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12 December 2018

The sun rises at 5:30 over the San Bernardino Mountains. The sky shifts from total darkness, to an array of pinks and oranges, to a final stage of staggering blue. The sky shines as a backlight on the rolling hills of redwood trees. Deer frolic in the morning dew. The world begins anew atop the mountain I love. The mountain is home to many adventures, from amazing wildlife scenes, to science camps, to summer camp. The latter of the three shapes my life.

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As a counselor, I had only the time to work for six one-week sessions before returning to school. And this was the final day of my last session. On my final day, I chose to take the time to absorb just how great the world is. I wake up on my final morning at 4:30 am. I finish my packing in the dark. I silently move about the room in an attempt to not wake any of my sleeping campers. I pack, and then I venture outside to watch my final Pali Mountain sunrise of the year. This final sunrise marked the end of my summer camp work for the year. My adventure for the summer was over, however, my life will forever reflect my outstanding experiences on that mountain.

The characters that I called my coworkers shaped my world. These people all came to the mountain for the same reason, to give each camper the best summer of his or her life. Even on my final day, they never fail to make me smile. My day begins flashy and adventurous. I choose to sabotage anyone I please with water balloons or shaving cream as I make my way to the large wooden rustic dining hall. As I enter the dining hall, trendy music is blasting as three hundred other counselors and campers sing along. I voyage through the hall in bliss, for I am who I choose to be, and I am accepted. I am loud. I sing. I dance. I dress vividly. I am happy.

My friends are happy too. We are constantly dressing in odd costumes and talking with strange accents. We promote fun with an emphasis on safety. As I sit at my table amongst my Cabin of 10 smiling campers, I work to make sure every camper is ready and excited for his day. I sat on the edge of my chair that morning, expecting the unexpected. Ready to pounce out of my chair and dance in the aisle. I wait patiently as I hear the iPod changing to “The Cupid Shuffle.” I jump full force out of my seat and into the aisle to perform the associated dance with my co-counselors. The kids cheer. I hear sounds of joy coming from different campers as they see us do what might ordinarily be considered embarrassing. I smile knowing that I have some of my very greatest friends by my side. Every activity we do is considered strange to some level. This camp is a place of freedom and self-expression. When I finally return to my seat, I sit anticipating for the ultimate camp song to play, “Living on a Prayer.” To this song, the entire camp stands on their chairs and sings at the top of their lungs. Every day I know this song is going to play, but I am enthusiastic nonetheless. I love the glisten in my campers’ eyes as I come up with a new dance move in my final breakfast. I grin from ear to ear. This world around me grinned too. Every moment was full of excitement.

This world has given me the self-esteem to know that I will be loved for being who I am. I mustn’t conform to what our society expects. If I want to lip-sync to Rihanna, I will lip sync to Rihanna. I make every moment of my day an adventure. And I will live the rest of my days as I lived at camp, cheerful and grinning. My main goal in life is to serve others, as I have served my campers at camp. I plan to make people happy and healthy so they can live their lives to the extent that they choose. I love seeing joy in others and plan to spread joy as far as possible.

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