By Ebun Nazon-Power
One of my earliest memories of Camp was the smell of nag champa. My mother and I climbed the infamous hill, nearly out of breath, all the way to the pod Shiva. I remember that day because I was one of the first campers to arrive at my bunk, which is where I also colored in my very first mandala.
There were a lot of firsts that day (including a very awkward but in hindsight pretty darn exceptional session of laughter yoga), but I automatically knew that this would be my new home. As a matter of fact the actual place where camp is held had been my home before. I used to be a Girl Scout, and that place where a plethora of magical and exciting adventures occur between July and August that I’m sure the Girl Scouts could never understand or even dream of, was the exact campsite that I went to Girl Scout camp.
Funny how things work out. I would never have thought when I was 10 years old at that very same place I would walk across hot coals, form a fictional political party with my pod called A.S.S. (Anarchy Sisters of Shakti) steal a stuffed squid mascot from another party and send polaroids of it to the party leader, or even play gaga.
This was the place that I received my first dread lock, it’s the place that I played dead in the middle of lunch with a bunch of others in busking class and rather than freak everyone out, confused them.
It’s the place where I strengthened my fire keeping skills for the sweat lodge, and met wise, amazing older girls, and raided the kitchen.
It’s the place I became a Girl Scout (again), sang Christmas carols around campus and made badges. This was the place that I became me. The true me. I always felt a little sad because at times I would hear other campers talk about how they wish they could be like this for the whole year.
Camp not only gave me, but countless young people confidence, support, love, and freedom to be whoever the hell they wanted to be.
If I had never typed in the words “spiritual” “teen” and “camp” into google there’s no way I would have been able to learn the choreography for the song Bulletproof, make a wish through Serpentessa’s hoop with a slithering snake around it, watch favorite counselors battle it out on the dance floor on the mothership, or hear the words “Magic: the Gathering.”
My mom wouldn’t even be able to rave to her friends who have kids about the amazing “cloud gazing” class that I think I took, once. One of my best friends always described our Camp counselors to friends at school because she thought they were the coolest most interesting, creative people we’ve known, and no one doubted her. I think we both have ranted about Camp to our friends and our undying love for it enough that they know exactly who or what we’re talking about when we mention certain names or moments.
Every year after Camp we try to figure out who our favorite counselors were, but it’s different because every year there were new people, therefore new people to get to know and love just as much as last years.
Though Camp was mostly jolly and whimsical, there were times where it got a bit rough and intense and emotional, but without that there would be no change or progress and Camp has helped taught me that.
Every moment of Camp I have cherished from the incredibly delicious lovingly made food to the trans dance and girls day, to the legendary dance parties that leave you sweating and aching all over.
Camp is this special place literally like no other, it’s definitely not for everyone, I’m sure there are some people who wouldn’t approve of discussions based around sexuality or the Vagina Monologues or even hugging trees and listening to what they have to say.
But that’s okay, because Camp would accept them too.”
A powerful testimonial from a powerful camper. You rock, Ebun! Thanks so much for sharing your story.
So, what do you say? Are you ready to make Odyssey Teen Camp part of your journey? Ready to make a wish through Serpentessa’s hoop? Or just feel the “confidence, support, love, and freedom to be whoever the hell” you want to be?
Thanks, and hope to see you soon!
Find out about Odyssey Teen Camp
A great place for teens to be exactly who they are in a community that celebrates diversity.
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I’m Adam Simon. I started teen camp eighteen years ago with the vision of creating a space where teenagers would know they are safe from bullying or negative judgments and would feel free to show who they really are and to become their best selves. Let’s connect, discuss, engage…