Non-Fiction: The 5 Things You'll Learn From Summer Camp

Friday, May 23, 2014


The 5 Things You’ll Learn From Summer Camp
The lessons learned from my summer as a camp counselor.

1. Parenting is really hard…and rewarding.
Parenting is a full time job. You’ll fight boo-boos with bandaids, rescue turtles from fishhooks, chase monsters from nightmares, and replace tears with laughter. You’ll be the last to sleep and the first to wake, and you’ll spend many meals filling every plate and tummy but your own. You’ll get frustrated. You’ll retrieve underwear from ceiling fans. And just when you think you’ve had enough, that you can’t possibly make it through another day, those little arms will squeeze you tight. You’ll start to believe how “you’re the coolest person ever in the whole wide world!” You’ll lose track of how many times “super” and “amazing” are used to describe you. And through all the hard work, sacrifice, and little moments that mean the world, you’ll discover the meaning of life and love.

2. Real is always better than fake.
You’ll spend a lot of time in nature. It will be hot, and you’ll sweat more than you ever thought possible. You’ll start to smell, and no amount of Febreeze, deodorant, or body mist will be able to hide it. You’ll live with strangers, and they’ll see more of you in one week than your closest loved ones will see in a lifetime…and vice versa. You won’t be able to hide anything. Your whole, real self will be completely out in the open. And you’ll still be loved. Really loved. You’ll discover that real feels better whether it’s real love, the real you, or the real world. You’ll find that you don’t need anything fake to survive, and you’ll be free.

3. People will talk about you.
People will have opinions, and some of them will be about you. Sometimes, people will share their opinion of you with others. You can’t stop people from having an opinion of you nor can you stop them from sharing it. You may not agree with the opinion, and you may be hurt by it. You’ll probably have to remind yourself that the opinion is not you. You’ll learn that people will talk about you and everyone else, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen.

4. Time, as we know it, is a lie.
Time cannot be measured by clocks or calendars. Time is the connection of two strangers. It’s the conversation without words, and the understanding held in a glance. Time is the essence, the feeling, the energy that fills quiet spaces as well as the loud. It might be a day, an hour, a month, or a second, but no matter how you define it, time can always be felt.

5. True friends tell all.

From broken hearts and broken promises, to morning poops and morning coffee, true friends can talk about anything. You’ll be able to share things you’ve never been able to speak about with anyone, and you’ll never be judged for it. You’ll know you can count on your true friends to be there for anything. When times get tough, you’ll have a shoulder to cry on…and also to lean on. When everything’s great, you’ll be able to share the joy. Your true friends won’t always be the people you’ve known the longest, or the ones who live the closest. True friendship will be measured by the conversations both spoken and felt, and the power of true, unconditional acceptance and love.

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