September 2, 2011

1 Week a Year

I have been given a gift. This gift is not something tangible, not something you can wrap, or something you can re-gift to someone else because you never really liked it but you felt bad about returning it. The gift is the chance to be apart of something very few people get to experience and enjoy. I have the chance to know that for 1 week out of the year, I know exactly where I’ll be in the world, who I’ll be around and what kind of cafeteria food I’ll be eating…well at least I think I know what it is haha, stay away from the meatloaf.

Until a few years ago I didn’t know what burn camp was, or that there was such a place. I didn’t know that there was a place out there where people could be themselves, free of judgment or ridicule, or act like a complete fool and laugh about it. I lived in Manhattan working on Wall St. really never knowing who I was or what I was really put here on this earth for. This is something a lot of us feel at one time or another and it’s really up to us to figure out what the answer is…and usually its no easy task. I’ve always wanted to be a musician. I knew this from when I was a kid and all I wanted to do was learn to play other instruments, sing, and write songs in my room…I rarely played for anyone, it was my thing. As the high school years went on, I started playing at parties on the piano, while everyone sang piano man or something (no alcohol present of course…) and it was always fun. I enjoyed how music made other people feel, and how it made me feel to bring it to them.

As the years went on I still played but had my eyes set on a different career. I was money driven through college and focused on graduating and moving to New York to work on Wall St. I don’t regret doing that at all. I had a great time, met some great people, and it led me to the path that I’m on now and I’m very fortunate for that. But I started to almost feel empty and I didn’t really know why. So I started writing again. I wrote song after song…many of them terrible haha, but still just kept writing. And I could see that a lot of my music that I would write would be about positive things, happy things, helping other people etc. Well why wasn’t I doing this? Clearly I was trying to tell myself something. So I joined an organization called Musicians on Call ( This organization brings music to patients in hospitals and does really amazing things. Music is an amazing healer. So I thought this is perfect, I’m in. It was awesome and I think that was one of the turning points for me in realizing what I should be doing with my life. So I started to look for more things I could do to help other people. Then comes Burn Camp.

I met a FOF (friend of a friend) who was already involved in Burn Camp. We met at the Lost Dog Pub on Cape Cod (LDP!) and just started chatting. I heard all about burn camp from her and the following summer was my first year attending. I walked in not knowing a soul the first day (my friend wasn’t arriving until the second day), and had no idea what to expect. I’m not good at meeting people for the first time sometimes, I get awkward and weirdly shy haha no idea why, but that did not happen here. I immediately felt like these people were family…sounds weird I know, but its true. After that week, I knew that I would always be back to Burn Camp. I can’t describe it, or really tell you why it means so much to me but it does. At first I thought it was meaningful because I got to help the kids and such…but I think its the exact opposite. The kids are the ones who are helping me. Seeing how they overcome all their obstacles teaches me that I too can overcome anything. Its my week at camp as much as it is theirs, and I enjoy it just as much as they do…maybe more cuz I’m allowed to drink coffee and they can’t haha…sorry guys. But I think that empty feeling I had was the fact that I was never really comfortable with myself or had the confidence to do what I really wanted to do. Well, spend one week with these kids and you’ll learn you can do anything you want in life.

So now I live in LA and am pursuing music full time. I’m taking a leap and chasing my dream because I have the confidence that everything will work out in the end, and it will. Without that 1 week a year at Burn Camp, I don’t know if I would ever have had the courage to do so. So I always say, Be happy and help others…well Burn Camp, thanks for helping me.

Also as you can see in the video, trying to get all these kids to sing together isn’t an easy task…everyone wants the mic!

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Well said Mike. I couldn’t have described the Burn camp family or experience any better than that. We are so happy to have you as part of the family, and glad you will be back year after year. Glad it has touched you as much as it has touched me.