As the fall weather approaches I’m sure I’m not only one singing the post camp blues while wearing my favorite camp t-shirt. Let’s be honest though, most of my wardrobe is camp related anyway. Often, I catch myself humming along to some campfire songs on my walk to and from work. Pretty sure my co-workers are sick of hearing stories that end with me stating “you had to be there”. How many days until camp again?
As my days are consumed by teaching class, answering emails, and returning phone calls, everyday life will never be the same as camp. Menial tasks, such as going to the grocery store and picking out a new flavor of ice cream become the highlight of my week. I find myself night after night scrolling through my Netflix feed trying to miraculously come across a movie that may bring back some nostalgic feelings. Irrational? Maybe a bit, but I know I’m not alone. I hear it all too often, “I’m a different person when I’m at camp”. Same! If you’re missing camp as much as I am, here’s some ways I’ve found to keep the magic of camp alive in the off-season:
I’ve found with the sum of stress from work, bills, emails, and even the little things like cooking my own meals and finding time to do laundry between shifts that I’m unable to give back like I could every day at camp. Many camp veterans are teachers, coaches, or professors having their summers free to return to the place that means most to us all, camp. Volunteer as a coach through your local parks organization, tutor a neighbor’s child on a subject they’re having difficulty with, or offer to babysit some of your coworkers kids they can’t stop talking about. Making a positive impact with the youth of your community will not only keep the spirit of camp burning, but also give you valuable experience.
Imagine. You’ve just ended another successful, and probably exhausting, day of camp. Perhaps your team just pulled ahead in color war, or that one camper finally made it to the top of the climbing wall after you’ve spent days encouraging them it’s possible. A day of goals accomplished and memories made. You’re walking back to your bunk as you stare up towards the sky. Stars so clear in form you can count them right down the line or point out the big dipper without hesitation. Falling behind your co-counselors from the beautiful distraction of celestial magnificence you take a moment to soak it in. This may be a difficult task depending on your location, but easily one of my favorites.
Don’t get stuck in front of your laptop binge watching the latest show. You’re an experienced trailblazer! Take the path less traveled and explore your surroundings, you might be surprised. Often there’s even places in your home town you haven’t seen. So, take a ride on the shoelace express and hike those trails, experience another borough, and soak in your atmosphere. Even taking a different path home might be the small dose of adventure you’re seeking. After all, “not all who wander are lost”, right J.R.R. Tolkien?
As you might know, outside of camp, a mysterious and powerful form of technology has taken over most social interactions, otherwise known as the internet. Ha-ha. I’m guessing before camp ended many of your friends asked, “do you have a Facebook so we can keep in touch during the year?”. Message them! Odds are they’re missing camp just as much as you are. Especially if you have friends that are close to your area, try to set up a meeting in real life. Camp friends are your best friends, both in camp and outside. Stay well friends, camp will be here soon enough!
Your unofficial co-counselor,