Your Voice: A Student Publication


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Your Voice: A Student Publication


Your Voice: A Student Publication


Caroline’s College Essay


I grew up in a place where magic exists. Yes, I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true. Magic, not in the form of pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but magic in the form of true kindness and community. A place where I learned to be me. This place is called Wiogora, School of Wonder and Wisdom and it has been my home for two weeks every summer since I was five years old. My days of attending camp as an energetic and imaginative little girl have paved the way for me to lead as an enthusiastic counselor.

My alarm rings at a time that is too early for summer as I prepare myself to become Vibes the Elf for the day. It is House Pride Day so I put on my green camp shirt, green tutu, green feather boa, and of course some glitter on my face. My cousin Lilah, aka “Groovi”, and I load into our friend Bibble’s car with ABBA already blasting through the speakers and drive to Wiogora. The building that normally functions as my church has been transformed for these two weeks into a magical castle that hosts a summer program for kids. 

As I head outside to gather my group, I am greeted with a giant hug from a six-year-old girl named Lisa who has attached herself to me. As I invent new aspects of my magical backstory to deflect questions from kids about what my “real” name is, I lead my group over to the Incantations classroom, constantly making sure we haven’t lost anyone along the way. I sit down and Lisa follows. As she sits down she hits part of her back on the seat. Whimpering, she requests for me to take her to the nurse, but I could tell she wasn’t seriously hurt. So, I tell her that I know a trick to make her feel better. I hold her hand and tell her to take three deep breaths with me. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. She immediately begins to calm down and tells me that she feels much better. 

Colorful house banners and mascots line the front of the room as I guide scholars to their seats for the final assembly of the day. I help lead songs about magical spells and planting seeds of kindness, soaking up all the loving energy in the room full of wonderful people that I love so much. After I say goodbye to the kids for the day, I listen attentively to my fellow ELFS sharing good and bad aspects of their day during our end-of-the-day meeting. I love hearing about other people connecting with scholars and I love working as a group on how to better deal with difficult situations tomorrow. 

At home, in the evening, I sit down to write a piece of owl mail to Lisa, and I raid my closet for something to wear for Butterfly Day tomorrow. I am relieved to finally arrive back home after a hot summer day surrounded by energetic kids but I am already looking forward to tomorrow. Looking forward to going back and escaping a world that is so often full of racism, gender bias, homophobia, and hate. Wouldn’t it be nice if for two weeks a kid could live in a magical world full of hope? Wiogora is that oasis for so many people to be their complete selves without judgment, make meaningful connections, and learn important values of kindness. This community has shaped me into the person I am today and by connecting with these kids I hope I can make a fraction of the impact on them that the Wiogora community has had on me.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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  • A

    Angie NiverApr 1, 2024 at 4:48 PM

    this is beautiful caroline. you really capture the essence of what wiogora means to so many people and what makes it so special. i can’t wait to see vibes again this summer!
    -juno 🙂

  • E

    Elisa HeinricherFeb 21, 2024 at 7:55 PM

    I love this! Thank you for sharing Caroline.