My First Year at my Second Home

By October 26, 2016 Firecircle, General, OQC

Emmaline Tolley

I started my first year of camp in the summer of 2016. I was in unit three. The first time we drove up the hill, I remember hearing the sound of ukuleles and singing voices immediately. At first I was utterly confused. I gazed around so stumped on trying to remember how to get to places. Little did I know that in just a few days, I would know this place by heart and never forget it.
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First I went to the cabin that the counselors led me to. The moment I saw all of the new faces, I felt a rush of excitement run through me. I felt like I could make friends already. After that, I explored around camp a little bit. At first I thought the dining pavilion was the art pavilion. I made a couple more mistakes like that until I finally got to know camp.

My favorite place was the art pavilion. I loved creating whatever I wanted and expressing my style of art. I also got to explore with new materials and tools I had never used before. I spent almost all of my free time there, sometimes I even wrote my letters to home there.

Writing letters was also one of my favorite parts of camp. At first when I found out there were no electronics, I thought it was going to be rough, but I had so much fun at camp, that it drowned out any thought of electronics. This is what made me realize how fun writing and receiving letters were. When I would hear my name in mail call, getting, opening, and reading a letter was very satisfying.

One thing I found most surprising about camp was that I wanted to stay longer. At first, before I came to camp, I thought for sure that two weeks was long enough. Especially for my first ever sleep-away camp. Halfway through those two weeks though, I realized I wanted to stay even longer. I decided to stay for a third week. I loved this camp.

One of my best memories was the Camp Intensive (CI). During the CI I got to do something I had never done before: Canoe. I capsized twice. When I capsized I bonded for the first time with what will now be a life long friend. She was the closest friend I made there and we write each other back and forth all of the time. I also got to hike with my awesome camping backpack during the CI.

Camp got me to appreciate the little things and taught me about the importance of simplicity. It taught me that quiet is okay. But one thing I loved about camp is that you can be you! I loved that everyone was singing all of the time! Especially during chores which, believe it or not, was one of my favorite parts of the day. Everyone sang together and I learned so many new songs and made great memories not just doing chores, but everywhere else. No one was afraid to show their true colors for they knew that whoever they were, they could be accepted. Which is why I now consider camp my second home.

Next year at camp, I am going to stay a month. It was one of the best times of my life and I got to be so free. I learned so many different Quaker ways and every morning got to worship in silence. When I get older, I am going to become a counselor. I loved bringing back some Quaker practices back with me. I loved my camp experience and will never forget it.