Good morning everyone! It’s bright and early, and I wanted you to have this fresh off the press!
Today, I am leaving for overnight camp for the next seven weeks. This means no more It’s A Girl’s Life until I get back in August. It also means I get a break from reality, my phone, my laptop, and all social media. Having a break from those things is very important to me and my sanity!
Many people have different experiences of going to overnight camp. My camp, in New Hampshire, was the best thing that ever happened to me. I met amazing friends and found a home away from my Cleveland home. It taught me how to bond (and live) with people from age nine.
My first year at summer camp was when I was 9 years old turning 10. I was SO eager to go because my big brothers both went many years before me and told me all the great things about summer camp. They even taught me the “goodnight” song before I went so I would feel comfortable there.
I was actually excited to be in a new environment, and experience things I wouldn’t ever do if I stayed in Cleveland. I didn’t know it then, but that one year changed me forever.
This brings me to today. I have been going to camp for six years, this will be my seventh summer. I spend the whole year waiting to go back to this beautiful home away from home, on a beautiful lake with enormous trees and the smell of fresh pine cones lingering in the air. When I am upset, I watch the videos I made with my group the summer before. I text my friends that I made my first summer and still have now. Camp has created a community for me, a very special one, one close to my heart.
This year I am a little more excited than other summers because I get to take part in a tradition that I experienced my first summer. This year, I am finally going to be a “big sister.” Before my first summer at camp, I got a call from a girl, she talked to me about why she loved camp and all that I could expect when I finally arrived. This year, I got to experience playing this same role. I was so lucky to have such a great role model and cheerleader when I started camp and then to have this same girl as my counselor years later. To this day, I’m still friends with this sweet, honest, fun ‘big sister’ who is now a senior in college.
One month ago, I got a letter in the mailbox. The letter said, “You have been selected to be a big sister. We feel that your love for camp, its tradition, and your enthusiasm, all make up what it takes to be a great role model…” Even though it might have been a little cliche and was the same letter that was sent to each girl in my group, I was filled with joy. Knowing that I could continue a tradition, one that I have been eager to experience ever since I had a big sister was so exciting. It was a special moment when I realized I have to do everything to make sure my eight and nine-year-old little sisters had the best summer at camp. I want to make sure they experience camp just like I did my first summer.
If I never went to camp (which was not something that nine-year-old Charlotte would have ever agreed to), I would have never had this life-changing experience. Keep in mind, nine-year-old Charlotte wished to go to camp ever since she was seven, so when she was ready, she was really ready! “No” was definitely not an answer.
Every year, since I’ve been nine when I tell people I am going to overnight camp for seven weeks, I get a lot of different looks. Either a crazy eyes, a look of relief that the person I’m talking to doesn’t have to go, or a look of “what the heck?” Every once in a while, I will get a warm smile from someone who was an overnight camper and loved it. Either way, I smile (and sometimes laugh) at the person’s response. If they never had the experience I do at summer camp, then they just don’t understand. It’s as simple as this, “you don’t understand my connection to camp and you simply never will. Bye bye now, got to go to my favorite place on earth!” It is the place that gives me a special type of butterflies, the good ones. The ones that come from the excitement of not knowing what this summer’s new adventure is going to bring. In my opinion, these are the best butterflies. Camp is indescribable and amazing and something I would NEVER regret.
Camp is my home away from home and my outlet from reality.
So bye-bye Cleveland, for the next seven weeks. I will be busy spending all 24 hours of each day in nature, on the quad, swimming in the lake, laughing until our stomachs hurt, becoming more present with myself, having no stress, letting go, pressing the reset button, learning more about myself, having the best time ever, and being in my best self. Ugh, I can’t wait to sit back and relax, summer nineteen is going to be amazing, I can feel it! Hopefully, the rain goes away so all you staying in Cleveland can get a tan! See you in August!
If you miss me, take a look at these photos:
I’ll probably be feeling this…
When I am here…
Spending my time away from…
And spending my time with…