Being alone, without your parents for weeks at a time seems like a scary, and daunting experience for many kids. I once felt petrified at the idea of being away from my Mom and Dad too. However, 8 years after my first summer at camp, (I was 9 years old) I can genuinely say that it was the best time of my life! While many kids may seem apprehensive at the first talk of going, summer camp allows kids to learn and figure out how to care of themselves without their parents showing them the way. While it may be a trial and error process in some cases, it really just seems to work. Camp teaches kids how to find their way all alone, how to make new friends, clean up after themselves, voice their thoughts and opinions, or even figuring out how to do something as simple as dressing themselves in the morning.
Friends made at camp will remain as friendships for years after camp ends. The environment at camp is so full of acceptance. You are surrounded by a plethora of new faces, backgrounds, and personalities. It allows you to really find yourself and not feel like you need to pretend to be anyone else. I went to Camp Danbee for 7 years, and their motto, that has stuck with me to this day, is “Dance like nobody's watching”. I think that this speaks lengths about the experience you get at camp; the ability to act entirely like yourself without having to worry about being judged. Camp creates a home like no other; a home away from home. It also allows for unique friendships to form. The friends that I have made at camp are similar to me but also extremely different. These differences are what make the friendships that I have so unique from those that I have acquired at home. Typically, at home, you are attracted to those people who are similar to you. I believe which is why having friends who vary from you offer a fresh and valuable perspective. For me, the friends that I have made at camp are the best friends I have ever, and possibly will have had. It has been nearly two years since my last summer at camp, and I still consider my camp friends my best friends, despite the fact that we live hundreds of miles away.
Last, and certainly not least, camp offers an extensive list of activities for you to try. Just because you aren’t good at something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it! Camp gives you an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, try something you have never done before and learn how to do it better. Camp gave me the opportunity to do things that I never dreamt of doing at home; water skiing, rock climbing, sailing, pottery and so much more. I am not a good dancer (not even a mediocre one!), yet every year at camp I found myself in the dance studio, learning a routine with my friends around me. Was it sometimes embarrassing? Yes. Were there times I regretted signing up? Many. But offered the chance to do it all again, would I change a thing? Never.
I can whole-heartedly say that I would be a different person from who I am today without the experience I had at camp, and the friends, no sisters, that I met there.