Preparing for another ritualistic venture to Three Sisters Park; I can’t keep myself from reminiscing about last year. The whole experience was crazy, everything about it – from deciding to enter and making the video to announcing moe.’s first set. Entering the Camp Counselor 2012 Contest wasn’t even my idea to begin with – my friend randomly suggested it and I thought to myself “why not?” In all honesty I NEVER expected to win when I sent in my original video. It didn’t help that I emailed it merely two hours before the deadline would turn any chances of it happening to zero.
Summer Camp had always been special to me for many reasons – Summer Camp was not only the first festival I ever went to, but it was also the one weekend of the year which I could spend with my old best friends from college. When I, rather incredulously, realized I made the first round of candidates the significance and meaning of the prize began to actualize. I realized that winning wasn’t just going to be sweet because of the prizes, but because I was going to have the opportunity to experience unique moments that are literally, and as David Byrne’s would say, “once in a lifetime.”
The competition was pretty fierce. I was up against some great people; they all were smart, interesting and suited for the role. Luckily I had some good friends on my team and we fought harder and harder on each round. By the time it came down to the final three I even had my family in South America voting and telling their friends to vote as well. When the announcement was made and I read on the Facebook post that I won, I had to re-read it several times. It was exciting – I was going to get to meet and announce moe., interview some great people, and sit side stage for some great shows; the anticipation began to grow.
Within a few weeks I was finally on the trip to Peoria to be the 2012 Summer Camp Counselor. As soon as we put that rockstar parking pass on the rearview mirror and parked right next to the VIP entrance, I knew that weekend was going to be epic. Out of the many years of attendance, last year was the first time I had someone drive up to the car in a golf cart and take us (and our bags) up to our campsite. For the first time out of the many years of attendance I walked up to the backstage entrance behind the moonshine stage and demonstrated my “I can go back here pass.” I was nervous and terrified because I was going to announce moe.’s first set in about half an hour. Then I see Rob sitting in a golf cart, chillin behind his black sunglasses and he can see I’m nervous and I tell him why. “Oh you’ll be fine, it’s easy.” I smiled and said “Yeah, coming from someone who has just a bit more experience…”
The entire weekend was a blur of hectic sweetness. I couldn’t believe that suddenly it was Sunday. In those four days I had gotten to watch moe., Gigantic Underground Conspiracy and Umphrey’s sidestage. I got to partake in Wavy Dave’s birthday festivities and watch his cake melt in the 100 degree weather. I sat and spoke to Vinnie who gave me some drums instruction. I had the opportunity to interview the members of Gigantic Underground Conspiracy, G. Love, Wavy Dave and Kinetix. Umphrey’s signed their names to a poster which now hangs on my wall. The best moments however, were those unscheduled interactions with the people that make the festival what it is –getting insights and wisdom from Vinnie and Rob, singing Happy Birthday to Wavy Dave, talking to Ian, Rex, Holly, Danny, Graham, Nick, the Counselors in Training and the regular festival attendees who posed for pictures and gave me their personal take on the event.
Being Camp Counselor also experienced the festival in completely new way; in my effort to capture the energy of the festival, I met more people, took more pictures, and saw more varied bands than any other year. Looking back on it all I wish I had done even more. There is no real way you can prepare for the experience however, and it all happens so fast there isn’t much time to stop and plan. I wish I could relive the entire experience with the experience of it under my belt, but I can’t. All I can do is sit and reminisce about the wonderful 2012 Summer Camp weekend and smile knowing that it all actually happened.
It could happen to you too…YOU could be one of the few people on this Earth who get to live Summer Camp in this exceptional way…but you will never know unless you try.
Congrats to Kyle Hess, Camp Counselor 2013!!
For the rest of you: Start thinking of your 2014 Camp Counselor Video!!
See you soon!!
Hello there fellow SCamper Dudes and Dudettes!
So the best weekend of the year has come and gone. I can’t believe it – it feels like it was a dream. I honestly am in disbelief of everything that has happened. I am SO happy that I decided to enter the Camp Counselor Contest, it was a last minute decision and I submitted the video on the last day at 8pm. From there we made the first 12, then we made the next round of 6. What many people don’t know is that I decided to make a second video for the following round in which I was going to do “tricks” as I jumped out of a tree. Well in making that second video I landed wrong after I jumped and suffered a concussion, four days of the worst migrains I’ve ever had, a bruised knee, a bruised jaw, a deep cut in my neck that wouldn’t stop bleeding for a day and a half and I chipped 3 teeth and lost half of one of my molars. Can anyone question whether I am dedicated to Summer Camp? The few weeks trying to win the contest was super stressful – I had everyone I possibly could spreading the word and voting…friends and family from as far as Argentina, Spain, Italy and Colombia. All the pain and hard work paid off though and we made top three and then finally won. It was amazing. The day they announced it, I had adrenaline constantly running through my blood and I couldn’t sleep; after coming to Summer Camp for 6 years I was going to experience my favorite festival in a way I could have only dreamed about.
I had so many things planned, so much I wanted to cover and see but the weekend seriously flew by and my aspirations were much larger than what was physically possible. However, I was able to get some awesome videos, catch some great sets, meet some amazing people, do really nice interviews, capture sweet pictures, and dance and hoop my heart out. Summer Camp is so big – there is so much going on that it is impossible to do it justice; for those of you who haven’t been – you will never know how amazing it is until you experience it for yourself.
I again want to thank the entire Summer Camp crew for creating the Camp Counselor Program. For die hard fans, it is the chance to live the festival through a completely unique understanding. As someone who goes year after year it was so special to get a glimpse of the world behind the stage. I will forever treasure these memories and will continue to attend Summer Camp every year, but now with a greater level of appreciation.
The highlights of the weekend are meeting moe. and announcing their first set, being side stage for moe., UM and Gigantic Underground Conspiracy, getting to see Wavy blow out his birthday candles, and getting a drum lesson from Vinnie. I tried to plan the best I could for the weekend, but there is just so much going on it’s impossible to plan for it all – so for the next year’s counselor I suggest you make a general schedule and stay organized. Being counselor is a great experience, but it is your duty to represent the festival and that is a huge undertaking – I knew that going into it and yet it was still even grander than I thought.
I am sad that Summer Camp 2012 is over; but I am already getting excited for Summer Camp 2013. From my first video entering the SC Counselor contest I claimed that Summer Camp is the best festival ever, and it is. The line up is amazing every year and the people who make it happen are all so awesome and nice. Thank you Summer Camp, thank you fellow SCampers, and anyone who is considering coming next year – it will be the best experience of your life.
Keep Striving for Peace, Love, and Unity Fellow SCampers,
Camp Counselor Maria