Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sweet, Sweet Summer


Summer is slipping by. My summer is already half over, and depending on where you live, yours might be, too. So let me ask you this: how has your summer been so far?

There are three answers to this question: GOOD, OKAY, or BAD

If your summer's been going good, then hurrah! You've done at least half of the things on your bucket list. You've tried something new. You've had at least one meaningful experience. You are on track to make this the Best Summer Ever. I commend you. You are having the summer we all aspire to have. Keep doing what you're doing.


If your summer's been just okay, that's not so bad. You've had some good moments. Some boring/bad ones. Your summer hasn't been packed with thrills, but it hasn't been entirely dreary. Still, you could afford to spice it up a little. Take a risk! Do something uber-fun with your friends! Don't wait for excitement to come to you; seek it out! With a little work, you can turn this into a good summer.

Ah, you're the one whose been having the bad summer. Maybe it's rained every day. Maybe your super-awesome vacation got cancelled. Maybe your parents are making you stay in a hut in the woods, with no WiFi, electricity, or indoor bathroom. Or maybe you just haven't had an interesting summer; it happens. Fortunately, you can fix this. All you need is a little dedication, and a willingness to have fun and try new things. Stick your head out of your shell. Go actively search for opportunities. Try to really fill up your time. Hang out with friends, volunteer at events, go on bike rides, go shopping, take a long walk. If you're having a bad summer, chances are it means you're just really bored. Get off the couch and do something. I promise it will help.

Keep rockin' the summer vibes. For now, later skater.

Ella

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Best Two Weeks of My Life


The silly photo they took of everyone on the first day

Two days ago I returned home from a two-week, sleepaway arts camp. And I'm not going to lie--it was the best experience I've ever had.

It was held at a college, and I shared a tiny dorm with cement walls and a hard mattress. There was one bathroom for ten girls and we had a crummy little lounge area with some lumpy, maroon couches. We were on the fourth floor, and it was quite a climb to get to our dorm. But it didn't matter. It was perfect.
My dorm room

The people at this camp were amazing. Everyone wanted to be there, and everyone was talented, accepting, inspiring and just all around amazing. I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be--surrounded by a bunch of creative teens who loved art just as much as I do. It felt like a real community.

We got to choose two classes to take for the two weeks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. In the morning I chose a class where we learned to make inflatable structures, and my end project was a giant, inflatable narwhal. My afternoon class was songwriting, which was a ton of fun. I wrote a bunch of new songs and it was great just to have some time to sit down and write.

The classes weren't the main part of the camp, though. Between classes, we had free time where students and staff could offer their own mini workshops. I took workshops on printmaking, bookmaking, watercolor portraits, a Nordic LARP where we pretended to be rocks (kind of strange and not as boring as it sounds--just look it up) and so much more. 

We were there over the Fourth of July, and the camp has a tradition where everyone makes a puppet and we have a parade through the streets of the local town. I made a Little Fish, which was one of the options, and on the Fourth I proudly swam my fish down the road. (Then when we were heading back I tried to hurdle over a wooden barrier and ended up tripping in front of everyone and scraping my elbow, but that's another story).

I cannot stress enough how amazing everyone at this camp was. It was the most supportive and open group of people. Everyone could just be themselves. I wasn't afraid to dance my heart out at the various concerts and dance parties, I wasn't afraid to speak up, I wasn't afraid to perform in front of them, because they were nothing but accepting.

Needless to say, when it came time to say goodbye, I cried. A lot. The saddest part is, I can never go back. Since this is a by-application, highly-requested camp, if you've already gotten in you're not allowed to apply again. I am going to miss everyone and everything so much. I don't think I'll ever have that kind of experience again. 

Playing ukulele on the green
Here's what I'm going to pass on to you: don't be afraid to try new things. I almost didn't apply to the camp because I was scared I wouldn't be artsy enough, because I was scared of not getting in, because I wasn't sure I was "ready." But if I had not applied I wouldn't have become part of something so wonderful. Do things that scare you. They always pay off.