My True Self
By: Jordan, longtime KSS camper
In the summer of 2009, I bounced up toward the Keystone Science School entrance. Carrying a suitcase who-knows-how-big, I pranced onto campus. I had no clue what I was about to do for the next week. All I knew was that I was going to sleep away camp, and I was excited. The answer to that question: I was about to have the week of a lifetime. Still living in Florida at the time, I had never backpacked, for Florida is a very unbackpacky state. I had never rafted before; Florida is a very unrafty state. The most outdoorsy I had been prior to KSS is a little bit of hiking. In Colorado. Florida is a very unhikey state. This amazing week has had a huge impact on my life, not so much because of that one week back in 2009, but because of the, now, seven years of KSS to follow.
Unfortunately I missed summer 2010. I was a tad busy; moving from Florida to Colorado was kind of occupying my life at the time. Even though I missed a summer, I returned in 2011, and I’ve been every year since. Why did I come back? Two years is a long time, why did I not forget about KSS? I guess you could say it was fun, but I had been to other camps before that were fun, and I didn’t care about them two years later. KSS is more than just fun, so much more. It’s a place where you can be your true, pure self. It’s a place where people care. It welcomes anyone who steps onto campus. It’s home to anyone who steps onto campus. In fact, you’ve been lied to your whole life: Chucky Cheese isn’t the place where a kid can be a kid. KSS is the place where a kid can be a kid.
At the root of it all is that KSS is accepting of all, and cares about all. This social hierarchy that exists in life, that thing we call popularity in school, and exists in our life at a very young age; it doesn’t exist at the Science School. If you’re a dork, the dorkier the better. If you’re a math nerd, then math it up, people are interested at KSS, not bored. If you want to play Pokémon, the people who don’t know the game will ask to learn, rather than say “Pokémon is stupid.” The freedom, the opportunity, the encouragement to be one’s self is what makes KSS amazing.
My true self is kind of a schmuck. I make up the stupidest, yet most hilarious, songs you ever did hear. For a laugh I’ll wear the goofiest – we’ll call it clothes, although that’s debatable because calling it clothes implies that what I wear at camp is worn normally. And who knows what the heck I’m talking about half the time. That’s me, the real me, and that’s who I am at KSS. Everyone is their true self at KSS. Each summer they attend and embrace their true selves, each year they become more of their true selves in the outside world. I’m proud to say that I am a complete schmuck at school, a complete schmuck when visiting my grandparents, when doing chores as well, the schmuck is very apparent.
KSS is not only an open-minded social environment, but also one that pushes people to grow and learn. To leave their comfort zones and discover themselves. KSS helps kids discover, grow, learn, and all at a very young age; things most adults never learn. This is what makes KSS so special.
The wonder of KSS has certainly had a huge impact on my life. I wear my HPG shirt to school regularly. I flaunt the schmuckitude of my personality. I carry my KSS Nalgene bottle, everywhere. I carry memories and I carry lessons I’ve learned at KSS. Everywhere. For a lifetime.