It feels like just yesterday we were bobbing along to those glorious High School Musical lyrics. This summer flew by, as it always does, but you know what they say: Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened (but you can cry a little when you think about how much ice cream you ate).
There are many options to be taken advantage of when it comes to the much anticipated hiatus from school: travel, do an internship, take courses, work at Starbucks, make prank phone calls with friends, etc. These are all fun choices, and having experienced most of them (sorry Mom – ‘Betsy’ calling from Lotto 649 seven years ago was me), I believe one of the best summer adventures to dive into is camp. This past summer, I was lucky enough to return to sleepover camp for the 16th time.
When people ask why camp means so much to me, I describe it as: An oasis where a concern-free fantasy thrusts itself upon you as a new reality. A community of best friends, ranging from bed-wetters to grey hair. A hotbed for inside jokes shared by so many people, they probably shouldn’t even be classified as inside jokes. A blank canvas on which you can make a kid’s summer using innovation and creativity. A classroom in which the subject is every transferable skill imaginable. A place where you can be yourself, while you’re learning exactly who that is. I always liked to think of it as an opportunity for opportunity.
Once you get to 24 and you’re still going to summer camp (well, you get made fun of a lot), but, besides a blast with friends, you also come to appreciate a building of character that readies you for career and family life. From a young age, the situations we’re exposed to in the camp setting have us: think on our feet, be patient, stay organized, be hygienic, trust our instincts, be a good friend, stay grounded, take risks, perform, be assertive, let the little things go, be open-minded, compromise, be empathetic, and not take a second of any of it for granted.
I’m glad to say this is how I spent my summer vacation, and I’m confident my future employers will too. For campers who are ever uneasy about attending sleepover camp for the first time: It will change your life. You can quote me on that.