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Experience Camps is Home

In 2015, I lost my Dad to suicide. The year that followed was confusing, emotional and involved many life changes as I grieved and worked through this new reality. I found Experience Camps in 2016 and was a volunteer for the first time in Maine in the summer of 2017. I can honestly say I did not fully allow myself to grieve until that first summer at camp. Three years later and I have found this world filled with people who “get it”, filled with enthusiastic and genuine individuals, and most importantly filled with hope for the future for each of our campers, volunteers and supporters.

Experience Camps is more than just an organization I am passionate about, Experience Camps is “home”. Experience Camps allows for the feeling of safety, community, love and understanding to continue all year round regardless of where in the world you live.

In summer 2019, I kicked off the first summer of our Midwest camp “MidwEx” as the girls program director. Having the ability to lead a group of campers and volunteers through this amazing experience has been beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Each and every camper and volunteer inspires me to live a better and more meaningful life. To channel my Dad in all that I do and to lean on those around me when I need them most.

Ilana and her codirector in taco costumes

At the closing campfire this past summer, I had the opportunity to share my story with all of the girls at MidwEx. Many of the campers had not known that I too had a personal loss and upon sharing my story I had hugs from campers and many smiles coming my way. The support and love from the Experience Camps family is immeasurable. I keep coming back to camp and will continue for years to come because Experience Camps is home.