I just found this unpublished / unfinished blog post from right after camp last year. I've had camp on the brain like crazy lately. I found out I'm going to be a mentor this year and I've been planning and brainstorming and getting excited 24/7. I'M SO EXCITED!!!
It's been a week since East Tennessee Unschooled Summer Camp, or etusc. It was one of the best weeks I’ve had yet. I went last year for the first time as a camper and it was a blast, but this year was truly something special. I learned amazing things and found new parts of myself. I experienced so much physically/emotionally/spiritually/mentally that I still haven’t even really processed it all.
I was a Junior Mentor, which means I don’t get paid, but I also don’t have to pay. I helped out with a specific Mentor Group all week and helped with some cleaning and activities. Every evening the staff had a meeting and we led a Junior Mentor activity, like icebreaker games, Sardines, postcard writing, Freeze Tag, discussion groups, etc. Next year I would really love to be a mentor.
I keep avoiding writing this post because I have so much to say and it's hard to wade through the feelings in my brain. It was a week of utter bliss. Really interesting discussions in the gazebo about gender, sexuality, adulthood, names and identities, and more. Fun field day games and sports like volleyball and pool time. Truly wonderful and deep personal connections. People just want to talk, so you get to the good stuff quicker. Awesome talent show (that I sang in). SO MANY CUDDLES.
There's this thing called the 5 Love Languages which boils down to the fact that what makes one person feel loved does not necessarily make another person feel loved. The five categories are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. I realized that I am MAJORLY in need of physical touch. A single hug or hand on the back can change my day. I got so much physical contact at camp. It was spectacular. We "invented" this thing called a massage hug, where you basically hug someone and you both massage each other's backs as you stand there. It's glorious. There were cuddle puddles and head scratches. Many hugs every day. Holding hands while walking and talking. Massage trains. Leaning on one another while sitting. Any and every kind of platonic touch you can imagine. And then I went home and got a few hello/goodbye hugs and maybe one massage all week. It was a super rough transition. I'm not sure how to bring more physical touch into my life. (Sounds like everyone's struggle, but I'm really not talking about sexual/romantic. I JUST WANT A CUDDLEBUDDY.)
I have a journal next to my bed right now in case of sudden workshop or group ideas. I feel like I sound like a broken record, but man I just love these people. I just want to crawl inside everyone's brain. Everyone is so interesting and has their own individual lives and ideas and it's just so easy and safe to talk about anything and just be human about it. Sighhhh. I'll end my love letter here.