It’s almost a week since I left camp (sob) and, even though it’s been VERY busy week, I’m not going to lie, I’m really missing my second home and everyone who is still there. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it is about camp that makes me feel so attached to it and that makes me miss it so much. I came up with a few things:
1. The place itself. There’s no denying it, camp is BEAUTIFUL. My camp is nestled in the Berkshire Mountains, surrounded by trees and sky and lakes. There were moments this summer that I would just have to stop what I was doing and look around me to really soak it all in.
2. The weather. Ok, fine, London has been pretty hot this week, but it’s just not the same kind of hot. And I’m currently looking out of the window at cloudy, grey skies with plenty of lovely rain everywhere. My Crandals tan is going to disappear as fast as it came (if you don’t know what Crandals are, it’s time to find out. Croc Sandals. Crandals. Get it?).
3. My friends. This is a biggie. And yes, a lot of my friends are also back in London with me, so that’s softening the blow a little, but there are some of my favourite people still at camp working the last few days of the Fall season (they’re all then going on an epic road trip together and I’m super jealous). A lot of the people I said goodbye to last week are all pretty brand new friends too – they’re mostly people that came to camp for the first time this summer, so I just don’t feel as if I’ve had them in my life for long enough. It’s very rare that you meet people you so immediately click with and love to pieces and just want to be around all the time – and unfortunately those new friends are the ones that don’t actually live in England, so it’s going to be a while until I see them again. You know who you are.
4. The food. And by this I don’t necessarily mean the actual specific camp food (although I do definitely have some favourite meals) – I mean the fact that you can just turn up at meal times and there it all is, ready and waiting for you to eat. Now I’m home, I have to cook for myself and think about what I want to eat before I even get hungry.
5. The routine. This is one of my favourite things about camp. I know how my day is laid out. I know when to get up, when I’m going to eat, and what I’m doing in the morning, afternoon and evening. So yes, while the specifics of what happens each day changes, the schedule and timings stay the same. My body is still on such a camp clock that I’m always hungry at 12:30 on the dot!
6. My job. I LOVE my job at camp. I get to go around camp, joining in with activities and taking photos all day long. I get to be creative and think up fun new marketing ideas and am then trusted to implement them. I get to film and edit awesome videos (just like this one) that exemplify what camp is all about. I get to view camp in so many different ways and see it from all angles, which just makes me love it even more.
7. Being active. I’m never more active than when I’m at camp. I have one of those step counter things and I pretty easily hit 20,000 steps each day, especially during the Spring and Fall seasons when I’m leading a group or working at the Climbing Tower. But even in the summer, just going around taking photos, or joining in with an epic Color War battle, or getting the chance to go wake surfing, or whatever else I might be doing on any given day, I’m 1000% more active at camp than I am at home. There’s no time to sit around at camp, and even if there was, there’s far too much going on to not want to just get up and join in!
8. The pace of life. While everything does run on a pretty tight and specific schedule at camp, the pace of life is generally little slower. That might sound a bit strange because, yes, camp is a hectic, crazy place, but it’s not the same sort of hectic as in ‘real’ life, living in a city. At camp, you don’t have to rush anywhere, you just have to be on time, and you live right there anyway, so nothing is very far away. It’s just a whole different lifestyle.
9. The camp bubble. Camp is a bubble. The same way that anywhere is a bubble while you live your life in that place. But while you’re at camp, you only have to think about camp. In fact, trying to think about anything outside of camp is quite difficult. Nothing else really matters while you’re there and, for me anyway, it’s the only place I’ve ever been where I feel totally content with life. Camp is my happy place, and that’s got a lot to do with the ability to just stay within that bubble. I’d stay there forever if I could – someone make a summer camp that runs all year round please?
10. The kids. There are kids at camp that I’ve known since my first summer back in 2011. Kids that are now on staff with me (or will be next year), kids that every year I go back, I get to see them grow and have new experiences, knowing that I am a part of that. There are kids who I am incredibly proud to say they were my first ever campers and they have grown into amazing young people. And every summer there are new kids too. Kids who have never been to camp before and are experiencing it all for the first time; experiencing the joy and freedom and independence they get from choosing their own activities, being responsible for themselves and learning to live with one another. Being with all of these kids every summer, as they make new friends and learn a little something more about themselves each time they come back to camp, well that’s what it’s all about.