My name is Emily Stehr, and I am going to be a Junior Counselor for Summer 2017! After five years as a camper and one year with camp’s leadership development program, CIRCLE, this is my first time ever on the official Staff Bio page! Woohoo!
Parents, you’ll know me this summer as the extra name on your camper’s cabin assignment– an identity that will likely spark confusion, or excitement and reassurance (Double the supervision! Double the care! Double the FUN!), but hopefully the latter. Campers, you’ll come to know me as the girl who puts an inordinate amount of Cholula hot sauce on every meal, who relishes in wacky costumes, bad jokes, off-pitch camp songs, and the magic of Evening Programs, and whose cackley laugh is known as hers from miles away.
I’m a proud native of Oakland, California– more specifically, Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood: a hub of hippies, thrift stores, and farm-to-table restaurants at the intersection of the more affluent Hills and the often harsh realities of the city. Living in Rockridge has given me a unique perspective on my place and purpose in the world, as well as a deep sense of humility and gratitude for the role Oakland’s cultural and socioeconomic diversity played in shaping my conscience throughout my childhood.
My experience growing up in Oakland has had the most profound influence on my intended path of study. In September, I’ll embark on the rather lengthy journey to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where I plan to study Government, Education, and Sociology. Through these academic areas, I hope to gain an understanding of social justice that will allow me to meaningfully engage with others and bridge gaps of access in society, like those that exist in my own hometown. At Dartmouth, I also hope to further the love for nature and the outdoors that my experiences at camp– especially my wilderness trip with CIRCLE last year!– have inspired (ask me about my 2012 Yuba overnight experience if you need a good laugh!).
But wait, I’m getting waaaayyyyyy ahead of myself! As I’m writing this, I’m still only a senior in high school (if only for a few weeks more!). My high school experience has been full of challenge, personal growth, and adventure. I’ve been involved in student government since my freshman year, working my way up the leadership ladder to eventually become Student Body President this year. Through my leadership experiences, I’ve developed a passion for creating community, craziness, and play amidst serious, pressure-filled atmospheres, as high school can often be. I can’t wait for this spirit to play out in the wish, wonder, and surprise of Augusta!
When I arrived home from CIRCLE last year, I felt such a newfound passion for working with kids that I decided to pursue a volunteer opportunity with an after-school program in inner-city Oakland. I am constantly inspired by my students’ boundless capacity for empathy, as well as their sense of wonder and playful innocence that seems to transcend the traumas many of the children have already endured. My experience has challenged me to consider my privilege, and to help others tear down their walls and embrace the beauty in the world and in childhood (or child at heart-hood!).
My proudest achievement in high school, however, did not come along until the last semester of my senior year. Last November, I finally worked up the courage (or, in the opinion of most, the insanity) to audition for a role in our Spring Musical. Up until about three days before my audition, I had convinced myself that I was hopelessly plagued with complete tone-deafness, desperate inflexibility, and the absence of even a single acting-inclined bone in my body. I walked into the studio with not a shred of experience and was put through the most grueling hour of my entire life– and I only learned about ten seconds of a dance! Somehow, my smiles and laughter through my pain landed me a part, launching me into an experience that has marked the most fun and challenging chapter of my high school career. I pushed my mind and body to limits I never knew I could reach, all in pursuit of my passion for theatre and music as a form of expression.
So this is where I stand at this point in my young, wacky, whirlwind life! These are my passions, my inspirations, and my wishes for the future. I’m certainly a work in progress, shaped and reshaped at every moment by my interactions and endeavors– including those I’ll get to share with you!
Until then, I’ll leave you with the prompt for my favorite joke: What do you call a nosy pepper? Ask me at camp!