When I think of camp, I think of joy, laughter and a vacation away from life. Joy is what I feel every time I go to camp, seeing old friends and making new ones are some of the best things about camp. Some of the activities are making up skits to perform at the opening and closing campfires, making crafts like the infamous “gopher’s eye” or “monkey’s fists” gives me a sense of belonging and friendship. But most of all, it is the Interacting with people who have had similar experiences always warms my heart knowing that I am not alone.
What I mean by vacation from life is a chance to leave the city of LA, get away to the quiet of the mountains of Idyllwild and be in nature with amazing people. It gives me time to be happy for where I am and who I am, not to think about the bad things that have happened in my life, like cancer. It’s almost like camp is a bubble that surrounds us and at the same time shields us from the world. Camp is my warm blanket on a cold night. We get to escape for a short while but even that short amount of time can alter your life forever.
Laughter is a great way to pick you up when you are down. During this lockdown period, it is really easy to get lost in your own thoughts and feel shut out from the world. Now especially to have camp, even though it was virtual, to hear that laughter and happiness is a big part of camp. It is crucial for us to have everyone get together, even though a screen, to let dark spirits out. I myself have taken laughter for granted and I do not think I’m alone in saying so. The power of Camp is real, it is a community, a place to feel heard, to feel special. It is a place to learn about yourself and others, a place to explore, to be yourself or reinvent yourself at the same time. It is a place to be adventurous and try new things but feel comfort in old friends and places that are familiar.
Camp is my safe space.