By Leah Wildeman, SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps Member
“Welcome to Hawley!” was sprawled across a paper in neon colors as I walked into the kitchen. All 18 of our names perfectly written around the greeting. Hanging from the wall, it was one of the first things I saw when I got to camp.
It had been a long journey getting here, I was shaking from the nerves, and my mind was racing. What would everyone think of me? How are we all going to manage living in one room together? How will I handle having so little privacy? Those were just a few thoughts on my mind as I hauled my over-sized blue suitcase up the stairs and into the bunkhouse.
The doors opened and my eyes adjusted to the open space around me. You could see the history in the walls; the marks of past members left on almost everything. The smell of old books and wood filled the air. In this moment, my fears melted away and I knew this was home. Clothing would soon fill the empty closets and dressers, and bodies would soon reside in the empty bunks. I knew the nights spent here would be full of laughs and dance parties. Sure enough, three weeks into our 10-month adventure, we fill the walls with memories every day.
With 18 people living in extremely close quarters, some struggle and conflict is inevitable. We have discovered that open communication is key in keeping our community functional. We’ve only spent a short time together, and are already learning everyone’s quirks. Each day we’re becoming more comfortable in each other’s company. Everything is coming together, slowly but surely. This space is starting to feel more and more like home.
All in all, community living is turning out to be more comfortable than expected. Our bunkhouse may be a wee crowded, and may smell like feet on occasion, but it is our home. A place we are proud of. A space to make memories we will never forget with people that will change our lives forever.