How Summer Camp Can Change Your Life

How Summer Camp Can Change Your Life

It's way more than s'mores and silly summer games.

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I had the most amazing opportunity to attend Pine Grove Day Camp for four years of my life. While it seems like such a small amount of time, those four summers gave me social, emotional, physical, and personal skills that I still use today. Here's all the way that Summer Camp can change your life.

You meet new people!

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Sure- school friends are great. But having the opportunity to meet people you may have never met offers connections that can last a lifetime. My summer camp wasn't even in my hometown, so everyone I met was new! Lucky for me, one of those people happened to become my best friend who I still talk to daily, after ten years.

You never know what kind of connections you may make, and how they may help you later in life! A potential employee, boss, or even spouse could be there.

New Challenges!

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Some challenges that one faces at summer camp may seem small- coming out of your shell, meeting new people, or even being away from home. But even these little things are skills that can help you forever. Camp is also an opportunity to face your fears- heights, water, the dark? Every summer camp will not only push you to your limits, but will help you overcome fears and be proud of what you've done.

Find Your Passions!

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With no homework, no required reading, no studying or tutors- camp allows you to take full time to have fun and experience those things. With everything mentioned above, kids will be able to start to find what is really important to them. They mind find a new love of a new sport, realize their artistic side, or realize how much they love nature. This can grow from liking, to hobby, to passion, and to a possible career later in life.

Break out of Gender Norms!

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​Yes, most camps will break up campers into groups of boy and girl campers. But that doesn't mean that boys cant love arts and crafts, girls cant love mountain biking, and so on. Girls are allowed to truly get down and dirty, to experience the full extent of nature and camp, without fear of being told they were "unladylike". Likewise, boys can do crafts, cooking, or ceramics without fear of being told they're acting to feminine. Its a time for all kids to have fun without restraints of societal norms.

Teamwork!

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All of camp is family- but your group is like your home. The fellow campers in your group are like your brothers or sisters. This undeniable sense of unity not only brings out friendships and connections, but the ability to work together as well. Ice breakers and team building activities are huge. But so are competitions! Camp is about rewarding success, and there's nothing like racing across a pool in a pool noodle horse race to win ice cream at the end of the day to foster that ability to work together. Everyone works as a whole to better the experience, and the chance of winning, of the team. But win or lose- the ability to cooperate as a whole is a prize in itself.

Have fun!

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Sure- you will learn so much at camp. Connections, strengths, talents, teamwork and more. But above all...It really is fun! Kids work hard all school year. They deserve to have an awesome summer. They deserve to yell and cheer, to get covered in paint and dirt and jump in the pool. To create friendship bracelets and participate in silly games.

Memories that will last FOREVER!

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​Camp will impact you forever. Take it from me- my first year of camp was when I was 10. I am now almost 21, and I'm writing an article about camp. Clearly it had left an impact! Kids will take everything they learned, the friendships they made, and the memories there and carry them forever. They will look back on these times in high school, college, and beyond. It will forever impact them with a smile on their face.

I am so happy to be returning to camp. This time- not as a camper, but as a counselor. I get to watch kids grow, make connections, and find their passions. I get to be the counselor that they talk about years down the line. I am so excited to go back. So you- reading this article! Send your kid to camp, or go yourself, as a counselor!

It will stick with you. 4 Life.

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

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10 Things You'll Be Glad To Come Home To When You Leave College

Home is where the heart is.

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While at school, I had gotten so used to being by myself and doing things independently — so much so that I was almost sad that I'd have to leave Lexington and come home for the summer.

The only thoughts running through my mind: I will never get any privacy. I won't get to run my own schedule anymore. I'll be stuck talking to people and doing various things/jobs that I'd finally gotten away from.

But, after being home for a little bit, I can't even believe I had originally dreaded coming back.

Here at home, I have an endless supply of love, comfort, and familiarity; all things that I was unable to find on my own in Lexington. I guess it is true when they say home is where the heart is.

1. Family

family

In a couple of weeks, I'm sure you'll change your mind, but for now, the warm embraces that come from your parents and siblings are more than enough to make you wanna stay home for good.

2. Friends

friends

College besties are great, and they're in it for the long-haul, no doubt. But, being able to come home and hang out with those that are the most familiar is satisfactory.

3. Home-cooked meals

homemade

I don't know if I'll be able to go to Champs or The 90 ever again.

4. Your own room

jump in bed

UK provides its students with nice dorms that come with Tempurpedic mattresses, granite countertops, and your own bedroom and bathroom (unlike a lot of other schools), but let's just be honest here and say that they will NEVER be able to top the comfort of your own bed, in your own room, at home.

5. Pets

dog

And the love that overflows your heart when your dog greets you at the door is enough to make you want to drop out.

6. Old job

coworkers

If you're like me, you're probably going to work at your old high school job this summer to make some extra cash. When we were there before, we dreaded every minute of the job that we felt like we were forced to do, but now I'm so ready to go back to work with my favorite co-workers (that I now consider some of the greatest friends) doing things that I'm all too familiar doing.

7. Car

car

If y'all catch me flying through town doing 80 in a 55...mind ya business. I've just missed my baby.

8. Less responsibility

cleaning underneath

Your mom is back to buying your groceries AND does all of the cleaning, except for your room. What more could you want?

9. Peace of mind

relax

I think you'll come to find that your "home activities" will help you to leave the homework/exam/finals stress right where it came from.

10.  (Slight) financial freedom

roll in money

Last, but certainly not least, you'll finally get some FREEDOM from those grueling tuition payments (until August).

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