Op-Ed: Experiencing Camp as a New Student

Students bond at Camp Wingate*Kirkland, teaching each other archery. Photo by David Cutler.

As I stood in line waiting to board the bus, I was nervous to embark on an overnight trip with my new classmates, some of whom I had never spoken to. Thus far in my brief high school career, I’ve attended three different schools. Starting over is exhausting, especially as a junior.

The night before the trip, I spent the evening baking; my favorite way to alleviate stress. Thursday morning, I boarded the bus with 36 snickerdoodles in my backpack, hoping to share my food on the way to Camp Wingate*Kirkland.

Two hours later, we stepped off the bus, entered the sweltering 95 degree heat of Yarmouth, and received our cabin assignments. I went to unpack my belongings in The Cottage, a cozy cabin that a handful of junior girls, including myself, were assigned to.

After we’d settled in and had lunch, everyone changed into bathing suits and headed down to a small beach bordering a picturesque and refreshingly cool lake. I was excited to try paddle boarding, our first activity of the day. We were split into three groups and learned the basics. After a couple hours of lounging on the beach and chatting with my new classmates, my group was finally called into the water to complete our set of team-building activities.

I found myself laying down on my board, fingertips in the water, enjoying the lily pads and drifting away from the larger group with two other girls.

As our trio of paddle boards drifted into the marshy area of the lake, I found myself talking easily, naturally, and comfortably. We chatted about classes, sports, and how bizarre it was that we were entering our third year of high school. I was comfortable, relaxed, and interested.

The rest of the trip was filled with short activities to promote conversation and interactions between students of all grades. Highlights included the Brimmer Olympics and a talent show.

By the time we boarded the bus on Friday afternoon, I was relieved to be on my way back to familiar territory, surrounded by familiar people. However, I was happy that I’d gotten a chance to get to know some of my new classmates outside a traditional school environment.

Although my adjustment to Brimmer certainly isn’t over, I feel that camp helped expedite the process of acclimating to a new school and made starting over somewhat easier.

 

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