I never went to sleep away camp as a child. I have to confess, I was really happy hanging out with my friends and being at home. However, whenever my friends who went to camp returned, they always seemed different, more grown up…as if something had shifted in them in the short time they were away. It did make me wonder, what really happens at camp?
Flash forward a few decades and finally it is my turn to go to camp. No, not just because its summer, but as many of you know, I run a non-profit summer leadership camp. A crazy wonderful twist of fate that gives me a summer full of camp and answers all those questions I pondered so long ago.
This past weekend, as I watched the counselors arrive, most alumni of our camp, their excitement to see one another, their life long friendships and deep connection to one another and our camp….I realized that if these amazing individuals were the product of what we do, then I had really missed out.
Its taken time to now know what camp is……. showing up afraid, alone and making a friend. Camp is arriving as a blank sheet with no prior history, labels or expectations and re-writing your story, any way you want. Camp is being able to find and be your best self with a group of like-minded students that are simply trying to do the same. Camp is independence away from your family and proving to yourself that you do know what your toothbrush is without being told. Most of all camp is really, really fun. The games, the dances, the talent shows and competitions.
So, this summer as I prepare for camp, I am excited, nervous, happy and hoping that your never too old for camp and that just maybe I will seem a little more grown up when it’s over.
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