By Will Hackner, camper

 

My experience at summer camp was like walking back into the past of my youth, complete with bunks and random bunk mates, s'mores (+ snores) at night, early morning breakfast runs, and competitive camp games. We had talent shows. We had relay races. We had dance parties. We had zip lining and slip and slide. What was different, for me, was that I was openly gay, and able to experience all of those amazing experiences as my authentic open, honest self. It was one of the most exciting, joyous weekends I had in a very long time.

 

I think the best moment of my camp experience was our final day. I was the team captain of our relay race team for Color War. I had just met most of these campers, but I was invested in all of their successes, so I ran with every single one of them, from event to event, cheering them on, supporting them and ensuring that our team would be on a path to victory. As both teams ran towards the final event, Flip 'n Slip, I was determined to win, and with our teammates, we raced up and down the Flip and Slide hill 4-5 times to help our fellow teammates ride that slide and finish with a smile on their face. With seconds to spare, our team nailed the final cup, and we were victorious! We celebrated spraying each other with champagne, hugging, laughing and just having a truly happy, open moment with complete strangers.

 

That night, I sang a song at the talent show, underneath the moon in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater as I was awarded the Camper of The Weekend. I was flattered. I was honored. I was thrilled inside, but really, I was just so happy that all my camp fantasies came true for me, in those silly, sweet, 3 days we spend at camp. So many others I spoke with, felt the same way. It was a perfect weekend and I can’t wait to do it again.

Check out some of my friends posting about their weekend on social media at #campdays #campnocounselors and see for yourself.


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