Camp and Self-Exploration

July 23, 2014

It was one of those humid July nights at summer camp. I was exhausted from a long day of teaching Golf and Challenge, playing cards, running around, and planning the events for next Saturday’s Fantasy Day. When the evening activity, CIT2 Hunt, finished up with a cheer and a pool party, I decided right then and there that I would be one of the counselors “supervising”: in other words, I would not be getting in the water. Yeah, it was hot, and yeah, I knew the pool would feel great. But I was tired, so…Of course, it was only a matter of minutes before I was cannon-balling off the diving board, clothes and all. My campers swarmed around me, delighted that I was having fun with them. I always knew I would jump in, because that’s the kind of person I am.

For counselors, camp allows us to play around, to explore the parts of our personalities that are childish and inquisitive, imaginative and goofy. For kids, summer is a time to discover parts of themselves they might not otherwise. Am I the type of person who rushes down to the pool and jumps in A.S.A.P.? Do I need to be cajoled by my friends? Do I think of myself as artsy when in fact a secret basketball star lurks beneath the surface? Am I braver than I think?

I’ve seen it happen over and over this summer. Last session it was Nathan Allentoff, who had to be convinced to try Horses. At first he wouldn’t even touch the horse, and by the end of the three weeks, he was riding around like a pro. I mean, Nathan may never ride a horse again in his life, but the experience of learning to love something that terrified him will stick with him forever. I see it with Alice and Zoey, two campers from China who struggle with language proficiency and cultural differences, but who put themselves out there every day, trying new things, joining in and experiencing something totally different. Maybe they’ll never go mountain biking after this, but they’ll never forget the feeling of soaring down that hill for the first time, not sure if they were in control or the bike was, but grinning and laughing nonetheless.

At camp, we all get the chance to develop ourselves in new directions, which makes us stronger as people. When we come across a challenge, instead of giving up, we buckle down and get started, knowing we’ll figure it out some time. It’s an experience we never forget.

Other Tall Timbers Happenings

–       Katherine Barnes won gagaball

–       Dylan Kearney and Ella Zhu made it to the top of the rock wall for the first time

–       Actors in the play will be off book today

–       Conor Roberton won singles and Mafalda Pingting won jailbreak in tennis

–       Alec Geis was the futsol MVP

–       Cabins H and 7 won Cabin Clean Up and the trip to Packs for ice cream

–       Cabin F learned the butterfly stroke in swimming

–       Happy birthday to counselors Lynn and Theresa, and cook Levi

–       Conor Roberton won Cabin 1’s tetherball tournament

–       There were 8 people at Dippies this morning

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