful voices and seeing their smiling faces brought pure joy to my soul.

As a camp nurse, days can be long but the welcome breaks walking in the woods with my colleagues proved an anticipated treat for us all. 

Our colleagues bonded in such a way that even while bone weary we laughed
and joked around!   

Second session went way too fast as the last day of camp approached.  I knew I would have to say goodbye to my campers who had grown so dear to my heart, my colleagues and the beloved serene environment that had become my home for almost 2 months!  What a privilege!   

I experienced the last 48 hours just as a new camper would. I cried with them, rejoiced over them and even attended the last 2 nights events. 

I joked with my colleagues about the birds nest that had been built on the porch of the health center. 

As we watched the mother bird nurture her newborn birdies we got to do the same with our campers.  We watched them grow in stature and in grace.  Then two days before the campers left, the nest was empty!!!! I felt such a lost but at the same time I knew it was time for them to fly away just as I knew the time was up for our campers.

I would not trade my positive Camp Nurse experience at Pine Forest Camp for anything in the world.  I pride myself in  saying  I’m a global citizen having lived in many different countries.   Yet the experience of being away at camp for nearly two months was unique in itself and has gained  a place high on the echelon for positive job experiences.

 I truly understand why the campers, nurses and staff return every year!  The bonding with your colleagues, sharing moments of laughter and sometimes tears foster life long relationships which I am truly grateful for. 

The Pine Forest Management & my supervisor Rachel Waszczak are some of the most wholesome and sincere people you will ever meet. 

I would recommend Camp Nursing to caring nurses who want to give of themselves and receive back in return.

Rhonda Wilson
Pine  Forest Camp Nurse.