My life changed in 2007 when I first went to summer camp in Lake Wales, Florida. Throughout my years at a little Dude Ranch in Central Florida I met campers and counselors from all over the world. My eyes had never opened the way they had when I met and began to understand these people and their culture.
I was only 9 years old my first summer when my parents dropped me off at camp. It was a 10 day session but little did I know, 10 days wasn't even close to long enough. As you can probably assume I fell in love with the love and happiness that summer camp brought into my life. I learned more about myself over the last 9 years there then I have anywhere else in the world.
As a kid most of my friends never understood why I loved camp so much and why it was so special to me. I could never really gather the words together to fully explain my love for summer camp and all that it does for children. I was often made fun for being a 16 year old camper and spending my entire summers at camp with no phone or connection to world. When it came to camp no ones opinion really mattered to me, camp was where I felt at home and it was where I was happy.
Home Away From Home..
What is a home away from home? The definition is "a place where one is as happy, relaxed, or comfortable as in one's own home." BUT what does that mean to you, most people can't even imagine sleeping on a rock hard twin bed for 10 weeks AND without air conditioning?
Oddly enough when people are away from home, they do things they might not normally do. I can't even tell you the amount of people who have told me "I can't be who I am at camp at home." If you take one single lesson that you learn at camp and bring it into your life at home you can change your entire attitude.
Sleep away camp taught me some of the most important lessons a teenager can learn. I fell in and out of love, I met my best friend in the world, I was introduced to so many role models, & I made life long friendships. I believe camp shapes children into caring and accepting people. Living in a cabin for 2, 3, maybe even 6 weeks straight with 11 others isn't easy all the time. This experience helps us be more understanding of other people and that being different is okay.
Summer camp is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. This coming summer I am planning on being a counselor for the first time. I can't wait to make some other kids summers absolutely amazing too. Every child deserves the kind of experience camp can provide and the impact it can make.