As a Show Choir Camps of America (SCA) participant during high school, Ashley Racicot “fell in love with everything about Heidelberg” – so much so that when it came time for her college decision, she picked Heidelberg. It is believed that she is the first SCA camper to enroll at Heidelberg.
The sophomore-to-be returned to campus from her Massachusetts home this week to participate in the camp, which Heidelberg has proudly hosted for many years. But this time, she has a new perspective as a camp counselor. She also served as an SCA counselor at Milliken University in Decatur, Ill., earlier this summer.
“I always knew I wanted to be a counselor with Show Choir Camps of America. I looked up to the counselors like crazy,” Racicot said. “They’re extremely talented.”
SCA counselors volunteer their time, although they have room, board and meals covered for the weeklong camp. “There’s nothing else I would rather be doing,” she said.
Racicot – who is overseeing a group of 16-year-olds – has enjoyed watching the camp participants form friendships. “That’s the coolest thing I’ve noticed. Some of these bonds will last a lifetime, and I get to watch it all happen. All I can think about is this is the best of a million worlds.”
It’s particularly gratifying that 30 students from Racicot’s alma mater, Shepherd Hill Regional School, have joined the camp this year. “It’s so cool that kids from my school get to have the same experiences I had,” she said, noting that the number has grown from about eight.
As a counselor, she has the opportunity to work with professional singers and dancers in a workshop setting. Some 450 camp participants from 35 states stay in Heidelberg’s residence halls, where counselors conduct floor meetings, room checks and handle homesick campers. “We serve a lot of different purposes, but basically, we’re the ‘go-to’ people.”
The experience as a counselor has been so positive for this self-described “dancer who sings” that she hopes to repeat it next year. Until then, though, she’ll have a busy sophomore year ahead of her.
At the conclusion of SCA camp her senior year in high school, Racicot stayed on campus to participate in new student orientation two days later. In late August, on her 18th birthday, she moved into her dorm room, and thus began her Heidelberg journey. Her first memory as a Heidelberg student was a rehearsal for the Singing Collegians, the university’s show choir ensemble. “I remember being with people who love to sing and dance, so it was awesome,” she said.
Racicot wasted little time getting involved in a variety of campus activities and organizations. That level of engagement “was exactly what I wanted from my college experience.” During her freshman year, she was a cheerleader and joined two additional music ensembles, a sorority, Alpha Phi Omega service honorary and her residence hall council. She also worked as a student ambassador and is a founding member of the Student Alumni Association – all while maintaining dean’s list status in Heidelberg’s Honors Program as a Spanish major with a minor in communication studies.
“I like to fill my time with things I feel really good about,” Racicot said.
Two of those are Show Choir Camps of America and Heidelberg University.