This month’s Alumni Spotlight is Heather (Mikell) Redisch. Heather is a longtime Chippy turned dedicated alum turned Chippy Mom, and her love of CRC remains strong as ever. We are so lucky to have Heather as a part of our Chippewa community. Read below to learn about Heather’s camp experience as well as her life at home!
What years were you at CRC?
My first summer was in 1989 and then it all blends together. I DO know I was just shy of my 10 Year, which does bug me, but I’ve been making up for it ever since with Family Camp. I started in Wagon Ridge and ended as a junior counselor in Boots with Sari as my camper!!
Which summer was your favorite and why?
The summer (I think 1993?) I was Sachem with Julie Samuels for the incredible Tan team was a true highlight. Additionally, I was a UN Day Captain that year which was a great honor and one I worked hard to be awarded.
What is your favorite camp memory?
My all time favorite camp memory was winning Genie Tans as a Sachem at Songfest. I vividly remember Julie Samuels and I sitting in the Office at the Top of the Hill brainstorming a theme and writing our songs. One of my proudest accomplishments as a child was creating a song that the Tan team sings in the mess hall to this day. May that song live on for many more years to come!
What was your favorite activity at camp?
Skiing, skiing and more skiing. I also loved winning a good round of stationary black jack.
Were you a Tan or a White?
YES WE CAN GO TAN!!!
How do you keep in touch with your camp friends?
One of the greatest things to come out of social media is the ability to reconnect with Chippies. While I don’t speak to them often, there is truly no deeper connection than a camp friend. It’s an unspoken bond that will always hold no matter how much time passes. I love “watching” everyone navigate through life with posts of where they live, what becomes of their passions and professions and their beautiful families. The pride, love and full circle moment that I feel when I see camp friends post pictures of their daughters at Chippewa makes my heart overflow with happiness.
Where do you live now?
I live in Highland Park.
What do you do?
I am a mom of three girls, a recruiter and career counselor.
What is the best part about your job?
Helping professionals navigate the job market, especially now, feels very rewarding.
What do you miss most about camp?
I don’t miss just one thing the most. I miss everything the most. I miss the belly laughter at night that we would have before bed, I miss sprinting to the mess hall as commissary in the morning to secure Fruit Loops for my cabin, I miss swinging on the bench at the waterfront while dusk approached, I miss the smell of a Friday night Chippewa fire, I miss the passionate cheering when Tan and White commenced, I miss standing on my chair singing a Chippewa Girl, I miss rainy day activities, I miss the sound of the speed boats running all day pulling skiers, I miss waking up every morning with Chippy Trivia and I miss every other moment in between these moments up at camp.
Anything else you want to share with your Chippy family?
As fate would have it, I now have three little girls of my own ages 10, 8 and 5. I could not be more excited for them to experience our home away from home for many years to come.
And additionally, in light of everything going on this summer, I want to express one thought. As I answered the first question which was “What years were you at Chippewa” I distinctly remember when I started, but I have no idea when I ended. Why does that matter? It matters because what I do remember, incredibly well, is the feeling camp gives me when I think and talk about it. It’s the everyday stuff like the cheering, the laughter, the singing, the hugging, the cabin cuddles, the slamming of doors from one cabin to the next, the chatter over the loudspeaker, the screaming during a cold shower, the ugly crying on the last day of camp. And while my first day of camp was now 30 years ago, none of these things listed have changed. This will all be there when you get off the bus next year, as they were back in 1989 for me. My heart breaks for those girls in the older cabins who have been waiting their entire career to experience certain milestones, but what I can tell you, just simply through experience and being an adult (yuck) is that not experiencing these milestones don’t make you any less of a Chippy. Eventually, most of the memories are going to blur together except for the love and pride you feel inside for being a Chippy girl.