Shae Sennett wrote this piece about camp, and put together the video at the bottom. A quick note – I think the video gives the impression camp is one big party, and while we do have plenty of fun, we also have adult supervision, and offer over 50 unique activities a day.
“Whenever I talk about OTC (which is a near-daily occurrence), I always end up being asked the same question: What is it about this camp that makes it so special? As a result, I have spent many hours pondering what exactly makes this experience so unique. I’ve come up with a hundred different reasons over time, but the one that I believe lies at the very core of all the wonderful things at this camp is the desire to understand and accept.
Very few adults I’ve ever met have wanted to take time out of their busy days to hear about my thoughts, ideas and perceptions of the world. Even fewer adults have gone out of their way to ask me about these ideas, and still fewer have continued to hear me out even when these ideas conflicted with their own. These types of intellectual or stimulating conversations were seldom heard in my high school or at social gatherings, and I found it difficult to talk to my peers about my deeper thoughts and feelings out of fear that they wouldn’t understand.
At OTC, the opposite is true. Campers, staff, and counselors alike, go out of their way to establish connections with one another. When someone is feeling uncomfortable or sad, everyone around them does all that is in their power to make them feel safe and supported. When someone is talking about something they are passionate about, whatever it may be, everyone around them listens intently. The staff is ready to not only listen to our ideas, but respond to them, so the program as a whole is constantly evolving and growing along with us. Not everyone is a radical, left-wing liberal, but everyone is open-minded and receptive of the opinions of others, political or otherwise. People are free to connect with one another, without fear of judgement or humiliation, two things that i’ve found have often guided or hindered my own social interactions in the past.
Because of this, my heart physically feels lighter when I’m there. All the impression management and pretending and guarding my emotions that felt so necessary in a high school social climate melted away, and I became the person I am today; unafraid to voice my opinions, express my feelings, and connect with those around me.
Although this seems amazing on paper, anything I could put in words is incomparable to what the environment in OTC actually feels like. For this reason, I’ve put together some clips from my time at OTC that I feel reflect how warm and inexplicably incredible this environment truly is, combined with an interview or two conducted by one of my best friends, Austin Henry. (Austin is also the camp’s social media coordinator, an up-and-coming rap artist, and the first person I met at camp three years ago. Without him, there is no telling how things would have turned out, and I am beyond grateful to have him in my life, so big shout out to him!!)
If you’re considering sending your child here, especially if you feel they have trouble connecting socially in their own environment, but even if they don’t, I cannot recommend it enough. This place is truly like nowhere else I’ve ever known and, as someone who’s moved around quite a bit in recent years, I am so proud to call it my home.
Wishing you all much love and positivity,
Here’s the video Shae made – a handful of clips from her time with us at teen camp so far. When you’re done, be sure to remember that our Early Bird Registration for summer camp closes in 3 weeks. Enjoy!