Why Being A "Sleepaway Camp Kid" Means So Much

Why Being A "Sleepaway Camp Kid" Means So Much

Friends, friends, friends...we will always be.
714
views

Coming from a town where it was uncommon to go to sleepaway camp every summer, not many people understood its benefits and how it impacts lives. I can easily say that going to sleepaway camp was one of the best parts of my life. I wouldn't want to trade that experience for anything. Here's why...

Leading up to the first day of camp, there was always a lot of anticipation and excitement. Watching your trunks get picked up and getting your annual pre-camp haircut and mani-pedi was always a part of that. Although the drive up to camp felt like forever, passing all the iconic spots that were close to camp was one of the best parts. Passing places like The Corner and Candy Cone (if you know, you know) always had everyone out of their seats. As a camper (and even an alumni), there was no better feeling than pulling up and seeing the camp sign and all of your favorite people. You're finally home again.

One of the greatest parts of going to sleepaway camp is the sense of community and family that is shared. Camp will always feel welcoming regardless of your age or if you're a camper, counselor, alumni, or parent. There's also always so much spirit and pride at camp. Whether every camper and counselor is participating in Olympics or Color War or crying their eyes out at Color War Sing, seeing how these things bring everyone together is unlike anything else. A key part of camp has always been the traditions shared between generations. From doing cheers in the dining hall and in the playhouse to watching the letters burn on the last night, this part of my life will always be cherished.

If we're being completely honest, even the "bad" parts of camp made it so special. Take finding out the evening activity was leagues or the food for example. Ask anyone on girls side, leagues was never the favorite. The food wasn't horrible but on the days when pizza bagels were for lunch, let's just say the dining hall was a little crazy. Every part of camp, the good and the bad, are unforgettable memories.

Going to sleepaway camp has taught me countless of life lessons and most definitely prepared me for college with being away from home and living with others. While being a camper, I also learned so much about myself. Camp brought me out of my shell as well as make me more independent and responsible. Being away from my parents for seven weeks at a time taught me how to fend for myself. Camp has truly shaped me into the person I am today.

The thing I took away the most from camp, besides the life lessons and the memories, was the relationships I formed. To this day, some of my best friends are my camp friends. These are some of the only people who you never complained about being stuck with every summer, in your bunk or not. Camp gave me lifelong friends and I will never forget the times we played cards by the pool on a "day o'laze" or games around the table in the dining hall, gossiped about everything for hours, or the tears we shed on the last night of camp every summer. Your best friends from camp will be there every step of the way for the rest of your life. Although reunions outside of camp are fun, they don't happen as often as they should. Regardless, your camp friends are your forever friends and I will be forever grateful that camp gave me my people.

If I didn't go to sleepaway camp, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Regardless of how many summers you went for, camp is undoubtedly a remarkable and impactful experience. I have been shaped in ways that are unimaginable. Thank you Mom and Dad for putting me on a bus in 2009 and making me go out of my comfort zone, and thank you Camp Chipinaw for the amazing life lessons and bonds that I formed every summer.

Cover Image Credit: Sydney Eisenberg

Popular Right Now

To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
82436
views
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Today, I'm Grateful For The Accident That Nearly Ended Everything

It changed my life for the worse — and then for the better.

658
views

Four years ago, on August 5th, 2014, I was in a car accident on highway I-80. We swerved over the median and into oncoming traffic. I was in the front passenger seat so I was at the point of impact. I broke my right hand, my right leg and I got a traumatic brain injury. I was in the hospital for almost two months and then was in therapy for a few months after that.

Though it was subtle, the accident changed me as a person and at first, I hated it. I wanted to go back to the way I was before and didn't understand why I couldn't. But looking back, I'm happy the accident happened and turned me into who I am today.

It's an odd thing to say, right? I'm glad my life and personality were almost permanently changed due to this traumatic car accident. But let me explain.

Before the accident, I was a shy little thing that didn't like to talk about my problems. I was depressed but no one knew so I wasn't getting the help I needed. After the accident, however, it was like a dam had broken in me. I couldn't stop talking and I was telling everyone about my problems. I was an introvert that suddenly had to navigate how to be an extrovert. I had to learn where the line was of what was appropriate to say and talk about and what wasn't.

Thankfully, after four years, I have a therapist to help me with my mental health and I think I have the whole socializing thing down... for the most part.

Another benefit of the accident is that is showed me who my real friends are. Most people who I considered to be my friends visited me for my first month out of the hospital. They would tell me how classes are going and how they missed me but then they would talk about themselves and their problems like I was only there to listen; I wasn't supposed to talk about my problems but I did. Some of them drifted away and didn't text me or ask me to hang out with them after a few months. It really hurt and made me really sad and wonder, "What did I do?" I felt so alone.

Eventually, I realized that how they were acting was not my fault and if they treated me like that, then they weren't my real friends. It taught me how I deserve to be treated and it's okay if the only company you have is you.

One of the best good things that came out of the whole hospitalization thing is that I got a dog! His name is Winchester, Chester for short, and he is a mini husky. I picked him out from pictures my dad showed me and I liked that he had one eye that was half brown and half blue. I went with my dad to pick him up from the breeder in Kansas only a week after I got out of the hospital. Chester sat on my lap the whole three hours home. My parents got him for me because they thought it would be nice for me to have a little companion and they were right. He doesn't bark or pee in the house, he's loyal, he can be playful but he can also be lazy. He is the bestest little puppers ever and I love him so much!

Moral of the story: If you want a dog but your parents won't get you one, get in an accident that almost kills you and then maybe they'll get you a dog. (But really don't do that.)

Throughout the years, I've spent too much time thinking about what would have happened if I hadn't gotten in the car that day. But I think this was something that was meant to happen to me. If I hadn't been in that accident, I might've gotten hurt a different way and my injuries could have been worse. I am actually thankful that this happened to me because if it hadn't, who knows the kind of person I would be today?

Plus, if it hadn't happened, I wouldn't have gotten a dog and he makes my life so much better so I'm glad I have him.

Related Content

Facebook Comments