Day Ninety-Six – One-Hundred-Four (Camp)

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And I’m back! After a week away, I am back to talk briefly about my experience while I was away. I’ve been too busy this past week living life as it comes to write any entries, so there’s a lot to catch up on. So much that it will be physically impossible to sum it all up in this one entry. But I’ll do my best. Perhaps it will be spread over multiple days. There is no way I can accurately sum up what a life-changing experience this was in one tiny entry.

As a child, I always longed to participate in camp. My experience with the theatre camp did not begin until Middle School and camp life always seemed so neat. Bonfires, swimming, arts and crafts, making model cars, late nights outdoors, fishing…it all seemed so neat. I wanted so badly to have a shot at it. What I never anticipated was that one day I would become a camp counselor. I don’t really like kids, I’m highly introverted, I hate bugs, and I am incredibly passive. Nothing about my personality matches what is needed to be a successful camp counselor. This experience got even more challenging when I was put with the youngest boys. It was like a living nightmare. Everything I never wanted and wasn’t prepared for whatsoever.

The ensuing adventure often felt like being thrown in at the deep end and only knowing how to doggy paddle. If that. Picking things up as I went and pushing myself to the limit every minute of every day. Currently I’m so sick and tired that I can barely get out of bed and my eyes are struggling to stay open. Being overwhelmed, stressed, and out of my depth became my constant state of being. I was not prepared to ever scream this much in my life. I was not prepared to interact with little boys. I was not prepared to go away for a week to a place where I knew no one. I was not prepared for temper tantrums and unbelievable stubbornness. I was not prepared for the lack of sleep, water, and food. I wasn’t prepared for any part of this experience.

That being said, I would not take one second of it back. The kids may have been a pain in the ass, but they could also be so sweet and fun. I loved playing with them, goofing around with them, and learning how to interact with them in tough times. I became so much more confident and assertive over the course of the week. I made friendships I never could have anticipated in a million years and, even if I never see any of these people ever again, they made for an incredible week. Shoutout to the unbelievable co-counselors in my cabin who were so supportive, understanding of my difficult situation (literally not getting my cabin until the day of), welcoming, friendly, and kind. Seriously. I would have been a goner without those two looking out for me and making sure I was okay. Also another shoutout to all the other counselors and adults who welcomed me with open arms and made sure I was holding up throughout the week.

Will I go back? Right now I can’t say. I’m currently recovering both physically and emotionally from all the stress. I’m already missing it in a weird way though. At least if I go back next year I’ll be more prepared. At the end of the day, once all of this finally has time to settle and I’m no longer sick and exhausted, I can see what lasting change has occurred. As of now, I truly feel like a new person. I took on a challenge that was so out of my pay grade it was ridiculous. And, with the help of some amazing people, I rose to the challenge and made it through the week in one piece. Whether I go back is irrelevant. I did it once and it made me so much stronger. I’ll never forget that or all of the people who made it happen. On top of it all, I made a small difference in these children’s lives. Maybe I even helped my co-counselor’s a bit. That’s far from nothing.

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