The first time I went to Camp Ocean Pines, I was ten years old. I was small, energetic, and beyond excited for a week of silly songs, campfires, scraped knees, and friendship bracelets. Now, I’m eighteen, finishing my first year of college, and looking forward to coming to camp again-- this time as a counselor.
Each time I’ve returned to camp, I’ve left a different person. My camp experience didn’t end when I left Cambria and returned home each summer, sweaty and asleep on the car ride. No, it seeped into my daily life-- the confidence I gained, the love of nature, the experience of singing aloud at a campfire, these thoughts informed my growth and self-development year-round. I came home happy and invigorated, ready to take on the world in the form of plays, talent shows, and storytelling.
As I grew, I continued to enjoy my summers returning to Camp Ocean Pines, watching the camp grow as I did. There was a strange and exciting feeling of responsibility that came with being an older camper, and helping younger kids to enjoy their new experiences at camp became a new type of magic. Seeing the smile of a camper at her first campfire made me feel better about the things I was about to take on, with high school, adolescence, and an encroaching future.
Working as a counselor in training, junior counselor, and intern counselor at Camp Ocean Pines helped me to grow in other ways. I began to see how much hard work goes into creating the camp experience. I learned about selflessness and leadership and responsibility, I learned that if I could find the determination to keep a group of girls excited and ready for the day, I could keep myself motivated in my own life. If I could help campers to resolve a cabin argument, I could use these same skills to resolve my own problems, and do so maturely.
I now have different stresses about the future; I’m a first-year acting student, I’m attending a college in a new state, and it seems like everything in my life has taken a new shape. It’s easy to feel lost in such a busy and constantly changing world. But I know from all my summers in camp that I will find the strength to continue pursuing the things I love, and trying to be the best person I can be. My summer as a counselor is going to be hard work, but I couldn’t be more excited to return to a place I love, and give my all so that another kid can have as positive of an experience as I did.
Camp Ocean Pines