Most people in my life are surprised when they find out I’m a camp girl. Something about my biweekly manicures and aversion to anyone wearing shoes inside the house. Regardless, every summer since I was 8 years old, my mom & I took the three hour drive up north where she would drop me off in the middle of the woods. At the time, I had no idea how much these getaways were going to alter my life.
I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t gone to, and subsequently, worked at camp for a total of 14 summers. From being young & homesick, to being an insecure middle schooler, to being an obnoxious teenager, camp saw every part of me. Being surrounded by such strong and inspirational women set me on a path of leadership, determination, and independence by which my life is now marked.
Over the years, there were the typical camp activities: I learned to sail, conquered a rock wall, and shot my fair share of bullseyes on the archery range. But in addition to all that, I accumulated a lot of life lessons that have carried me through the beginnings of adulthood. Here, you can have my musings without even having to put on bug spray!
- Waking up early seems impossible, but is actually amazing.
- You get some alone time, get to mentally prepare for the day, & get grounded before the chaos ensues.
- Having a grown up job, waking up even just 30 minutes early has made all the difference in my outlook. Rushing makes me grumpy!
- Lack of sleep happens, find your balance.
- Figure out if you’re a napper or a compulsive coffee drinker. [Some of us are both.]
- Hurt is inevitable – whether it’s a bruise from a kayak or a miscommunication with your peers.
- There’s no such thing as too much open communication.
- You’re never alone.
- Not in the creepy sense, but there were so many people at camp, ensuring someone was around to help out.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out & ask, most people probably don’t realize you need an extra hand.
- You’ll have to get dirty.
- At camp it was building a lot of fires, killing bugs, and swimming in a lake where the color isn’t as crystal clear as the postcards make it seem.
- In life, it’s having hard conversations, making phone calls, and cleaning the bathroom regularly.
- Pack lightly.
- Sweatshirts, extra shoes, burdens and grudges need not apply.
- There’s no room for embarrassment.
- Singing a camp song at the top of my lungs in the middle of the dining hall is a pure kind of joy that I’ve never experienced anywhere else.
- It’s amazing how the outlook changes when you realize most of the people around you are too preoccupied with their own lives to care that you just tripped or misspoke.
- Amazing things happen when you start talking.
- Being in a cabin with 7 girls I didn’t know got me nervous every summer but we ended up being inseparable by the end of each week. Someone has to take the first step.
- When I started my first job, I was shy and kept to myself for weeks before I realized that this was going to be a huge part of my social life, better start chatting! Especially if I’m going to need these guys to have my back.
I highly recommend thinking about some of the best advice you’ve gotten. Pinpoint where it came from. Make note of it, maybe even thank the person it came from. Then, pass it on. Do your part.
PS I make a killer s’more. Hit me up for that anytime.