Tomorrow is the beginning of session one of Camp NaNoWriMo! So today I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite childhood camp memories. When I was about thirteen I went to a music camp that was funded through the church I was attending at the time. Oh my gosh, that was so much fun.
There was music of all kinds and it was my first experience away from home like that. The camp was Camp Lutheridge, and the summer was the one before Freshman year. I will never forget how excited I was to go. Then how scared I was when I realized that my brother and I were not only in separate cabins (because heck, we’d been sleeping in bedrooms next to each other for years, so why separate us now), but separate groups because of our age difference!
I think I did a lot of growing that year. I learned not to depend so much on my brother, or my mom. I learned more how to depend on myself, and trust others. That took some doing considering all of the bullying I’d dealt with because of my disability. For the first time, I had real friends and “family” that didn’t judge me or think I’m crazy.
When it came time to leave (the session was only a week long, sadly) I was very upset. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay. But I did come away with new songs to sing, and friends to write. And for a while, we all wrote each other back and forth.
Over the years, we stopped writing, and honestly, I’ve forgotten the names of most of my camp friends. I will never forget Mara or Matthew though. They were two counselors that made my time more fun and helped me to overcome my fears and undertake challenges I may not have, otherwise.
Real-life camp was an experience I will never forget, and that is why, when I can, I try to appreciate Camp NaNoWriMo. There are no songs that we sing, but words flow, and camaraderie runs deep. We, the writers who do Camp NaNoWriMo, build on each other’s energy and ideas and words. And that , on it own, is as close to a real camp experience as you can really get.