This year I am fifteen, and I chose to be both a camper and a counselor-in-training at Camp Ocean Pines. I have been going to camp for nine years, so I was a little worried about the transition, but it couldn’t have gone smoother. This is what it’s like.
When you’re a camper, you do everything. Crafts, target sports, off-site trips, the giant swing - you name it. You live in a cabin with other kids your age for an entire week, and you meet so many people you can hardly keep up. You’re outside way more than you ever are at home, and you learn about old man’s beard and pet goats and rabbits. You eat crazy good food and have fourths of the French toast, and make cinnamon rolls in Baking 101. You play the funniest games and get dirty at Double Dare, and do it all again. You have the time of your life and never look back, you connect, explore, and grow, and as soon as you get home you want to go back. Being a camper is an incredible experience, and I will always remember those good times.
When you’re a CIT, you don’t choose your activities. You’re always helping out the counselors, have a different and stronger relationship with them, and you learn even more names and talk to everyone all the time. You’re still outside a lot, but sometimes you’re doing paperwork - or else you’re going a mile a minute with the campers, and answering the insightful questions only kids seem to ask. You also eat crazy good food, and you serve it too, and sometimes you lead fun games and you definitely get dirty when the moment calls for it. You connect, grow, and explore, but in a different way. You are on the other side of the best camp ever, learning how it works, and feeling good because you are giving back.
Through being a CIT, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned that I like taking showers in the morning, and that I love serving meals, and that the counselors work so hard to give everyone a good time. If you have the chance, take the jump - it’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made. It’s been fun for me partly because I’ve seen the extroverted side of myself really flower, and that’s something I don’t always see at home. I’m pushing myself to be a role model, and that’s when people truly grow. Every day I’m explaining things to the girls in my cabin, and I find myself examining the world through a whole new lens.
I’ve learned that camp is my second home, no matter how old I am. If you love this camp, keep doing it. Come back as a CIT, and a JC, and maybe even a counselor one day. Thank you, Camp Ocean Pines - you will always be in my heart.