Thoughts From A 1st Time Camper
TAs an “adult” from the millennial generation living in New York, I place the majority of my emphasis (and money) on collecting experiences as opposed to items. My Manhattan apartment hardly has the space for me to accumulate “things” but really, I know I earn more from these moments, these memories, these events that I place myself in than I ever would from a designer dress or expensive accessory.
To further this mindset, over a summer in my early 20s, a new friend and I decided to embark on a YES program. Whenever anyone asked us to do something, we’d say yes, if for no reason other than to get out there, meet new people, and live life.
When I heard about Camp No Counselors the first time, I was wary. Growing up, I was one of the few kids who never went to summer camp. To be honest, I just never saw the allure. Boy, was I wrong. A quick scan of the #CampNoCounselors hashtag on Instagram immediately brought up feelings of FOMO for these new friendships I saw budding, for a group of stellar individuals I aspired to be a part of, but also for my youth, for all that I had apparently missed at summer camp as a child. I knew right then, CNC was another “yes” situation I wanted to be involved with, no question.
Walking up to the bus for the first time, I felt those first day of class jitters that I thought were long behind me. Here were 100+ people that I never met before, and I was about to embark on a four-day retreat with them. Fears ran through my head. “What if we didn’t get along?” “What if we have nothing in common?” And that nagging sentiment everyone has but tries to push out of their mind, “What if they don’t like me?” But as soon as I put down my bags, there were hugs instead of handshakes as introductions, invitations to share snacks, and the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen on a collective group of strangers.
Four days later, I realized that the bonds I created at Camp No Counselors made me feel closer to people who were strangers at the beginning of the weekend than I do to people I’ve known for years.
What I’ve gained from CNC is impossible to put into words. It’s a feeling, an emotion, a security in not only myself, but the friendships I’ve made because of a weekend in the woods. And those 100 strangers? I’m happy to say they’re 100 of my newest friends.