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Alumni Stories – Where Are They Now?

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Chris Bridgwater



What years were you a camper/counselor?


I was a Counselor from 2010-2015. I was a counselor, photographer and Expedition/ Out Trip Leader.


What’s one of your favorite memories at Camp Westminster?


I am not sure I could ever pin down just one, all my memories of camp are my favourite, even the ones that I thought were bad at the time I look back on fondly. For even the worst of memories made in community are better than the best made alone. I just wish that I didn’t have to stop making those memories.


What is the most valuable thing you learned while at camp?


I learned to be a lot more confident in myself and in my ability to do what is needed. After a very short time working at Camp Westminster it was evident the Leadership staff believed in my ability to lead and perform the tasks they asked of me. Once I had realized this I started to believe in myself a lot more and have had the courage to do many things that I am not sure I would have done without it, like travel to Australia and New Zealand on my own for over a year total.


What are you up to now? (And/Or what’s next?)


Since I was last a Camp I traveled around New Zealand for eight months, doing a month of farm work on a remote farm on the north island and working for four months on a civil engineering project in the heart of Christchurch City. Unfortunately I injured my knee doing this work and have been recovering since, but now that it is seemingly healed I am planning my next adventure into the world (perhaps Canada).


How is the time you spent at camp benefiting you now?


Working so close to nature for so many summers has made me appreciate it so much more, I love coming across new wild areas in my travels and am much more able to just enjoy the peace that it brings. I am also a lot more confident in travelling alone, if I can look after seven, eight-year-olds for a week of summer camp I can look after myself in a different country. I also gained an appreciation for getting a job done which has helped in all the jobs I have done since. Because Camp is such a close-knit community, everyone ends up helping with a lot of odd jobs, so when I saw a job that needed doing I just did it, and that is a quality that still sticks with me.


Rachel Leads



What years were you a camper/counselor?


I was a camper from 2002-2004, a counselor from 2010-2011, and Operations Manager from 2012-2015.


What’s one of your favorite memories at Camp Westminster?


I have so many happy and rewarding Camp Westminster memories! However, leading the out-trip to Pictured Rocks in 2010 is one of my favorites. Hiking and camping along the shore of Lake Superior with an enthusiastic group of campers and co-counselors was an unforgettable experience.


What is the most valuable thing you learned while at camp?


One of the most valuable things I learned while working at Camp Westminster was how to work with and contribute to a diverse team of talented individuals! Camp Westminster staff and campers come from all over the world. It was such a privilege and a great learning experience to work with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.


What are you up to now? (And/Or what’s next?)


After my time at Camp Westminster, I moved to Charleston, SC to complete my master’s degree in Marine Biology at the College of Charleston. For my master’s degree, I studied the effects of plastic pollution on marine organisms. In 2018, I moved to Denton, TX to begin my Ph.D. in Biology at the University of North Texas. I am currently studying the effects of crude oil exposure on marine organisms.


How is the time you spent at camp benefiting you now?


Working at Camp Westminster introduced me to life-long friends and provided me with numerous new experiences and skills. I use the skills I developed at Camp Westminster every day! These skills include working effectively as part of a team, communicating clearly, maintaining a positive attitude, and working hard!


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