Written By: Liam Gordon
If you have ever met anyone who has been to summer camp, then you may have heard them talk about the ‘bubble’. Whilst it would be hard to find one word to describe camp, I think that understanding that it exists in a bubble would be a good place to start. You are probably wondering what on earth I am talking about but in this post, I hope to convince you about how amazing camp is by explaining the bubble effect.
Firstly, the bubble has its own time zone – a day at camp is the same as a week in the real world. What does that mean? It means that things you may achieve in the real world in a week can be done in a day at camp. Camp days could include sailing, water skiing, a basketball tournament, taco eating competition, making cool stuff and having a campfire at night. Needless to say, you definitely get a lot done in one day. But the best part of this ‘time zone’ is how quickly you grow close to people. Closer than you’ll ever feel with anyone. In 12 days at camp, you may feel like you have known someone for a whole year. It’s amazing because you have no distractions and you can really take the time to appreciate the environment and the people around you.
This leads me onto my next point. The bubble is pretty thick and it doesn’t allow all of the usual, and let’s face it often meaningless, distractions to slip through. By this, I mean no checking your phone every other minute to see who’s texted you, who’s liked your pictures, what memes are currently trending… None of that exists at camp. There is no need to see who’s texted you when there are so many people around you and you are having new conversations all the time. There’s no need to look at your friend’s Instagram and feel jealous because you’ve got the most stunning office you could have – a camp surrounded by forests and with a private lake. So no wonder you feel like you have all of this extra time when you let go of social media. Most camps have a tech detox rule and I don’t think I have ever supported a rule more!
“With so many amazing people around you, it is near impossible not to think positive thoughts. Your entire summer is filled with great weather and days lying by the lake, nights by the campfire with great music and company and the energy is just so incredible all the time.”
Moreover, the bubble kind of makes you forget about everyone at home. You are away from your usual life with its usual responsibilities and monotonies; you have a chance to do something new and work with people from around the world that you would never meet otherwise so why would you want to turn away from what’s going on at camp just to see what’s going on at home? Let’s face it, if you were to check Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, then you’d be seeing the same old posts from the same old people. Ok so zone back into camp: you are with some super interesting people, none of whom have their phones so it’s an all-aboard summer long social where people actually talk to each other.
The bubble also provides a constant energy supply. Working with kids really keeps you on your toes and surprisingly you’ll get by with very little sleep. I always come back from camp and wish that I could put the same amount of energy into everything that I do at home. Even when I’m feeling exhausted, I am feeling on top of the world. I don’t want to pretend that homesickness doesn’t exist because it definitely does and that’s ok, but with so many amazing people around you, it is near impossible not to think positive thoughts. Your entire summer is filled with great weather and days lying by the lake, nights by the campfire with great music and company and the energy is just so incredible all the time.
Finally, I think that what really makes the bubble special is the way you think when you are in it. At home, you are always waiting for something or someone, have to be somewhere, are worrying about an exam or when your student finance is coming in but at camp, your two main thoughts are: are all of my campers here and how long until the next meal? You have no idea how clear your mind can be at camp, you really do have time for self-reflection. Remember that one time you had an amazing idea or wanted to make a New Year’s resolution but you got distracted by life? Well, at camp you have time for those ideas and time to make those changes happen. In the end, though, the bubble pops and if you’ve made the most of everything it has to offer then you’ll walk out a better person.
P.S. when you get home from camp, you may feel like it was all a dream and it is only by going back summer after summer that you can make it a reality.
Liam studies Maths at The University of Edinburgh. Once he has graduated, he plans to move to Canada. Liam has spent two summers with NYQUEST and has experienced two very different camps. If you have more questions for Liam, he can be reached by email at [email protected]