Written By: Anna Brady
It’s coming up to a year since I first experienced camp in Canada, and I’m still talking about how amazing it was. While it was the best experience of my life and I’m counting down the days until summer number two at camp, when I think back to this time last year, I definitely wasn’t as excited as I am now. I was nervous, scared, and I was freaking out about going to camp for the first time in my life. But now that I’ve experienced camp, it’s my favourite place in the world.
Here are 3 reasons why I almost didn’t go to camp:
1. Traveling alone was new and scary.
Not only was I taking my first international flight, I was taking my first international flight to a country I had never been before. Not only had I never been to Canada, I knew absolutely no one.
What I learned is that flying by yourself isn’t so bad. Especially if there is someone at the airport or even in the country that you know. But, I was arriving in a country where the only people I knew were from the other ends of emails.
2. 10-weeks felt like a lifetime, at the time.
Before camp, the longest I had been away from home was 3 weeks (the previous summer). Even at the time, 3 weeks seemed long. But, leaving in June and coming home in August, it seemed like I was heading off for the entire year. People told me that camp flies by, and when it’s time to leave, you won’t believe all that time had passed. But, I wasn’t buying it. 10 weeks is 10 weeks. That’s a long time.
3. I was leaving my friends and my support.
While I was heading off to camp for the summer, the rest of my friends were heading away together back home. I was tempted to go with the crowd and do whatever the group was doing instead. They were going to be spending the summer together and experiencing the same things, all while having the same private jokes. What if I came back and they had moved on?
Despite the conflicting reasons in my head, I ended up getting on the plane and traveled to Canada. I spent 10 weeks at a summer camp, and I did end up leaving my friends. I may not have known anyone when I landed in Canada, but NYQUEST made me feel like we had known each other all our lives.
Until that point, it may have only been emailing back and forth. But, their warm welcomes made me feel excitement about the summer ahead. While 10 weeks on day-one seemed like a lifetime, the time flew past and I didn’t want to leave when the time came to go home. Yes, I was leaving my friends when I boarded the plane in Dublin, but I made so many amazing new friends. I felt the same way when I was boarding the plane in Toronto. And don’t worry–none of my friends moved on. They just had more stories!
All my new adventures seemed crazy, to begin with, but if we all backed out because of fear, we’d never experience anything new.
Take the plunge and just go for it–I promise you won’t look back. I haven’t!
Anna is from the land of St Patrick in Ireland–and lives in the country’s capital, Dublin. She spent last summer experiencing Canadian summer camp for the first time where she was a camp counsellor at a camp in Northern Ontario (a privately owned camp in Temagami). If you have more questions for Anna, she can be reached at [email protected]