The Sweetest Sound I Ever Heard – At Odyssey Teen Camp

Alma with her pink hair at camp

Hello, friends of Odyssey Teen Camp. As is our weekly tradition, we’d love to share a story from one of our summer camp family. This time we’ll hear from Alma, who shared this story with us. It’s her college essay, and the prompt was, “What was the sweetest sound you ever heard?” We think it’s a beautiful representation of an evening of camp, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

From Alma:

“It’s nearing the end of July, and I’m at summer camp. It’s our ‘community chill’ time. Almost two weeks into camp, this scene is our ritual. My friends and I are sitting in a tight circle, almost on top of each other, near the big pavilion, the Mothership.

Fia and Sky are telling Hugo and Zach the chords to a song. Ruby-Joy is helping, sitting with her legs spread out in front of her and grinning as always. Eddie is playing with the washboard absent-mindedly. The rest of us are chatting or cuddling up with the others. We are the orchestra, assembled with instruments and choir ready, warming up in the graceful symphony of voices and strings before a performance in a grandiose concert hall.

Zach and Alma

Zach and Alma

Soon, the house lights dim as the sun sets, and the stage lights from inside us glow brightly. The audience grows quiet as if the wind in the trees and the grass are listening. Then the guitars begin to strum, unobstructed by the cares of the “real world.” The banjo plucks in the background, showing us what it’s like to dance without moving. Carried on the evening air, the chords of Kimya Dawson swell around us.

I look around the circle. I think of Zach sitting in the field with me, holding my hands, and letting me spill my thoughts into the afternoon; of Hugo hugging me and whispering “you are loved” in my ear; of Sky and the way their smile lights up every dark corner; of Ruby-Joy when she shows us her flexibility by lifting her leg high above her head; of Fia in her infinitely punk clothing.

I only see them once a year, and we don’t talk frequently. Still, they know me better than everyone back home. The sun is sinking lower in the sky, but the warmth and light still surround us like a cradle. Leaning against Zach, I let the words sink into my skin. ‘We’re just dancing, we’re just hugging, singing, screaming, kissing, tugging on the sleeve of how it used to be.’

I close my eyes and fall into this tangible sound, the sound of the people I love with every fiber of my being. They are the sound of infinite love and safety, the sound of freedom, and the sound of not caring if the chords are wrong. They sound exactly like home.

Adam Simon, Odyssey Teen Camp Director

Adam Simon

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, and engage...
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Find Out About Odyssey Teen Camp

A Non-Profit Overnight Summer Camp For Teens Ages 13-18
Located in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.