My Experience as a New Camper

By Cynthia McMinn

I first discovered Presbyterian Music Camp when my daughter attended with her best friend and their family one summer. She came home with stories, pictures, and videos of musical variety night, final concert, and exploring in the woods. We didn’t immediately go back as a family, but a couple of years later three of us attended camp together. We stayed in a big cabin with our friends who had been going to camp for years. The children fit in right away with a group of other campers their ages and found workshops and activities they wanted to do or just hung out together.  
It was intimidating for me at first. All those people! And everyone seemed to know everyone and had been at camp forever. Right away though, there was an icebreaker activity and the circle and flame ceremony to open the camp. People were really friendly and already I started to feel welcome.
There were so many different workshops that it was hard to decide on which ones to attend. I found four that I wanted to try but kept one time slot free for some time for reflection and to get away from all the activity.
I had a Guardian Angel who looked out for me as I found my way around camp, who introduced me to people and helped me get into the flow of camp. Up in the morning for breakfast, then gather up my things and head off to Holy Motion and Worship, and then on to the first workshop of the day. It was a bit intimidating the amount of musical talent around but then I realized that there was a huge range of abilities and everyone was welcoming and accepting of whatever talents people had.
There were breaks during the day that made it possible to get from workshops to snack or lunch and provided a bit of time to relax or practice all the music we were learning. Just getting from one location to the next was great exercise. So much walking and an opportunity to talk to different people on the way.
The approach to the workshops was not something I was used to. In many cases we were handed several pieces of music and we were expected to be able to perform them by the end of the week or sooner! In some cases I was learning new instruments like the ukulele as well. I have to admit that was pretty overwhelming but everyone seemed to take it in stride. And amazingly the performances happened and we were all pretty ready and they sounded good!
Evenings were busy as well - there was a campfire sing along, variety night, coffee house and then generally people got together somewhere after to socialize. I did try to pace myself - I didn’t want to miss out on all the great activities during the day from being too tired!
It was a whirlwind of a week and yet I came away relaxed, refreshed and happy. The combination of the setting, the people, the spirituality and the music is something extraordinary and worth going back every year to experience.