November 16, 2008
By Emily Mccready, Cherry Hill, NJ

A new experience. An open door. A month away from everything we're used to. A long trip in a big bus to a place we'd never been. A first summer at sleep away camp. A bitter morning, freezing and dark, yet summer none-the-less; it was 6:30 in the morning the three of us woke up in our beds, said our goodbyes to our dads and our sisters, grabbed our duffle bags, and set off with our moms to Temple Beth Sholom.

"Around fifty kids." I thought to myself as we pulled into the parking lot. "Fifty kids I have never seen before in my life." As fifth graders, we stepped out of our mom's cars, and into a sea of people who remained nameless. We said our long drawn-out goodbyes, followed by pictures, hugs, and "write me!" and we boarded the bus, some what happy to be away from our parents who were embarrassingly enough, hysterically crying.

A five hour bus ride. We played cards, took pictures which are now long gone, and ate, a lot. Excitement filled the air, not just for us but for the entire bus, summer had officially begun. The number stores on the streets started to gradually decrease, and we knew we were approaching camp, we began to realize we would be spending the next month in the middle of no where, and we were thrilled.

A large sign reading "Camp Ramah" greeted us, along with a group of thirty counselors with broomsticks with our bunk numbers on us, screaming at the top of their lungs. We stepped off the bus, and we were free... at least for the next month.

It was the most amazing view I have ever seen in my life to this day, Camp Ramah. The grass was green like no other, the sky was blue, and the air was clean.
And the people, they were so happy. Genuinely happy. And in the middle of no where, and with the green grass, the blue sky, the clean air and the happy people, I was happy too.

Had I known what I had gotten myself into that day, maybe things would be different. LIttle did I know that day would lead to three more summers at Camp Ramah. Maybe had I known how depressing saying goodbye for the final time would be, I never would have went at all. But if I had never woken up at 6:30 in the morning that dark, I would not have witnessed bunkmates turning into friends, and then becoming family, right before my eyes, and being a part of the process. I would have never met some amazing people, and would have never seen the view of the sunset in the Poconos over the lake. And to say the least, had I not boarded that bus, I would not be the person I am today.

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