Open Letter To My Campers

Open Letter To My Campers

It’s been an honor to watch you grow up
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To My Dear Summer Children,

By the time you read this you’ll be far away from the little cabin in the woods where we met. You might be at school with your friends or you may have a job of your own, but wherever you are, I know you aren’t wildly running around one of the most magical places in the world: camp.

Sometimes, those who haven't gone to camp can't imagine how a large plot of land with old cabins and cafeteria food is magical. They don’t get the appeal, inside jokes or the remember whens. But you are like me: you have gone to camp, and you understand it’s magic. You understand how time stops at camp. Nothing outside of the gates of camp matters, and though you think you’re having fun and playing games, you’re really growing, learning about yourself and other people. But then you blink -- and summer is over.

The bonds formed at sleep away camp is extremely special. You make life long friends, friends who love you for you. They have seen you at your worst, your ugliest and somehow they still love you. Whether you know it now or not, they have and they will affect your life in more ways than you can even imagine. I’ve realized this so much as I’ve gotten older.

Then, there’s the bond you and I share; camp counselors and campers form one of the most unique relationships. Sometimes, we joked around and you called me mom, but the truth is, for nine weeks you were like my children. My job was to make sure you were safe, and your job was to have fun. I laughed with you, I cried with you, and even though you drove me so crazy, I could never stay mad at you. Saying goodbye to you and returning you to your real mom at the end of the summer was hard to do.

The truth is, coming home from camp sucks. No matter how old you are, it never gets easier. When I was a camper leaving camp meant saying goodbye to my friends. Now, as a counselor, it means letting go of you and watching you leave the magic of camp to go back to what we all dread, real life. Although we don’t spend every waking minute of the day together anymore, I hope you know I think of you all the time.

Like a real mother, I want the best for you and I worry about you. I’ve watched you laugh at a joke until you couldn’t breathe. I’ve seen you capsize a boat and get frustrated, and I was proud of you when you shook it off. Through it all, I wished that you could stay young forever. I wished that you could forever live in the magical, simple, hysterically crazy world that is camp. Because camp is where you see the good in everyone, everyone genuinely wants the best for each other. And while that can never realistically happen, wishing you would be forever young is in some ways selfish of me. With age comes new opportunities, new experiences, and new fun. I can’t wait to watch you make the most of your life.

No matter where life takes, you, what job you pursue, or how you choose to live your life; I hope you know that I will always love you. Because I was your summer mom, and that’s what us moms do, we love you, kids. And just in case, we don’t cross paths again in the future, remember these life keys.

1. Don’t grow up too fast –- you aren’t missing out on anything. In fact, when you’re my age, you’ll wish you were still 13.

2. Be true to yourself.

Don’t spend time with people who don’t treat you properly or make you feel bad about yourself.

3. Being popular is so overrated.

4. So is being the “it girl.”

5. You’re someone’s role model, whether you realize it or not.

6. Be someone your younger self would look up to and your future self would be proud of.

7. Be nice -- it’s not hard to do, and there’s a lot to be said for being a nice person.

8. Keep in touch with your camp friends, and make an effort to see them at least once a year.

No matter how far they are, they will always be your family.

Thank you for being such a big part of some of my greatest summer memories. Believe it or not, you changed my life. You forced me to grow up, but let me be a kid at the same time. Thank you for teasing me, asking me super personal and unnecessary questions that I would never answer, and for making every single day an unpredictable wild adventure. It’s been an honor to watch you grow up and I can’t wait to watch you live the rest of your life.

Love always,
“Mom”

Cover Image Credit: Alexandra Alimaras

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If Taylor Swift Songs Were Types Of Alcohol

Because what's better than a drink and some T-Swift?
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With Taylor Swift's quick return to the music scene... and in a big way, might I add, I decided to associate some of the best Taylor Swift songs with alcohol.

I mean, who wouldn't want to drink to Taylor Swift's catchy melodies and perfect choruses to get over an ex or tell someone exactly how you feel about them?

Taylor Swift has been around for a decade at this point, and let's face it, pretty much all of her songs could go along with at least one type of alcohol.

1. "Welcome To New York" - Moscow Mule

It only makes sense. Visit the Big Apple and you have to indulge in the state's signature cocktail. Moscow mules are a New York classic, and if it's your first night in the city and you haven't bought yourself one, are you even in New York?

2. "Blank Space" - Everclear

Think about it... A night of drinking Everclear will leave you with a giant blank space the next day. You might also look like Taylor did in the music video.

3. "Tim McGraw" - Beer

Tim McGraw is a throwback to Taylor's high school love. What better way to reminisce than with a couple friends and a keg of your favorite cheap beer?

4. "Style" - Cristal Champagne

What's more stylish than with a glass of the most expensive bubbly you can find? Just like Taylor Swift, Cristal will never go out of style.

5. "Shake It Off" - Martini

Get it? Cause you shake a martini? I might be the only one who thinks that's funny but you might end up dancing a little bit with a martini in hand when "Shake It Off" come on the radio.

6. "Red" - Merlot


Red has to go along with a red wine. What else could go along with yet *another* T-Swift breakup song?

7. "22" - Margaritas

Let's face it, when you're 22, you really only drink margaritas. They're fun- and all the hipsters are probably drinking them too.

8. "Teardrops On My Guitar" - Southern Comfort

When your heart is broken, who are you going to turn to besides the only alcohol that gives you comfort...Southern Comfort that is.

9. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Fireball

I can't say I've ever met anyone who spent a night with Fireball and didn't regret it the next morning.

10. "Look What You Mad Me Do" - Tequila

T-Swift's latest single is an angry one. What better to make you angry than tequila? Taylor basically just called out everyone who had ever talked about her behind her back and she did it in true Taylor fashion-by writing a song. She was probably drunk on tequila when she wrote it too.

11. ...Ready For It? - Bottomless Mimosas

Because it's just that good.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Board Games Are More Important Than You Think They Are

They've become a defining part of my family.

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Remember when you were a kid and you'd have a family game night? Or your friends would come over and you'd open the game cabinet and play at least three different games together?

Maybe it's just me, but those are some of my best memories from my childhood. My family loves games, board games, and electronic games.

Of course, as I got older, gaming consoles like PlayStation and Wii became more and more popular. That meant that the game cabinet was opened less and less, collecting dust.

Thankfully, I live in New Jersey near the shore and Hurricane Sandy left my family with no power for five days. Sure, it was scary not having power and walking around my neighborhood seeing fallen trees or roof shingles, but we were inland enough to not have had any flood water damage.

No power also meant no PlayStation or Wii games. The gaming cabinet was opened again, this time with vigor. Now, four years later, and I still think about sitting in the dark with a flashlight playing Scrabble with my family.

That was also the week I learned how to play Yahtzee and dominated my dad in every game. My sister constantly was looking for someone to play her to Battleship. We exhausted Rummikub.

The game was already a family favorite, and that's including extended family. Family barbeques had been ending with late night games of Rummikub for at least a year by the time Sandy hit.

We were ready to strategize and crunch numbers, but after day three, we never wanted to a number ever again.

This semester, there's been a surge of board game love again in my family. My sister bought Jenga, which we are currently trying to exhaust ourselves with. My favorite board game also had a comeback: Life.

I loved this game so much that I had the SpongeBob version as a kid. I would play it with my best friend, just the two of us, playing game after game of Bikini Bottom themed Life. Now, I have a car full of "kids" that I've started to make pets in my head. I can handle having five pretend dogs, but not five pretend kids.

I don't know what it is about board games, but my family has always had an affinity for them. We've gone through our cycles of playing video games and card games, but we always come back to the classics. Maybe it's more a defining part of my family than I originally thought.

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