You know when you were a child and you saw a toy that you just had to have and would then obsess over it until you got it? Well that was me after I first found out about Camp America. I was in year 7 at school (11 years old) and saw a flyer in the back of our school planners. I remember thinking what could be better than spending a whole summer in the states doing something I love? Well for the nine years that followed that was the aim.
The whole experience didn’t feel real until I was sat on the plane crying my eyes out because of how hard it was to say goodbye to my mum. I’ve spoken to her since and she said there was a point where she wasn’t sure whether I would get on the plane at all.
My first summer was amazing and I met friends who I knew I would always keep in contact with. That doesn’t mean that the summer didn’t have its drama. I had a very rocky summer and there were a lot of moments where I felt like I didn’t fit in but those moments taught me a lot. The hard moments in life are what make you the person that you are and teach you a lot about yourself. Now I’m not going to throw the cliché ‘travelling changed me’ card but the lessons I learnt are hugely important and I will always carry them.
It’s because of these lessons and the connections that I made, that I returned to camp for another summer. I believe that everyone has that place that they feel they can be themselves and feel so at home even if its as far away from home as they could possibly be…for me that place is Camp Arbolado. The place where I decided to become a better person and face some of my greatest fears. A place where the person I am the person I want to be and not the person that I feel like people expect me to be. You meet so many people in life who say they wont judge you etc. but you don’t feel that when you are around them, well at camp being yourself is encouraged everyday and to any parent I will say send your kid to camp as it will change their whole world for the better.
Aside from how camp has improved me as a person, it is also so rewarding in many ways. You see kids who are so painfully shy come out of their shell and bloom into a completely different person. You see friendships form that never would of had the opportunity if not for camp. And most importantly you just see happiness everywhere you go which is magical and so pure.
Over the last few days I have been in contact with many people from camp and have received many stories that people want to share so their will be a post coming soon that will feature these stories.
Until next time