Camp Reflections: Symbolism of Myself

Building a “sense of self” is a foundational part of our mission and youth development goals at camp. As a community of individuals, campers learn about themselves in countless ways throughout their time at High Trails, Big Spring or Sanborn Junior. We know that, over the years, many experiences from camp provide campers with the opportunity to help deepen their awareness and definition of themselves…and that many of those reflections invariably end up in personal essays and statements for middle school, high school, and college essays around the globe.

High Trails camper RUBY YAR (HT 16-present) wrote the following essay “Symbolism of Myself” for her 8th grade English class in August 2021. Her mom, Maggie, shared it with us–and Ruby said we could share it with you, too!

My name is Ruby Yar and I was asked to write an essay about three things that symbolize myself. I thought this was such an interesting and fun topic to write about because it will help Mrs. Wilkinson get to know me better. The three things I chose to symbolize myself are: friendship bracelets, hiking boots, and a speaker. These items seem pretty random, but they all have one thing in common; each item symbolizes a different part of my personality. In this essay I explain why the items symbolize myself, using memories, traits and different characteristics that I possess.

The first thing that symbolizes me is friendship bracelets. Friendships bracelets to me do not only represent friendship, but also creativity, brightness, laughing until your ribs hurt, and my summer camp, Sanborn. These qualities are very important for me to portray to others and keep a part of my personality. My summer camp is very important to me because I have grown up there. Camp has shaped my personality and defines how I act today. I honestly do not know how I would act or where I would be right now if it was not for Sanborn. I learned to make friendship bracelets at camp, where it was a big deal. Making bracelets is a skill that became something I could make and give to others as well as sometimes keep for myself. The bracelets themselves can be any color or design, the possibilities are endless. To me, the possibilities represent how different people can be and still come together as friends or in a beautiful bracelet. Having different types of friends has always been very important to me. I love having friends from all types of personalities. Friendship bracelets remind me of my friends, memories I love, my family, and how doing or making something for others is so important and fulfilling.

The second item that I think symbolizes me is hiking boots. Hiking boots remind me of nature, camp, mountains, warm summer days, camping with my friends, and that feeling you get when you summit a mountain. They define me because I love nature, hiking, camping with my friends, and climbing mountains. I have hiked a total of three mountains, Mt. Sherman, Mt. Democrat, and Mt. Huron. Each summit was an accomplishment. On Mt. Sherman I learned that negativity is all in your head and discovered my love for mountains. On Mt. Democrat I learned that determination is a necessity for anything hard and that my stomach, altitude and oatmeal don’t mix. On Mt. Huron I learned that no matter how down you get on a task you can always push through because the feeling of accomplishment when you get to the summit is amazing. I did all of this hiking and learning in my hiking boots. They have really helped me grow to love and appreciate nature for its beauty. They have helped me when I was down on a camping trip with my friends and helped me appreciate everything that my body does for me. I have grown to see hiking boots as an extension of myself.

The third item that I think defines me is a speaker. A speaker symbolizes being full of energy, loudness, a love for music and loving to dance. I really love to listen to music. It is almost an addiction. I can barely do any task without music. Music is such a creatively liberal field that allows the artist to express themselves without any judgment. I am very full of energy, and with that comes being loud. On multiple occasions I have been told that I remind people of a speaker, which honestly I take as a compliment. Being full of energy allows me to become more sociable and extroverted. These qualities allow me to make friends easily. I sincerely enjoy being loud because I am able to express my opinions and be heard. Being loud has helped me be able to catch the attention of the room in which I’m speaking. Dancing ties into my everyday life because I love to have dance parties with my friends. We are all pretty bad dancers, but I love to do it anyways. A speaker symbolizes me not only because of a love for music and being loud, but also for being full of energy, having a powerful voice, being able to capture a room with only a word and a fun-loving spirit.

The three items I chose to symbolize myself are all very normal things, but to me they are special. A friendship bracelet, symbolizes my friendships, my days at camp and my fun-loving nature. The hiking boots symbolize, my love for nature, admiration for mountains and love for summer camp. The speaker symbolizes, my need to be heard, love for music, and my energetic personality. These items have hopefully helped to explain more of my personality, what I love and the type of person I truly am.

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Ariella Rogge
About Ariella Rogge

Ariella started her career at Sanborn when she was twelve. After five years of camper and five years of Sanborn staff experience, she continued her work with kids in the high school classroom. Ariella and her family returned to Sanborn in 2001 to take on the Program Director role which she held til 2012. She and Elizabeth Marable became co-directors of High Trails in 2013 and then Ariella became the High Trails Director in 2020. In the fall of 2022 she became the Director of Sanborn Western Camps, overseeing the director teams of both Big Spring and High Trails. She lists mountain golf, Gymkhana, climbing mountains and making Pad Thai in the backcountry as some of her favorite activities at camp. Ariella received a B.A. in English from Colorado College and is a certified secondary English educator,an ACCT Level 2 Ropes Course Technician, an ARC lifeguard and NREMT and WEMT. She lives in Florissant in the summer and in Green Mountain Falls during the school year so she can stay involved with the busy lives of her husband, Matt, and two teenage sons, Lairden and Karsten.