Places and Things vs People and the Experience
Updated: Jan 17, 2021
‘Places and things Vs people and the experience’. Recently, that phrase has been ringing true in my ear. Especially around holidays or birthdays, we are encouraged to buy things of value to show how much we love and care about people. However, the older I get, the more I have drifted further and further away from this concept.
It is all well and good to get something expensive or flashy, but the item is not what is important. It is the person who gave you that particular item. They could have gifted you literally anything and you would have been happy with that, because it came from them. The same can be said with traveling. You can travel far and wide, perhaps to an exotic location or jet setting everywhere. But, most of the time it is not the location that the person traveled to, it was an experience that they had there, which their travel stories consisted of.
I feel this statement rings true with summer camp. To begin with I was excited that I was going to tick off all these places and sight see, do things I saw on social media or found on google. I did not really think about the relationships I may make or what experience I would have. I just wanted to travel and go and see something new.
It was not until my third week into my summer camp experience, that I truly felt like the relationships with people were changing; from strangers to friends to even becoming like family. We had been through tiredness, happiness, and mail from home. The awkwardness of getting to know each other was over and we were into the bulk of feeling like we had known each other for years! The people made my summer camp experience this amazing concept that I wanted to do over and over again (which I do!)
Friendships at summer camp can come in the most unlikely of places. It is – in my eyes – the most organic way to form a friendship nowadays. You are yourself. You are not behind any form of social media; you cannot fabricate any part of your being or personality. You truly disconnect to reconnect with yourself and with others. That is why friendships and bonds that are formed in this environment are solid and can bloom in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Summer camp is just a location without people. Yes, the property is beautiful, but you do not come back for the scenery alone. You come back for the people, the traditions people have made and continue to uphold. You come back for those connections around a campfire, for that sense of community. You come back for the bond that you do not feel anywhere else except at summer camp. The people make that. You can go to a place but without the people it is simply just a point on the map.
When I explain to someone how I find summer camp the most calming but the loudest and most fun place ever, they are so confused. But it is something you cannot explain, you must experience it. The stillness of the lake first thing in the morning, to the music over the loudspeaker, and dancing in the dining hall. The fire-pit hangouts, to the slip and sliding down a hill in the rain, to the serene calm of stargazing at night. The ebbs and flows of the days contribute to the ultimate experience.
The summer camp experience is not defined by special days out, a ‘normal camp day’ can be just as memorable. In my opinion, these days are my favourite moments and will make you smile from ear to ear. Things like, getting up on water-skis for the first time or learning how to build a fire. It could just be you being grateful that you are enjoying the outdoors instead of being inside in your home country or cheering up that homesick camper and seeing them enjoy themselves. Every day is an experience.
It does not matter how many places you have ticked off your list or the fact that you have the newest technology gadget. What matters is the conversations you have with the people around you. The relationships that make you smile everyday. That feeling of excitement by doing something you love. The stories you tell about how you did something amazing.
Every single experience, no matter how small, is an experience that money cannot buy. In my eyes, the experience will always outweigh the material object – no matter how much you wanted the item. Being fully present in the moment adds to the experience and allows you to take away something greater in return.