I spent this past Sunday afternoon outside at Schenley Park, which is just a couple of blocks from my apartment. As I enjoyed reading and laying outside in the (finally) beautiful weather, I started to think about how different this summer is going to be from every other summer I can remember in my life.
Since I was little, I’ve gone to summer camp every year I can remember except for two: 2011, when I studied abroad in France, and 2013, when I traveled to Israel and then moved to Pittsburgh. Even the picture below is not from my first ever day of camp- this picture is of my first day of camp either the summer right before or right after kindergarten, but I’d been to camp while I was in preschool, too.
When I was 11, I stopped being a camper and instead started volunteering at a camp that was held at a local preschool, and did that for two years before joining a CIT (Counselor In Training) program at the camp my little sister had attended for a few years.
I was a CIT for three years and then became a Junior Counselor (towards the end of high school), and then an Assistant Counselor (during college), and finally a Counselor (after graduation), at that camp. Before joining the CIT program, I hadn’t been too keen on spending time outdoors- especially in the heat!- but I grew to love it and love camp and love working with the kids (pre-K and Kindergarten…not everyone’s idea of fun!).
Even the years I didn’t go to camp, I still was outside, as my trips to Europe and Israel both involved a heavy dose of time outside and nature.
This summer is going to be totally different. My primary obligations are going to be lab and classes, both indoor activities. Lab is a year-round activity now, and the classes that I have to take this summer run from mid-May through early August. If I want to spend time outside enjoying the nice weather and all the fun that comes with it, I’m going to have to make a point of doing that myself; it’s no longer going to be the de facto way I spend my summer. So things are going to be different this year. Not worse- just different- and that’s given me something to think about.