Qwynn Landfield is 15 years old, lives in Yorktown Heights, NY and has been attending Camp Laurelwood in North Madison, CT for seven summers.
I always look back on my camp memories as the happiest times of my life. I was eight years old when I first started going to Camp Laurelwood and I had mixed emotions about starting out. I was excited because I was going to a camp that I knew two of my cousins went to and loved. Not knowing anyone my age there made me nervous – I had never had an away from home experience before. I also had fear mixed in there: I was going to be two hours away from my parents and if I didn’t like it they would have to go through so much trouble to get me. Overall I was looking forward to this new experience despite my fears and nerves. I started packing for camp weeks before the big day and kept adding items everyday when I thought of possible scenarios. What if I lose these shorts? Better bring five more pairs!
The night before I left for camp, my stomach was in a knot with all my mixed expectations and emotions. Finally, the big day came and while I was going through a final checklist with my mom I said to myself, I’m going to be alright, this will be fun. The drive up to camp was the longest thing I have ever experienced; all I did was think about how nervous I was. When I got there I was so confused by everything that was going on around me. There were forms being filled out and people telling me where to find my bunk. I had to walk from the parking lot to bag drop off to the infirmary to my bunk, over here, over there, over everywhere. When I found my assigned bunk my counselor showed me to my bed and my parents helped me unpack. At this point I was so jittery because I didn’t know anyone and my parents were leaving soon. When it was time to hug my parents goodbye I started crying because I was going to be there without them and I didn’t know what was going to happen.
When all the parents were gone, my counselors had us all sit in a circle. We went around the circle saying our names and our favorite candy. Afterwards, when our bunk was walking to the mess hall, one of the girls and I got to talking, my nerves were crushed right there and then and everything started getting fun. I ended up sending letters home a week later saying I made a new best friend. I had some of the best times of my life that summer and found my summer home. I was so at home and always had the happiest smile on, they even put a picture of me on the cover of the camp promotional pamphlet! It was the best experience of my life to start out somewhere new and make friends with people I would end up calling my summer sisters.