[Photo from top of a mountain near our campground at Molino Basin]
This past weekend, I attended my first camp with an organization called Camp Wildcat and it made me realize something- I forgot what it was like to be a kid.
In my opinion, society tells us to grow up and learn to be mature as soon as possible. For me, that meant right around freshman year. I still acted immature obviously but that’s what I feel like I was told to start acting older because soon I would be an adult.
Now, I’m a second-year college student and after going camping with Camp Wildcat, I feel like everything is so serious. I am 20 years old and I am an “adult.” I have to act “formal” and “appropriate” just about all the time.
I’m not saying that it’s detrimental for society to expect us to act like adults(we should, for the most part) but if society never gives us room to act like kids, then it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be one. If we reflect back on being a kid, we can remind ourselves of important life lessons that we shouldn’t lose sight of. Camp Wildcat was the catalyst that I needed to remind me what it was like to be a kid and here a few lessons I learned after reflecting back on my experience from this weekend:
Don’t afraid to losen up and be silly
After high school(and usually during high school), we’re taught to be serious and appropriate all the time that we forget to act silly and losen up. At least for me, I know I forget to be silly sometimes and the activities at Camp Wildcat reminded me to let go and have fun.
One of my favorite parts was the reactions we gave to the “skits” performed by different groups based on movies and expressions. In between activities, different groups would perform skits of random things and afterwords, the directors would ask what we thought about the skit. We responded with either some sort of expression or movie reference. My favorite was called the James Franco which was a Spiderman 3 reference from a scene where James Franco is eating pie. The waitress asks how it is and he responds, “So good.” We’d choose one like James Franco and then in unison say, “SOOO good.” They were all silly like that and it was a lot of fun. Overall, it just reminded me to have fun and losen up.
Don’t let your creativity and imagination ever die
Similar to the idea of always being “serious,” we sometimes find ourselves in positions where we aren’t asked to use our creativity and/or imagination. Yes, sometimes a project or homework assignment will have an unexpected turn and we have to be creative their but what I really mean is using your creativity and imagination on it’s own like an art.
A large part of the camp was performing “skits.” All camps have themes and this one that I went to over the weekend was themed Camp Disney so as you can imagine, everything revolved around Disney. Before eating a meal, the counselors made each group perform a skit with another group before they could receive their word. These skits forced us to be creative and use our imaginations. The experience reminded me that I shouldn’t ever let my creativity and imagination die out.
Never stop wishing, dreaming and believing
This lesson is one that I believe is the most important- never giving up on your dreams, wishes, and beliefs. There are several times when society tells us to settle for a job that pays enough to start a family, start a family and live your life until you die and that’s it. Period. People tell you not to have dreams to high because you might not accomplish them or make them come true. I say that’s bologna!
At the conclusion of Camp Wildcat on Sunday morning, we did an activity called Wish Bracelets. The way it works is you and another person get together a make wish bracelets for each other with the provided string. But wait! There’s a special process:
1st- you make a wish for the other person and tie a knot and they make one for you and tie a knot
2nd- you make a wish for yourself and tie a knot and they do the same
3rd- you make a wish for the world and tie a knot and they do the same
Then you tie it in on their wrist and they tie one on yours and you two finish with a hug. You can make as many bracelets as you want too!
It’s a warm and loving activity and awakens that fuzzy feeling inside your stomach that makes you feel good. The activity in general is fantastic because the point is to make you think about what you care about the world and reminds you to always think about others(and yourself)!
Just remember this- even though we’re told to be serious the majority of the time in life, we shouldn’t ever forget what it’s like to be a kid 🙂
*Side note about Camp Wildcat:
“Camp Wildcat is a student-run, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization at the University of Arizona devoted to improving the lives of Tucson’s youth. Over 100 dedicated volunteers provide cost-free activities for fun, friendship and to portray college as an attainable goal for everyone!”