So a little more than 20 minutes ago my husband pulled out of the driveway. Tucked away in the back seat was my 11 year old daughter, giddy with excited anticipation; she is on her way to summer camp.
On a July day back in 1976 I was a giddy, excited 11 year old sitting in the back seat of a car on my way to summer camp. I had been so nervous the night before, I was sick to my stomach and threw up! But once there, my excitement morphed into something else…something that I don’t think I can put into words. I changed in that moment, from a kid who needed help with most things to a kid who had to do it on her own.
Camp made it easy, though. Finding my unit, getting my gear to the right location, setting up mosquito netting….all on my own. I remember the excitement of the first meal in the dining hall, the first swimming session, the first time I set foot in a canoe, and buying that coveted camp t-shirt at the trading post. And I got to do it all on my own. I remember fending off the bugs, waking up shivering, and going to bed happy, tired and dirty! I remember feeling a sense of independence that I had never experienced before, and knowing, just knowing, that I wanted to feel that way forever.
Today I sent off my girl to find herself. I know she will come home differently. You can’t go off to summer camp for the first time for a week and not come home a changed girl. But she will come home older, wiser and more confidant than she can even imagine for herself. I hope that this experience is as positive for her as it was for me. Because camp changed me. And it made me better.
Love you Mary! Have fun!!