Dear Diary: Keep it Campy

WORDS BY ZOE ALLEN / @EOZ_ALLEN

Dear Diary,

For the past six weeks, I've been at camp in the blazing Southern heat in Marble Falls, Texas. Camp is my favorite place in the entire world, despite the temperature, lack of AC, no electronics policy, and workload. As cliche as it sounds, I am truly my best self at camp, and I wish the entire world got a taste of the person that I am at Camp Champions.

   This year, I embarked in a new era of camp. My six years prior, I had just been a regular camper. This year, going into my sophomore year in high school, I was initiated into the Senior Camper Program, which is essentially counselor training. Truly, it is so much more.
   Instead of participating in activities and not having responsibility for anyone but myself, the Senior Camper Program is about giving back to camp. We are partially responsible for the behind the scenes magic, and our mission is to serve something greater than ourselves.
   The first year of the Program is called 7-11 for girls, and 007 for boys. 7-11 was a lot of work, but I had the best six weeks of my entire life. Some of our responsibilities were sorting mail, finding and returning lost and found, filling cups at meals, singing, and painting the dance backdrops. Oh, and we also move every single girls' trunks in the 105 degree weather each Opening Day.
   The work was nothing in exchange for the memories and things I learned from CC each day. The bonds I made with the twenty (more or less) girls that I shared a cabin with grew stronger in twenty-one day spans then they could've in twenty-one months at home. We laughed, we cried, we sang, we danced, and we loved. You know what they say: "work hard, play harder".
   Twice a week, we would have talks with the camp owners, who are truly some of the most incredible people I know. Both are smart, encouraging, sensible, humorous, insightful, caring, giving, and wise beyond their years. The 7-11 girls and 007 boys were lucky enough to have some of their wisdom imparted on us.
The first talk we had was about the lies of masculinity and femininity.
The three lies of femininity that we touched upon are as follows:
  1. A woman's worth is based off the man she is attached to
  2. Women are supposed to be sweet, nice, and passive
  3. All women are expected to fit a certain type of body standard
The two owners encouraged us not to buy into the bullshit that society feeds us in all aspect of life, but focus on being the person that you want to be.
   Now more than ever, I attempt not to let society fit me to its mold. When I go to grocery stores, and see magazines with perfect women, I recognize it, but I do not let it affect me.
   It is so important to live a life that is not one comparing yourself to others. Comparison never ends well.  They wanted us to have strong internal narratives, and attempt to see the good in every situation.
   Maybe most of all they pushed us to lead intentional lives: full of meaning, bristling with wonderful content, full of thought and purpose.
People look at me like I'm crazy when I say, "I sorted mail, picked up lost and found, filled cups, and moved trunks for six weeks, and had the time of my life."
I wish that everyone had a place like Camp Champions in their lives. I'm so lucky to have a place in my life that has given me such an understanding of the world. The ability to interact face to face with other humans is becoming extinct, and being put into an environment where you can only interact face to face has given me such an advantage in the world.
   In 7-11, we read speeches to the whole of girls side. In essence, they are love letters to camp. We were asked the question: what does camp mean to you?
   To me, it means everything.

Love,
Zoe A.
Editorial Editor





1 comment: