Summer’s a great time of year. There’s no school, there’s a vacation or three, and there’s my birthday (July 26th if anyone wants to give me presents). But by far my favorite summer activity is camp. I started off doing Vacation Bible School, then I moved on to water sports camp, then I moved on to Robin Hood Camp (every bit as amazing as it sounds, camperbutts), and I’ve been going to church camp for quite a while now (with a small break last year for lawyer camp). Being a current senior, this summer will be my last, and I plan on making it the best five days of my life. Here's how:
1. Sports, Sports, Sports, I can’t get enough of SPORTS! Camperbutts, you may have seen my first published article. They are actually my life, and I can safely say that most of my fun comes from playing sports. The sense of competition is killer, and there’s no greater way to bond with bunkmates than playing a sport together.
“But Lizz,” you may be saying, “I am, how you say, athletically challenged.” To which I say, “I have asthma and flat feet. All walls can be overcome.” People at camp generally don’t care about your ability, unless you're at a super-competitive sports camp. If you’re really insecure, you can usually find some way to help out without being athletic.
2. You should totally make friends or something! Let’s face it; summer camp is a magical time. It’s like its own little world. Camp is the most fun when you have a great number of buddies. When you don’t have a lot of allies, it can be a little lame. Be open. The rules of the real world don’t apply. Gone is awkward small talk. Just jump straight into being open and having hardcore bonding over the awesome way that you teamed up to steal the flag.
3. Embrace it, don’t be abrasive. If you look carefully, summer camp is ridiculously cheesy. Have you heard the songs that we sing around the campfire? They’re ridiculous. But now is not the time to charm everyone with your cutting wit and jaded worldliness. That’s fine for the hipster at Starbucks, but get that garbage out of summer camp. Summer camp is supposed to be ridiculous. That’s its charm. Running around like a freak is acceptable and everything is a party. So when you feel your inner thoughtful person come out, shove a goofy hat on your head and say, “Ridiculous? THIS! IS! CAAAAMP!”
4. You all knew this was coming: CAMP ROMANCES. I can safely say from experience that camp romances are awesome if done correctly. However, do not let camp romance be your sole reason for coming to camp, or the only thing you do. I cannot stress that enough. It’s good if you two attend all of your activities together and reenact the pottery scene from Ghost during arts and crafts. It’s bad if you two ditch arts and crafts to reenact the rest of the pottery scene, if you know what I mean. So think of camp romances as a perk. They’re extra fun, but they shouldn’t subtract from the fundamental camp experience.
5. Step 3 revisited: leave the world behind. And I don’t just mean your attitude, I mean everything in general. In the words of a wise bear, “Forget about your worries and your strife." Honestly, that sums it up. Forget about how much you’re in love with Stefan Abingdon and how upset you are that TMB never tours in the States (I’ve since moved on from Schroeder). Forget about that guy or girl in your math class. Forget about how you always argue with your sister. Forget about all of the homework you have due at the end of the summer. Because guess what? None of that is relevant. Leave everything behind except for who you are, because going to camp with sufficient baggage (I also mean that literally: do not overpack!) will only weigh you down.
6. It’s okay to be homesick. I cried throughout science camp because I was homesick (and dehydrated, but that’s another story). I cried throughout the week in my first year of church camp. And yet, camp still has some of my happiest memories, and I still look forward to it every year. It’s naturally more fun now that I’ve outgrown the whole homesickness thing, but I wouldn’t have gotten over it if I hadn’t kept going to camp in spite of my homesickness. What I started doing is a several-step process. First, I would make sure I talked to my family a lot beforehand so that I was sick of them by the time camp started. If it was the sort of camp where only letters were permitted, we agreed to write frequently, and if it was the sort of camp where cell phones were permitted, we agreed on certain telephone call times. I also gave myself allotted grieving time. I would give myself the bus ride up to be a downer, but by the time I got to camp I had to be in party mode. If I was still upset, I agreed with myself that I could be homesick at night. Doing this allowed me to fully appreciate the camp activities and not weigh them down with homesickness.
Remember to take these tips with a grain of salt. They helped me, but ultimately only you can make camp a great experience for yourself. Now go slap on that calamine lotion and make me proud!
How do you make summer camp awesome?
Post by LuckyCharmsLizz!