2 months is quite a while away from home, but as soon as we hit the halfway point, the Moxie program flew by. Before I knew it, we wrote our last reading reflection, had our last seminar, went to our last enrichment activity, and it was my last official day at GGE.
I will admit that, as Moxie came to a close, I was itching to finally go home. I was sort of over the “New York rush” and was definitely fed up with the polluted, congested air making my skin break out. By the 6th week, I was ready to relax, see my parents, and eat home-cooked food.
But, now that I am home, I am realizing that my experience with Moxie was a special one that can’t be duplicated anywhere else or with anyone else. Since I’ve been back in Boston, I went straight back to working at my old summer camp. I’ve heard young people call their peers “gay” a billion times as if it were an insult. I’ve heard the boys say, “the girls should leave the pool 10 minutes earlier than us because girls take forever in the bathroom.” I’ve even heard campers say that they once wanted to be construction workers until they realized those were “boy jobs.” It has taken a lot in me to hold my tongue. But, I am in a conflicted position where, as a camp counselor, I can’t openly share my views with the young people. I can’t teach them that they shouldn’t use people’s identities as teasing mechanisms or that they don’t have to limit themselves to societal standards and gender binaries because who knows what their families support at home. It is a sensitive line that I can’t really cross.
However, Moxies don’t hold back. We constantly questioned theories and always challenged societal norms. It wasn’t until I returned to my small reality that I realized the Moxie program gave me the privilege of being around driven, change seekers who were always open to hearing different opinions about the world we live in. There were no boundaries. There were no lines. I had the freedom to discuss stigmas and political tension. I was free to be curious. Being able to talk about women’s rights without a worry in the world of who is around is an opportunity that I will cherish forever.
Maybe my summer camp will, one day, add social justice classes to the schedule instead of devoting summers to solely sports and solving mysteries of mythical monsters designed to entertain the children. Maybe they will, one day, discipline campers through restorative justice practices rather than writing incident reports. It’s amazing to see that last summer, I didn’t see anything wrong with the way my camp ran. Ever since Moxie, however, my eyes have been unlocked to always seek change and improvements, for the better, no matter how perfect I thought it was before.