Karen Kirkpatrick (2003)

Karen Kirkpatrick
August 15th, 2003 – SJC Session 2

My name is Karen Kirkpatrick, I’m 17 and this is my 3rd and final year here as a camper. The past few years I really struggled and never allowed myself to really have a good time at camp. But because this is my last year I tried so hard to make it the best. I even attended both sessions. Coming from first session I knew this week would be different. I can’t even begin to explain how much this session has changed my outlook on life. First session was always a challenge. There were so many campers, so many crushes, so much drama. I never truly belonged in that environment. I always felt left out and thought I must need to change who I am, something must not be right with me. I thought I had to be something I couldn’t be to get along with my cabinmates. Now I know I never needed to be anything but me. I just needed the confidence. That’s why I’m so glad I came this week. If I hadn’t I probably would have left Sae Jong Camp and never looked back. This session I’ve felt as though I truly belong, that I’m supported and loved for who I am. People listen when I talk and include me in everything. I have also taken more pride in who I am this year. I sat back, and took everything in these past two weeks. I’ve realized I am not alone in this world. There are so many people of all ages who can understand how I feel. I can come to camp and see other people who look like me. Sometimes I forget that I’m Korean because I live in such a predominantly white area. It’s such an amazing experience to come together and spend time with other Korean Americans. I’m so glad I kept coming back to SJC. It has become a part of who I am. Camp will continue to be a part of my life. I can’t live without it. I hope to become a staff member but I also know I’ll always have fond memories to carry with me. There will always be a place in my heart for Sae Jong Camp!