Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Then Summer Camper...Now Intern

(Picture: Allison's on the left. She might kill me for putting this picture on the web. It's worth it. ~N)

I first came to The Mountain Institute at age 11, after hearing vague rumors of “a round library full of pillows” from a friend who had come to summer camp here the year before. To my painfully shy and awkward adolescent self, that was just about the closest thing to paradise I could imagine, and I promptly packed off to Youth Ecology camp with absolutely no concept of what I was getting myself into. My first foray into the wonderfully wacky TMI universe was just a week long, but it was more than enough -- I was hooked.

Eight years and four more summer camps after my first visit to TMI, I’m finally back, this time as an intern. The move from serial camper to staff member has been an interesting adjustment. For example, it was difficult at first to see Nathan as a real live boss, as opposed to the counselor that my friends and I once locked out of our dorm room in a spontaneous act of adolescent rebellion. It also took a few days for me to fully realize that I was no longer bound by all the rules that I had grown so accustomed to. I can go into the kitchen without permission! I can eat food out of the refrigerator! I can stay up past 10:00 at night! It’s turned my world upside down, in the best way possible.

I’ve been here almost a month now, and it has been an absolutely amazing experience. Whether I’m cooking or cleaning or roofing or shadowing a school course or digging holes, I always feel like I’m learning something. My time here is already almost half over, something I try not to think about too often because I really, really don’t want to leave. It’s great to be here, and I can’t wait to see what strange and ridiculous adventures will ensue in the coming month...

~Allison Hornbeck, intern

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