A Little About Life, A Lot About Love

Ten Things I Learned as a Summer Camper…

You might not think of a festival as the first place to learn lifelong values. I will admit that I might not have always thought of them in that way either. In fact, I probably would have laughed at you and made a sarcastic comment if you had asked me, before my first Summer Camp, if you could learn anything from a festival.

I have been fortunate to live in the area where Summer Camp is and to be able to grow up with the festival a big part of my adult life. I have in some ways grown up and become the adult that I am today because of my time celebrating with new friends, some of whom have become like family, and learning hard life lessons that at first seemed difficult to overcome.

#10 — Mornings Can Be Wild, Peaceful, and Active All at the Same Time

No matter what you want out of mornings, there are places for you to get your needs met at Summer Camp. If you want a more active morning, then go on adventure and see what you can find. There are field day teams that you can join to get out all of your excess energy. You can also show off your athleticism and get to know some new friends. Don’t be shy and don’t be afraid to ask around to find out more information.

If you want to sleep in at Summer Camp, which I do when we do not have children because it might be the only time I sleep in all summer, do it. You can stay in your tent for as long as you like and in most cases your camp neighbors will be respectful about your desires to sleep more.

For a peaceful start to your day, check out the happenings with the yoga schedule. Find an activity that fits your needs. Of course, don’t be afraid to stay up all night and enjoy yourself. Just remember that you do not want to be the camper that disrupted everyone and was out of control.

#9 — While Big Bands Draw You In, Seeing the Up and Coming Bands on Small Intimate Stages Make Memories You Will Not Forget

I have been so fortunate to watch so many musicians and bands grow up on the stages of Summer. At one point, you could see Allie Kral (with her former band Cornmeal) on the dirt ground. Then to come back the following year and see Allie playing on a bigger stage. She has continued to play her way up the stages and show off her impressive musical skills and recently found soulful voice. Last year, I got the pleasure of seeing the Marcus King Band on the Campfire Stage. They have been growing in popularity quickly and have a huge cult following.

#8 — Don’t Make a Choice! Give Back and Party Too

While partying and having fun is what some people come to Summer Camp for, giving back is what others enjoy most. If you do not want to make the choice, you don’t have to. There are plenty of ways to give back and lots of volunteer opportunities. Sometimes, booths are looking for someone to sit in their tent for an hour or two. These are great ways to get to meet some other activists and to feel good about what you are doing.

#7 — Learning to Adapt to Change Will Keep You Happy

Of course, we all loved the days when there was no security and when everyone got to camp by their cars. Those days are over. They are not over to punish the festival goers, but instead they are over to allow for many new features including: additional stages and temps, more vendors, and more patrons. Just imagine if you couldn’t get your Summer Camp ticket each year because it sold out too fast. Think about how many of your amazing Summer Camp friends that you might have never gotten to know.

#6 — You Are Never Too Old To Play

Some of the most fun memories that I have from Summer Camps have been while I was being goofy and enjoying some of the extracurricular fun. There are always so many things to do at Summer Camp. In the beginning we didn’t have the fancy rides or the multitude of stages, but we could still play. Each year it is something new from rides to mini golf to the jellyfish of swings. I would highly encourage you to let loose, act like a kid again, and enjoy playing while you are at Summer Camp.

#5 — You Are Never Alone in the Forest

The title pretty much says it all. Do not forget that even if you feel like you are alone, you are never alone in the forest. I like to keep my friends close so that if we get lost, we get lost together. (I know it is lame, but even after all of these I can still get lost in no time…I guess you could say that I am directionally challenged.)

#4 — You Are Worth Everyone’s Respect

One of the first lessons that I learned while attending Summer Camp was that I deserved to be treated with respect and kindness. I was able to walk away from bad situations and look for better opportunities thanks to this life lesson. While I was once a young girl who would allow people to speak to me in ways that were unkind and disrespectful, I have become a woman who walks away. I am always able to find people to hang out with or talk to that are going to treat me with the respect and dignity that I deserve.

#3 — Friends Come in All Types

Over the years I have learned that I am going to meet new friends and that my friends are going to be all types of people. I have met people who are my age, friends who are younger, and even friends who are older. I have met friends who have similar jobs and interests to us and those that we seem to have nothing in common with. I have went to experiences and types of music that I would have never seen had I not been with a new friend. Friends can show you new experiences if you are willing to make friends with all types of people, and you just never know what you might enjoy.

#2 — If You Do Not Know What to Do, Listen to the Music Play

At the end of the day, Summer Camp for me is all about the music. I love being able to enjoy my favorite bands and artists. I also love when there are special opportunities and you get to meet one of those people that you have appreciated for so long. However, at the end of the day I am willing to check out new bands and to see as much music as I possibly can. I love getting to experience those amazing group moments where you feel like everyone gets along and shares something magical. There are those moments where you hear a special new note in a favorite song and are blown away. There are jams and sometimes even old favorites that are rarely performed live.

#1 — Always Love Yourself

The most important life lesson that I have learned from years at Summer Camp is to love myself. I have learned that I can be different and weird to some people, while others might think that I am boring and lame. We are all unique and our uniqueness is just one of the things that we should love. I have learned to appreciate many facets of my life that I was previously uncomfortable with or experienced anxiety over.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is thank you to everyone who makes Summer Camp possible year after year. I am forever indebted to you for enriching my life in so many ways. You have helped me to learn lessons in life that I might not have ever learned otherwise.