It was 2002; I was 9. It was the first year I went away for the summer - a whole two weeks, away from the family! I had a trunk to pack, into which went all of my clothes and my camera and my pens and paper and envelopes. For those two weeks, I was blissfully unaware of the world outside the magical bubble of Camp.
Fast forward to 2013. It's been eleven years since I first stepped out of the car at Camp, and soon I will start my tenth summer there. For a little over two months, I will live in a pine board cabin in Vermont with ten other people from all walks of life and all over the world. Some things will be different than that first year - I now work there, providing the same magic of camp to new starry-eyed 9-year-olds that was provided to me when I was a camper. I'll be living out of that same trunk.
For those two months, I won't respond to email. I won't take phone calls or browse reddit. It's just me, the outdoors, and a group of old friends and strangers together by a chance we call Camp. The bed is a sheet of canvas, six feet long by two feet wide, onto which I place my sleeping bag. Of course, that's only when we're at home - frequently, we tent on mountains or hike to lean-tos on the property.
Camp is a place we frequently regret how hard it is to explain to outsiders. Why would a 19 year old guy want to spend the majority of his summer with kids, for little pay, and for no professional experience, away from computers, which he studies in college all year long? But for me, those are the reasons for, not against. (Okay, perhaps the pay isn't. But everything else is a plus.) Computers are so ubiquitous, we almost forget how to live without them. A yearly reminder is welcome.
And so I pack the same trunk I packed for the first time eleven years ago. I pack all my clothes and my camera and my pen and paper and my envelopes. I arrive on the 16th for "an early Monday am start," in the words of the director, one of my friends.
I can't wait.