Courage: “Thoughts from an old camper”

How do girls learn courage?

We asked our former campers if they had learned anything from camp—and they surely did! Nelwyn Harman Reagan tells her story of courage, but modestly doesn’t mention the fact that she was

elected Pawnee Chieftain in 1959! and I’m certain that running for that high office—taking the risk of sticking her neck out to ask for a leadership role—was in itself an act of courage!

Let’s let Nelwyn herself tell her story:

Nelwyn’s portrait by Juan R. Avila

When I was 10 years old in 1955, my Mother took a huge leap of faith! She decided I would go to a camp she had heard about called Heart O’ the Hills. Little did she know the impact of that decision.

I loved The Heart! I went for four weeks every summer for four years. (It is was a junior camp then, or I would have continued going). The character-building things I learned at The Heart have stayed with me all my life.

When I look back on camp one of the most important traits that followed me was COURAGE. At camp you learn to overcome lots of fears!

In 1955 an amazing tradition was begun! Betsy Reagan Roy (our daughter) went to The Heart for eight years and now her three daughters are loving The Heart. Her youngest went as a six-year-old!

Our son’s daughter will join her cousins for her third year and her twin brother will be at Stewart for his second year.

We are sharing the joys, the songs, the memories and the values of being old and new campers together.

What would I say to someone considering sending their little girl to camp… take that leap of faith! Be courageous! You will never ever regret it. It just may start an amazing bonding tradition!

Nelwyn Harman Reagan

Later, Nelwyn sent this post script:

I could go on and on and on about The Heart!!

I often tell Betsy about the fact that in 1956 my father died and I went to camp that summer. Courage!

The only letter I have from my Dad was the one he wrote my first year at camp in 1955. I treasure that letter and I would not have it if I had not gone to camp. I owe so much to Heart O’ the Hills! –Nelwyn

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