2016 was my first year at SUUSI. I was 16, which meant that I was going into the teen dorm with no previous experience. It’s a fantastic experience, for any unsure SUUSI-goers debating the idea of staying there. Going in blind to the teen dorm is intimidating, but by the end of the week I felt like I’d known these people all my life. For a week I got to live unabashedly as myself surrounded by the most open-minded, loving individuals I’ve ever met.
To be fair, the teen dorm is going to be pretty different from any camp you’re used to. A typical day will start at 11 or 12, or whenever you feel like waking up. This is generally followed by a quest for food, be it breakfast or lunch or anything in between. For a few hours, the dorm is pretty low-key. There are usually a few people in the common room playing games or singing, (last year Hamilton was a favorite) and you’re always welcome to check out a workshop or nature trip. If you’re in TWOB (which is a super fun SUUSI musical that is absolutely worth signing up for) mornings and afternoons are generally spent in rehearsal.
Life in the teen dorm really starts in the evening. Every night after dinner you’ll check in with your touch group, a small group of 8-10 teens that you are put in for the week. Touch groups are great; they make it easier to find friends and give you a time to share your SUUSI experience with others. Aside from touch groups, evening activities include talent shows, ice cream socials, Quidditch games, and a special teen worship service. You’ll have a lot of freedom here; you could stay in coloring with friends, go outside and make s’mores, or spend your night dancing at CACHE, a nightly teen dance party.
Eventually, you’ll have to return to the dorm for the night, but that doesn’t mean you have to go to bed. After one last1:00 AM check in with your touch group, grab a midnight snack (because most people slept through at least one meal) and stay up playing games or just joking and talking with friends.
Being a first-time teen at SUUSI can be intimidating, sure. But it also just might be the best week of your summer. Be prepared for a crazy-weird sleep schedule, great new friends, and a lot of fun.
I don’t think it’s honestly possible to describe a “typical” day at the teen dorm, because there’s always so much going on. A few things to know, as a NUUBI teen:
-The first night might be hard. I had a really rough time Sunday night, but by 5:00 PM on Monday, I never wanted to leave.
-Don’t leave any pathway unexplored. The week is too short to regret missed opportunities.
-Look forward to the “angel walk” at the end of the week. It was, by far, the best night of my summer.
-You haven’t missed out on anything. I was terrified going in at 16 because so many teens had been coming to SUUSI since they were kids, and I thought it was too late for me to catch up and feel like I belonged. That’s not the case. Wherever you come from, however old you are, you will find a place here.