Rising to the Challenge: Sam’s Story

By: Jenn Myers

Posted: 4.6.21

Sam Madenjian first came to Cho-Yeh when she was eight years old. As a shy child, spending a week in a brand new environment challenged her. Despite this, Sam felt welcomed and had fun all week hanging out with friends at the Trading Post and playing Gaga Ball.

“I remember loving to go to Camp in the summer and making new friends, even though I was a quiet kid. I remember my counselors also being the coolest people and super fun. Camp was one of my favorite things to look forward to during the school year.”

Sam found her way back to Cho-Yeh as a camper for many years, then as a part of Summer Staff. Last summer, she served as the Explorers’ Super, supporting and supervising the counselors for the elementary girls campsite. At first, Sam was anxious about serving in this position after only one year of staff experience and in the chaos of a pandemic. Still, her camp community helped her grow in confidence and empowered her to overcome all of the challenges that came her way.

“In 2020, I was the Explorers’ Super, and I was super nervous to fill that leadership role. But, my counselors were amazing and were incredibly flexible and willing to serve all summer.”

Sam used all of the obstacles that she faced last year to grow as a leader, and she’s very excited to be returning as the Explorers’ Super for 2021. She wants to use her experiences to help other campers grow the way that her counselors did for her.

“I was extremely blessed to be a camper at Cho-Yeh. Coming back as a counselor is really cool because I get to help the kids have the same great experiences that I did and help them create their own.

Campers and staff at Camp Cho-Yeh are pushed out of their comfort zones all summer long as they meet new people, live in a new place, and try new things. In the end, however, rising to these challenges together creates a special community unlike any other. People grow closer to one another, grow in confidence, and find a place where they can truly belong.

Sam’s life-transforming experience is a specific example of Camp Cho-Yeh’s vision:  building the next generation of Christian leaders through cultivating faith, nurturing community, and forging character.