You know, I only worked at that camp for 8 weeks, but honestly, I think that summer was one of the best summers of my entire life (which is a lot to say, because it's the only summer out of the last 9 that I haven't gone to PACAA- it was my year off that I was required to take). It's funny how when new people come to PACAA, as staff members, they say that wish they could have been a part of it when they were younger. And I understood what they meant, but didn't know how it felt. When I started working at this camp in 2007, I was so lost, nervous, didn't know anyone except one person, and terrified of screwing up. But, I learned the ropes, worked hard, and had way more fun than I ever expected I would. And then, I felt the same feeling that had been described to me - a sad sense of "How did I just NOW find this place and these people?"
Sadly, I'll never go back to work there again. It's just that one summer, perfectly etched into my memory - The smell of campfire burned into my clothes, hair, and nose...bug spray, walking by the laundry room to a blast of fresh, clean scented air. The generic taste of food cooked for 200, amazing banana boats, and iced coffee- sipped while lounging on a log-bench on the back porch or riding with friends on the curved back roads. The feeling of sweat dripping down my neck from hairline to t-shirt collar, the refreshing jolt of jumping into the roped off lake waters, and hot wax burning my fingers as I hold a small candle and sing soft songs. The sight of fog in the morning after a rain, the view from the top of the small mountain hiked with 16 ten year olds, twelve colorful sailboats gliding across the lake, hundreds of girls circled around tables- hands pressed against each others. And the sounds... the waters lapping the shore at a waterfront campfire, bathroom doors slamming shut in the middle of the night, a camp-full of girls singing in unison, the blast of an airhorn off in the distance, and of course, the sound of the night; a lullaby that eventually becomes so normal that you welcome its soothing whine. So much so, that when you leave it behind for an indoor bed, the silence seems deafening.
These are the memories I have, and the things I miss.