Last weekend I participated in one of the most beautiful social experiments, Camp Grounded: Summer Camp for Adults. I’ve been trying to put my experience in words, but I fear I am not doing it justice. After some deliberation, I’ve decided that my mission is not to do it justice, but to give you some understanding of my experience. The letter, below, is to my past self.
A few words of advice for the adventure you are about to embark on…
Camp Grounded is an overwhelming, unfamiliar, scary, exhilarating, inspiring, intoxicating, warm, welcome, and magical experience. As one moment falls into the next, take it all in. There are no schedules to tell you where to be, where you need to go, or who you need to be with. The first few hours will be overwhelming and constrictive not knowing.. but you must let go.
Let go. Be in the moment. Be in the place. Be the person. Be you. Because right now, you are exactly where you should be.
Be in the moment as the beautiful voice of Aloe Vera bounces off the rock walls as you and your collection of new friends, CoolJello, Lyn Winn, Pie, and Belly, sit wiggling their toes the swimming hole. Feel the sun fall down the redwood trees as the energy of the group remains intoxicated by the songstress and her original songs.
Be in the moment as you find your place to rest in the yurt. Engage in the quiet and energizing conversation while sipping tea that smells like Christmas. Talk to the Snow, Willy, Repeat, and Tzing like you’ve known them for years.. and feel like you have.
Be in the moment as you eat kale for the third meal in a row. Appreciate where this food has come from, the people who prepared it, and how it nourishes your body.
Be in moment in your playshop: Learn Islamic Folk Dance. Look at the faces around you and smile at your sweaty selves as you learn these new dances. Feel the hands you hold and trust they will help guide you into the next step.
Be in moment as you play a game of roshambo with 200 new friends… all to determine the honor of raising the camp flag that morning. Realize you do not need caffeine to function in the morning, but you do appreciate the way it jolts your mind and body into the new day.
Be in the moment as you dance to 80’s music in your neon green tulle skirt. Appreciate that you can do this without alcoholic beverages. Know that you didn’t because you snuck a few sips of bourbon with Gingerrr, making you feel 19 again.
There will be a lot of moments to cherish. You will probably not remember them all but you will remember the feeling and that is the most important.
You WILL remember one of the last people, Toes, that you met as you were checking out of camp. He’ll ask you how your camp experience went…
You’ll have no answers for him. Your answer will be a hug. You will explain that the feeling of a hug is the best way to explain your camp experience and you’ll say…
“Thank you for being a part of my experience.”
Because sometimes there are no words.
And your optimistic self will shine as bright as it once was and you’ll be happy.
Safe travels Erin. You will have a blast,
Taloola E. Mazing
P.S. More eloquent words, by another camper: Into the Woods and Away from Technology