A letter from your West camper

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” – Dr. Seuss

Dear Mom and Dad:

Can you believe I’m already home?  I know you’re so happy to see me and hear all about my summer – and my first dinner home was delicious!  Thanks for letting me pick my favorite food

I’m writing this letter to tell you that I’m sorry I’m not too talkative tonight – and I hope you don’t take it personally that I get choked up every time I start to tell a story from camp.  It really has nothing to do with you.  It’s just that it’s hitting me now that my 2012 summer at West is over and it flew by too fast.  I want to tell you everything while it’s still so fresh in my mind, but every time I think about camp I get sad because I miss my bunk, my friends, my counselors and that indescribable camp feeling that you just won’t understand.

You see… last night at this time I was still hugging my camp friends, cheering for my friends in the slide show, singing the West Alma Mater while swaying in the social hall, and witnessing the final burnout “TLW ’12.”  I kept thinking, “This is my final night of the summer”… but the reality didn’t sink in until I walked into the house today. You know that I love how comfortable my bed is here at home, but I’d rather be sleeping on my egg crate at camp any day.  I know you must think I’m crazy.

The summer was full of amazing times and I’m not sure where to begin!  Just a heads up – I might start laughing uncontrollably when I think of some of the amazing things that happened this summer.  You can ask me about them – but not sure if you’ll “get it.”  Everyone was excited when we got off the bus and saw the new Ropes Course.  We had amazing themed BBQ’s like Rave, Rock & Roll and Halloween where we got to dress up.  The cool evening activities, like Don’t Forget the Lyrics, Minute to Win It and the crazy night with Brad Henderson (an amazing Hypnosis and Magician).  Should I tell you about how awesome the Carnival was?   The camp made an awesome waterslide into the lake and they had a ridiculous amount of food, too!!  How about the songs which we can’t stop singing, “Call Me Maybe” and “Starships” (sorry if you’ll get sick of them – but I won’t since they remind me of camp!!)

Oh yeah… and how about the cool shows the camp produced – “Shrek” and “Little Mermaid” and the amazing Cinderella Prom Cart that brought the girls to the prom!!  Or the Zumba and Yoga ladies who taught us some new moves.  Pretty cool, right?

I got all of your letters reminding me to have the best time – but I didn’t even need your reminders!  I was doing it on my own!  The break-out was SICK!!!!  The excitement in camp was beyond any that I’ve ever felt – I had goose bumps and tears in my eyes when the color war flyers were tossed in the air and we all got to see what team we were on!!  THAT is a feeling that I cannot fully describe to you, but it’s one that I will never forget.  First Session they had Eco White VS. Industrial Red and Second Session it was Red LA VS. White NYC!!

Color War went so fast!  My favorite memories were Tug of War, hatchet-hunting, the Apache relay and the singing inside the social hall for Color War Sing Night.  We ended the night singing the Alma Mater – reunited as one.  By the end of the song, we were all crying – can you imagine so many campers and staff crying on each other’s shoulders at the same time?  Even my counselors had tears rolling down their cheeks. It was really intense and it was another one of those moments in camp that I know you just can’t imagine because you weren’t there.

And then camp was over – it just suddenly came to an end.  I can’t believe that all 27 days have passed.  The same buses that brought us here in the beginning of camp showed up this morning and rolled back through the gates.  It was so depressing when everyone saw them pull into the center of camp. The hugs got tighter, the cries and sobs got louder and the “I love you’s” and I’m going to miss you’s” got sadder and sadder.

And as the bus doors opened we all just stared.  It was as if the open doors were just daring the first camper to step up – and no one wanted to be the first.  It made it feel too final that the TLW Summer of 2012 was over and it was time to go our separate ways.

It was so hard to say good-bye to the friends with whom I spent every waking and sleeping moment of the past four weeks.  And I know that you are my family but so are the friends I made at West.

So that’s why I’m a little out of it tonight… because I’m just feeling a little empty.  And I want you to know that while I will be here with you at home for the next eleven months – my heart will be at West.


P.S. I’m planning to be a Color War GENERAL one day!!!!


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