My summer at Camp Tanuga
This summer I took a sabbatical from SANCA and my day job of being a Registered Nurse in the ER, and ventured to Michigan and a camp called Camp Tanuga. There I got the opportunity to teach flying trapeze full time, an experience I’ve been longing to have since I started coaching at SANCA a few years ago.
Tanuga is located in northern Michigan, about 40 minutes outside of Traverse City, with the closest town, Kalkaska, about 15 minutes away. For someone that grew up in a big city then moved to the Seattle metropolis four years ago, camp was an adjustment. There’s no supermarket around the corner, no redbox down the road, and Internet service was sometimes a bit shaky. That being said, my summer was full of new and fun experiences not involving technology or stores down the road.
Camp Tanuga was established a little over 60 years ago and still carries on many of the traditions that were started back then. In fact, many of the kids are 2nd or 3rd generation campers. The majority of the campers, who are between 7 and 15 years old, live in or around the Detroit area, although there are also campers from Colorado, Florida, California and other states. Tanuga is also somewhat of a SANCA tradition as a few of the staff members from the fly tent have also worked there in the past, including: Paul Peterson, Chris Johnston and Spencer Stevens.
Every day at camp was an adventure, with the schedule often changing at the last minute. To my type A, gotta have a plan self, this was probably the biggest struggle of the summer. Most days, however, my schedule went something like this:
10:00 Instructional 1 (Flying trapeze)
11:20 Cabin Activity (Flying trapeze)
1:00 Rest hour
2:00 Optional (training time for us or sometimes teaching a class)
3:30 Instructional 2 (Flying trapeze)
4:30 Instructional 3 (Flying trapeze)
7:30 Evening Program
Basically, I was immersed in our three-person trapeze team world most of the day. I loved getting to teach new and returning campers new tricks, see them grow as flyers, and see joy in their eyes every time they caught a new trick. In this way teaching at camp and at SANCA are very similar. Both have individuals who have been flying for quite some time, as well as brand new flyers. It has been incredibly rewarding for me working with both types of students.
The other part of camp that I loved was getting to grow as a flyer myself. My cabin was about a 10 second walk to the trapeze (give or take a few seconds). It was a dream to be able to walk out my door and fly every day. This summer I faced a lot of fears that I have has a flyer. I was pushed by the people on my team to go to new heights (so to speak), and believe I grew a lot as a trapeze artist, coach, and person. I even caught my double out of safety lines for the first time, something I hadn’t even fathomed I would do this summer.
Camp Tanuga was an experience. Was everything perfect? No. Did I miss Seattle, my friends and the SANCA community? Absolutely. But, this summer at Camp Tanuga was a summer I will never forget. I got to teach some amazing campers, met some fantastic people, and got to explore beautiful northern Michigan. I also got to do something that I love every single day – flying trapeze.