One thing that truly changes my life/year annually is going to summer camp to kickstart my summer break. Each year is a completely different experience that introduces me to things I could never imagine back at home. I feel privileged and grateful that my parents were able to make such a thing happen. I really wish everyone can have the same experience that I do each year.
Camp Merrie Woode
Each year, I attend an all girl’s camp called Camp Merrie Woode in North Carolina. You might have seen it before because we were featured on the Today Show this year!!! I think the mountains are therapeutic by themselves, but the amazing people make my whole summer. This year was my eighth summer spent at camp. I can confirm that real, life long friendships can be made. Being in a cabin with other girls for three weeks is not typically ideal. However, it has taught me some really eye-opening lessons that I wouldn’t change the world for.
Everyone is coming from a different background with something in common, the love of camp. From the start, we are all connected by this which I think is so special. Girls come to express themselves in ways they may not usually be comfortable to with a new set of faces. Each and every girl is able to find a new passion that is unique to camp.
These passions keep the girls coming back yearly for an experience that won’t find at home.
For example, my little sister did her first ever play with multiple dance solos. I think this has been one of the best things for her. She was able to find where she belongs with people who are helping to nourish her newfound love for theater. The support and love I saw her receive after the show was unlike anything. I think that it is a blessing that her first experience in solo acting could have been at our camp. If she had to improvise every second of each dance she still would receive the same amount of love. That is the environment of love surrounding the girls at camp.
Camp is genuinely a place where girls always support girls.
I have been so blessed by the girls in my age group. I have learned what real friendships are from them and so many valuable lessons. Yes, some being as little as how to make a friendship bracelet or how to properly strum a C cord on the ukulele, but I wouldn’t have wanted to learn from any other people.
Our counselors are such a great influence on the following three weeks, and I have been so lucky in that department. I wouldn’t change my past counselors over anyone else to be my make-shift parents for a few weeks. Camp has taught me to let go of my fears and appreciate the little things around me more. From a personal experience, I believe being surrounded by so many girls each year with no access to the internet is so humbling and brings out my truest self to find what I really want to do and be.
Home Away from Home
I have made many wonderful connections that I will cherish. It is a great joy being reunited with them every year, or even if a time is found in between, i am genuinely happy to see them. I wouldn’t change it for the world, and I am so lucky my parents dropped me off in 2014 so clueless of what was happening. If it wasn’t for camp, I would have had deja vu moving from Florida to Alabama. Instead, I had these amazing connections from camp that go to my school that were able to introduce me to things and people making such a drastic transition seem like nothing.
Three years later in Alabama, I‘m so glad to say that one of my best friends I met through camp, and we are able to share such a special place together. I honestly wish it could be this way with more girls, but I am so thankful that Camp Merrie Woode brought such genuine friendships inside and outside of camp.
New Experiences for Good
If you are not able to access a place like this then I suggest making your own. Find your people that will support and love unconditionally and make you feel your highest self. Do the things that make you happy without worrying about the other people around you. Being able to be yourself and not changing for anyone is a great blessing, and camp is the way I am able to open up but just do it for you! In the end, what makes you happy should make those around you happy, and that is how you know you found your people. Find the girls or people that support you the most and make you feel you, and I hope you are able to achieve the same joys of the people I know.