by Emily Leamon
Optionals let us get to know campers outside of our own halls. As a camper, I would ask my peers and counselors their favorite music because it has the power to bring people together. Throughout my Optionals, I always try to incorporate music because I see it as a tool for understanding people and their interests.
Last night, counselor Haley and I lead an Optional called “Coloration” where we had intricate coloring pages and made friendship bracelets. I used this time as an opportunity to go around the table and play the campers’ favorite songs, which ranged from 80s hits to songs from Broadway musicals, country songs, Whitney Houston, and everything in between. At first, they were hesitant to play the music they liked, so I played embarrassing music I listened to during middle school and some bluegrass songs I listen to today. This somewhat-calm Optional quickly turned into an opportunity for the campers to bond over common musical interests, which they did in the form of a big sing-along dance party.
It was wonderful to watch some of the more shy campers come out of their shells when they realized other campers enjoy the same things that they do! One camper in particular was embarrassed to play her song from the musical Hamilton, and seeing her face when most of the group sang along and many also chose songs from that musical was great! These bonds help the campers enjoy camp more and form lasting friendships.