Cat Callaway will be a senior on the Harvard softball team this season (Gil Talbot).
THETFORD, Vt. - My name is Cat Callaway and I am a rising senior on the varsity softball team. This summer I was lucky enough to work as a cabin counselor for eight weeks at Camp Akeela, a sleep away camp that helps young boys and girls improve their social skills and connect with their peers.
Most Akeela campers have been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome or a non-verbal learning disability; others do not have an official diagnosis, but display similar characteristics as those on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. As a cognitive neuroscience and evolutionary psychology concentrator, I might pursue a career in diagnosis and treatment for people with mental challenges or in counseling more generally.
Camp Akeela provided an incredible opportunity for me to explore my interests with a specific population of kids, while also having a ton of fun outdoors. In working with my campers on reading social cues and nuances and navigating relationships with their peers, we got to play sports, take on ropes course challenges, go kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding, build model rockets, create art, and so much more. It was beyond rewarding and meaningful to gain the trust of my quirky, bright, charming campers and watch them grow as confident individuals throughout the summer as we tackled social and personal challenges. I learned more than I could ever imagine from my campers and fellow staff members about friendship, community, growth, pride, and fun.
In my free time outside of camp, I loved exploring the quaint towns of Vermont and New Hampshire, taste testing their famous maple syrup and locally grown cheeses and discovering secret swimming holes. While I had limited access to gym and softball equipment, I got plenty of exercise swimming and running around with my campers every day and kept up with my bodyweight workouts for my team. Although this has been a summer I will never forget, I am itching to return to Boston in the fall to reunite with my teammates and start working towards another great season. I wish the Crimson community all the best with their summer experiences!
Catherine Callaway, Class of 2017