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Home is a word of broad definitions; it evokes different emotions in all of us. Some may hear the word and think merely of the place they lay their head at night; others may have a deeper meaning. These are the people who may see home as a safe haven, or a place where they can rest their thoughts. They may see it as a place where everyone is happy and free to be themselves, a place of friendship. It is possible that some could even picture a place to get away from the world, even if only for a little time. But if you ask me what I think of home, I would reply that it is a mixture of all of the above. It is a place where you are free to be yourself and not have to worry what other people say. It is a place of belonging, of love. I sincerely believe in the saying “Home is where the heart is.”, and my heart is in Des Moines YMCA Camp in Boone, IA.

From the moment you start down the bumpy dirt road, until the time you leave, you are wanted, you belong. A motto we have at Y Camp is, “At Y Camp, you don’t have to make friends, they’re given to you.” And this motto does not stretch the truth in the least. That is why, when it comes time for the occasion of honor point, and all the kids gather together for the last time, there isn’t a dry eye in the range. All the kids there understand that when they leave, they will have more friendships than they when they first came, so why do they cry? I know the answer to this question, and it’s called magic.
The magic of Y Camp is a powerful thing; it stirs up all kinds of feelings in us that no one is able to put into words. When you trek down the rutted, meandering dirt road enveloped in trees, every cell that makes up your being transforms into a Mexican jumping bean and your body refuses to be still. Something stronger than butterflies flutters in your stomach and all you can think of is how much you missed Y Camp and how you can not wait to see everyone again. All these sensations, just because you know you are almost there. It’s magic.

To further illustrate the point I’m making, when I was younger, I was extremely shy and hardly talked to anyone. So imagine you are the shy kid in your neighborhood who decides to try something different by going to camp over the summer. When you show up you are hesitant at first, but the environment is warm and everyone in your cabin is friendly. By the end of the week, you end up performing a song in front of the entire camp on the night of the Arty show and dancing the night away at Friday night’s dance! That’s magic.

You see, home is somewhere where magic happens, where you can be yourself and break out of your shell. It’s somewhere you are loved, where you belong. When you are at home, you know it without a doubt, because you are safe from ridicule or distress. You are you, and that’s all that matters.





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