The farm was the second place I explored when I first arrived at Chewonki for Semester 58. A couple of my new cabin mates and I didn’t want to sit around in our cabin so we sauntered down to the farm beginning to get to know each other. We introduced ourselves and unearthed basic facts about each other. Name, place of residence, place of birth, and how we got to Chewonki. Naturally, being from Vermont, I assumed that everyone that I was talking with had visited a farm at some point in their lives. For me, growing up in Vermont allowed me to interact with cows on a daily basis – it’s a bad day when you don’t see or hear a cow.
As the farm drew nearer, I became more and more comfortable. The girls behind me began to chat and laugh about the farm, and about how they imagined the work program would be. Laughing, we headed down to the cow pasture to check it out and surprisingly, I heard an “OH MY GOD!”
I turned around, expecting someone to have fallen, but no, one of my cabin mates stared at the cows in wonder and said “A cow. Wow.” I jokingly said, “I mean this isn’t the first time you’ve seen a cow.” Turns out, it was the first time she had ever seen a cow.
Throughout my life, I have experienced many firsts, however, this was my first time watching someone experience their first time seeing a cow. Witnessing that event made me realize why Chewonki is so important, especially for high school students.
From my first 24 hours at Chewonki, I learned an important lesson – not everyone has seen a cow. Not in the literal sense, but through that experience I realized that Chewonki brings people together in an authentic way. That aspect is why I am here, in the cold and ice, at Chewonki. In the next 2920 hours that I am here, I will share these authentic connections with 42 other people. That’s the special part about Chewonki, in our technology driven world, we often don’t have time to make such special and real connections with others. Chewonki removes the technological aspect, and allows us to connect face to face, not behind screens.
For the next four months of my life, I hope to be completely present and to live in the moment. Without Chewonki, this wouldn’t be possible, because my face would be buried in a screen for hours at a time, whether that be for school, boredom, or fun. I am extremely excited to start on this journey, and to begin a new chapter of my life here at Chewonki.
Olivia, Woodstock Union High School, Vermont