My 2016 Summer Vacation Pt.2

The last time I wrote a summer related blog post I was talking about my very first weeks of this summer vacation. I wrote about how everything had been moving slowly and how I was sleeping more than going outside and doing actual things and talking to more people. I drank large consumptions of coffee and did things that interested me as the summer vacation slowly progressed. I took a substantial amount of photos to improve my photography skills and volunteered at the Cos Cob Summer School to work with little kids and help them improve with the things that they were struggling with.

At that time Summer felt endless. The days moved slowly and lasted longly as if summer was never to end. At that time I felt both happiness and sadness. Happiness because I knew that this summer would be something great and the longer that it lasted the more time I have to create new experiences and to onto different adventures. But sadness because at that time, I wasn’t doing as much as I’d hoped. I wasn’t hanging out with many of my friends because they were gone traveling. I wasn’t filled with busy schedules and waking up earlier than eleven in the morning to do things. At that time summer had been slow and also felt slow.

Just yesterday, I waited for my parents outside of the Alpine’s and stood along the people that I had met at a place that I can call my home, Camp Hazen, I felt completely different as I did earlier on this summer. Standing around the people I had met for the first time and got to know for three weeks, we all stood waiting for our parents to pick us up. It had been 6:30 pm and the three weeks that we had spent together had felt like the longest three weeks in my life yet also the shortest. The girls in my Alpine, Alpine 1, Alison, Kira, Hannah, and Lia, we didn’t know each other before camp. But as we got to know each other more and more and bonded and connected, as the last day arrived we felt as if we had lost each other. Tears had fallen and everyone hugged simply standing together like a family of birds flying together in the sky. All twenty of us, we were inseparable.

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As Lea’s (which means that we were basically CIT’s and doing a leadership program), we had been through seminars. We learned about different ways to cope with kids who were missing home or were being bullied and how to handle things like that if we were ever to see it happening. We learned about strife-guarding and making sure that every kid we see is safe and happy and having fun. As a LEA, I had the opportunity to talk to more kids, do Cabin Nights with them and evening activities with them. With Cabin 6 I remember the first week I did Senior Citizen Night with the eight and nine-year-olds. We dressed up as old people and walked around with sticks telling everyone else around to “get off our lawns” or to “stop playing the pop music”.  As a LEA, y0u get to get to know all the different kids ranging from the ages of 8 through 15. I got to talk to kids in groups, play games with them, talk to some individually. I never knew how much kids loved to draw until they started drawing their favorite band names on my legs or signing their names on my legs telling me that it could help me remember them. As a LEA, I got to experience working in Day Camp which I love with all of my heart. Day camp has a different feeling to it and all the kids are enthusiastic, energetic, kind, polite. They all say things that make you wish you were a little kid again and tell you that you’re there best friend. Day Camp had been one of my favorite program times that I had assisted in although I loved everything else as well.

I worked/assisted in CA (Creative Arts), Land Sports, OP (Outdoor Pursuits), and Water Sports where I helped kids with their swimming lessons. During Day Camp, when I was with the group called ‘The Turtles’ which was a group of kids going into second or third grade, they had a schedule that looked like this:

  1. Shelter Building

2. Lunch

3. Water Mat

4. Swimming Lessons

When they had Water Mat one girl named Kailey was so scared and didn’t know how to swim so as she was terrified of the water and still scared that she wouldn’t float even with a life-jacket on, she held onto me and held my hands. As we both got onto the water mat, she told me that if I fell in she would fall too because we were best friends. At times like this, I cherished every moment I had at camp.

Not only did I have such a great time with the campers and getting to know every camper from every cabin, I got to bond with the other 20 LEA’s who were all the same age as me. As we bonded and got to know each other we connected in a way that you can’t connect with people back at home or at school. Nobody judges nobody and we were all weird and different in our own ways but we connected and became closer with one another beyond our differences. We experienced different adventures together like the Values Journey where we were all driven to the woods to walk a new path and think about our Values and the things we live for and love. We challenged ourselves to sleep outdoors one night by ourselves. We talked to nobody around us. We were simply left to think about the moments we’ve created and our thoughts that were swarming in our minds. We were left to write it all down on paper to share the following day. In the morning I woke at 6 a.m with tired eyes and a shining sun in my face. My gift to the group was a letter, 11 pages, I always write more than I have to, take back to my English and History Essays. But in my letter I wrote about each and every person, I wrote about all of the 20 LEA’s and mentioned all the things I admired about them. Each and every one of us had to make a gift to the group and share it the next day. It could’ve been a letter, poem, story, picture, anything that you wanted to. Lindsay, one of the LEA’s I got to know drew a picture. It was a sketch of a picture she took on her camera as all of the girls were walking up to their sleeping spots. Here’s what it looks like:

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Overall, I can simply say that my summer has been incredible. Simply getting to know everyone, and working with kids from all different ages was amazing. Being drawn in that photo (on the left), creating memories with the other LEA’s, helping a little girl swim and have fun in the water, and just being at the place I love, Camp Hazen.

I miss it every day, and I’ve only been home for three days. I guess that’s the thing about camp, the spirit of Camp always stays within you.

 

 

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Station Eleven ~ Emily St. John Mandel

“- not only to bring the light, to spread the light, but to be the light. We were saved because we are the light. We are the pure (60.)”

As a student who has a strong passion for reading, I usually come across many many books. There are some that I may adore, while others, I may question. While reading Station Eleven by; Emily St. John Mandel, I was introduced to an apocalyptic story where “survival is insufficient”. In Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic story she created a new world that took all of the things we cherished and taken for granted. Within this new world, she constructed new friendships and relationships with different characters while damaging and destroying the connections that they had made along the way. Mandel wrote a story that connected the modern world to her world and connected how us humans feel, think, and try to survive in our everyday lives. Even if we’re not sick with a Georgian Flu, endurance can be difficult at times and we all know it.

I remember in one classic dystopian novel that I read this year in English, Fahrenheit 451 by; Ray Bradbury the main character had struggled with many things to simply try and stay alive, or to at least ‘feel alive’. The main character Montag simply had wanted to preserve the banned books and to keep the things that had meant something to him to continue in existence. In connection to Station Eleven, one significant character, Clark had done something similar. To preserve the past and the world that he had once lived in and had taken part in, Clark had created the; Museum of Civilization’. Which was located in the abandoned SkyMiles Lounge in a part of the airport that he had currently been living at. As I as a reader, noticed these similarities between the two novels, I began to notice the similarities between the characters and myself.

As we go about our lives trying to find our reason to this world, trying to find our calling. Each and every one of us is finding different adventures and experiencing different perspectives. We are thinking about new things and even if we don’t realize it, trying to find different ways to survive in this world. Each of us wants to gain something from the world. Some of us may want to be loved, while others may want to be appreciated. We all want to feel a certain way, to be treated a certain way and sometimes we may feel like we won’t survive until we’ve gotten these things in return. Sometimes I feel like I won’t survive in this world. I won’t be able to face what will soon come to me in the future. I always seem to over think about my ‘reason’ for this world and what I will grow up to do. I hope to do my best and to make people question and think about my writing just like I do to Mandel’s because “first we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered (187.)” And as a writer, I would love to become noticed, but what’s most important to me is to become remembered and for people to actually like and listen to my voice in my writing.

I want to be remembered like how the Traveling Symphony remembered how to go back to look for each other when one went lost or missing. Even so, the Symphony struggled with survival. The Symphony was insufferable, picked at each other like siblings but instead of fighting over who would eat the last cookie, the Symphony fought over who had used the last of the rosin, or whoever missed the most rehearsals. But no matter how hard it was for the Traveling Symphony, no matter how many steps they had to take to reach their new destinations, or how many steps they had to reach for a place with actual civilization, the Symphony was their only home and they only had each other. They were connected by their love for performing and for playing music and for acting. They were so close that in a heartbeat, they would do anything to make sure that they were okay and that they were surviving together.

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Credit: http://baleineau.deviantart.com/art/Survival-Is-Insufficient-550897401

Like the Traveling Symphony I have my own ‘home’. Yes, a home that I live in and that I have clothing, food, shelter and water and all the basic things that I need for survival yet there are other things that we all wake up to in the morning for, there are things that motivate us to do the things that we dream of and to accomplish the goals that we create for ourselves. To some of us, it can be a goal that motivates us, others it can be a person. Like the Traveling Symphony my home is my family. My home is my Mom who asks way too many questions and always makes sure to see if I am okay but that’s her way of being a ‘Mom’. She’s always there for me, even on my not so good days. My home is my Dad who drives way too fast and doesn’t understand why I like taco bell so much but he and I have a great connection, and that is we both reach for what we want and do what makes us happy. My home is my little sister who knows how to do flips that I don’t even know the names for and talks about going to the Olympics for gymnastics when she’s older. And even though my sister and I are six years apart she is my best friend.

So even if life gets hard and ‘survival becomes insufficient’, you’ll always be able to find the light at the end of the tunnel. I mean Kirsten did. As she looked through the telescope she saw, “pinpricks of light that arranged into a grid. There plainly visible on the side of a hill some miles distant: a town, or a village, whose streets were lit up with electricity.” Sometimes all we have to do to see the light is to have hope; because hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.