Happiness. When we hear this word, many thoughts may go through our minds. Different things make us happy. It can be something like a spoonful of almond butter or a hug from your grandfather- point is, many things make us happy. I’ve come to realize what makes me the most happy, and here I am to share it with you.
What is this thing? Camp. I’ve always been the kid that goes to camp; from the time I was little my mother would sign me up for day camp as a way to get a break from me. As I got older, I started attending sleep away camp, and was instantly hooked. It took about two years, but I finally found the perfect place for me. When I was ten years old, I went to a camp on Catalina Island, extremely skeptical of it. I left there with a sense of happiness and confidence- something I struggled with at that age. I knew I had to go back.
I recently returned from this camp and it was my sixth year. SIX YEARS. In six years, I’ve turned sixteen, cried a lot, laughed a lot, traveled to China and France, and even started driving! So much changed in six years, but one thing that didn’t was camp. I adore this place. Since it’s on an island, you’re on the beach 24/7, except it’s a rock beach, so it is extremely different from Southern California beaches.
The camp offers so many different activities. I love going paddle boarding and tubing, but honestly, everything I do is fun. As a CIT (counselor in training), I get to go night snorkeling, which is always one of the highlights of my trip. We go around ten at night and see so many incredible animals including sting rays, sharks, and lobsters! Even tanning on the beach in the baking afternoon sun (SUNSCREEN KIDS!!!) with your friends while enjoying a nice fruit popsicle as a treat is fun. I’m never board at camp, and that’s what makes it so special.
One of the most rewarding things about this camp is the campers itself. I am currently a CIT, and once I turn eighteen, will hopefully become a counselor. As a CIT, I get to connect with my campers on a whole other level- especially this year. My counselor I was helping came down with a terrible stomach flu, so I ended up being their “counselor” for a few days. The girls and I became so close, and I will never forget them.
PSA- The boat was about 90 F and EXTREMELY humid. Please ignore my tomato face 😉
This camp brings out my true self, and one way it does that is through the rag program. Since this camp is run by the YMCA, it comes with the rag program, which is a program that is all about rewarding yourself for your goals. If you’re interested in the program, you can look it up, but I am a firm believer in it. The program is not for everyone since there is a religious aspect to it, but that doesn’t matter. I’m currently a gold ragger, which is a huge deal for me. My gold rag goal is very important to me, so I will be staying a gold ragger until I achieve that goal. I can honestly say that through the rag program I have found my true self.
This photo above was taken during a sunrise hike to Bible’s Peak. Pure happiness.
Camp friends are truly the best friends- that is a fact. I am EXTREMELY close with my camp friends, even if we only see each other once a year. I am so different at camp than I am at home, and even though I adore my friends at home, having a different group of people to call your best friends is a great feeling. I believe that everyone should experience the feeling of a camp best friend, like I have.
Those are just a few of my camp friends. I’m extremely close with everyone, and they all hold a dear place in my heart.
So- why am I writing this? It’s not to tell you that you must attend camp. It’s not to brag about being a CIT. It’s to tell you what brings me true happiness. Camp is that. I’ve been attending the camp for six years, and will be going for many many years to come. My camp is my home, and that will never change.
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