How To Lead a Satisfied Life: GO TO SUMMER CAMP


Elizabeth Chenok, Managing Editor

I’ve been long awaiting my column career for the seasons to change, the sun to come out, and summer to finally approach. The reason? I’m that much closer to camp! And also to inform all of my dedicated column readers why exactly summer camp is the best place on Earth.

I’ve been going to camp as long as I can remember. It started out with Camp Suataro in Massachusetts, then changed to Roughing It Day Camp in Lafayette, and lastly, and MOST importantly, Camp Augusta, in Nevada City. Camp Augusta has been my light and guidance through majority of my youth, and a place I would consider the most influential in my life.

Summer camp does so many things for someone. Not only does it nourish your soul and body with sunshine and yummy food (at Augusta, it’s all organic and locally grown), but it provides a healthy place for growth and self discovery. There is nothing better than being alone in the woods with nothing but your thoughts.

Have you ever tried to go a month or longer without seeing any screen? No phone, no music that’s not made with a live guitar, ukulele, or voice. What about lights? Nope! Open air cabins with no form of electricity. The only place lights are provided at camp is in the kitchen, lodge, and bathhouses. And they are rarely turned on.

Camp Augusta is full of hippie-goodness and love. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to walk into the dining area and see someone juggling, meditating, doing parkour, and playing guitar. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to me to see a group of grown men wearing dresses and wigs. It is a place of creativity, of magic, and of making a complete fool of yourself.

Wish, Wonder, and Surprise are the three elements camp enforces throughout the summer to staff members in order to make the best summer for kids. These words power a summer full of fun and empowerment.

It is a place that wants to dig deep and every activity has a purpose. It wants to nourish the need for fun and play while fulfilling community and support at the same time. It wants to help people realize their capabilities and push them to do things way outside their comfort zone.

Although my camp is different and a lot more intense than a majority of other camps, I am so grateful for the things that make it unique. I am happy I’ve been pushed to my limits and beyond, I’m glad that the philosophy has impacted me in an amazing way. And it introduced me to tea… enough said.

Summer camp in general though, is the key to a satisfied life. And I back that up 100%. I believe that with camp, you can learn and grow and be with nature and love yourself and your surroundings. The friendships you make and develop expand your communities and introduce you to people you would have never met before. Some of the people I call best friends I met there and continue to spend time with. I have so many mentors that I can confide in and talk to about my life and get advice from. I have a whole separate community of people that know a huge part of me that people at home don’t. Many who go to summer camp feel closer to camp friends in different ways because it is completely stripped of all the material and external parts of life.

How do I sum up a place and idea that’s so important to me? I can’t put it into one word, but it is my passion, heart and soul. My mind, body and spirit would not be the same without summer camp, and I highly recommend going. If you’re too old to be a camper, apply to be a counselor. I feel enriched at camp. I feel empowered at camp. But most importantly, I feel LOVE at camp.