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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