Welcome to our GUEST BLOGGER BLOG. Twice a month or so we will be presenting posts from Acting Manitou alums and staff members. Today's GUEST BLOGGER BLOG is coming to us from Alana - alum and staff member!
I went back to camp this year for my fifth summer, and my first as a counselor. Many of the girls in my bunk were coming to Manitou for the first time, reminding me of myself six years ago, just starting my Manitou journey. I remember my first few days at Manitou with such clarity. I had built up so many ideas of what Manitou would be like based on the informational video and what my cousins, who had been going to Manitou for years, had told me. Despite all my investigative research and long discussions with my cousins, I couldn’t understand Manitou until I got there. I had all these ideas, worries, fears, and hopes about camp that I thought about endlessly before the session started.
Here are some thoughts I had back in 2009, the year I went to Manitou for the first time:
1. “Manitou is in Vermont"
I honestly had no idea that Manitou was in Maine until I got to camp. Coming from California, the whole east coast was just kind of “Vermont” to me, so even if someone told me Manitou was in Maine, I must have brushed that fact aside, equating anything east of Chicago to Vermont. I was on the bus, halfway to camp, just passing the “Welcome to New Hampshire” sign, when I realized something was off. I was too embarrassed to ask anyone where we were actually going/where I would be living for the next three weeks, so I just sat with my confusion for a couple more hours until we got to camp.
2. "Why are there so many chairs onstage?"
I watched Manitou’s informational video at least 20 times, (how i still managed to think this camp was in Vermont, I honestly have no idea). After my 11th viewing, I started to notice the oddly excessive use of chairs in the productions. I had never seen that many chairs used onstage without a table. I assumed Manitou had some odd obsession with using chairs in productions. This was actually pretty accurate.
3. Civil War Reenactment Camp????
Until about a month before camp, I honestly thought Manitou was a theatrical Civil War reenactment camp. My cousin, Zack, convinced my mom to sign me up for Manitou, raving about his summer camp experience. However every summer, Zack went to both a theatre camp and a civil war reenactment camp, and I merged these two camps to my head, fairly certain that I was going to spend my summer recreating battle scenes. Sometimes I still think about what it would be like to reenact the Battle of Gettysburg on the great lawn. Evening activity next year??
4. "What do I bring?!"
Thinking of what to bring to camp was its own laborious task. A couple items gave me particular stress:
-Yearbook. Should i bring my yearbook to prove to everyone that I was cool back home? I was voted “most likely to forget a parachute while sky diving,” for my 8th grade superlative, so maybe not.
-Bug spray. Since mosquitos really don’t live in San Fransisco, I wondered if mosquitos really existed or if they were an urban legend. That question was quickly answered when i decided not to bring bug spray.
These anecdotes were only minor worries and thoughts in my 8th grade mind, as my primary concerns were more along the lines of: “Will I be happy here; Will I make any friends?” None of my worries materialized into anything real, as I made best friends in my first couple days, and learned to appreciate and admire the excessive use of chairs onstage. It’s fun to look back at the irrational thoughts and fears I had before coming to camp, showing the odd places that the mind can go before an exciting and scary transition. I look back on the predictions I had about Manitou when preparing for new transitions in my life, reminding myself that I cannot foresee the outcome of new experiences, especially the ones that turn out to be most meaningful.