Every year, we look forward to alumni joining us as Guest Judgies during Olympics! Last summer two alums, Liza “cc” Prussin (Tish) and Tina “cc” Kunkin (Schweid) shared their perspectives on being a Guest Olympic Judgie and experiencing life on “the other side”…as a grown-up at Camp Towanda!
FIRST UP: A Q&A with Liza Prussin Tish (mother of two Towanda kiddies and camp-crazed alumnus)
What is your favorite thing about being a Guest Judgie?
My favorite thing about being guest judge is just having the honor. I remember as a kid looking up to the Judgies as being the top. Being able to enjoy Olympics just as much as the kids do is amazing.
How has Camp Towanda Olympics changed? How has it stayed exactly the same?
For the most part Olympics is the same. The intense feeling across camp is still present today. The kids say they live 10 months for 2. Within those 2 they live 7 weeks for 1. The few changes are really just new sports that have evolved over time. The Generals and Lieutenants and Sergeants being kept under wraps until break is very different but at the same time it just adds more element of surprise to breakout.
Describe what it feels like to be back at camp as a “grown-up” for 5 straight days?
Being back at camp as a “grown-up” makes me feel like a kid again. Being able to watch my own 2 kids having the same experiences that I had is an amazing thing.
What was your favorite event to Judge and why?
It’s hard to pick one event as my favorite to judge. I really enjoyed it all but I would say nothing comes close to the intensity of the Apache Relay.
What is your favorite Olympics memory of all time?
My favorite Olympic memory of all time would have to be hearing my name called as a Camper Captain of the Red Vagabonds.
It is an awesome week!!!
AND NOW, Tina’s take on her stint as Guest Judgie, and why she just can’t get enough of Camp Towanda!
TKS: It is so amazing you can have a full life: an amazing husband, two wonderful kids, a fulfilling job, great friends and be truly happy…yet still when you get to Camp Towanda, within minutes it all disappears…POOF! I am in a whole new world!
There is something so magical about Towanda, the smells, sounds, atmosphere, that when I walk around I feel at peace. Within minutes of my arriving at camp to be a Guest Judgie, I immediately had a whole crew of people; some of which I just met, yet it felt like I had known them forever. We ate meals together, shared inside jokes and a bunk! Some were alumni from a different generation. Some were spouses of alumni or Senior Staff. But for those couple of days, we were family!
The relationships that form at camp are so special, so rare that only another fellow camper understands. When I am at camp I am Tina “CC” Kunkin all over again, and for 36 hours this summer that was fantastic!!
Coming back as a Judgie was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. I mean that literally! Watching camp in full swing with all the Olympic spirit and intensity was great. Seeing all the red and blue throughout the camp made me smile. I was so proud to be alumni and to be part of this year’s events.
The Senior Staff reminded me of exactly why I love Towanda- they each get such a sense of joy from making each event special for the kids. The care and thought that they put into every day at camp is so obvious. Each event I judged was special; BUT there was something remarkable about the boys swim meet (sorry I did not get to judge the girls). Watching these young men throw themselves into the pool and swim their hearts out made me so emotional. Maybe it is because I have two boys that will one day be Towanda campers or maybe it was because the amount of focus and joy these kids had for each of the 55 events was inspiring.
Towanda holds such a special place in my heart, it always brought me joy and comfort as a camper; it taught me how to rise above, it taught me that I was good enough and that I had real friends that I could depend on. There is something euphoric about Towanda and all that it continues to bring into my life.
Tina and Liza will be up at camp again this week for Olympics, dressed in black and ready to join the JUDGIES!