I have a confession. Sometimes I go out to my garage just to take in the wood smells. You might find this strange but the comfort it evokes is incomparable.
The wood in my garage smells identically to my overnight camp art barn. This is where I first learned to solder jewelry, bake copper enamel jewelry, and silk screen a t-shirt. It’s where I learned as a young teenager, about my passion for the arts.
The opportunities for art classes at a performing arts camp stretched way beyond what I viewed was “forced” in school. It opened my eyes to a new kind of freedom of expression.
Overnight camp helped me through those confusing teenage years. I didn’t feel pigeonholed into the person I thought to be when I was home. It gave me permission to reinvent myself. I watched others do the same. I listened to a friend sing a song she had written. I watched another friend recite a monologue from a short play she had created. I shared in creating a life size human paper mache with other friends. Not only did it help me discover who I was by getting out of my comfort zone, it guided me towards my future.
Several years after camp, I returned as a camp counselor and had the honor of taking charge of that very same art barn that I loved. This was the summer after my first year at college as an art major. I was able to pass on that enthusiasm to a new generation of campers.
So, as strange as it may seem that one would enjoy the smell of their garage, it takes me to a place of discovery in my mind. It reminds me of a path that brought me to who I am today.