“I discovered OTC in 2011 while following a girl on her summer adventure. In the past, such behavior has led me to ruin, but in this particular instance, my quest led me to (probably) the most important location/environment of my post-adolescence and (possibly) my young adulthood.
I was a 21-year-old dude who’d been fired from every job I previously held. Due to some clever resume manipulation, I managed to land a phone interview with camp director Adam Simon. He suggested we talk via Skype so I put on a shirt and tie, you know, to create the illusion that I wasn’t a chronic screw up or thoroughly incompetent. But he ended trading the video conference for a good old fashioned phone call in which we talked for an hour and a half about dogs and veganism, and looking back on that conversation I realize both of us were putting on this front, me in this button-up and tie and him with this causality that suggested he wasn’t a man prone to poetry and tears.
The first few weeks
Anyway, fast forward a few weeks, after I successfully landed the gig. I’m on a plane to New York from Chicago then I’m on a shuttle from Laguardia to the town of Holmes. The shuttle drops me off, and I’m on my feet in Camp Henry Kaufman. I’m breathing clean air and my lungs fill up with this silent, holy light and for the first time – no offense – I realize that I didn’t make a mistake by taking this job. I realize that this place is special in a way that the Grand Canyon and the Aurora Borealis are special.
That first week was counselor orientation, and all of us sat around circles and talked and cried, literally in front of strangers, and we all seemed so diverse and powerful and mysterious and (stinky) experienced. Like we gathered from all around to universe to work and change the universe. It was like we were the fellowship of the ring. (And in the darkness bind them.)
The big shift
Then the campers arrived and the energy I clung to and looked forward to shifted into something much more massive and real and it was like an eruption and that’s when I knew what this place was for; To harness our collective energy, to heal and be healed.
I can do this for hours but studies show that people attention spans for reading text dwindles at around the 4-minute mark (Not that I’ve read any on those studies cause they are so long.)
So I’ll cut to the proverbial chase:
I’ve always believed that the hardest/most beautiful thing about human life is the weight we all silently carry. The things in depths and the dark are the things that are most sculpting to who we are, to how we behave. I believe that if not properly nurtured that darkness can seep in and make us gruesome. As humans, we need to be nurtured and fostered and we need room to grow in a way that’s natural. I believe OTC does that better than any place on Earth. It provides you a venue to make friends, to fall in love, to make peace, to heal. And I’d do it 365 days for the rest of ever if I could.
We dig, Adam! We’d do it for 365 days for the rest of ever if we could, too. But for now, we’ll settle for four weeks this summer. It doesn’t matter if you’re from New York City, or the farthest reaches of the world: We’d love for you to register today, and help us create this wonderful community this summer.
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…