I Almost Ran Away From Camp
Every summer starting when I was ten years old, I went to overnight camp. The first year I went, it was for four weeks, and to say I was homesick was an understatement. It was a hard summer for me, and I’m sure for my counselors.
I spent the majority of that summer crying.
I almost ran away from camp.
While I had moments of fun, I just couldn’t seem to get over the fact that I wasn’t at home, and I really wanted to be.
I even had to go see the camp director one day, in hopes that I would get over it. He waved a “magic wand” over my head and said “Abra Cadabra, you aren’t homesick anymore.”
Of course, it didn’t work. Not at all. I was homesick, not stupid.
I wrote letters to my parents begging them to pick me up, and even sent a few letters to relatives and close friends, making my plea. Surely someone would come and rescue me. Didn’t they miss me?
I planned my escape route from camp, and was going to run away. I didn’t follow through with it though, because something held me back. I didn’t have the courage to jump the gate in the middle of the night and walk around Hendersonville alone in the dark. But every night I would lie in bed, cry myself to sleep, and want to be home.
The play that summer was Free To Be You And Me. This meant we spent a lot of time singing about Mommies and Daddies. It was torture! I would stand there, tears running down my face, unable to sing the words because I missed my parents so much. I was THAT kid.
But at the end of the long four weeks, something happened. Maybe it was because I knew I was going home soon, but by the fourth week, I actually allowed myself to start enjoying camp. I started having fun. And making friends.
I will never forget how happy I was when my parents picked me up on the last day of camp. I ran to them, and hugged them like I never wanted to let them go.
I grew a lot that summer. I became more independent, and learned I could “make it” on my own.” Was it painful? Yes. But I did it, and the confidence I got because of the experience, was invaluable.
If your kids go to overnight camp this summer, and are homesick, it’s OK. They’ll survive, and so will you. It might be painful for all of you, but I promise they’ll be better because of it.
I went back the following summer, to the same camp, and loved it. Surprisingly, they were willing to take me.
Find meaning each day,