room to grow

Erin - Atkinson, New Hampshire
Entered on January 29, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe summer camp changed my life. You may think all we do is make twig sculptures and newspaper hats but it’s more, much, much more.

My first year was crazy I knew no one and was so home sick I had to be wrapped in an electric blanket, take aspirin because I had given myself a huge migraine from crying and I had to sleep in the infirmary with my CIT sitting next to me till I fell asleep. That first night I promised myself I would never come back. Those first two weeks passed along with that feeling.

But the first year was horrid, and I almost didn’t return but I did. And it’s the years that followed that created my addiction, swimming, sailing, windsurfing soon two weeks became four weeks. And why? Because at camp you are accepted, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter how much money or friends you have, you are loved unconditionally. No one judges you, no one is expecting anything from you, you’re free to be who you are, no peer pressure no outside world, like a little haven for the outcasts and popular all the same. Because when you go away to camp you can’t hide behind superficial things you are you, the feeling difficult to explain. Friends become family quickly as you replace what you lost when you waved bye on the bus. Such a strong bond was created that our family had no bickering, just laughter. We spent our days having serious conversations and goofy ones, mostly goofy ones.

This is usually the part where and inspirational story comes in. But I don’t have one story to tell like most other essays do, I don’t have a life changing quote uttered from a friend I met at camp; all I have is many stories and quotes that will seam meaningless to you. And I have are clichés I could through at you or reiterate the things I have already said. Really anyone who hasn’t been away to camp will ever be able to fully understand the love or the absolute happiness you feel when you see a cabin mate again or the depression you feel as you part ways promising to keep in touch but never seem too. It’s different from any other friend because we spend so much concentrated time with one another to not seeing one and other for a full year.

Many large events of my life happed at camp, I gained independence, I gained the confidence to be myself, how to make friends quickly and how to make a whole room laugh. Looking back if I hadn’t found those friend I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I would have probably been a follower in life rather than a leader. And all I needed was room to grow.