Since the first day I started camp at URJ Crane Lake in the Berkshires in the summer of 2009, it has become my home away from home. Here are just five of the ways camp has had a positive effect on my life.
1. The People. From the very start of camp until the last day when everyone is saying their goodbyes, the counselors, campers, senior staff, and specialists are like one, big, three hundred person family. At camp no one cares if you are a jock, a nerd, a hippie, or a tomboy. They accept you for you and by the end of the summer I know I will have made at least one new friend, and usually more.
2. The Peace And Quiet. On my very first night of camp three summer ago, I could not fall asleep. Finally, after half an hour, I realized what was keeping me up, the quiet. Growing up in New York City, I am use to noise. So after nine years of falling asleep to noise, when I actually had some peace and quiet, I could not do it. I tiptoed down the ladder of the bunk bed, asked my friend (who was up reading) if I could borrow her iPod and climbed back up. After five minutes of listening to Lady Gaga, I was able to shut my eyes and drift off to dream land. Ever since that night, however, when I’m at camp I sleep like a dog, and peace and quiet are my music.
3. The Traditions. At camp, every day is full of silly and wacky traditions that are unique to camp and would not happen during an average day at home. Imagine 350 kids singing a five-minute long birthday song, or a bunk where every kid is dressed up in the wackiest clothes they own for a day! And then of course there’s color war. At my camp, the entire Crane Lake family is split into two teams (blue and white) for several days of competition. When its over, the camp is re-united and kids start counting down the days until they get to do it again next summer.
4. Being Away From Home. Often when I am asked about camp, the first question is, “What was it like being away from your family for so long?” I admit, the idea of being away from your parents, siblings, and friends can be a scary concept. However, once you get settled into your bunk and start to become close with your fellow bunk mates, all the worries about being homesick usually go away. Also, the experience of being away from my family for a long time helps me to appreciate them more.
5. Everything. I know it may sound corny but, everything at camp has changed my life. From the people to the traditions, from the quiet to just being away. At camp, I have become more mature, made new friends, and had the experience of a lifetime. That’s why I’m as excited as I am about summer ahead.