A couple of days ago Grace (Llewellyn, of the Teenage Liberation Handbook variety) sent out a mail saying signup for NBTSC 09 starts in Febuary. Why's she gotta do that to me? Get me all excited for camp when it's nine months away. I think it's just cruel.
I'm not sure I can adequately put into words what camp means to me. Screw Disneyland - it's the happiest place on earth. The instant I got there, way back in 06, I felt welcome. A little on the fringe cuz I only knew the people I had come with and a lot intimidated, but welcome. My first year I was very much a wallflower. I met alot of people and learned almost every single person's name, but only connected with a handful of people. I mostly just watched. I was thirteen and I didn't know the first thing about myself. I hadn't begun building myself yet and my camp experience laid out the foundation for the me you see today. It showed me what my life could be and, more importantly, what I could be. Not camp itself, really, but the people there. There were amazing people who inspired, amazed, and awed me, not to mention some that intimidated the hell out of me. You know, your basic 'cool kids'. I didn't quite get it then, but I know now that not a single person at camp is cool. They're just who they are. Some of them, mostly the old campers, are scary as shit to the first years. They're older, they're confident in themselves, and they know everybody. Intimidating, no? I'm pretty sure I didn't approach a single old camper my first year. They didn't quite seem safe. They were new territory; a kind of person I'd never come across before.
I came back in 07 an entirely different person. I'd spent the year between my first year and my second expanding and growing and venturing into heretofore unexplored ways of being and found one I liked. 07 was definitely my favorite year of my three years at camp. I was as happy with me as I could be and camp nurtured that. I branched out, talked to more people, hung out with more people, and made deep connections. And I realized that in the space of one little year I had gone from a wallflower to one of the scary-as-hell cool, older campers. I dunno how it happened. I probably wouldn't have realized it if one of the people I intimidated (it's weird to think of myself as intimidating; I don't feel intimidating) hadn't pointed it out to me. I was intimidating. As much as it sucked, knowing people were scared to talk to me, it did great things for the old self esteem :D. 07 was good for me. It helped me grow and learn much more about me, it pushed my comfort zone, and it brought me the greatest friend I've ever had (other than Chloe, of course).
This year was a strange year. Not many people I knew were there, so it forced me to widen my circle, but it also shrank my circle. I hung out with a lot of people I probably wouldn't have otherwise, which was fabulous, but I spent most of my time with pretty much ten or fifteen specific people, probably seeming unapproachable and scary. I was an old camper. An upperclassman, so to speak.
I don't want to be intimidating in 09. I want everyone to look at me and know that I love them, even if we've never spoken. I want to be a friend, a support, a sister, a role model, whatever. I wish that all the first years or whoever is feeling overwhelmed or anything would have, like, radar that pointed me out to them, so they'd know that, even if we've only seen each other from afar, I'll drop what I'm doing to meet them, hug them, introduce them to everyone, or hide them away where no one can find them. Whatever they need at that specific moment in time I will do my best to provide it. I don't want a single person to be afraid to talk to me. Sure, I throw clothes on in interesting combinations and am friends with all the intimidating people, it doesn't mean I don't want to meet you or that I'm cooler than you or cool at all. I'm a klutz and I have very ditzy moments. I'm probably as lost as you are in real life, but at camp I know exactly who I am, where I am, and where I'm going. You probably do, too, if you look hard enough.
NBTSC has created me, broken me, fulfilled me, hurt me, changed me, solidified me, and has had a huge part in making me who I am today. I am beyond thankful for it. Every single person who has set foot in that place has had an impact on me, whether they know it or not. Probably not.
And that's not even mentioning Grace. She makes a point to learn your name. Even if you only talk to her for two minutes you know from the way she smiles at you that she loves you deeply, just for existing. It can rock you to your core, being loved instantaneously just for that.
So, yeah. I'm excited for camp.
You should go this year. I'm not exaggerating about a single thing.