When I was in middle school, I was shipped off to this cabin-style sleepaway camp in the Appalachian Mountains out in Western Maryland. My tenure coincided with the infamous cicada season, where millions of bugs emerge from their underground lairs after spending 7 years leering beneath our feet.
As insects, they shed their exoskeletons and leave behind transparent, plasticky shells as they grow and breed. So millions of noisy insects with cabin fevers with millions of exoskeletons everywhere, fairly disgusting but tolerable. I was an oddball pre-teen full of crackpot creative ideas and somehow, I thought stringing together these empty exoskeletons like a lei of empty, transparent insect bodies would be an excellent interior decoration initiative. Thankfully, my entire cabin shared my individualistic sentiments and in between activities, we would collect these cicada shells and string them together with a thread and needle.
Our ceiling looked like an ethereal mortuary of cicada shells. Of course, we were subject to constant taunting in typical pre-teen social chastisement fashion. But we never faltered or caved and took the shells down; living together in that kind of camp setting taught us 11-year-olds an important lesson in solidarity, and committing to whatever idea, borderline unsanitary or not, you had. When you grow up, everyone will shoot down your opinions, but it takes experience and growing the thick skin early in life to walk the walk and talk the talk.
You truly learn who you are when you’re pitted against others, cabin against cabin, in an alpha male/female dominated setting where there is only one winner and second place doesn’t cut it. You learn to negotiate and regroup and go in for the win, which will help anyone who works in any industry that involves dealing with people, tangentially or directly.
Camp is a microcosm of the real world.
At FindTheBest, we believe in life lessons and formative experiences through adversity and competition. The work philosophies at FindTheBest, “try, fail, try, succeed, scale” and “being a smart athlete” are cultivated in outdoor, residential style programs. We’ve done every parent a service by creating a free platform for searching for budget friendly camps all across the country in our summer camps comparison. There’s always an option that will fit your needs. Check it out!
Susan writes for FindTheBest, the latest startup from Kevin O’Connor, former CEO of Google’s Doubleclick. She believes tech is the industry that will change the world, bleeds Columbia blue (her alma mater), and has a split personality between the fast paced life of New York City and the idylls of Santa Barbara, CA.
Image credit: Brian Stansberry, via Wikimedia Commons