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13 Reasons CRCAP Is The Best Place On The Planet

More cowbell.

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1. It's not like any other camp.

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When you say the word "camp," people picture bunk beds and homesick letters and candy smuggled inside teddy bears with the stuffing pulled out. They don't picture dance parties or large-scale art installations or musicals mounted with three weeks of rehearsal. By the time I was eleven I had gone to the other kind of camp plenty of times: I had been forced to do archery and once, a boy spilled a full Coke on me because he "thought I was someone else." When I found CRCAP, I finally felt like I was home.

2. The friends you make are the kind that stick.

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When I say I "found CRCAP," I mean one day little friendless me looked out the window of my living room and saw a strange boy jumping off my rock. I marched outside and demanded to know what he was doing. He replied, "If April showers bring May flowers, then what do May flowers bring?

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Pilgrims!"

I knew then that I would follow him everywhere, including this crazy-sounding camp he couldn't stop talking about.

5. You're given a safe space to confront your fears.

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Before coming to CRCAP, I don't think anyone ever told me that it was okay just to try. That it was okay for something not to work out, or for it to look different than I'd hoped for. That this could be a good thing! I had been — and still am — so paralyzed by the fear of screwing up that a lot of the time I never even started. To have a place that celebrates the messes, the attempts, and the moments when things take a sharp left turn, makes you a lot more willing to jump in the first place.

6. You're accepted no matter who you are.

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Even that dude in the animal hat.

7. The Daily Double is, without question, the paper of record.

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And by the way, it's been doing BuzzFeed better than BuzzFeed for over forty years.

9. Some thing always stay the same.

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10. And others are totally brand-new.

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11. You're a part of something that's big and cozy.

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12. But each person still makes their very own way.

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13. You never really leave it.

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I've searched for an element of CRCAP everywhere else I have ever gone. When I was applying to college, when I was figuring out my first job, the places I returned to again and again were the ones that had this spirit. It's the sort of energy that allows you to throw things at the wall and see what sticks; it's just enough freedom mixed with just enough people who you can fall back into when you need some support. It's the sound of the cowbell and it's the oddly comfortingly sweaty smell of Foster Hall and it's counting the days until, finally, you get to come home.