There Is Something Magical About Camp
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Lifestyle

There Is Something About Camp That Is Just Pure Magic

When you're over-tired and lost among the trees and songs, it's like magic

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There Is Something About Camp That Is Just Pure Magic

If you've ever been to summer camp, you know that it is a place of pure magic.

I didn't really grow up going to summer camp. I went once when I was nine, again for a class trip in middle school and then when I was 15, my mom told me that being a counselor-in-training would look good on my college resume. So I packed my giant duffle and went to camp without knowing a soul who would be there. I'm not going to lie, I was a little terrified the moment I got there, surrounded by longtime returning campers. Immediately, I wanted to get back into my comfort zone that included my bed and air-conditioned home.

Once I got over myself, I fell head over heels for camp. It's a place where within hours, you create inseparable bonds. Because you're constantly together, star gazing, trying to fit three people on a paddleboard, or putting on your war paint for capture the flag. And maybe you will never talk to these people after camp, maybe they will pop up on your newsfeed, maybe you'll host camp reunions every once in a while, maybe you'll talk every single day. And it doesn't matter, because those endless camp days were real, that bond is irreversible and irreplaceable.

As a CIT, I remember looking up at the counselors who were teaching us all of their best tricks and tips for becoming a leader. I hoped that one day I could be a tiny bit like them: inspiring and authentic. I had this dream that maybe I could spend just one summer camping in the woods, getting so lost in the nature that the rest of the world disappears. So instead of getting an internship like all the type-A personalities at school, I spent my spring semester applying for counselor positions at camps. Somehow, I landed a job in California and I ran with it. I jumped far outside of my comfort zone, not knowing a soul who would be at this camp, half terrified and excited to be spending the summer doing something that I'd only dreamed of. That year, I was also lucky enough to join Camp Kesem. But that meant that after my ten weeks of working at a summer camp, I'd spend another one volunteering. And it's hardly a question to say that it was by far my favorite summer despite the 96 hour work weeks.

So this year, when I decided to build my resume over the summer with a nice sounding internship, I wished that I could go back in time to my days under the redwood trees in California; and I couldn't wait for my one week of camp at Camp Kesem. But after I'd spent the majority of the summer interning, doing homework, and going on bike rides, a week of Camp Kesem was a culture shock, an absolute roller coaster and I wasn't sure how I'd done 11 weeks of camp the previous summer. But by the end, when I got off the bus and to my dorm and collapsed into bed, I couldn't even sleep because my heart was full to the brim. And just like that, I remembered why camp is so remarkable and why all summer long, I was wishing that I could just be at camp instead of sitting in a desk and staring at a screen.

Because, by God, campers are some of the strongest, bravest, most full of life and inspiring people you'll ever meet. They remind me that I don't need to think so much or stress so much because there are s'mores and laughter and it is so easy to just be there, to be in that moment. It's like magic. That's what kesem means, after all.

So, that week that I spent in a disgusting cabin with floors covered in a mixture of water and dirt with the occasional spider, stinky socks, smelly shoes, and clothes strewn everywhere--yes, welcome to a cabin full of the contrasting personalities of nine-year-old girls--where I was on my toes all day long, keeping track of kids, allergies, and ghosts was worth it. The endless days, the chanting, the laughter, the views disappeared all too quickly.

It's been a week now since I've returned from Kesem, and although I can look at my wrist where the strings that tied us all together are, I still keep forgetting the magic. I've squashed it with stress, limitations, and expectations I put on myself. Which is why I'm taking the time now to remember the magic.

These kids get to be kids for one week. They get to be their complete selves, surrounded by counselors who care about them, who are there for the purpose of their growth and making sure that everyone is having a good time. And these kids love you and look up to you like crazy, even if they don't show it. Some will draw you pictures, others will never say thank you. Nevertheless, their laughter and grins say it all. Camp is for them. They create the magic, we just make the space for it.

Because camp counselors are role-models, that's what we signed up for, so we let our best selves shine, putting aside our fears of spiders and our aching heads (because as much as we tell the campers to stay hydrated, it's unlikely that we are) and we create the space that is absolute magic.

And I'm thinking that maybe we should take some of that magic with us, remind ourselves that even though life isn't perfect right now, the magic is real.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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