by Emily Frazell, class of 2017
I have been going to Camp Allen in Navasota, TX, since I was going into 4th grade, both as a camper and as a staff member - for those of you keeping track, that’s twelve summers... AKA a long dang time. The only things I’ve done longer than being a camp kid is being alive and being a student. However, this past summer I reluctantly pried myself away from that and had an internship in Austin, and found out what happens when you stop working at camp...
1. You miss your friends.
It’s really hard to go from living with 25+ of your closest friends for 3 weeks to working 8-5 in an office.
2. You can feel pretty left out.
This is pretty closely tied to number one, but when your friends keep posting fun pics from the summer it feels like a constant reminder that you aren’t there. You wonder if you would be having more fun if you were there with them.
Side note: don’t forget that one big problem with the internet is that people put their favorite pieces of themselves out there – Facebook posts don’t remind you how hard camp can be, just the fun happy things.
3. You GROW.
BUT! There is so much good to come from stepping away from camp too!
For me, camp was definitely in my comfort zone, and once I went elsewhere, I found out some cool things about myself. When you take a step out of what's familiar and who's familiar, you get to be more of your own person, or find out who that is! This summer was so cool for me because I realized that Emily is much more than just a camp kid. Once I had the guts to step away from camp, I was able to find a possible career path that I think could be empowering and uplifting for me. If I had stayed at camp again this summer I would never have found a passion for helping people through non-profit development.
Growth takes place when you push yourself out of your comfort zone.
4. You realize the strength of your friendships.
Although I missed my camp friends dearly this summer, I also found that those relationships aren’t held together by the physical space that is camp. The relationships that are built at camp have Christ, and fun, and love as their foundation and those are three things that move with the people and aren’t just tied to the blob, or cabins, or lake.
5. You are forced to find God in new faces and places.
In a similar way that I realized that friendships aren’t tied just to camp, I realized that God isn’t just tied to camp. This summer was hard for me to get super connected spiritually when I’m so used to finding that at camp. At camp, I saw God in the joy of the camper each days, in the bible studies we did each day and in the beautiful landscape. I was forced to look for God in the new people I was meeting every day at my internship and to hear his voice in their words of encouragement, which was an exciting challenge. This summer I saw God mostly in the faces of my coworkers and in the selfless ways they worked to serve the University. I think it helped give me the confidence that similarly, when I graduate and leave this place—The ESC—I will be able to find these things as well even in new environments.
TL/DR: Camp is one of my favorite places in the world, but having the courage to leave for a bit can be really empowering and fruitful.