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I squirmed around in my seat as I saw the Massachusetts state sign out the window. The thought of it made my stomach gurgle. I grabbed my pillow as the thoughts flowed out of my head like a broken dam. Will I have friends? Will I have fun? Will I miss home? I didn’t know what to expect.

“You nervous” My brother asked. I knew he wasn’t. It was practically his second home. Always anticipating and counting down the days to camp every year.

“A little bit” I replied although I was practically peeing in my pants from fear. The memories of my previous camp had been popping up through my mind the whole car ride.

Camp Woodstock was the last camp I had attended. I went for 1 week and thinking about it at the time, I thought how was I ever going to survive this 4-week camp. At Woodstock I had no fun at all. I wasn’t homesick; I just had no friends to talk to which made me miss my home friends. In the beginning I tried to make friends but they had already been there, already having their cliques and groups of friends. It was grueling but bearable for 1 week, but for 4 weeks I was really fretting.

“It’s gonna be really fun” My mom mentioned noticing how tense I was.

“Yeah, I'm excited” I responded. Looking back, I have no clue what was going through my mind at that time. Was I trying to prove to my brother, who had been going to the camp for 4 years then, that I was as cool as him and could do things he could? Or was I just trying to get my mom to stop talking and just let me be?

“Turn right to your destination” The navigator lady announced. Oh no. This is it. We’re here. No. No. The thoughts began to rush out of my head again. As we turned into the rocky camp driveway, I quickly ducked my head under my pillow wishing that I could go home. As we came to the baseball field where the unloading was taking place, I could here many new voices and sounds, which just buried my head farther under the pillow.
“Hey look, it’s Martin” My brother exclaimed, while opening the window. Being as curious as I am, I then wanted to see this new face and also didn’t want to look like a fool on my first day of camp. So I slowly came out of my burrow, lifting the pillow to but still gripping it for my life. When I was high enough that I could see, I peered out the sliver that I could see, just to become even more scarred about all the new faces. There were even more than I expected. There were probably over 200 kids unloading their cars. Everyone hugging each other. Everyone smiling. Everyone as cheerful as can be. Everyone knowing each other. Everyone being past campers except for me. I was none of this. I was sure I was going to have the worse summer of my life. I would not be able to make friends and I will miss home. I was clutching my pillow so tight that I felt sweat drip out of my hands. I couldn’t take this anymore. I knew there was no turning back now but I had to let it out.
“I don’t want to go, I won’t have any friends and I won’t have any fun.” I announced.
“It’s ok to be nervous” My mom replied, trying to comfort me and do her job.
“You won’t even think of home” Brad chuckled, giggling at my mom’s face that she made.
“I know I won’t, it’s just I’m not good at making friends in these situations.”
“Yes, you will, I’ll help you and introduce you today.” I didn’t respond. I knew he would just disappear to his friends and forget about me right away. I didn’t even care anymore. I knew this would be such a bad summer. I expected it to be the worst ever. Nothing could change that. After looking for a spot to park, we finally stopped the engine and so did my heart. Brad immediately sprang out of the car, fitting right into the crowd with a huge smile upon his face as he stretched his body, after being packed into the stuffed car. Trying not to look like the ugly duckling, standing out in the crowd, I followed along, hopping out of the car trying to look excited. Smiling was a whole different story. I knew I wouldn’t be able to. How was I supposed to? I felt sick to my stomach. I definitely knew I was still standing out. Throughout the crowd, I even could spot out the outcasts. This actually cheered me up a bit, knowing there were always kids like me. That I wasn’t the only one. After we unloaded, my mom, Brad and I walked over to the registration tables. I felt as if I were in a mirror image of Ellis Island. All new faces and people. The nurses checking your hair for lice and taking your temperature. Giving papers in and giving information to the camp workers. One face I did recognize and that was Brad’s, but he had already dissolved into the vast crowd. Now it was all up to me. I knew he wouldn’t help me. I had to make friends on my own.

My mom and I walked down to my bunk and as I walked in, the whole atmosphere changed. Counselors came up to introduce themselves. Kids were offering bed spaces to me, helping me starting ever lasting friendships without even knowing it. I felt like I did belong. The car ride was all for nothing. Why did I prepare myself for the worst summer ever? Why did I fear the worst when I had heard so many great things about it? Why had I expected all this? It was the total opposite. One of the best summers of my life. I made better friends than I do at home. Like my brother I anticipate coming here every summer. It is my summer home, my 2nd home.





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