A love letter to my tribe

Written by on October 15, 2012 in travel - 29 Comments

From the age of eight or so through my high school years, I’d usually go to a week or two of church sponsored camp every summer. I often attended with members of my youth group I’d known since I was born. Every year we would reunite with other youth groups from churches throughout the southeast for some scripture memorization, warnings against premarital fornication and praise music.

I loved it.

Each summer I made more friends, and being the writerly type of girl I am, I’d write them letters throughout the year and eagerly await their return mail that would hopefully contain tangible Kodak moments of our good times. Those pictures were proof that those magical weeks actually happened. That we were truly all together there for the same reason, shacking up in unair-conditioned cabins for a week, trading clothes, and scoping on which boys we’d like to possibly dry hump after sharing our love for JC at the Friday night bonfire finale. Inside I dreaded going back home to the reality of school pressure, dysfunctional family life, and other tween/teen angst minutiae.

During those weeks I felt alive. Like I was among my people. My faith was rejuvenated and I was reminded that there were people in the world who wanted the same things I did. Who struggled with their faith the way I did (and still do).

While I was there, free of distractions, I could see everything so clearly-where and whom I was meant to be, and how I could get there.

I felt like I belonged.

When I’d get home and go back to school, I’d wear the t-shirt emblazoned with the camp logo. It showed everyone else that I’d been somewhere special. That way it felt like it was okay if they didn’t get me. Because some people out there, somewhere, did get me, and they had experienced those same intense and powerful emotions there that I had. That was enough for me.

It still is.

I need time with people who get me and blogging as a whole. A quick weekend together never seems like quite enough, but I love coming away from them feeling focused, inspired and holding new perspective in a Figure Four Leg Lock so it can’t get away.

This is my love letter to all of you who attended the Aiming Low Non-Conference this weekend. And to those of you who put it together, thank you. It was exactly what I needed. I’m so sad it’s over, and I can’t wait to see you next year. (Extra special thanks to my slam piece, John, who stayed home with the kids so I could go, and to Heather, who drove my Miss Daisy tail down and back.)

29 Comments on "A love letter to my tribe"

  1. jana October 15, 2012 at 10:02 am · Reply

    I’m going to cry at work now. Why? Because I <3 you and because I have a ready-to-publish post that compares this weekend to summer camp and the ooey gooey love I always felt after leaving. I wish we were doing this again next weekend.

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 10:17 am · Reply

      I loved hanging out with you so much. Can’t wait to do it again-I wish it happened more than once a year!

  2. Karen October 15, 2012 at 10:15 am · Reply

    Please tell me there were energizers at Non-Con.

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 10:19 am · Reply

      Do vodka sodas at the bar between sessions count as energizers? Then yes.

  3. Cindy Slafka October 15, 2012 at 10:25 am · Reply

    So glad you had a great time! I never went to summer camp, but found my “people” occasionally along the way. Still trying to find my “people” here in the bubble . . .

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 10:30 am · Reply

      And I’m still trying to deliver your prize to you! Got a sick baby home today. Hopefully tomorrow?

      As far as my “people” in The Bubble go, I have a few and I hold on to them tightly. I thought I had more, but I was wrong. :/

  4. thedoseofreality October 15, 2012 at 10:58 am · Reply

    I, too, attended that kind of church camp growing up and you captured the feelings perfectly! :)
    So glad it was fun…would love to get there myself one day!

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 11:57 am · Reply

      Thank you. Next year, Ashley!

  5. Vikki October 15, 2012 at 11:57 am · Reply

    I never went to summer camp either but I can understand the comparison to the NonCon and not just because of the wild animal figurines.

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 11:59 am · Reply

      Poor old Bighorn Sheep. He had his whole life ahead of him. Pouring one out for him as we speak.

  6. Melinda October 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm · Reply

    I never did the summer camp thing, but I always love the conferences. Like minded people, no questions about what a blog is and why you would waste time doing such a thing, and so much new knowledge to soak into the brain.

    Also, how did I not know you were just a few minutes down the road from me (I’m in Rock Hill)???

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 1:17 pm · Reply

      Melinda, I was wondering the same-how did we not know that we are so close? Let’s have coffee, beer or food together soon!

  7. Leila (Don't Speak Whinese) October 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm · Reply

    I love this! You are such an amazing person and I’m glad that I had the chance to get to know you. What you conveyed is being echoed out there and its beautiful to be a part of it. I didn’t do summer camp either… I’ve found my geeky lil tribes all over the place but the AimingLow group has been my first real blogging family… and that family is growing and it’s freaking rad.

    Wish we could do it more than once a year. Hmmm… you never know.

    Sweet tea has to be involved… we don’t get that deliciousness in California.

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm · Reply

      I am so, so glad to have had the opportunity to meet and know you. And I will make you the best sweet tea in the world, anytime, anyplace. xo

  8. Lizz October 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm · Reply

    This! This! This! You’re so spot on, and I could have written this post, almost word for word.
    Mine isn’t written yet (didn’t get home til after 10pm PST) but it’s itching to get out.
    LOVED meeting you this weekend, can’t wait to see you again next year!

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Lizz. And back at you-I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to meet you.

  9. Amiyrah October 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm · Reply

    This made me shed a tear! I felt the same way about Non-Con; I was a “2 camps a summer” gal because I knew I would be around people that got me. No judgement, no put-downs, just love and support. And s’mores. Non Con felt just like that. My soul feels renewed and i’ve become a blogging fan girl again. Sending you a virtual hug, my darling. See you soon!

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm · Reply

      I think that next time we need s’mores. We should submit that to Committee. xoxoxo

  10. Kymberli aka JW Moxie October 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm · Reply

    Summer camp. That is EXACTLY what this experience felt like, and you’ve written the analogy so very well here. I’m so glad that I got the chance to meet you this weekend and be a part of that feeling.

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 7:30 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Kymberli. And because of you I’ve been googling my English teachers all day trying to find them so I can thank them. I’m going to call the schools tomorrow to see if I can figure out where they are because google is hiding them from me.

      • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 7:52 pm · Reply

        Thanks, I will!

  11. Tracy in Suburbia October 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm · Reply

    Already missing my sisters in spandex. I might have to relocate down south from Jersey to be with you girls. Can I still say “Mawl?”

    • Tricia October 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm · Reply

      You can say “mawl.” You just have to follow it up with “y’all.”

  12. Susan in the Boonies October 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm · Reply

    I loved meeting you at lunch, and getting to know you just a bit.
    It is totally unfair that you got your picture made with the PeeDub, and I didn’t.
    But I will endeavor to love you anyway.

    • Tricia October 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm · Reply

      Back at ya, Susan. xoxo
      I was an aggressive swag whore when it came to getting the pic with PeeDub. I only pinched her butt once. She claimed to like it.

  13. Des @StressFreeBaby October 21, 2012 at 9:24 am · Reply

    Well, I knew I found a kindred soul when I discovered you at the bar between sessions. :) Missed you bunches when I had to leave the next day but we are close enough to do this more than once a year…so next time you’re in Atlanta…or I’m in NC…you’ll be hearing from me.

    • Tricia October 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm · Reply

      I always meet the best people at the bar. :)

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