I grew up in a small, southern town that is quite religious. I grew up Methodist and actually have some great memories of the trips I went on with my youth group as well as going to camp. Every summer I still have a moment when I think back to those summers and wish with all my might that I was still there. This is the only time I wish I were a teenager again.
Our camps consisted of a week at either Emory & Henry College or Hiwassee College; both in the middle of nowhere but the fun and trouble you could get into! I met my first kind of serious boyfriend there, Patrick. It was drama all the time because while he was experienced, I was not and I was naive about relationships then. The last year I went to Jr High Assembly I had just finished my freshman year and was blessed with the fact that I would be able to attend both Jr High and Sr High Assembly. I got there a day early because I was a member of the youth council. Patrick shows up the next day and I am excited to see him and what does he do, dumps me. He saw a cuter girl and figured he should take his chance hooking up with her since I was only one town away from him and she was much farther away.
Well, I did what any girl would do, I marched myself down to dining hall and picked on a poor guy who didn’t see what was coming. Hurricane Amy needed to prove to Patrick that I was wanted and I don’t think it matter who the guy was. Enter Eliot. My sweet little Elipooh who stepped up to the plate not knowing that by the end of the week I would be dumping his ass to jump at the chance to get back with Patrick. I will claim young and dumb for these choices because I know it wasn’t nice to use Eliot.
Well, Eliot still brings this up from time to time in order to make me feel bad and I attempt my feeble excuses of youthful idiocy. We did manage to forge a great friendship after that and sadly I dated several guys within that little circle. Never a good thing to do but again, I was young and dumb.
I think back at everything I experienced there, the people that I met, the things that I learned and wish with all my might that I could have one week to experience it all again. Yeah, I heard people saying that my reasons for going to camp and doing all of the conference stuff was about me getting to meet boys but it was so much more than that. I *wish* that I could have been bold back then and stood up for myself but dealing with such adult comments at that age were impossible and still today I don’t think I could articulate the hurt feelings I received from those who made those comments. It definitely made me question my faith and made me more aware of what I say around younger people.
Yeah, I danced with boys at camp, kissed quite a few, tried out smoking a couple of times, made a lot of great friends and learned quite a bit about my faith. But what I took away from that one week in the summer was a ton of memories that no adult could understand. I was thrown into a group of people without my safety net of friends. It was sink or swim time and while I wasn’t part of the A group at school; I made friends easily and learned that there were people out there that quite enjoyed my quirky sense of humor. I even learned that while I wasn’t the biggest fan of my body, there were boys out there that thought I was cute. So camp helped me in a way that going to church every Sunday could not and it also opened my eyes to see that there was a world much bigger than Cleveland and I wanted to see more of it.