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Today’s post is from one of our oldest (and original campers), Caroline. Recently, while completing her high school applications, she was asked the following: Discuss an accomplishment, event, activity, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding in yourself or others. This is Caroline’s response.

One of my greatest accomplishments was going to sleep-away camp. Sleep-away camp has taught me so many lifelong lessons. I learned confidence, independence, and made a lot of new friendships along the way. Two years ago was when I decided that I wanted to go to camp, so I found a camp in Maine and asked a friend to go with me. It was a brand new camp that was opening the first year I went. I didn’t know anyone except one person, and I couldn’t talk to my family for a month. I was 2,000 miles away from home, with no communication with my parents except for hand-written letters. The first week was hard because I was settling in and trying to get to know people, but I learned how to have confidence. Camp taught me that you have to have confidence in yourself to meet new people. I was scared when I first got to my cabin because I was seeing a whole new group of faces, but in the end, I become best friends with everyone because I had confidence in myself. Camp has also taught me an extremely important life skill, independence. Going to a sleep-away camp far away from your home is something that you have to have a lot of independence to want to do. There were times at camp when I missed my family and my home, but I always made it through. My favorite thing about camp is the new friendships I have made. I have friends from all over the country. I keep in touch with them, and there are even camp reunions. I consider my camp friends to be some of my best friends. Sleep-away camp has taught me a lot about who I am and has given me the confidence to be myself. The friendships I have made at camp and the lessons I have learned will stay with me forever.