Lean on Me

Common App choose your own prompt/submit an essay on any topic


Summer begins with skin made of ants. The months between school years were designed for sitting on the border of the sandpit at the Jewish Community Center with ants crawling over my hands.

“Sugar ants don’t bite people,” my friend assures me every June. And, in the years I have let my body be overrun, I have never been bitten. I’ve spent every summer in camp at the JCC, braving triple digit temperatures and the bee-swarmed pool. Nowhere feels more familiar. Consumption by ants started as a thrill, a five-year-old’s novelty trick. Every year, the ant trick became less wondrous and more comforting, a sign that summer had begun and I had arrived at the JCC. The JCC grew with me, but I never realized how deeply it had changed me until I became a camp counselor.

Summer 2017, I held the most coveted position of all: camp counselor. I was assigned to Chaverim, given a single co-counselor and responsibility of twenty five year olds for eight weeks. Chaverim could have been a nightmare; the amount of energy contained in the body of a five-year-old is slightly nuclear. Instead, the summer was one of the greatest experiences in my life. I returned summer 2018 and received the same position. What made working with Chaverim so wonderful...

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