Friday, August 1, 2008

Not Just Another Camp

For years I have been trying to explain to people, verbally and in writing, what exactly is it about camp that I love so much and crave so much during the year. While I was mulling over this question, an essay kind of poured out of me, which I would like to share with you. It's edited a little bit so as not to reveal any personal information, but I think it's the closest I'm going to get to expressing the magic of camp.

I know a place that is my own utopia. Here, all barriers, whether physical or mental in nature are broken down within a matter of days, something the world's leaders could only dream about. People of all cultures, races, beliefs, and abilities live, laugh and love in harmony, without fear of being judged. We stand (or sit) proud of who we are, unafraid and unashamed. Stereotypes are quickly proven wrong in this perfect place, and soon you forget that you ever saw those around you as anything less than friends, comrades, and most of all equals. Our differences are embraced, making up the rich mosaic of what our society should be, but isn't-yet. Four summers in this place have taught me infinitely many lessons-not all of them easy to learn. I have come to realize that we are not broken toys waiting to be fixed; rather, we are strong, independent human beings with hearts, minds, and spirits of our own. The freedom I have found here far exceeds anything that could be written law; it is incomprehensible and inexplicable. I feel like the phoenix-rising from the ashes to take flight once more. Leaders of the world today would be astonished at the microcosmic potential of a little camp for cripples nestled quietly in an unobtrusive town. If only those leaders would stop looking for answers in craftily worded doctrines and realize the peace and acceptance that has been going on nearly under their noses all this time. If only everyone could know the power of camp, I firmly believe that the world would be a better place.