How’s it going, NYSC!!!
About a week ago, I lay snuggled up with some of my fellow delegates upon a rocky precipice warding off the lurking beasts of the dark and discussing life in all of its different forms. And as I lay there, my body crooked along the rock formation that made Northfork all that it is, I looked up at the stars and thought about time in the grand scheme of things and how this moment I had would be one among the seemingly infinitely many of my life. I thought what could 3 ½ weeks mean in comparison to the months and years? What meaning does NYSC have in the grand scheme of life – in the matrix of time, 3 ½ weeks appears to be almost nothing. Then I realized, although we can’t control time, its passing is entirely subjective. Time, to me, is defined by the experiences that fill it, not by the ticking of the clock.
Here at the National Youth Science Camp, we were never bound by the limits of time. At NYSC, we filled time with moments that had meaning. Waking up to the Rhododendron song each morning, Spartan workouts, Pilates, and pickup ultimate Frisbee games on the green – laughing to the cheesy jokes and voices of the morning share (thank you stormy weather) while bumping into each other and skipping around to gleefully maximum efficiency in the dining hall where we were privileged with lecturers that deserved standing ovations by their explanations of duplicating spheres, fractals and Origami, maple syrup urine disease, p-adic numbers, the relationship between math and music, but ultimately the overlying encouragement to seek and make a difference with your passion. Seminars in which we discovered paradoxes, shared our research, and acquired the skills to move our hips with that flavor of salsa goodness. We learned to move outside of our comfort zone, take a risk, and express ourselves even if it gave us a few nicknames –“Gyrater” for example – and awkward memories along the way. Maybe it was “I believe in fairies,” our welcome to the nudist camp, nearly obnoxious sing-a-longs on bus rides, or our avoidance of viral meningitis. But it was the culmination of all these experiences which made it a camp like this one.
At this camp, time lasted longer because it meant so much more. As one so-gracious camper put it, “We are not sad sad sad sad because we are a long way from home, we are sad sad sad sad because we are leaving our new home as we have come to know;” as we leave this camp, remember what brought us together – blueberry fields on the Fourth of July and train stop picnics in a downpour, rock, paper, scissors tournaments and man-scaping exhibitions on the front porch, angelic good night lullabies, chugging the chunks of macaroni and cheese and stew water, epic post kayaking kickball games adorned in our colored bandanas and menacing face paint.
But to sum up, I have nothing left to say but thank you: thank you for giving your respect to me as I have given it to all of you, for those times when we could share the glorieness of those fruit loop bars or the cumbersome tree teeter totters, the fierce skirmishes in finger jousting especially in dethroning Molly Blackwood as champion. Thank you for being, as the group of late night star gazers on that North Fork trip decided to be, open books allowing yourself to share a sincere connection with other people, becoming such a unified group of people that filled the time void of our lives for these past 3 ½ weeks from the people we ate with every day to the people we shared our cabins with – thank you campers.
Now for all the guys in Cabin 3 to everyone in this group, we have shared priceless moments that will last with us for the rest of our lives. Can we please hear it for the Staph? Thank you Dr. Blackwood and the Board. We have grown to trust, depend, and love each other as a family – to me these past 3 ½ weeks have held more meaning than months or years ever will. We will always have the NYSC.
I’m going to miss you guys.
Michael Lindeborg, California – 2010 NYSC