How the Keystone Science School Gave Me Purpose


At times I stir awake at night thinking about how small I am in the world. Just one person out of 7 billion, pretty darn tiny. So I think to myself, why am I really here? How could I have some purpose here when there are 7 billion other people just as good?

Then I remind myself about camp, the Keystone Science School. Somehow, within just the 23 acres of the campus in this huge world, I seem to have found a purpose. Camp has taught me that there is a reason I am here and that I have the power to make a difference. 

I was just 8 years old when I first drove down the then-bumpy Soda Ridge Road. I was incredibly nervous and was already eager for this week without my mom and dad to be over. So, the week went by and like any sappy story about summer camp, I did not want to leave when the week came to an end.

The reason I didn’t want to leave was not just because there were #noparents or because I managed to get away without showering for a whole week. Which to be frank, at some summer camps could be the reason kids don’t want to go home, but KSS is different. I had found a purpose.

Over the past 10 years, that feeling has gotten worse and worse. You would think after so many years I would have gotten better at saying goodbye. However, as I’ve grown older and gotten more in touch with the immensity of the world, it’s gotten harder and harder. I’ve realized there is something at camp that I’m not finding anywhere else.

My first year of camp, I met the person who has remained my biggest role model up to this day. The person who I want to be and inspires me to be my best self. She showed me what life has to offer and that you shouldn’t take no for an answer.

I’m now in my last year of being a Counselor Assistant and I’ve received notes that are all too familiar to the ones I wrote to her 10 years ago. Not to say that I am anything as extraordinary as she, but I have seen that campers find guidance in me, similar to how I did to her.

At the end of camp when I open letters from campers it’s hard to believe I may be having an impact on those campers like my counselors did for me. Camp allowed me to see the impact I am able to have on the world; it shows you what you’re worth.

Now, I’m not saying life outside of the Keystone Science School is dreadful and unworthy, but there is something about camp that makes you feel worthy. It shows you what you are capable of.

Somehow while feeling like a tiny bug on the top of a 14er, the Keystone Science School can also make you feel huge. From the relationships you build to the places you explore and the things you conquer, there is no limit at camp.

Camp has shown me that I am here for a reason. I have the capacity to change the lives around and me and accomplish things that I never thought I could.

Written by: Sanjali De Silva