Great Experience. By Counselor in Training: Maui

2017 was my last year of being a camper and my first year of taking up the responsibilities of a CIT(Counselor In Training). But this blog isn’t about my time as a CIT; it’s about the main reason I keep coming back to camp, other than the great time, the counselors, the food, and the activities. The main reason I come back to camp is to see my best friends, Jellyfish (Elena), Malicai, and Linda. Malicai and Linda aged out and weren’t able to join us this year, which saddened me and Jellyfish. We still had a great time at camp, though. I met and made friends with this group 5 years ago during arts and crafts. We were making salt crystal designs. Malicai was right next to me so we started talking. During that same activity, I met Linda and Jellyfish. We became quick friends and it’s lasted ever since.

They truly exemplified the meaning of camp: they accepted who I was and didn’t judge me, they were friendly to everyone, and they had a deep love for Camp Ocean Pines, which I shared with them. We were always lively whenever the camp did skits, songs, and meal games, never standing down to a challenge. Lots of campers, including me, looked up to the people in this group for who they were and for what they did, especially their way of connecting with others.

Although the absence of Malicai and Linda was sad, it allowed Jellyfish and me to connect more closely and experience camp in a new light. For example, while Malicai and Linda were at camp I didn’t really reach out and make all that many other friends. But this year I made very close connections with tons of campers of all ages and we even grew the group by a few people. The younger ones really looked up to us because we embodied what camp means. They also respected us because we were some of the longest staying campers that week, second only to Pop Nature (Chris) and Doc (Scott). I have racked up 8 years at camp while Jellyfish has 5 years. 

The other reasons I have kept returning to camp year after year are pretty simple. The first of these is that camp is practically my home. I know the layout of the place so well I could give tours of it blindfolded while walking backwards. Second, I continue to return because of the spirit of camp, which is to have fun and be happy! My fondest memories are from when the entire camp gathers at the campfire and we sing songs and do skits and all together have a crazy and wild time. Third and lastly, I return because of the amazing campers and equally amazing staff. This summer, one of the youngest campers was feeling homesick and sad. His counselor, Poky (Josh), took him outside and away from the other campers to talk with him and ask how he was doing. He helped him feel happier and got him through his rough time. Without the amazing campers and staff, camp wouldn’t be the Camp Ocean Pines I’ve grown to love and adore over these life-changing 8 years.