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No Regrets

Latitude 43.93722, Longitude 72.16806; also known as Camp Billings. Although I live in a small beach town on the south shore of Massachusetts, I call this small summer camp, deep in the thick Vermont forest, my true home. Camp Billings, on the secluded shores of a sparkling lake, with a beautiful view of the mountains and the sky, is what life is meant to be; void of all pollution, where the clouds are the purest white, trees the most vivid green, and the sky the blue you can only find elsewhere in masterpieces of art.

For my sixth year and final summer spent as a camper in my secluded paradise, the motto of the season was “No regrets ’09.” As the giant clock tower loomed over us, counting down time for all of the camp, for those of us in our last summer it seemed the bell tolled especially for us. As the oldest campers, it only seemed natural to play some pranks and make the most out of our last summer in paradise. That summer I ate a worm (dipped in chocolate sauce and covered in whipped cream of course), went scuba diving at midnight across the lake, snuck out and ran behind the archery range and through a giant poison ivy patch (which gave us away later on) all to play a prank on the girls. I stood up in front of the whole camp at chapel for the first time to share my feelings about my six wonderful years in my personal paradise and my feelings about leaving camp for good. These were all things that I never thought I would do, but I did because I felt accepted at camp. I felt safe, free from judgment, like I was at home.

On “Billings’ Halloween”, August 26th, my cabin mates and I decided to follow our new motto “No Regrets ‘09” dressing up as “Playboy Bunnies.” With short-shorts borrowed from the girls, cardboard cutout bunny ears, our rolled up white T-shirts showing some “well tanned” skin with red lipstick stains painted on our exposed hips, we lined up for the costume judging. I was not embarrassed or fearful of judging by my peers because either way I knew this would be a moment that I would remember and look back at as a turning point as to who I am.
We lost the costume contest, but I received an award that was more personal and important: I won self-acceptance. Cross-dressing was not the point of this whole experience, and at the time I may not have realized the total gravity of that moment in the formation of who I am as a person, as an individual. Since that summer three years ago I have lived by that motto “no regrets ’09,” I will never regret my choices, because at the time they were what I truly wanted in that situation; I have only regretted saying “no” when I should have said “yes”. The inner strength I gained from that moment allowed me to be the strong, independent, proud person I am today, and to be a representative on student council, be apart of Drama for four years and put on three major productions, and not be afraid to argue a case for my Mock Trial team. I know I will bring this mentality to college and be an active student on campus, and continue to make positive choices my entire life.





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