archery crew smallThis past weekend I went to sleep away camp. Yes, truly I went to camp. I was invited to present at a Women’s Wellness Weekend and participate in the weekend. Little did I know what it was going to bring up for me.

Growing up in the Bronx I attended day camp for a number of summers. I have great memories of day trips, singing on buses, color wars and much more. I also went to sleep away camp with the Girl Scouts for only a few weeks. I remember big spiders, a group of us getting stuck in the middle of the lake in a row boat and a taffy pull. Ok, it may not sound like as many good memories as day camp, but it was still fun.

Returning back to camp this weekend was an interesting exploration for me. We had bunk rooms, ate in the dining hall and made s’mores around the fire. I let myself tap into my inner child as I participated in activities I don’t normally find in my life today. Including Tai Chi, archery, country line dancing, candle making and much, much more. I met some amazing women and we shared stories, laughed, and played.

What I also found still present at camp were some of the personalities and attitudes that I remember from childhood. The person who needed to always be the center of attention; those who believed they had to be “the cool group”; and those who thought it better to concentrate on their self-interests verses be considerate of others.

The difference was who I am now and how I let it or not let it affect me. I could recognize that the actions of these individuals were more out of their insecurity and selfishness more than anything else. To exclude others or make disparaging remarks had nothing to do with me or those they impacted, but more in making themselves feel important. It left me sad that even as adults and especially on a Women’s Wellness Weekend, not everyone could reflect compassion, kindness and support.

While it was unfortunate to see individuals act this way, I didn’t allow it to impact me and my opportunity with others and to have fun. Where in the past it may have had a larger impact, it now was more of an observation.

So here is what I learned at sleep away camp:

  1. It is not only fun, but energizing to let go and tap into the inner child, be silly, have fun and laugh
  2. Camp beds are still not comfortable
  3. There are a lot more adventurous activities in camp these days than I remember (climbing walls, zip lines, etc.)
  4. You can make some really great friends at camp
  5. Gathering around a fire is still a great group event
  6. Making candles is meditative
  7. I am not as good at archery as I was when I was younger (I took it in gym in elementary school)
  8. No matter what age, you’ll always find the people who need to believe they are better than others, but it’s up to you to decide how it affects you, if at all
  9. There is a still a divide as to whether toasted or burnt marshmallows are tastier
  10. Every experience is what you make of it

Will I go back to sleep away camp? Absolutely! Will I keep an open mind to everything and everyone that I come across? Unconditionally. Do I hope that camp and life will become a place where everyone is accepted? Completely. So if we meet at camp next year, I’ll be the one inviting you along to join me and be my friend.

Consider joining me at a luxurious camp…. Kripalu June 3 – 5th