I can still remember the smell of the ocean when I first stepped out of the car on my first day at camp. The air was chilly, and as I reached back into my car to grab a sweater I didn’t think I would need. It was a camp by the ocean, after all, it should be hot, right? I was wrong. Camp Ocean Pines is unique in that way. One of the many, many, many ways this camp is special; to me and to everyone involved.
Camp Ocean Pines is my second home now. Every year when the registration e-mail comes out, the pure rush of happiness I feel is indescribable. The weeks leading up to camp, I count down the days. Then the hours. And then I’m here, and I’m home. The cabins and the atmosphere is incredible, and like no other.
This year, as a CIT instead of a camper, the joy of being able to watch your cabin grow and connect and explore with each other is beautiful. When they come back from activities and say, “Juno, I loved Karaoke 101! I want to do it again tomorrow!”, there’s a certain feeling that spreads throughout your body and warms your soul.
The life of a CIT is similar to that of a camper’s, with more responsibility and more authority. It’s very much an important part of camp, and learning the techniques that counselors use is eye-opening. You learn to resolve arguments without creating a rift between girls, and can pull someone aside to talk about what they said without placing the blame on them. You learn to use ‘and’ instead of ‘but’, which surprised me when it worked. RCD teaches you important lessons on how to deal with children, while still keeping a positive attitude and having fun.
Observing the counselors and the small things they do to encourage campers, such as Birdie singing our cabin to sleep, or Moose distracting the campers when it starts to rain, is truly mind-blowing. Seeing Bambi calmingly resolve an argument between two girls while still keeping the spirits up, and seeing Jabberwocky run halfway across camp to high-five someone. Watching as Mushu reminds the boys that woman can be kings too during 9-square or listening to Nala talk to the senior girls and making sure they include everyone. Pokey making his campers say ‘please and thank you’ when we serve meals; Chancellor trading his dessert to encourage people to hit the target in archery, and even the simple things, like the skits at campfire that make the campers crack up. It’s truly incredible to watch.
Camp Ocean Pines is my home, and I can’t wait to be a counselor one year. I will always remember the smell of the ocean, the mist in the air, and the sun on my face. This is truly THE place to be during the summer.