By Zara Quiter, TIWP student
Camp isn’t a place.
School is a place.
The grocery store is, too.
Camp is a world.
It’s its own little planet, nestled among mountains, a sanctuary for the birds and trees, the bears and bees.
Camp is a home.
Cabins, lining fields of trees with no electricity, bathrooms with showers to get clean, foosball tables to challenge others.
Camp is constant.
A goodbye letter to boredom with a schedule of something fun, fun-nes, and then some more fun
Camp is a breath.
A breath of nature, of community. Of Rest Hour, with full bellies reading, writing, resting in creaky metal bunk beds or rusted porches.
Camp is a song.
Music in the air, morning and night, no one would stop to grumble at a dancer who ran into them because they’re already too busy singing.
Camp is a hike.
A trip to Yosemite, with only a tarp shielding you from the afternoon rain, chaco-tacos keeping you hyped, the slight soreness in your back as you heave your now-a-million pounds heavier backpack to the trailhead.
Camp is water.
A pool set cold, still refreshing due to the heat, a lake with some sort of lily pads and paddle boats, a river, somehow colder than the pool, mud hiding in the reeds, a hot shower as you scrub the dirt from your feet.
Camp is a heatwave.
Begging your counselors for a trip to the ice machine, a jump in the pool, water balloon surprises, the cold and strong spray from the hose as you crush or get crushed in gaga.
Camp is Saturday morning.
Sleeping in and still groggy councilors, the race to sugar cereal, Shabbat services when you’re stuck in the sun, Saturday Floats as the bell rings.
Camp is a range.
The out-of-the-way path, the hop over the drainage system, the half-shaded shed, arrow fins missing, arrows missing altogether, plastic bows, and safety commands.
Camp is a feast.
A lengthy order from Sysco, hoppers, clearers, spongers, the motzi with Camp additions, dessert every day, the allergen list led by Directors and such.
Camp is a talent show.
Brave enough to volunteer, to step on stage, to sing, to joke, to act, to borrow a guitar from a song leader, the microphone that never quite worked.
Camp is mail.
Handwriting, nice or bad, yours or not, from home or from you, the arrival of letters or postcards stretched out, pre-addressing them a project with parents.
Camp is canteen.
$2 candy, jackets called hoodies, water bottles that get lost, stamps, as you beg your counselors for some, humorous envy as your neighboring cabin receives theirs, annoyance if your money runs out.
Camp is a feminist.
You just call on me sister, strength. Gazebos. Voices and gymnastics.
Camp is the staff.
Your counselors, like much-cooler parents, Unit Counselors spending time with you and others, Unit Heads overtime care and work. We want the kitchen staff, TEVA all over camp, waterfront in red, Directors here, there, everywhere.
Camp is a circle.
A circle of dancers, circle of campers, circle of mafia or poison-dart-frog, circle of life, circle of joy.
Camp is love.
Hugs, campfires, lunches, lounges. Services, floats, late-night whispers. Sharing every time, every block.
Camp is a community.
River falls, scratches and all. Bug bites, allergic sting, bruises on knees, mistakes with geese. Through it all your cabin will hug you and love you.
Camp is screenless.
Five minutes, eyes closed, bag filled. In the office maybe. Whatever people even do these days is left at home when you’re back. Eyes opened, mind cleared.
Camp is a laugh.
Six bunk beds, messy or clean. All day, every day. Tables, job-wheels. Talent show show-off. Sarcasm, nosy. All one big team.
Camp isn’t a place.
Camp is a world, home, constant, breath, hike, water, heatwave.
Camp is Saturday morning, range, feast talent show, mail, canteen, feminist.
Camp is the staff, circle, love, community, cabin.
Camp is mine.
Camp is yours.
Camp isn’t a place.
Camp is Camp Tawonga.