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Photo+by+Hayden+Graham
Photo by Hayden Graham

Photo by Hayden Graham

Photo by Hayden Graham

Teegan Saunders

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I’ve always thought myself a rather confident person, aware of my own value. That was until I applied to be a counselor at a summer camp. I had previously been a camper here before my sophomore year. It was called Camp Jump Start or CJS and the main focus was to help kids struggling with body image. I attended the camp for eight weeks, where daily activities included aerobics, running, and climbing up the world’s worst hill.

All of the physical activity, along with healthy eating made me feel like a new person. It was hard being away from home for so long, but the other campers soon became family. All the counselors went above and beyond to encourage me, which inspired me to come back and help others.

So this year, I’ve decided to become a counselor at CJS myself. I have never seen such a rigorous application. While looking down at the full eight pages I felt overwhelmed and unqualified. It made me question my own individuality. Why would they want a girl who just graduated high school helping take care of kids barely younger than herself? Why would they pick me, with my lack of skills and training over somebody who had actually knowledge in exercise and dieting? These are the things I contemplate often, and it’s hard to not wallow in self-doubt. I try not to let these thoughts overwhelm me, even in my lowest moments.

Despite my age and lack of qualification, I still want the chance to work at CJS. It helped me accept myself and recognize the reality of staying healthy. It’s not fun to restrict myself from eating a whole pizza, but it makes me feel better in the long run. Things like calorie intake and proper exercise routines are things I learned while attending CJS. These are the things I keep in the back of my mind whenever I find myself sitting in front of a plate of cookies, or with a bag of my favorite chips.

Trying to break  my bad eating habits and self-esteem issues is still one of the hardest things I do daily. I owe a lot to this camp and want to give back. I want to help kids who are struggling with the same insecurities I once faced and remind them that weight does not define worth.

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Weight Listed