I knew that this summer was going to be different, ever since I had sent in my music camp application last spring. It would take months for all my information to arrive, and I anxiously waited for the time of day when the postman would pull up to our mailbox, hoping that one day, a letter addressed to me from camp would be there.
The fateful June day arrived and, after shredding the envelope to pieces, I looked at the paper in my hands, which read: Emily Sabourin, Unit-Left Bank, Cabin-Einstein.
At first, I was disappointed because my friend also attending camp wasn't in Einstein cabin, let alone even the same unit. Although my parents both said it would be a great opportunity to make new friends, I was not so sure. What if everyone in my cabin didn't like me and thought I was just strange? How did they know what the girls would be like, they wouldn't have to live with them for two weeks. I had a million questions running through my head, and just thinking about them all made me feel queasy, but I had to attend camp.
Weeks later and July had just begun. Sitting in the "shotgun seat" of the car, I looked out the window at the passing trees with a blank stare. My attempts to block out the world and thoughts of what awaited me at camp failed miserably. Our van pulled onto a road with a sign reading "Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp." My stomach felt even worse as the van rolled on and stopped at a dirt path with another sign that said "Left Bank." The area was a fairly large place with a circle of six cabins. After locating my temporary home at the edge of the circle, I slowly walked up the steps, dreading what my cabin mates would be like. I wasn't at all thrilled about getting to the top of the staircase sooner than I had to.
The door was already open and a pink curtain hung in the window next to it. I was one of the first there, which was perfectly fine by me since I didn't want to make a big entrance and have all eyes on me.
Suddenly I saw a familiar face, realizing that there was someone else from my school rooming with me after all. "Well," I thought to myself, "This can't be all that bad, now can it?" I tossed my things onto a nearby bottom bunk and watched while people started pouring in. Soon, everyone was settled in and the last of the girls said their goodbyes to their families.
"Anyone want to play cards?" our counselor asked. Instantaneously, the rest of my fears left, and a new and exciting experience began!
Being away from home for two weeks taught me new life lessons, ones I've learned to appreciate, even in just the small amount of time over the summer. Camp helped me to become an independent teenager, and gain more insight about the world around me. Even small skills such as navigating myself to the next rehearsal without guidance of parents and living many hours away from them, will be of importance in the future.
These benefits stretch even beyond college, and this new wisdom will allow me to become a responsible and successful adult.
Emily Sabourin is a junior at Elk Rapids High School.