My Camp Experience  By Ainsley Lonsbrough

Growing up in San Luis Obispo is a very lovely experience.  All the community projects, the downtown area, it’s all a teen could ask for.  But as we all know, moving into middle school and high-school can usually be a bit rough.  I went in with a positive attitude though!  As I learned not everything goes exactly well as planned, I ended up getting bullied and I really wasn’t my bubbly self anymore.  I soon became extremely self-conscious.  I stopped drawing and singing like I used to.  I then had stopped playing the piano as well, and things weren’t really the same.  That next fall, as I just changed schools, my mom had stumbled upon this summer program called Camp Ocean Pines.  I saw kids laughing and singing and being silly.  I had just wanted to jump in and join them!

I didn’t really have much else to say to my mom and without hesitation, we signed up.  When I arrived, I had no clue who anybody was, but everyone was so kind.  I was pretty nervous, but excited at all the new things I could do.  My first cabin was so beautifully painted with stars, planets, and milky ways(Called the “Galileo” cabin).  The cabin set the perfect camp mood.  All the cabins are named after famous inventors and scientists, so each cabin is painted differently with their own murals on every wall.

I said a long goodbye to my mom and then our cabin got ready for dinner.  The food was so good!  Maybe better than at home(sorry mom).  I connected quickly with my cabin and my counselor and I had a very sweet personal conversation and we really got know each other.

 

After dinner, we all headed to campfire, full and happy.  As the fire was lit, we all say down in the front row.  We were all greeted by a smiling RCD(the summer camp director)!  That evening we were told of the goals of camp: connect, explore, and grow.  Our goal each week is to do all of these things and each night your counselor picks one of the goals they saw you achieve and gives you a bracelet.  The three bracelets represent a sort-of achievement/recognition of Connecting, Exploring, and Growing.  That first night, I was given a connect bracelet!  All my new friends were clapping and cheering for me and I felt so welcomed.  As the night grew very dark, we all cuddled up as Doc(the former summer camp director) brought out his guitar and started strumming.  A well end to a great first day!

 

I remember that I sang and danced and stepped way out of my comfort zone.  I loved it.  Next year will be my fourth year and I am so proud to have all these wonderful people apart of my camp family.  Everyday at camp, I grow more and more.  I will never forget the moments spent at camp and all the special memories I have made.  All the connections with new people have given me such a great social experience and has given me more confidence and courage.  I now sing again, draw and dance, and I couldn’t be happier with who I am.