August 8th, 2003 – SJC Session 1
6 months ago, Sae Jong Camp wasn’t even existent in my mind…I had no idea what it was, what influence it would have on me, or know the people I would meet.
4 months ago, Sae Jong Camp became an idea of something fun to do for the summer.
3 months ago, Sae Jong Camp officially became a place to work for me as Jeanah called to invite me to become a CIT.
2 months ago, Sae Jong Camp staff welcomed me at a meeting and I embarked on a special journey.
1 month ago, Sae Jong Camp was around the corner and I nervously waited and planned my assigned tasks, using color coded notes and folders, knowing fully well that the staff would think I was a little “special.”
1 week ago, Sae Jong Camp became a reality as I arrived in Michigan to meet the staff and head to Camp Westminster.
5 days ago Sae Jong Camp became a wonderful campground on a beautiful lake. A place where I would have to meet 101 campers AND learn all the camp songs.
And today, Sae Jong Camp is a whole other world. It surpassed my expectations beyond my most imaginable belief and I have each and every one of you to thank for it.
When I first heard of Sae Jong Camp, it caught my interest because it was the type of camp that I had always wanted to go to and be a part of. I am very proud of my culture and heritage and is such an important part of my life. The opportunity to spread knowledge of this incredible culture, learn more about myself and others, and make new friends to last a lifetime, was such an exciting prospect for me.
As time went on and I talked to more people about SJC, I heard the same thing over and over again. “You’ll get very little sleep, but it will be one of the best weeks of your life.” If only I had known how much truth was in that one statement.
I have to admit, that at first, camp was very overwhelming. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what I was doing, I had no idea what to sing, or even where to go. And when all the cars and buses arrived, it was a sea of faces of people whose names I would have to learn. And as overwhelming as it all was…I overcame it. How could I not? I began to meet everyone, learned all the SJC traditions and can now proudly say that I know almost all of the motions to the camp songs – although I’m still working on the words to some of them.
I’ve come to learn many things – about camp, about the staff, about the campers, and about myself. SJC isn’t just any ordinary camp. I definitely figured that out. It’s hard to describe, but it seems like another world. I left my hip and happening city in Ohio and came to a place where everyone had something in common – where everyone had many of the same interests. Watching how everyone worked together – whether it was getting the Golden Shoe Shoe (Yeaaaa Kiva Right!), cleaning up the table, the Olympics, or singing songs – unity was so prevalent in the air around us. Unity is an important part of life – and we’ve got it.
Each and every person at camp is so incredible and special in their own way. To the people I worked with, aka the staff, thank you so much for the continuing support and guidance you provided me with – especially in the beginning when I was very nervous and scared. You taught me things that I didn’t know, you accepted me with open arms, and you made me feel so comfortable in such a new environment – even if it was by teasing me. To the campers, thank you so much for allowing me to be your CIT…for allowing me to teach you what I know…and for giving me the opportunity to get to know all of you. Being at Sae Jong Camp and being around everyone here has influenced me in a way that I’ve never felt before. There’s so much love in the air. So much happiness. And so much unity. Everyone strives to include their peers, and everyone wants to have a good time.
To the girls of my cabin, Kiva Right. What can I say? Thank you for being such a great cabin. You are a part of what made this week so incredibly awesome. We had our good times and our rough times, but through it all, we are still one cabin. I am so proud of each and every one of you. We got through our differences, we changed our outlook and we made it. We made it for each other. When times were rough, we allowed ourselves to see the big situation. We allowed ourselves to see that we were about to miss out on the greatest week…and we changed so we COULD make it an awesome week. Thank you for allowing me to be a good CIT, thank you for giving me the opportunity to be goofy, thank you for listening to me, and thank you for still liking me even during my ridiculous moments.
Sae Jong Camp has also changed me. Before camp, I had my hyper and ridiculous moments, but nowhere close to the times I’ve had here. I was a pretty shy girl ESPECIALLY in situations where I didn’t know anyone. I overcame that challenge. I spoke up. I took the initiative to talk to people I didn’t know and allowed myself to learn. I was able to learn about the world. The Sae Jong world. My experience at Sae Jong Camp has been indescribable. There are no words to describe it. The words that I have just said aren’t even close to giving justice to what I have experienced here. But I have tried my best.
As the week comes to a close, I can’t believe how fast it’s gone by. I can’t believe this incredible journey that I have just gone on. I will forever cherish the moments of this week. I will always remember the greenies with the daddy long legs who kept busting in on my shower, I will always remember being able to bond with my cabin girls and co-counselor. I will always remember having to re-pack my bag every night because I decided to bring my entire life with me. I will always remember the gorgeous moon over the lake and attempting to see a shooting star. I will always remember my dances with the handsome Adam Schwartz, Greg Lobert, Jon Wiley, Stitch. I will always remember the moment when we won the Golden Shoe Shoe. I will always remember the special people that I have met and what a special place Sae Jong Camp is. I have loved every single moment that I have been here. I love every single person that I have met. And I can’t wait until next year because I’ll DEFINITELY be back.