Editor’s note: This week’s blog post comes to you courtesy of Gina, a camper at YPI 2013.
How has YPI changed me? Where to start…as the song I wrote in songwriting this year says “I used to be meak and mild, ’til I was set free.” I like to think that YPI was a big part of setting me free.
I went to YPI three years ago, and though I went with a friend, I was extremely nervous. Before I went, I knew of the performance that everyone participated in at the end of the week, and it scared me. I wondered if the people there would be kind, or if they would laugh at me if I messed up onstage.
After the first open mic, however, my nerves faded. I always feel like I’m in my own world when I perform, but I was very aware of my audience that night. As I was singing, I noticed that there were campers and counselors singing along with me! I felt so supported and loved in that moment, and it gave me a confidence I never thought I’d have. I was quite shy, but after that night I started making friends that would last a lifetime.
I was also led out of my comfort zone by the teachers at YPI in the last few years. Slowly but surely, I came out of my shell both socially and in the classroom. In songwriting, I wrote more upbeat and theatrical songs as time went on, thanks to positive encouragement and a nurturing environment. I was even able to play a role I would have never imagined myself playing this year in musical theatre. I’ve been inspired by students in different classes at YPI, and have been discovering pieces of myself at camp each year.
I hope that many others can have this wonderful experience, because I’d like to spread some of the joy that YPI has provided for me among new and old campers and counselors. I look forward to going back next year.