Thank You, Lavallette, For Our Escape

Thank You, Lavallette, For Our Escape

Having a place where you and your loved ones can escape to to spend time together and make countless memories is truly something so special.
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As my tired eyes flutter open due to the sound of passersby outside my ajar window, I can’t help but smile. Not only because my mouth waters from the smell of Nanny and Pop cooking breakfast, but because a new day at my favorite place has begun. I crawl out of the warmth and comfort of my blankets and untangle my tossed about sheets to make my bed look as good as new, just how Nanny likes it. I walk over to my dresser search for a swimsuit top and bottom that match; quietly hoping I don’t later find myself wearing the same one as my cousin, bringing us back to our 10-year-old selves where we would match 24-7. I finally tie up my bathing suit, brush my teeth, and toss my hair up in a beach-wind-friendly bun before heading down the stairs to satisfy my grumbling stomach.

Downstairs I find the familiar faces of my family members (and occasionally friends) with whom I have a quick conversation with on my way to the kitchen. I eat breakfast quickly with my two cousins, who are more like sisters, before grabbing my bag and towel, slathering on sunscreen and heading to the beach. The walk up the street to the beach is familiar yet always enjoyable. It is guaranteed that I will run into at least one person my family or I know, and as I look around I notice that every other house holds a story or a memory of someone from our past or present. Such as the house with the rope fence my cousins and I used to hit when we were younger every morning, as if it was the “pass” to get to the beach or the house our friends who we hold a lifetime of memories with used to rent every summer.

Once on the beach, we spread out our belongings and set up camp because as the day continues more family members and lifelong friends join us as they do every day year after year. Between going in the ocean, tanning, ice cream, and walks to and from the beach house, days on the beach, unfortunately, go by rather quickly. Usually, the first round of us beachgoers starts returning to the house around 5:00 pm to shower and get ready for a delicious dinner. Dinner is always followed by some sort of last minute adventure. Whether it be mini golfing, the boardwalk, night crabbing, bike riding, walking to getting ice cream or simply spending time together at the house, we are always laughing until we cry and adding to our long list of memories.

As it gets later into the night, everyone begins to go their separate ways. It’s usually super late before I finally decide to go to sleep just to wake up and start the routine over again, though it’s a routine that I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. Having a place where you and your loved ones can escape to to spend time together and make countless memories is truly something special. And so with that being said I’d like to use this as a thank you to my Nanny and Pop for creating a place like this for all of us.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gallagher

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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5 Reasons It's Always Worth It To Be A Summer Camp Counselor

Summer camps have a special place in my heart, and I'm here to share that with you.

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Since I was 15, I have been a counselor at various summer camps. I have been a Program Aide at Girl Scout camp, a counselor at church camp, and a counselor at a day camp. These were all camps that I attended as a kid, so they already had a special place in my heart when I got a chance to work at them.

After being a camp counselor for five years, there are things that I have learned on the job that has helped me in life. Being a counselor has also helped me grow as a person. It's helped me gain skills that I don't think I would have learned in other jobs. I'm here to share what I love about the job of being a camp counselor.

1. You get to be the leader/role model

As a kid, there were many counselors in my life that I looked up to. They were people that I strived to be alike in my life, but now that I'm older, I get to be that person for the kid. What I say and do will influence how the kids around me act. That comes with a lot of stress, but it's also empowering. You can be a positive influence in a kids life, and hopefully, teach them important life lessons.

2. You can be your goofy self

One thing that I love about working with kids is that I can be silly around them. Kids won't judge you for being silly because they're silly right alongside you. They feed off your energy, and it can help them explore the world around them through communication. Plus, when was it not fun to be silly?

3. You get to hang out with kids all day

This reason might turn people off from the job, but it's a part of why I love being a counselor. Hanging out with kids tires me out at times, but they also motivate me to keep going. They're little balls of energy, and I feed off of other people's energies well. The kids also help me feel youthful and like nothing matters. Everything is fun to them; they help me keep a positive outlook on life.

4. Your coworkers become your best friends

Working at a summer camp can be difficult at times. It's emotionally and physically draining as well. But having a good support team helps with that. The counselors that I have worked with in the past have become my best friends, and I still stay in touch with some. They're there for you when no one else is, and they understand what you're going through. You know that their feelings for you are genuine, and they want to help as much as they can.

5. You get to watch the kids grow

Over the summer, I get to see the same kids every week at my camp. I get to see them grow as people over the summer and it's a rewarding experience knowing that I was able to help them. Watching them become leaders and grow into little helpers by the end of the summer is one of my favorite things.

I'm excited to have the opportunity to work at a summer camp again this year. I know that it'll provide an opportunity to grow as a person and I can't wait to see my favorite kids again.

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