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Reflections on a Decade of Camp Riva-Lake

March 31, 2017

Reflections on a Decade of Camp Riva-Lake


This summer will be my 10th year at my home in the hills of Tennessee.  Half my life has been dedicated to learning how to be “tender, brave, and strong” with my sisters.  Riva-Lake has truly made me who I am today.  I have picked up sayings and mannerisms from young women I look up to and have become more resourceful and willing to try anything due to the supportive camp atmosphere. 


My love of camp has only grown with age.  I can now look back and see how valuable my experiences and sisters have been to me as a person.  As a strong-willed, impressionable only child, I came to camp at age 11 and found my home.  I met friends who would soon become my sisters.  I learned how to sail and canoe, and I thrived in the chaotic atmosphere of the basketball games.  After my first year, I was convinced camp was a dream, and I couldn’t wait to go back to make sure it was real.  I was so in awe of my big sister and the other ultimate seniors from that year, I made their cabin picture my screensaver on my computer.  Fortunately, camp was not a dream, and my bond with my sisters has only grown since then.


So much has happened at camp that I cannot begin to relay the experience.  There are the memories of the Utterly Stupid Batman skits, the Man-Eating Badger, the Anti-Barracuda Club, Wasp Moths, and the constantly revisited horror of potentially marrying someone who’s family are Marathons/Olympians, whichever team you’re not.  Each year brings a different set of memories as everyone gets older and matures.


I know my camp days are numbered now, but I also know that camp will never truly leave me.  The sisters I have gained are mine for life and I know we will stay in touch.  I have seen them more throughout the year now than I ever have before.  It’s exciting to finally be able to go on the trips you planned lying in bed long past lights out.  And, in the less-distant future, we’ll meet up again dropping off our girls at camp.  As Molly said, “I don’t care if my daughter doesn’t join my sorority, but she has to go to camp.”



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nonnie thompson preuss



claudia alexander haney


Camp Riva-Lake

1281 Riva Lake Road | Winchester, TN  37398

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