My Experience with SM at Summer Camp

Summer Camp
Summer Camp

I went to sleepaway camp for a month this summer. While that might seem like a terrifying experience for someone with selective mutism, at camp I felt like I could be open about myself. I found myself talking a lot to friends and strangers, campers and counselors. Camp was a surprising happy place, and I found myself dreading going back home, where I would be alone, but for my family. 

On the first day of camp, I was expecting to have to work really hard to avoid talking, while also not making a bad first impression. But it was not to be so. I went up to my dorm room, where my room-mates were unpacking. On of them, Maya, immediately said hi and started going on about how happy she was to meet me. You might have thought: Uh-oh, we’re off to a bad start! But no! Instead of clamming up and being quiet, I struck up a conversation, and made friends with her. With all the other girls I was exactly the same! I don’t even know why. Maybe because no-one already knew me, so they did not know that I was normally quiet. It felt really good to be open and talkative. 

When I came back home, I became the quiet me everyone knew, only feeling a little bit braver. I’m not sure what it is about camp, but it just feels like a safe place where I can be myself. One of the reasons might be because there are not many consequences because it is short term. Another might be because I am around very few people, but the same people every day, just having fun, for a month. 

One thought on “My Experience with SM at Summer Camp

  1. I went to the same camp as Milana. From my perspective, I found that she acted very different in this social setting. From the very beginning, she found herself with many friends – in the first or second week she even put on a little performance in front of the entire camp (200-300 kids ranging from age 9 to age 17). She was undoubtedly one of the loudest girls in her age group, and was so much more active and present than she normally is, and it honestly made me very proud.

    -Gabriel, Milana’s older sister

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