Posts Tagged ‘childhood

Well, we’ve reached the dog days of summer, and with that comes memories of summers past. This is a different kind of summer, as I’m somewhere between college and the elusive “real world”. Still, as I try to become a “real person”, whatever that is, I have to give thanks to the life lessons that summer camp taught me.

Patience and resilience. I remember the whirlwind of the first few days there – learning all the names, finding my way around, figuring out who my friends were. Now, as someone who’s finished college, study-abroad, internships, and whatever comes next, I understand that past every overwhelming first day lies a great experience.

Empathy.  At different times, I have been the homesick bunk member, and the one who befriended that person.  These encounters that seemed so small at the time actually taught me that kindness and understanding are the root of every meaningful friendship.

The joy of writing. When most people had to be reminded to write letters every few days, I probably spent the most time on mine, carefully crafting them with so many details. That’s probably how I came to understand that writing is my greatest way of processing life.

Adventure, and the fact that separation from your parents is a normal, healthy, and NECESSARY stage of development. No one pushed me to go – I decided when I was ready, and went that summer. Now I better understand how temporarily leaving the nest helped me come home a more confident and empowered kid, ready for each new stage of life, and I hope it reaffirmed to my parents as well that they were raising a resilient human being with a thirst for adventure.

Spontaneity. Thank you, counselors, for the surprise pontoon rides and ice cream sundae-making parties, among many things, that showed us that the best adventures are often the unexpected ones.

Stepping outside your comfort zone. At camp, I was an awkward kid who chose the Drama elective just for the fun of it, and – surprise! – gained some confidence from making a fool of myself in public with silly stories and tongue-twisters like “Red leather, yellow leather.” I learned not to take life too seriously.

And then there were the camp songs and Jewish folk songs that will probably never leave me, and how much this has shaped my Judaism today is a topic for a whole other post.  But for now, this is what I carry with me. Thank you again, OSRUI.