The Power of a Campfire This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 11, 2011
The moon cast a bright reflection on the gentle waves, as a warm breeze blew across Lake Manjo. I sat on the beach and buried my toes in the cool, wet sand as I felt the contrasting warmth of the campfire caress my face. Each soft chord of a nearby guitar seemed to echo in harmony with the gentle, breaking waves.

This night resembled so many other happy nights throughout my ten summers spent at Camp Orchard Hill. The words of the songs still flowed effortlessly off my tongue, my clothes held the same familiar scent of smoke and pine needles, and yet this campfire was unlike any of those that now resided in my memory. As I took in the moment, I identified a thought that was coloring the experience in a new and wonderful way. This night was not about me.

A smile danced across my lips as a glanced to my side and saw fourteen beautiful, little faces staring expectantly at their counselor. At me. That night I found myself sitting in the place of those who had impacted my life in profound ways. Every summer my life had been poured into by loving young adults who were generous with their time as well as their hearts
Growing up, I held my camp counselors in high regard. I looked up to them and longed to be like them. At another campfire years ago, I came to the realization that I one day wanted to share that with others. I realized that in order to accomplish that goal, I needed to become someone worth emulating. From that moment on, I purposed myself to glean every possible ounce of knowledge from them and one day become a counselor myself.

Throughout my teen years this goal inspired me. It caused me to carefully exam not only who I was around people, but who I was privately. I refused to put up a facade or simply play a part. If I was one day going to be a role model to campers, I needed to make sure that not only my actions, but also my head and heart were in line with the things I believed. I wanted to grow up and inspire a new generation of girls.

I pondered all these things as I sat watching the sparks of the campfire dance like fireflies against the night sky. My heart filled with joy as I looked at my girls. I could see in their eyes the sparkle of dreams just beginning to form. Perhaps in a few short years they will be sitting in my place at a similar campfire. As we stared into the flickering light of the fire and swayed gently to the music, I felt as though I'd come full circle. It’s a freeing experience to realize that these little moments really matter. If you're willing to become vulnerable and love with your whole heart, even a simple thing like a campfire can change everything.





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