Everything went perfectly.
It rained for two weeks straight, but I was out of program so all I really had to do was sit in my tent with the flap just barely open and watch the rain as it created these little mud lakes everywhere. Some kids grumbled when they saw the puddles, but others strapped on their rain boots and jumped. I mean, I learned a lot from those kids. Even if things aren’t going the way you want or expect, all it takes is a little faith and a little courage and a little jump to get something great out of it anyway.
I sucked it up and learned from other people, trusted other people, and trusted myself. I really let myself be open to all the little things that those around me had to teach me, and it taught me more than eleven years of schooling ever could. I was the authority figure, the one with all the responsibility, but that didn’t mean I had to act like a grown up. These kids made me remember what it was like to be twelve or thirteen, so incredibly self conscious and unsure and trying desperately to figure out who they were. But even with all that heavy stuff weighing on them, they were still kids. Underneath the front they put up that made them seem more mature and collected, they were the kind of innocent that I remember being. They really loved each other, without any hesitation or petty reasons not to. They were incredibly open to every possibility the world had to offer them. They could go from building a blanket fort among the bunk beds and sneaking chocolate when they thought I couldn’t see them to having a serious conversation about love and loss. And most of all, they accepted me not only as their counselor, but as their friend. They let me crawl underneath their blanket fort with them and share silly stories; they gave me makeovers with their zillion color eye shadow palette. When I shared my experiences with them, they would gaze at me intently with their wide eyes, soaking up every word I had to say. Things I said made sense to them, because they knew that I had been exactly where they were and that I’d gotten through it, even the times that seemed the most messed up and hopeless. They were suggestible but not stupid; they had very good judgment (although they pushed the envelope at times). They allowed me to become a part of their lives just as I allowed them to become a part of mine, and I am positive that both parties came out better for it.
I spent time with my best friends, solidifying old relationships and forging new ones. We escaped to the lakeside on days off, sharing sunscreen and stories and having stupid diving competitions. We pushed each other through lifeguard training at the beginning of the summer and cried together on the last night, laying with our heads in the sand and watching the full moon as its reflection shimmered on the lake for the last time in 2009. We introduced ourselves to The OC and Avatar: The Last Airbender for the first time and became completely addicted; we spent one Tuesday night watching Titanic on a tiny computer screen until 3:30 am.
Everything was absolutely, positively perfect.