Today marks 50 days until camp. I spend five weeks in the mountains of North Carolina under the stars and on a beautiful lake, surrounded by my best friends at Camp Merrie-Woode. Although it's only my second year going, Camp Merrie-Woode has held a special place in my heart since I was born. My mom went there as a little girl and I've heard countless stories from her about her days in that special, special place. From singing around the camp fire to kayaking down the rapids, my mom told me about all the magical experiences she had, and all of her memories there that she still holds close to her heart, all these years later.
With all of the stories my mom told me, I expected camp to be the best thing that I've ever done. While I was right, going to camp for the first time was the best thing that has ever happened, it was SO much more than I could have ever anticipated.
There's something about waking up to the 8 AM bell that echoes off of the iconic "Old Bald" mountain. There's something about the mountain air that seeps through the cabins screen windows. There's something about the crunch of pea-rock under my Bean Boots. There's something about the camp fire songs on Sunday night, surrounded by the greatest girls in the world. There's something about the after-taps dance parties that make you feel alive, and purely happy. There's something about this 96 year old camp, hidden in the mountains that captures your heart and makes you feel more at home than you've ever felt before.
It's something that I wish I could describe, but it's the continuous presence of love, unity, acceptance and empowerment that captivates the soul, mind and body. It's a spirit that you take from that sanctuary, and carry with you everyday after driving out of that twisting, 14 MPH, camp road.
My last night at camp, I laid on top of my cabin with my counselor. Slightly against the rules, but well worth it. We talked until 2 AM. We talked about everything. A couple of times, tears came to my eyes as I realized I have 11 more months until I can do this again. While these months away from my home-away-from-home have gone by way too slow, I'm so excited to know camp is right around the corner.
"I'd trade 10 months at home for 2 months at Merrie-Woode"