Send Your Future Children To Summer Camp— Thank Yourself Later

Send Your Future Children To Summer Camp— Thank Yourself Later

how summer camps enrich both your childhood and adulthood alike.

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For the better half of my childhood, I attended a summer camp. This summer camp in a small, unheard-of-by-most, middle-of-nowhere town taught me important lifelong lessons and gave me the best friends a girl could ever have.

More specifically, this summer camp made me feel more emotions in one week than I had ever felt in a year beforehand. Feelings of love, sorrow, happiness, excitement, anxiety, and feelings of nostalgia are all things that come running back to my mind when I hear the simple sound of a crackling fire, cicadas chirping, or the splash of a pool.

The minimalist aspects of a summer camp truly filled my heart with complete joy, even if it's not the first time I'm experiencing or doing it. Examples include: being reunited with other campers whom I haven't seen for a year, making homemade hawaiian pizza, dancing along to that summer's hit while tying knots on yet another friendship bracelet, and so much more. The simple things that make a summer camp a youth's home away from home will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

The relationships one gains while attending a summer camp is indescribable. Despite the fact that most times you're with your fellow campers for less than a week, co-existing with them in a confined space such as a wood cabin makes you close in more than one way. These friendships only continued to grow the older I got, and even to this day I'm still friends with the ones I went to camp with over three years ago.

The beginning chords of a song play softly on a guitar, and smiles creep onto faces and eyes look towards friends as campers start to sing along. My favorite parts of summer camp were those spent at a campfire with a guitar, and a few of my closest companions. These nights are also indescribable, because while others might call us crazy for sitting on the ground with mosquitoes crawling all over us, with only the campfire and the moon lighting up the night, it's perfection, in my mind. There's nothing I'd rather do than lay on my back and look up at the stars, listening to the fire slowly die down, and appreciate nature without the distractions of daily life.

Campers and counselors alike were taught that no matter what wishes they make at the closing campfire, the ashes of the burnt sticks that carried said wishes would always remain at camp. Because of this, both campers and counselors felt a connection to camp, even if we weren't there, our wishes always were.

Not only was summer camp home to some of the most relaxing memories I have, it's home to some of the most chaotic, competitive, and fun memories that will take home in my mind as well. With all of the all-camp games, such as Mission Impossible and Capture the Flag just to name a few, it's easy to say that not only did I gain some memories, but a few scratches and bruises as well. The homemade foam slip-n-slide, arts and crafts, and the opportunity to make desserts over a fire tested my ability to be creative, and how to make something that would serve a purpose, either to me or to others.

Summer camp was my second home, and parts of me will always believe that aside from my parents, it helped to raise me. I wouldn't be the person I am today without half of the memories, lessons learned, and fun times shared with others. It will always remain one of the most magical places in my world.

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11 Things I Want My Parents To Know When I Come Home From College

An open letter to Mom and Dad, from a college student that isn’t a kid anymore.
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Aight, listen.

Put on your reading glasses and blow that wisp of graying hair off your face (yes, Mom, I see it, you’re not fooling anybody), because I’ve got some things to say.

I just completed three months worth of college. C-O-L-L-E-G-E. For roughly 90 days I fed myself, I somewhat successfully did my own laundry, I made my own life-or-death decisions when it came to college parties, and I even managed to fit in schoolwork — most of the time.

The point is, I might not have become a fully fledged, mature adult, but three months of newfound independence is like finding out that Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny aren’t real all at the same time — you do a lot of growing up, fast.

So, almost-adult to adult, here are 11 things that I want you to know when I come home for the holidays:

1. First and foremost, I get it.

I’m not in college anymore, there are going to be rules again, you pay all my bills — right. I understand. Please, no long speeches. No constant reminding. I’ve been making predictions and inferences since 2nd grade, so believe me, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the gist of what’s going on in this story.

2. I may or may not have transformed into a creature of the night.

Yeah, no, I’d probably go ahead and define myself as nocturnal. In college, everything starts at night, like parties, house meetings, the will to do homework — it’s completely different. So if you find me doing the dishes at 3:00 a.m., it’s not because I was feeling generous, it’s because Netflix got boring and I had nothing better to do.

3. Curfew or nah? Nah.

Now that we got the whole nocturnal thing out of the way, let’s get something straight. I can’t tell you how many times I stayed up with friends until the wee hours of the morning, how many times parties kept me out of the dorm for the entire night, or how many times I went on late night runs to get food. I know that the house is not a hotel, but you have to understand that the night is primetime to hang out with friends or take that random McDonald’s run. So please, loosen the reigns a little. I’ll be quiet, I promise — I’ve got three months of tiptoeing around a sleeping roommate under my belt.

4. I love you, but I love sleep more.

You guys are great, but my b(a)ed and I need some alone time. Keep the door closed.

5. I’m ok! That was just me screaming in relief at the feeling of not having to wear shower sandals anymore.

6. Be a bro and spot me? I’m poor.

I know, I know, I said I wasn’t going to be that college kid. But it’s the holiday season, and I know you guys have missed me, soooo how’s 20 bucks sound?

7. A gift card to Starbucks would make for a great Christmas present.

Put yourself in my shoes. I’m a slightly impoverished neo-adult with a mild-to-moderate coffee addiction, and I sleep all day. Plus, Starbucks has those new red cups — I’m telling you, coffee tastes great with a hint of controversy.

8. Chores, shopping for groceries, driving people around — I got this.

Let me take some extra responsibility. After three months on my own, I want to show you that I can handle it, that I can pass for being a competent adult. So don’t let me slack off and mill about, challenge me to help the family out as an adult instead of a dependent kid. I’ll make you proud, I promise.

9. If I want to go to that concert or party, I’m going to go.

Let’s be real here. In college, if I wanted to go skydiving or bar hopping or sleep over in a girl’s dorm room, I could I have done it, no questions asked, and you guys would have been none the wiser. So if I want to do something fun, I’m truly open to your thoughts and opinions, because your advice is what guides me every time I go out. But I’m not a dumb teenager anymore, so trust me and let me do my own thing, ok?

10. You guys are awesome, but so are the friends I haven’t seen in a long time.

Yes, I know, it always seems like I care way too much about hanging out with friends. But three months is a lot to catch up on, and I’ve missed them like crazy.

11. But no matter what, I’ve missed you so much, and I’m glad to be home.

Even if I’m stubborn, too argumentative, or seem eager to go back to college, you have to realize how good it feels to be home again. There have been so many times in the past three months that I’ve felt unbearably weak and vulnerable and wanted nothing more to call you guys and ask you for your amazing advice, but didn’t do it because I wanted you to think that I was ok. You are my greatest teachers, and I can never thank you enough for all you do for me. I love you.

Cover Image Credit: _elemenoh_ / Flickr

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I've Been Skeptical About The Holidays For A Couple Years, But I'm Ready For Them This Year

Finally decided to stop calling the Grinch my animal spirit.

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The holidays have finally reached us, and I think I speak for many of us when I say that we are excited to be able to breathe from school and spend time with our loved ones -- and to eat food, tons of it.

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But for some others, the holidays are a time that reminisces bad moment in their lives. They become a time of sadness and dark pasts. Loved ones have different faces, and homes, where good wishes are shared, have different walls painted a different color.

About four years ago, I left my country and moved to the US -- new traditions and adventures. The holidays weren't easy for my first year. I achingly missed my parents and family from Honduras. The holidays here didn't seem as exciting without all the people I had spent them countless times before.

In Honduras, on Christmas Eve we would always go visit my grandmother from my dad's side for lunch. In the afternoon, I would have dinner with my parents and brother, and then we'd go to church. After that, we would always go to my mom's family to receive midnight and have a sort of party. That was something that I always looked forward to.

The holidays here weren't as adventurous as they were over there. I would stay all day home and wait till food was served and just spend it with my family until we all decided it was time to go to sleep. They seemed pretty dull for the first two years. But now, my boring, asocial ass is fascinated with the simpleness of the holidays.

Sure, here people take the holidays more seriously than we did in Honduras, but I never assimilated. I began seeing the holidays as another day, except that deliciously exquisite food was going to be served that day. It was not like my mom's food nor like my grandmother's. Everything was different, and this difference weighed heavily on me.

Fast-forward to the present day, and I'm still kind of skeptical about the holidays. I don't get the spirit anymore, and till today, it still hasn't hit me. The only thing that I can think of is that the year is soon going to be over.

The one thing I am excited for is being able to celebrate the holidays with the new family I've been slowly building. My partner is accepted and loved by my relatives, and they invited him over to spend Christmas with us. One of my new best friends was also invited. Being able to spend this time with them kinda shines a glimmer on the idea that I have of the holidays.

This new fresh addition to my life have given me many blissful pleasures this 2018, and I know that with them, I'll probably begin to cherish the holidays a little bit more.

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