There is a podcast by This American Life that talks about summer camp. It is more than a few years old but is still relevant today. The man narrating, Ira Glass, visits a camp in Michigan which had similar activities to those at GFC including a color war and a mythical story of things on camp (at GFC, there is a roller coaster in the basement of the staff lounge). There is something unique about each camp, Jewish or not, that people hold close to their hearts. This is no different for every person that steps foot on GFC.
While listening to this, it was incredibly easy to relate to everything these campers were saying; I even laughed along with them as they told stories since I have similar memories. While every ‘camp person’ can relate to one another it can be hard to talk about things with ‘non-camp people.’
My home friends from camp will never understand the want and need I have to come back to camp every year. They joke about how I am too old to be at camp and that I need a real job; they talk about how it’s not ‘normal’ to escape reality every year for two months.
The truth is however, that camp is my reality and the other 10 months are my escape. At the end of every summer I am more than ready to head home but after only a few days I know that next summer cannot come fast enough.
It has been here, that I have made so many important decisions about my future. While some may argue that it is because I am taken away from ‘reality’ and able to clear my head, I think it is because camp is the greatest reality that I have ever known. It is being in this place that has taught me what I want for myself in the future, and it is being here over the summers that have given me the resources to do so.
I do not think there is a way to describe camp to my ‘non-camp friends.’ I have learned to stop trying to convince people that this is my home and where I would rather be. There is passion behind people’s eyes here that will never be found somewhere else. I saw this passion as a camper and now as a staff member I have found it in myself.
Camp friends will always be able to understand one another in such a way that ‘non-camp friends’ are not able to do. These are people that sometimes do not see each other throughout the year but then spend every day together for weeks on end. I have learned to not take advantage of these people.
‘A day is a week and a week is a year’ is a common phrase at Greene. Some of the longest days of your life are spent with best friend’s continuously laughing and making memories. We often forget what day of the week it is and have a hard time grasping what a weekend really is. It is because of this ‘time-warp’ that makes us so close. No matter what emotion you’re going through; there is someone to comfort you, to laugh with you, and to understand what you need. You don’t have to look for these people. They are just there and ready to be there for you.
Camp magic is something we try and explain to parents and how we try to convince them that their child will have an amazing and rewarding experience if they are able to attend GFC. Truthfully, there is no way to explain this magic. It cannot be seen, touched, or even heard. It is something that ‘non-camp people’ will never understand; but I am completely okay with that. My ‘camp friends’ are the camp magic that everyone talks about and without them I wouldn’t even be close to who I am today.