We’re in session at Camp Latgawa in Oregon! This is a guest post by new NBTSC camper Sierra M.
Finally!!! My first day of NBTSC after years of longingly awaiting to be a part of it. I remember being at an unschooling conference 5 years ago and watching the NBTSC video for the first time and practically exploding. I was 11 at the time and secretly admiring all the teenagers gathered by the front laughing. Just two more years until I could come. Except, I started going to school shortly after.
I didn’t really think about my decision; all my friends went, so I decided I should too. I attended a really small charter school my first year so the dangerous school system kind of snuck up on me. I went to school for 4 years, and JUST decided to drop out going into Junior year. So what better way to start my unschooling adventures again than NBTSC?!?!
With two hours of sleep, I got a cup of coffee and met Vivian in our small Tucson airport. My plane rides were quite uneventful, only listening to audiobooks for four hours straight. When we landed in Medford, there was already a mass of campers gathered in the middle, blocking the whole entire walkway. When campers showed up, everyone would scream, hug and cry, but I sat drawing and doing water colors and waited for the bus. I felt kind of worried that this would be what camp was like for me.
When the bus finally arrived, everyone sat in the heat of the bus and waited for the mysterious missing Carlos. After 30 or more minutes he finally boarded the bus and everyone clapped and cheered and Carlos was instantly very popular.
The bus ride felt painfully long since I was going off of two hours of sleep, but other than that, it was pretty good!
After checking in I connected with the other new campers because everyone else, NBTSC veterans, were screaming and clinging to each other. I was hoping that wouldn’t carry throughout the week. And so far, it hasn’t. After getting comfy in our cabins we met and had dinner with our advisee groups. Opening ceremony was next and I INSTANTLY felt very integrated into the community and felt more love and acceptance than ever before. I finally confirmed with myself that this was the place for me. Even though I hadn’t slept, I suddenly felt way more energized so I went and played games in the main lodge for an hour. I laughed so much and I felt soooooooooo happy.
Getting into my cabin after this long day was quite comforting. I struggled to get a bug out for my scared cabin mates (myself being as scared as them) and I quietly journaled about the day, struggling to hold a flashlight without disturbing my sleeping companions. I still had so much energy that it was hard for me to fall asleep. I was so excited and was in love with practically everyone. Arrival day was quite the success.
photo by Reanna Alder