Although I am only 14 years old, I can honestly say that some of the experiences I’ve had at summer camp I will remember for the rest of my life. Some of the things that I’ve had the opportunity to do at camp most people will never do in their entire lives. In my opinion, summer camp is one of the best experiences a child can, will, or could have.
There are so many children in the world who feel restricted by society; I know because I was one of them. Often times it feels as if there’s a certain character I’ve built for myself at school and at home, but when you go to summer camp, you can change an entire aspect of yourself if you want, because these people don’t know that about you. You can change what you don’t like about yourself, or you can be an entirely different and new person if you want.
For all the opportunities and character development, the real truth is that camp is just plain fun. I simply never stop smiling when I’m there — the only time when I can honestly say I’m not having fun is that horrible moment when I see my parents driving up to take me away from the most magical place on earth.
The summer camp I speak so fondly of is Camp Blue Ridge in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. In my opinion, it is probably the most beautiful place on the planet. I’m from central Indiana, and anytime I’m near mountains I’m completely in awe. People who live in regions with mountains don’t quite understand how majestic they are to those of us who live surrounded by corn and soy fields.
So, yes, my camp is beautiful to me, not simply because of the scenery, but because of the community. You go there and even if you don’t know a single person, you immediately feel as if you’re home — and that feeling only strengthens the more time you spend at camp. You are in a new environment and you learn new things — from your counselors and from your fellow campers. I’ve met so many new people in such a spectacular place; I’ve gone for five years and each year the experience has been different and better. You can arrive at camp with a lot of people who you already know and you all click right off the bat — great friends from the very beginning. Or you could arrive with absolutely no idea where you are or what you’ve gotten yourself into, thinking, Who are these people who are supposed to become my friends? For me, the adjustment has always been short and the community forms in just days.
I’ve aged out of base camp at Camp Blue Ridge. This past summer was my last. I wish I could keep going to that magical place, but you can’t be a child forever. So, when you finally do age out of camp or if for some reason you don’t go back, don’t forget your camp experience. Looking back, it may be one of the best things you did with your life as a child or teenager. Summer camp is an opportunity like no other, and I wish all children could experience the magic, the home, and the wonder that I have enjoyed during my time at CBR.