Our Everly Mag Writing Leaders were asked to write about a place they’ve visited that changed their life in some way. It can be a place they’ve visited on a vacation, summer camp, school trip, family reunion, or anything else.
This article was written by our writing leader Eunseo. Get to know our Summer 2018 Leaders here!
Every summer, I fly down to Northern California to attend a camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains for a week. The atmosphere is so pretty and calming. There’s a huge pool, a hanging bridge over a waterfall, and a pond perfect for swimming in. But the reason I love it is more than just the gorgeous outdoors, it’s the people and the support it has.
I discovered this camp two years ago when one of my friends invited me to come with her. I was nervous before visiting, as I knew absolutely no one besides the friend that invited me. The whole time on the flight, I was worrying to myself. What if no one likes me? What if I do something stupid and embarrass myself?
Stepping off the plane into the dry California air felt like a true departure from the cloudy skies and rain where I live. It kind of reminded me that this was something new for me. But the moment I stepped into the camp, everything changed. When I got out of the bus, there was a bridge of arms cheering for everyone and yelling kind words.
Most of the people attending the camp are from Southern California, but last year, I met people from Utah, Hawaii, and Nevada. As I checked in, they took my phone from me and turned it off, promising me they’d return it at the end of the week. I felt more exposed. Like most teenagers, I hadn’t gone more than a day without my phone, and now this meant I couldn’t talk to any of my friends back home, I would have to make new friends, something that was scary for me.
During dinner, I got to know all the girls that would become my best friends. Two of the girls that stood out the most to me were named Cass and Jessica, and to this day, I still talk to them. Everyone was so nice, and genuinely looked so happy to be there. It was crazy how nice everyone was.
My favorite part of every single day was waking up at 8AM to read books and drink tea outside with my cabin mates. It was the one peaceful time in our day that we had before our busy schedule, and it was refreshing to just sit and contemplate about life.
Another tradition that we’ve carried with us every year is the “Friday Night Talk”. Because we all go our separate ways on Saturday, we reveal our camp crush. It’s a sad last night of bonding before we go home. It provides some laughter too, as sometimes we text each other when we get home with updates about their crush. All of the girls in a cabin always bond, no matter how different we all are. We come from five different states, different friend groups, and different ways of living life. We tell each other our deepest secrets and share our pain, and we truly get to understand and love each other. Throughout the week, we all had so much fun together. From jumping off the diving board to making bracelets and calligraphy art, I grew as a person with them.
Being surrounded by positive people is a refreshing change from school, which can be extremely draining and toxic. Everyone is happy to be there, and it shows in their smiles and the way they treat others. Being in that type of environment makes me want to be a better person in everyday life, and take that camp feeling home.
Every year when it’s time to go home, I take a mental snapshot of the environment, so I can keep it with me for the months when I can’t be here. The moment I get my phone back, I start a countdown for the camp of next year.
I leave in exactly four weeks from June 3rd, and words cannot describe how excited I am. I think that only being able to spend a week out of each year there makes the place more special to me, versus going there every day. I learned how to treasure the small things in life, from the amazing food and views to the fun games and singing sessions, I’ve fallen in love with this camp and how it has changed my life for the better.
Have you ever had a great camp experience? Comment below!
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