Thursday, 10 January 2013

If I were ten years younger...

Summer camp was a foreign concept where I grew up, in South Africa. I never went, and neither did any child or teenager I knew. My holiday experiences consisted of TV marathons, building forts in the garden and (in later years) a waitressing job at a local restaurant. Camping, maybe, but summer camp? This was exclusively an American tradition, as far as I was concerned.

It was not until my second year in university that a close friend of mine suggested I work with her at a local camp over the 2010 world cup holidays. It was that May that I took the first steps into my future career path, dipping my toes into the sea of my future (both literally and metaphorically) .

Days spent on the lagoon with surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming, all ending off with a final campfire on the last night of every camp. I’m reasonably sure I never want to go home.

Every camper I met loved the camp as much as I loved being a counselor there. The benefits stretched beyond learning to paddle or rock climb. The job to me was more “real” than any internship I could ever experience. I reached a point where camp felt more like home than my life and studies in the city. I fell in love with the surreal world of adventure and wish with all my heart that I had known about these camps in South Africa during my school years. If I’d gone to camp, would I be a better athlete or a stronger person, one with deeper friendships and the ability to march fearlessly into any challenge that life had to throw my way? As a kid, I did not see myself as the “outdoorsy” type, but I would have welcomed the idea of so much time away from my parents with enthusiasm. I envy the children at camp, in an odd way, but I am greatful that this is now the place that I can call my home. I’ve opened the door in a way I never expected to, and it's the best thing I have ever done!

That's my story...
Poodle xx