“The Greatest Place I Know” is a special phrase to a common song sung at the American Diabetes Association’s Camp Needlepoint. Normally this song is sung around the camp fire, after meals, and within cabin groups. Campers and counselors alike know this song, and most could agree with me that the verse of “The Greatest Place I Know” absolutely represents our feelings towards this special place.
Next month Camp Needlepoint will open its doors for a 57th consecutive year, hosted at the beautiful YMCA Camp St. Croix. For many Camp Needlepoint is something that they look forward to all year, and rightfully so. Camp Needlepoint is a place to relax, reconnect with friends, learn something about yourself, and more importantly a support network.
When my parents signed me up for Camp Needlepoint in 2004 I did not know what to expect. This was the first time I was leaving home for longer than a couple of nights, and I will admit I was nervous. I was a Frontier Sailor my first year, and I was assigned to Cabin 1. I still remember walking up to my cabin for the first time. I remember telling my mom, “This is exactly what a summer camp looks like in the movies!” My first year at camp was filled with a mixture of homesickness, but also pure enjoyment of what I experienced. Sailing, hanging out with my cabin mates, and play all camp games were some of the major highlights of that first year. From that point on I was a camper until 2007, and became a counselor from 2008 till 2012. During my counseling years I had the privilege to meet some of my closest friends, learn about myself, and give back by trying to give the best possible experience of Camp Needlepoint to my campers.
Last year I was approached by American Diabetes Association Executive, Director David Becker, to lead a brand new group called the Young Professional Leadership Council (YPLC) for the purpose of increasing support for the fight against diabetes within young adults. Since accepting this position, we have developed a diverse group of young professionals ready to make a positive impact on people living with diabetes. Some of these YPLC members even have experience as campers, counselors, and even medical interns. Each of these young professionals are eager to move this organization forward, and are excited about making positive changes within the ADA of Minnesota and North Dakota.
One of our first initiatives as the YPLC is to support Camp Needlepoint through engaging with families, corporate sponsors, and spreading the word about the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes in late September. When the YPLC began to discuss how to present a different perspective of Camp Needlepoint, we jumped on the idea of a blog series. Over the course of seven weeks the YPLC will be sharing stories, perspectives, and insight on Camp Needlepoint. We believe that these stories and perspectives need to be shared because of how inspirational they really are.
We encourage you to read and share these blog posts on social media, because we want everyone to read these stories and perspectives of Camp Needlepoint. On behalf of the YPLC, we are excited to be a valuable partner in supporting Camp Needlepoint. Camp Needlepoint is truly the “The Greatest Place I Know”, and we are excited to start sharing these stories with the world.