Hey, Swamp Blog! My name is Ryan, and I’ve been going to Camp Swamp for 7 years, but week 4 of online camp was my first ever virtual camp experience. I have to admit, I was definitely a bit nervous and maybe even skeptical about the whole idea of going to camp online, thinking that this would feel like a week-long zoom class (and after just finishing my sophomore year in the midst of the pandemic, I was ALL too familiar with zoom lectures). I had heard everyone say that it was such an amazing experience, but I was still hesitant.
How would this compare in any way to the Swamp experience I had known for so long? In 100% honesty, by the end of the week, I left with a bunch of new friends, having had a ton of fun, and with a unique camp experience that I will cherish— I think it’ll be a little hard to forget.
One of the most important parts of Swamp to me is building new relationships and forming new ones. I didn’t see how I could get to know my cabin mates and counselors at all, but after mingling with each other, competing in challenges together, talking and laughing with each other throughout the day, and creating our Marvel themed video to show the camp on the last day (check out the photo to see me as Spider-man!), I came to know and love these girls so much, and build lasting relationships with them, even if I haven’t had the privilege of meeting all of them in real life. But the connections didn’t stop there! The mingle sessions were some of my favorite times. A lesson I learned this week was to “do it afraid”— whether that “it” was deciding to go to camp in the first place or talking to people I potentially didn’t know online, which definitely made me nervous! I didn’t have to strut into these things confidently, but I just couldn’t let my fear hold me back. While mingling, I met so many wonderful people from different parts of the world, and sharing what we liked to do and our dreams with each other was so special to me.
I also really loved the devotionals this week. They were so real, vulnerable, and relatable, and made me think about things I had never considered. Whether we were talking about relationships, the cross, or doing the singing devo, these devotionals always touched my heart. So take it from me, someone who was hesitant and scared: I did it afraid, and I don’t regret it!In the end, my doubt and fear turned to uncontrollable laughter and joy through this online camp experience.